Negative mailer misrepresents Prop 1Over the past few days, Austin voters got a big, colorful card in the mail making the same old false claims about Prop 1--in particular, it repeats the false claim that the charter amendment would cost $36 million and requires email to go online. We've debunked this falsehood on numerous occassions, so this time I'll just remind readers that email is among the "categories that must be produced in response to a public information request" (Section 4, first sentence), not on the narrow, specific list of things that must be put online.
Think about it: If email was online, there would be no need for a public information act request. All the language about email in this amendment merely ensures that email will be retained so that if a citizen files a request for Brewster McCracken's emails related to Stratus/Freeport, they will still exist.
Instead, Prop 1 will put the following basic information online: development agreements, tax abatement agreements, big city contracts, policies and procedures that affect the general public, the records of our public meetings (agendas, minutes and transcripts or audio recordings), the city's legal docket, and a calendar of meetings and calls about official business for our city's top officials. That's all good stuff, the kind of thing that will really change the way the city does things--for the better.
Because it does so many good things, Prop 1 is endorsed by the Sierra Club, the SOS Alliance, Tx PIRG, the ACLU, the Gray Panthers, the SEED Coalition, Texans for Public Justice, the Greens, Save Barton Creek Association, Consumers Union...in fact almost all of our good, local advocacy groups back it.
Who opposes it? The Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA), Stratus/Freeport, Temple Inland, and the developer lobby law firms. Mike Blizzard, a paid consultant for Stratus/Freeport, has been the lead voice for the EDUCATE PAC that sent that big card. Does this sound familiar? It's the same special interests lining up once again to keep Austin's citizens from exercising control over Austin's government.