Will the City respect a judge's order? We'll know soonNew ballot language should be approved this morning for the Open Government Online charter amendment after a district judge told the Austin City Council their attempt to mislead the public was improper.
Read the judge's order for yourself (pdf). That's what I'm doing while I'm waiting in City Council chambers for them to get out of executive session.
Judge Stephen Yelenosky last Thursday told the City they must identify the chief feature of the amendment, which is public information - the current ballot langague only lists misleading, negative information without even stating the purpose of the amendment.
Yelenosky also said that the City must not to claim public email must go online, "because significant exceptions apply," and told them they could not claim the amendment would require a tax increase, since the City admitted to the judge that it would not.
The City Council should view this second opportunity to draft ballot language as a chance to redeem themselves - they tried to pull a fast one last time and they got caught. Now if they do the right thing, all would be forgiven. If they continue to try to thwart voters' right to a fair election, though, Austin voters will remember it, I bet, for a long time.
The councilmembers are all filing back in now, so I'll end this and post more when we know more.