Citizens Districting 10-1 (a.k.a. “Prop 3″) established an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (“ICRC”) to draw the maps for Austin’s 10 new city council districts. The commission will have 14 citizens volunteer members. Politicians, consultants, and paid operatives are specifically prevented from serving.
Latest: The Applicant Review Panel (also a part of CD10-1) has now qualified and selected 60 candidates from the ~500 original volunteers. See the official list here.
- Each city council member can strike one candidate.
- The Applicant Review Panel randomly selects the first 8 ICRC members from the remaining candidates. This drawing will take place May 22 at 12:30 pm in the Boards and Commission Room at City Hall
- Those 8 ICRC members select the last 6 ICRC members, assuring diversity of the ICRC
KLRU-TV will present “Why Bother: Austin After 10-1″ on May 16 at 9:00 PM: ”City government experts and residents from across Austin gather to discuss the change to geographic representation, and try to figure out how it will impact voters and the community as a whole.
Austin’s Lame-Duck City Council Plans to Remove Control of Austin Energy from 2014’s Citizens Council
Austin’s current, lame-duck City Council is poised to remove council control over Austin’s most important asset – Austin Energy. Austinites for Geographic Representation knows why and AGR wants to stop them. AGR is Austin’s largest and most diverse coalition – the group that won passage of the new “Citizens Districting 10-1” voting system. Under the new CD10-1 (a.k.a. “Prop 3”) system, Austin voters will elect a new citizen’s council in November 2014 that will represent ALL of Austin.
Roger Borgelt, Travis County Republican Party Vice-Chair and co-chair of AGR’s “CD10-1 Advisory Committee,” said: “Why would Austin city council use underhanded tricks to rush this decision? We know why. In 2014 a new city council, elected by all of Austin’s citizens will replace the current lame-duck council; a council which in reality only represents 10% of Austin’s population. The people own Austin Energy and with geographic representation the people will control Austin Energy. Whether the utility should be run by a commission or the Council should be a major topic of the NEW council after the November 2014 election.”
Former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, co-chair of AGR’s “CD10-1 Advisory Committee,” said “Politicians sometimes overstep their authority, especially when they face certain removal in an upcoming election. Austin deserves better from its elected officials – even council members elected under the old, unfair election system. City council must reconsider this underhanded plan and leave control of Austin Energy with city council for now. Because in 2014 city council will be controlled by all of Austin. Not just by the incumbents who think they ‘know better’ than the rest of us.”
NAACP President Nelson Linder, co-chair of AGR’s “CD10-1 Advisory Committee,” said “In just a few weeks, Austin will select Prop 3’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw the maps for Austin’s new council districts. It’s sad that with that backdrop city council is poised to rush into the transfer of governance of Austin’s most important asset – Austin Energy. All of the people deserve a voice in such major decisions – neighborhoods and minorities – not the self-appointed power structure that ruled Austin for 40 years. That power elite will lose power when geographic representation is in effect. And they don’t like it.”
Borgelt added “AGR has a well-reasoned and effective response to the current lame-duck council’s policy of trying to deny the first district elected council the right to make this momentous decision. We know all of Austin will join us in defending our city from those special interests.”
The Austin City Council’s final vote on a commission to run the utility is expected at their May 9th meeting.
Video of Professor Ancheta at Bass Lecture Hall on May 2nd
Professor Angelo Ancheta was a member of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. During his visit to Austin, he shared his experiences on the commission with interested Austinites and gave advice on what Austinites have ahead of us and how Austin could respond. Professor Ancheta teaches law at Santa Clara Law, is the director of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center there and served on the first citizens redistricting commission in California.
Now is an historic moment for all Austinites. The voters of Austin have approved changing from an at-large to a single-member district election system and the drawing of those ten single-member districts by an independent citizen redistricting commission for the 2014 election. The commission is the first independent redistricting commission to be used in Texas and is modeled after the citizen redistricting commission used successfully for drawing state legislative and congressional district boundaries for California in 2011.
Professor Ancehta appeared at two Austin events on May 2nd:
- A luncheon open to the public and press at Threadgills’ downtown hosted by
- Austinites for Geographic Representation, the League of Women Voters, and Austin Area Research Organization
- A presentation and panel discussion sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law, the LBJ School’s Center for Politics and Governance, and Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR)
- AGR’s press release
- The Austin Bulldog’s “What Can Austin Learn From California?“ by Ken Martin, May 6, 2013
Wells Dunbar of KUT News presents a status update on Austin’s adoption of Citizens Districting 10-1, the citizens plan for Austin elections. Well’s article is titled “City Hall Hustle: The Long, Winding Road to 10-1.” Key points include:
- [A refresher] “Back in November, voters passed Proposition 3, also known as the “10-1” plan. With it, voters approved a switch from a seven-member council that’s all elected citywide, to one where 10 members will be elected from individual geographic districts. Only the mayor will run citywide.
- “The citizen-initiated prop called to keep politicians out of the process; instead, a 14-member group of citizen volunteers, strictly screened for conflicts of interest, will decide on the districts.
- “… considering that after decades of at-large representation, geographic representation starts with the 2014 elections – this painstaking working really is happening at breakneck speed.
Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) applauded the very successful initial implementation of the Citizens Districting 10-1 election system (a.k.a. “Prop 3”) by City Auditor, Ken Mory, done with the assistance of AGR and the community. “We have over 500 applicants for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC); the overwhelming majority are qualified,” stated Fred Lewis co-author of CD10-1, and member of AGR. “The data shows the sizeable racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of the ICRC and that minority voters have a strong desire to serve on the ICRC. The fourteen commissioners selected for the ICRC should reflect the diversity of Austin.” (See AGR’s complete press release)
10-1 Review Panel Selected – And All Three Members Are Women – KUT’s Bobby Blanchard wrote:
- “Earlier today, Austin’s City Auditor held a public drawing today to select the three accountants that will serve on the 10-1 Applicant Review Panel. The three accountants are Martha Parker, Michelle DeFrance and Carolyn Limaye – all women.
- “The review panel will select the 60 most qualified applicants for potential service on Austin’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That’s the group which will ultimately draw district lines for city council members. (Click here for an overview of the district-drawing process.)
- “Fred Lewis, a co-author of the 10-1 plan and a member of Austinites for Geographic Representation, said this is a historic day for Austin. ‘We have come to the point where we are going to have independent citizen commissioners draw district lines for our council members,’ Lewis said. ‘It will be the first time in Texas that either reelected officials or the courts have not drawn the lines.’
YNN’s Jeff Stensland wrote “Redistricting advocates seek minority applicants” on 9 February 2013.
“A lack of diversity among applicants for Austin’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission has advocates calling on all eligible minority voters to apply. The commission will be responsible for drafting a ten-district map for the Austin City Council that will be elected November 2014.
Redistricting consultant Peck Young said you are more than capable of participating if you can cook a meal. ‘If you’ve been able to balance a checkbook or deal with a recipe, you’ve got the analytical skills,’ Young said. ‘They’ve got a paragraph that makes you think you have to explain your mathematical education.’
“You can find a full calendar of upcoming community meetings at Austinites for Geographic Representation. Applications and more information is available on the City of Austin website. Applications are due February 22, 2013.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 18, 2013
From: Austinites for Geographic Representation
Contact: Jessica Ellison
City Council to Single-Parents and Car-less Austinites: Stay Home or Pay up?
Sometimes actions have unintended consequences. At last Thursday’s council meeting, councilmembers passed Item 52 on the consent agenda. This item relates to the way citizens chosen to be a part of the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) to draw district lines are reimbursed for personal costs incurred during their term as commissioners.
Former Senator Gonzalo Barrientos and co-chair of Austinites for Geographic Representation’s Advisory Committee said, “When we set up the language in the petition outlining the ICRC, we intended for everyone who wanted to apply to be able to apply. We didn’t want worries about childcare or transportation costs to discourage anyone.”
Council seems to disagree.
The ICRC is mandated by the charter and includes language about the reimbursement of “reasonable and necessary personal expenses incurred in connection with the duties performed” while serving on the commission. In Item 52, introduced by Mayor Leffingwell and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Martinez and Cole, the council decided to adopt the language of the city’s “Business Expense Reimbursement” policy for city employees.
Fred Lewis, one of the architects of the ICRC, said: “Basically, council adopted a Catch-22 policy that reimburses the personal expenses of the commissioners that they won’t incur and does not reimburse those expenses that they will incur. The city won’t reimburse for child care or mileage to and from city hall– which are the expenses commissioners are most likely to incur. They will reimburse expenses for meals and parking, which commissioners aren’t likely to incur. This policy is contrary to the law’s intent and the voter’s wishes.”
Nelson Linder, President of the NAACP and co-chair of AGR’s Advisory Committee said, “I don’t think council understood what they were really doing. Under the guidelines that the city adopted, commissioners will be reimbursed for mileage … but, how are you supposed to be reimbursed for mileage if you don’t have a car? To pay for a baby-sitter twice a month could be a huge financial burden for a single-parent, but really a reasonable amount of money for the city to reimburse.”
Council could change the policy. Spokesperson for Austinites for Geographic Representation, Jessica Ellison hopes they will. “We want people to participate. We don’t want to inadvertently make this process inaccessible to those folks in the city that we really need to hear from the most.”
- “Policy Changed Concerning Austin Redistricting Commission” by KEYE-TV on 1/18/2013: “The City of Austin is collecting application for the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), however one group is outraged saying a city council decision is making it harder for people to apply. Attorney Fred Lewis who wrote the charter said, ‘The most important thing is that citizens get to draw the lines. And it gets to be divided by gender, race and geography.’ The volunteers will not be paid, but Lewis says the charter explains they will get reimbursed. It reads taxpayer dollars would cover expenses that were reasonable and necessary incurred in connection with its duties.
- What? Citizens Districting 10-1 (a.k.a. “Prop 3″) established an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (“ICRC”) to draw the maps for the 10 new city council districts. The commission is made up of citizen volunteers. Politicians, consultants, and paid operatives are specifically prevented from serving.
- Why? Election district boundaries will only be fair if the ICRC reflects Austin’s diversity. Austin needs you to make “Prop 3″ work and to prevent the power elite from dominating the ICRC.
- Submit an application to the City Auditor: Print this form, fill it out, and mail it in.
- Learn about the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.
- Come to an education session about the ICRC.
- Volunteer for the ICRC (and please tell us here at AGR, too).
- Austin’s ICRC is similar to the system used by the State of California. Read the advice California gives to applicants.
- Tell your friends and neighbors to learn and volunteer too. (We have the tools to help you.)
Citizens Districting 10-1 (a.k.a. “Prop 3″) is the new system for Austin city council elections, passed by the voters in November, 2012. A key part of CD10-1 is the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC). The ICRC will be made up of citizen volunteers. You should volunteer for the ICRC.
The following sessions explain the ICRC and ask citizens to volunteer for the commission. These sessions are run by various groups. The sessions all have the same objective: explain the ICRC and persuade people to volunteer.
Note: If you want to schedule your own session for your friends and neighbors, please tell us and we’ll help you.
Here’s how you volunteer for the ICRC. (This link will be active by late January.)
- 2/20: League of Women Voters and AGR forum on how to apply for the ICRC
Please also see the Austin City Auditor’s calendar of 10-One events.