Special Called Meeting Request

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Vanessa Fuentes
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:02 am

Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Vanessa Fuentes »

Dear colleagues,

Upon reflection of today’s votes on ballot items, I would like to gauge interest in convening a special called meeting to discuss a new ballot proposal that would address a potential scenario of 6-6 votes on council should the ballot item creating the 11th council district (Prop G) pass and the strong-mayor (Prop F) proposal fail, or vice versa. As an effort to avoid the unintended consequence of gridlock on policy issues moving forward, I ultimately think it’s worth the conversation of adding an additional council district to maintain the majority vote on council. This would also serve well for increased representation in our city.

Please let me know if there is any interest for a meeting this week.

Thanks,
Vanessa
Council Member, District 2
Paige Ellis
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Paige Ellis »

CM Fuentes -

I appreciate your line of thinking on this matter. I am interested in taking this topic up this week, or as soon as possible. Multiple CMs have voiced an interest in looking at the appropriate number of council districts to ensure fair and efficient government representation as voters consider the petition items that will be on the ballot. I look forward to the conversation.

Paige Ellis
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8
Greg Casar
Posts: 171
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:20 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Greg Casar »

CMs Fuentes and Ellis, thank you for your posts, and I agree with your thoughts.

I support putting to the voters the addition of new council districts, while also ensuring that we do not have a system that inadvertently creates tie votes.

I support the special called meeting request. It may mean we have to get together Friday evening, but this is important enough that I think we should move forward.

I also want to emphasize that we wouldn't be discussing any further (and we wouldn't be voting any more) on any of the items we covered today. We should simply add to the ballot the safeguards necessary to avoid a system that could create tie votes.

-Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4
Steve Adler
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Steve Adler »

CM Fuentes, in response to your message board post, and having gotten a similar request from MPT Harper Madison, the option to have such a special called meeting has been preserved with a posting tonight.

Colleagues: please respond to this message board post to indicate whether or not you want Council to have a special called meeting on Friday night. If it is not the will of the Council, the meeting, now posted, can be called off. If Council wants to take the action sought, then this meeting had to be called and posted tonight or the matter could not be considered by voters prior to May of 2023.

This posting will not allow re-consideration of anything we considered today. The only item set on the agenda is as follows:

Approve an ordinance ordering a special municipal election to be held in the City of Austin on a date to be determined, to submit to the voters a proposed council initiated charter amendment to provide for an additional single member geographic council district, if necessary to maintain an odd number of voting council members; providing for the conduct of the special election, including authorizing the City Clerk to enter into joint election agreements with other local political subdivisions as may be necessary for the orderly conduct of the election; and declaring an emergency.

s
Mayor
Natasha Harper-Madison
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:52 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Natasha Harper-Madison »

Thank you Mayor for sharing my request and to my colleagues who've expressed the desire to convene for a special called meeting Friday evening. I am looking forward to the opportunity to deliberate the matter with the council and hope to see you all Friday. I'm seeing some concerning reports about road safety, be safe out there y'all.

Kind regards,
Natasha
Natasha Harper-Madison
Council Member District 1
Steve Adler
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Steve Adler »

Colleagues,

Based on the message board responses, it does not appear that we have enough Council Members to hold the noticed meeting on Friday night. At least six members would be required to have the quorum necessary to convene a meeting and legal tells us that passing the proposed item would require 8 affirmative votes. So far only 5 have responded on the message board. Based on that information, I would cancel the Friday night meeting.

I will wait until 4:30 pm today to make that decision. If you would like to hold the meeting and have not responded to the message board posts yet, please do so by 4:30 pm.

s
Mayor
Kathie Tovo
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:18 am

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Kathie Tovo »

Colleagues:

Thank you for your thoughts on this important matter. In answer to the question the Mayor and others of you have posed, I do not personally feel a need to meet tomorrow, and while I would attend a Special Called meeting if one is held, I do not anticipate supporting this measure.

While I always welcome Council discussion, the measure appears unlikely to pass. Given that circumstance, I would suggest we not hold a meeting as doing so would require the City Clerk's office and other city staff to support us from onsite at a late hour with little notice.

I understand the interest in considering this and potentially other issues, and I support convening a City Charter Commission soon after the May election to discuss any proposed Charter amendments as a community.

Best,
Kathie Tovo
Council District 9
Alison Alter
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:52 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Alison Alter »

Dear Colleagues,

At every step this year’s charter amendment process has been frustrating, coming as it is amidst a pandemic with proposals that have far reaching and significant consequences for city governance.

We believe democracy works best in the light of day and with the oxygen of public participation. With 72 hours notice, at 9:45 PM on a Friday evening, with a midnight deadline and under conditions of emergency passage, we are being asked to convene a special called meeting to adopt additional new ballot language. While we appreciate our colleagues’ interest in discussing these latest ideas, we believe such a meeting and course of action would further undermine public confidence in how we make decisions as a Council.

Signed,

Council Members Alison Alter, Ann Kitchen, and Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 10
Catherine Van Arnam
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:57 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Catherine Van Arnam »

On behalf of Council Member Kelly:

Colleagues,

I support what has been said here about the work of our Council ideally being done in a deliberate way, that allows for discussion among us that is respectful and informed. Our work must be slowed sometimes, to be inclusive of our residents, and their diverse viewpoints. We are enriched when we have time to hear those varied views, and impoverished when only one strong voice speaks.

Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly
District 6
Chief of Staff, District 6
Sabino Pio Renteria
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:03 am

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Sabino Pio Renteria »

Colleagues,

I share many of the sentiments that my colleagues have expressed in their posts above. With Council having overwhelmingly voted in favor of finalizing the ballot language and order on Tuesday, I do not believe a meeting late Friday would be productive.

I'm in agreement with and would support Council Member Tovo's move to convene a City Charter Commission to allow for a deeper community discussion if an issue were to arise after the election.

-Pio
Council Member District 3
Paige Ellis
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:37 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Paige Ellis »

Colleagues, thank you all for sharing your thoughts.

We too agree with Council Member Tovo’s idea to convene a City Charter Commission, and we hope it might be charged with finding ways to mitigate the processes that lead to the kinds of frustrations mentioned by council members Alter, Pool, and Kitchen.

In the interest of managing logistics as well as making sure city staff is aware of whether their attendance is required, it would be useful to know more specifically where each of our colleagues stand on the item posted on tomorrow’s agenda. Would you vote for it, against it, or are you open to further discussion on whether this question should be sent to our voters in May?

We acknowledge that this not how we typically ask for consensus or lack thereof, but given the timeline, we wanted to provide the opportunity for those who may have already decided to let us know whether or not they support putting this ballot item to the voters for their decision.

As you are aware, a supermajority of eight votes would be required tomorrow night to pass this item on all three readings. If four members let us know that they will not support the item or will not attend, we should cancel the meeting. Currently, it is unclear to us if there are 8 votes in support or 4 people who would not support/not attend.

Thank you - Paige, Natasha, and Greg
Paige Ellis
Council Member, District 8
Ann Kitchen
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:04 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Ann Kitchen »

All

Please see above posts. As 6 of us have already indicated in several ways - we do not feel there is a need for the meeting. As you all are aware, our city legal sent out an email yesterday clarifying that a quorum is not available for tonight's meeting; we have now posted in response to the Mayor's request; and a number of us have also personally communicated with several of you.

In consideration of our city staff who would be required to be present at City Hall in what now are difficult road conditions - it is time to officially cancel this meeting as the Mayor indicated he would.

Best
Ann Kitchen
City Council D5
Ann Kitchen
Council Member District 5
Steve Adler
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Special Called Meeting Request

Post by Steve Adler »

I am cancelling the special called meeting for tonight.

It is apparent from the message board that there will not be the necessary eight affirmative votes in attendance tonight or available to approve the item to ensure an odd number of voting council members.


I greatly appreciate the willingness and readiness of our extraordinary staff to be present tonight given the lateness of the hour, as a long weekend begins, and especially given the weather.

I just talked to MPT Harper-Madison and CM’s Ellis, Casar, and Fuentes and they understand I am making this post.

-s
Mayor
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