Austin City Council Election 1994

In the 1994 election, Mayor Bruce Todd and Council Member Ronney Reynolds were reelected after surviving runoffs.

Council Member Gus Garcia easily won reelection against only a write-in candidate.

Newcomer Eric Mitchell won the open council seat vacated by Charles Urdy—another member of the anti-SOS Ordinance council majority of 1992 who chose not to seek reelection.

The 1994 election ballot also included 22 propositions, including:

Proposition 1 was the fifth attempt to gain voter approval for some form of geographic representation on the city council. Once again the proposal called for a mayor elected at large and eight council members elected from districts, the same plan that failed three times before. The main difference was that the ballot language called for the council districts to be determined by a five-member independent commission. Prop 1 gained 48 percent voter approval—the best showing ever—but still fell short of passage.

Proposition 2 won strong voter approval (59 percent) to limit the terms of the mayor and council members to two consecutive terms after the 1994 election unless the candidacy is supported by a petition of five percent of qualified voters. (In 2002, three council members took advantage of this charter change by using petition drives to get on the ballot for reelection.)

Proposition 8 provided an opportunity for voters to prevent the City Council from ever again doing what it did in 1992. That’s when a council majority delayed putting the Save Our Springs Ordinance on the ballot and, when it finally did so, put an alternative ordinance on the ballot in an effort to undercut the citizens initiative. (The SOS Ordinance passed in the 1992 election while the council alternative failed.) Prop 8, approved by 67 percent of voters, reduced the period for council review of initiative and referendum petitions, and deleted the council option to propose alternatives.

Proposition 9 would have amended the City Charter to require the city attorney to be appointed by and report directly to the city council. (This would take oversight of the city attorney away from the city manager.) This measure was rejected by 56 percent of voters.

Proposition 22 rolled back the benefits for unmarried domestic partners that the city council had previously enacted, and defined the term “spouse” in the city’s Personnel Policies as the husband or wife of an employee. Prop 22 got on the ballot through citizens petition brought by conservatives who called these benefits “shack-up insurance” that would help not only unmarried heterosexuals but city employees involved in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered partnerships. Prop 22 passed with 62 percent voter approval.