Proposition 3 Campaign Relies on Grass Roots

0
107
Peck Young
Peck Young

Austinites for Geographic Representation going door-to-door, running phone banks, and distributing info at polling places

The proponents for Proposition 3’s 10-1 plan for electing council members met Saturday and laid out the campaign strategy they hope will bring victory November 6.

If so, the seventh time’s a charm, given that between 1973 and 2002 voters have shot down six previous attempts to have geographic representation on the Austin City Council.

Proposition 4 advocates of the 8-2-1 plan for electing council members have campaigned only by participating in speaking engagements and running full-page ads in The Austin Chronicle the past three weeks.

Using its coalition of 30 supporting organizations the AGR tactics will rely almost entirely on a ground game, neighbor to neighbor, house by house, phone by phone, in an effort to turn out people who will vote for Proposition 3.

Peck Young
Peck Young

Volunteer political advisor Peck Young said, “This election will be decided by people who don’t know what we’re talking about. … The truth is, what will decide this election is what’s done in the next two weeks.”

Although Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) had raised $90,000 by the first of this month, and says it raised another $18,000 through it’s recent e-mail campaign, the group has no plans to buy television spots because the cost is prohibitive.

“Austin is now one of the bigger markets in the United States and TV is charging high rates” Young said.

The campaign will instead rely on putting out 150,000 door hangars and blanketing neighborhoods, posting yard signs, using phone banks to reach upwards of 8,000 of the 33,000 people who signed petitions to get Proposition 3 on the ballot and provided phone numbers, running community newspaper ads, and getting volunteers to distribute information at polling places.

Volunteer Ed English announced that he has 26 volunteers working on the campaign in North Austin.

Linda Curtis
Linda Curtis

Campaign coordinator Linda Curtis said that 100,000 door hangars have already been picked up by volunteers to be distributed. Many of those were gobbled up by neighborhood association members of the Austin Neighborhoods Council.

“Door hangars really work,” Curtis said. “This gives us a bang for the buck.”

AGR will also rely heavily on social media that includes Facebook messages that can reach an exponential number of people by getting fans to “share” and “like” the group’s pages, triggering a cascade of contacts to gain attention for its YouTube videos and Google ads linked to search pages.

A series of new YouTube videos prepared by Rudy Malveaux and Jackie McCardell Jr. of Paradigm Shift Multimedia LLC were previewed at the meeting. Most were based on video footage from AGR’s October 6 rally that drew 150-200 people.

“We’re creating a context to tell the story of geographic representation,” said Jessica Ellison, who’s masterminding the campaign’s social media strategy.

Young said if funds are sufficient AGR will also send direct mail appeals to “close to 30,000” people who signed the petitions and for which they have good addresses.

Stacy Suits
Stacy Suits

Volunteer Stacy Suits, chief deputy constable for Precinct 3, managed two unsuccessful campaigns for geographic representation in the 1980s. He said another 500 yard signs are coming, many of which will be posted at early voting locations. He has 50 large signs that will be posted at high-traffic locations with property owners’ permission.

More than 30 AGR coalition members attended the meeting held at the Precinct 1 Constable’s office at 1811 Springdale Road.

David Van Os
David Van Os

Civil rights attorney Attorney David Van Os roused the crowd when he stood to say to Roger Borgelt, vice chairman of the Travis County Republican Party, “I’m a lifelong Democrat but Republicans should have a fair opportunity for participation in this city.

“The people managing Proposition 4 just want power and control. They do not believe in democracy. They don’t want an independent redistricting commission because they fear the people.

“Everyone should have equal representation in this democracy—the soul of the city is on the line in this election,” Van Os said before sitting down to loud applause.

This report was made possible by contributions to The Austin Bulldog, which operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to provide investigative reporting in the public interest. You can help to sustain The Austin Bulldog’s coverage by making a tax-deductible contribution.

Related Bulldog coverage: This is The Austin Bulldog’s 35th article covering issues and activities pertaining to proposed changes to the Austin City Charter.

Prop 3 Proponents Question Prop 4 Legality: Civil rights attorney and two minority groups say federal preclearance for 8-2-1 is unlikely, October 21, 2012

Poll Triggers Backlash from 10-1 Proponents: Proposition 3 advocates saying Prop 4 playing dirty with a misleading poll, Prop 4 denies the charge, October 17, 2012

Proposition 4 Campaign Reports Finances: Late report indicates $2685 raised in last three months but fails to provide details about campaign expenses, October 10, 2012

Proposition 3 Campaign Reports Finances: 10-1 campaign proponents raised more than $40,000, Proposition 4’s 8-2-1 advocates’ report not submitted, October 9, 2012

Proposition 3 Rally Draws 150-200 People: Crowd hears fiery speeches by proponents of the 10-1 systemfor electing council members, October 8, 2012

Attorney Bickerstaff Addresses Critics’ Concerns: His September 24 article drew numerous comments about the Proposition 3 Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, October 5, 2012

Feisty Debate Over Electing Council Members: One panelist argues for no change to the at-large system of City Council elections, October 4, 2012

Proposition 3 and 4 Proponents Rev Their Campaigns: Raising money, organizing troops, and pushing plans for geographic representation on Austin City Council, September 28, 2012

Redistricting Need Not Be a Quintessentially Political Process: Independent redistricting commissions for U.S. states and cities, September 24, 2012

Barrientos Lampoons Prop 4 With a Fable: Other proponents of alternative plans for geographic representation push their points, September 14, 2012

Proposition 3 Advocates Falsely Accuse RECA: Group alleges ‘rumor’ of $100,000 pledge by Real Estate Council to defeat Proposition 3, but RECA says not so, September 12, 2012

No-Change Option Surfaces in Ballot Debate: Former Council Member Bob Binder opposes both options on the ballot for geographic representation, September 11, 2012

The Election Wars Have Begun: Interest in how council members elected running high, as face-off debates abound, September 9, 2012

Your Guide to Proposed City Charter Amendments: What’s on the ballot, what it will cost taxpayers, and details provided in the ordinances for each proposition, August 30, 2012

Loud Rally Follows Final Council Vote for 8-2-1: AGR’s Cries Foul Over Work Session Vote for Hybrid; Mayor Leffingwell Said Votes Driven by Ballot Deadline, August 7, 2012

Council Backers of 8-2-1 Plan Accused of Self-Interest: But Facts Don’t Seem to Substantiate Such a Claim, as Related Actions May Bar Most Incumbents From Reelection, August 6, 2012

8-2-1 Near Certain to Go on Ballot: City Council Votes on Second Reading to Put Competition Election Plan on Ballot, July 31, 2012

10-1 Plan Qualifies for November Ballot: Consultant Estimates That 22,435 Signatures Are Valid; Austinites for Geographic Representation Readies for Battle, July 26, 2012

Petition Completed for 10-1 Council Districts: Austinites for Geographic Representation Claims 33,000 Signatures, of Which About 22,800 Are Considered Valid, July 16, 2012

Council Puts 10-1 Election Plan on November Ballot: Votes 5-2 on Three Readings to Adopt Petition Language, Votes 4-2 on First Reading to Also Put 8-2-1 on Ballot, June 29, 2012

Citizens Group to Make Final Petition Push: Austinites for Geographic Representation Claims to Have 17,000 Signatures, and Shoots for 13,000 More, June 4, 2012

City Council Tackles Charter Amendments: Redistricting Expert, Charter Revision Committee Members, and Grass-roots Group Critical of Task Force Plan, April 26, 2012

Council District Backers Want Quick Ballot Decision: Big Press Conference, Big Pressure Promised, to Get Council Decision Before Council Elections, March 8, 2012

Hard Fought, Heartfelt Charter Decision: Charter Revision Committee Votes 8-7 to Back 10-1 Plan for Council Elections, February 3, 2012

New Restrictions Proposed for Lobbyist Fundraising: Lobbyists Can Only Give Candidates $25 But Can Collect Unlimited Contributions For Them, January 22, 2012

Committee Debates How to Elect Council: Charter Revision Committee Divided Over Pure Districts vs. Hybrid System, January 9, 2012

Thirteen Charter Changes and Counting: Charter Revision Committee’s Next Job: Tackle Plan for Geographic Representation, December 14, 2011

Council Confirms November 2012 Election Date for Charter Amendments: Resolution Ensures Citizens Initiative Won’t Force May 2012 Charter Election, November 3, 2011

Coalition Launching Petition Drive to Get on the Ballot for May 2012 Election, October 18, 2011

Broad Community Interest Focusing on How Mayor and Council Members Elected, October 4, 2011

Coalition Nearing Petition Launch for Grass-roots Council District Plan, August 24, 2011

Maps Prove Select Few Govern Austin: Forty Years of Election History Expose Extent of Disparity, August 4, 2011

City Council to Consider Proposal to Create Geographic Representation: Election Dates, Term Lengths, Redistricting and Other Charter Changes in Council Resolution, April 27, 2011

Petition Launch Imminent to Force Election for Geographic Representation in City Elections, March 7, 2011