The 4-1-1 on Austin’s 10-1
By: Lauren Keim
Yes, it is that time again. That time where clusters of various sized blue and red yard signs seem to be everywhere. Election season. And with the last day to register to vote quickly approaching, Oct. 6, you might be wondering what is with all the candidates? What is with all the hype? Well, have no fear, The Austin Hummingbird has got you covered with all the information you need to know hit the ballots this Nov.
What is this 10-One I keep hearing about?
10-One is Austin’s shift from a city government where the officials were elected ‘at large,’ to voting on candidates specific to their newly created district.
Before, when a candidate ran for city council, they would be voted on city wide, also known as a municipal election. In Nov. of 2012, Austin voters approved “Proposition 3,” which approved geographic representation and increased the council from seven to 11 members. Now, Austin has been been broken down into 10 geographic districts each represented by one city council member. While the mayor will continue to be elected citywide, the other council members will be elected only by the districts in which they will serve.
Once the elected officials take office, the Mayor will serve a four-year term. The 10 Council Member will draw lots to determine which half of the new council members will serve a two-year term (class one) and which will serve a four year term (class two). This will allow future elections to take place every two years, with future council members serving for four years.
Ok. I’m in a district now… which one?
Voters can find out what district they belong to by clicking HERE and typing in their address*.
*Do not use punctuation. Since the map is specific to Austin, only the address number and street name is needed.
You may recall, that there was a second plan called the 8-2-1, or “Proposition 4”, which divided Austin into eight districts with a council member from each, two representatives and the mayor that would still be elected ‘at-large.’ According to the Austin Cut: “The 8-2-1 position [was] heavily centered on theory and research… like the rest of Texas, the council would be able to draw their own district lines.” This can lead to partisan power (maximizing the number of Republicans) or used to dilute the minority vote.
To avoid that issues under the Austin 10-One plan, the districts were drawn up by a non-partisan, independent, citizen’s redistricting commission. Their goal was to first drawn up districts that would maximize minority votes, and then the remaining districts were drawn up based on population density and commonalities. If you would like to learn more about the demographics of your district click HERE.
So I don’t have to learn about all 78 candidates?
That is correct. You only need to learn about the candidates for your district and the candidates who are running for mayor.
Austin Monitor, an insider political publication, has teamed up with KUT to provide quick candidate biographies broken down by each district, providing links to the candidates campaign websites and facebooks when available. They are also sponsoring open forums for each district which will be going on though Oct. 15. To learn more about when and where they are being held for your district click HERE. If you can’t make it out to the forums, have no fear, each forum is recorded and will be available online.
Voters can also go to the Austin-American Statesmen and see how much much money each candidate has raised so far for their campaign, as well as a quick synopsis of their platform.
Austin Chronicle is also keeping tabs on all candidate forums going on in each district, the information for which can be found HERE.
Who is running for Mayor?
Currently there are eight candidates running for mayor: Steven Adler, Sheryl Cole, Ron Culver, Mary Krenek, Mike Martinez, David Orshalick, Todd Phelps, and Randall Stevens.
-Has lived in Austin for the past 36 years.
-Currently an attorney at a firm he co-founded.
-His platform: “affordability, education, water, and making city government more effective.”
-Has lived in Austin for over 25 years.
-Currently serving as Mayor Pro Term for Austin
-Her platform: “affordability, environment, education, social justice, and quality of life.”
Ron Culver (no website)
-Retired electrical engineer.
-His platform, “address increasing traffic, population, and costs to citizens form bonds and fees.”
Mary Krenek (no website)
-Her platform: “A keep-Austin-weird thing, modernize and ‘environmentalize’ the city.”
-Grew up in Rockdale, has lived in Austin for more than 20 years.
-Current city council member.His platform: “affordability, transportation and equality.”
-Has lived in Austin for 35 years.
-Retired tech writer.
-His platform: “Lower taxes, better roads & transit, better government, and social equity.”
-Musician and owner of an alternative energy company, Phelps & Ray LLC.
-His platform: “immediate traffic solutions, environmentally conscious, and property tax relief.”
-Has lived in Austin for the past 12 years.
-CEO of AdBirds Design & Market, Inc. and former airline mechanic.
-His platform: “traffic, small business and community development, and human rights.”
What dates do I need to know?
-The last day to register to vote is: Oct. 6
To check and see if you are already registered to vote click HERE.
To fill out a registration form to mail in, click HERE. You can also pick up a voter registration application at your local library or government office.
-Early voting begins Oct. 20 and end Oct. 31.
-Election day is Nov. 4.
To find out where you can go to vote, click HERE.
-The elected officials take office Jan. 1, 2015.
Who should I vote for?
Well, we obviously can’t tell you that. Each candidate has their own ideas for handling the issues that are facing Austin. The new 10-One plan is an opportunity for citizens to feel like their voice is being heard by the elected officials that are from their local community. Some of the candidates want to repeal the bag-ban. Once city council candidate has been known to serenade the current city council during meetings. Many candidates are concerned with Austin’s rapidly growing population and traffic issues, yet disagree on what will be the best for the community. Property taxes are another hot button issue. We urge you to do a little digging for the candidate that best matches your values and who is going to best represent your concerns in your distinct.