October 30th, 2013
Although we don’t usually get into specific local government discussions, that’s exactly what we have in store this week.
After decades of having an at-large council, the public finally voted to allow single-member-districts in the Austin area. In November of 2014, instead of a single at-large voting area, there will be 10 districts in Austin with a council member representing each one.
Jad explains a bit about the Texans for Accountable Government and Kevin discusses the possibility of running for City Council. This is a super-short episode so sit back and enjoy.
Speaker 1: Does the NSA collect any type of data at
all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
Speaker 2: No, sir.
Jad: Hello, and welcome to the JK podcast,
an anti-authoritarian philosophical endeavor recorded in Austin, Texas. We draw
our topics from the entire scope of the human experience with central connecting themes
focused on the grand ideas of liberty, humanity, and equality.
Kevin: The JK Podcast is hosted by Jad Davis and Kevin
Ludlow. Welcome back to another episode. Although we don’t usually
get into specific local government discussions, that’s exactly what we have in
store this week. After decades of having an at large city council, the public
finally voted to allow single member districts in the Austin area. In November of
2014, instead of a single at large voting area, there will be ten districts in Austin
with a councilmember representing each one of those districts. Jad explains a bit
about the Texans for Accountable Government, and Kevin discusses the possibility of
running for city council. This is a super short episode, so sit back and
The big thing that I really think is gonna happen to all of these points that
we’re talking about – and maybe I’ll be dead wrong, I really
don’t know how the whole districting thing is gonna turn out – but I think
the 10/1 council is going to have a huge effect on all of these issues that we’re
talking about because when you see a $900 million dollar bond for example, I think all
of a sudden – well first of all, I don’t know that some of those bonds would make
it to the table in the first place because I think that if you have a bunch of fringed
councilmembers who actually come from Westlake, and out in Oakhill, and you know one up
on the area kinda more where I live up north, I think you’re gonna see a lot of
those people who sit on the council say, “sorry, it’s an economic downturn
right now, this doesn’t make economic sense, we’re not voting in favor of
putting in $900 million dollar bonds on a ballot for the citizens and at very least, I
think you’ll hear a lot more public political outcry against bond measures like
that, and even against development code standards.
I mean, it’s one of the conspiracy theories I’ve had recently is to
consider that maybe the reason that they wanna get rid of the whole timeline[?] thing
is because the city council recognizes that when the 10/1 comes in, they’re gonna
start undoing shit like that anyway so at least they figure if they have an opportunity
to undo it right now, they can immediately kind of reregulate it in a slightly better
way that people might be more willing to keep to kind of preserve the goodness of the
city if you will. That’s kinda like my far left and green part conspiracy
theory at the moment that that’s one of the things that they may be trying to
do. I’m sure it’s totally incorrect, but –
Jad: That’s a good theory.
Kevin: – just because that’s the level that I think the 10/1
is actually gonna be able to affect. I think they’re gonna have
tremendously more impact on the city than any law that’s been passed in years and
Jad: Interesting. And that starts
Kevin: 2014 I think, I’m not – I think 2014 is when it
actually goes into effect. Apparently, they still don’t entirely know in
fact, I’ve asked a friend of mine who’s a policy aid and legal teams are
still debating like what it actually means when it comes into effect, who’s gonna
be termed out, who’s gonna have you know, another opportunity, there’s like
some weird stuff with Chris Riley for example because he took over on a special
election and –
Kevin: – you know, will he get to run at this election or –
but it doesn’t sound like he wants to anyway.
Jad: Did you ever – I don’t know if I
talked to you about this before – but have you ever heard of the Texans for
Kevin: I guess I have heard of it from you.
Jad: Yeah. Anyway, they have their
meeting up like not too far from you I don’t think, they’re on 183 where
Sherlock [?] is –
Kevin: Oh yeah, it’s right near me.
Jad: – the bar or restaurant. But
they meet there like once a month or something. I’ve never really been that
interested in going but if you wanted to go I would go with you.
Kevin: Oh, sure.
Jad: If for nothing else, they’re all
you know wonky city politics analysts, and they also run a lot of people so it would be
interesting to see what they’re planning on doing when the 10/1 comes in. I
don’t know anything about them at all except that and I know a couple of people that do
it – by reputation, a couple of them are acquaintances, but –
Kevin: It looks like I do get emails from them, so there’s
Jad: Yeah. I’d say they
probably ran up your alley [?].
Kevin: Yeah, it looks like it.
Jad: Again, I’m not sure if you were
to make a – and the thing is I keep forgetting you’re – because I
think it would be a good way to sort of keep with your transparency policy, the reason
you would potentially want to [?] them would be if you were gonna take a more
non-libertarian sort of – the city council is not party based, I [?] it’s
Kevin: No, they’re not.
Jad: – but if you ran as a libertarian, you
would definitely be not as a libertarian. If it was known that you were a
libertarian and you ran, it would probably be a little bit more uphill than if you were
sort of a mainline party one way or the other, but since that’s not the kinda
games you play, then the Texans for Accountable Government might not be you know too
much of a black mark on your running record.
Kevin: No, I’d be interested in it for sure in fact, I just
went through some email here and it looks like when Laura Presley ran last year, she I
guess was endorsed by the Texans for Accountable Government and was big into that and
Laura Presley – I don’t know if you remember her – but she ran against
Jad: Mike Martinez?
Kevin: Yeah, Mike Martinez. So it was really interesting
because he was challenging the Mexican spot –
Kevin: or the Hispanic spot I should say – and she
didn’t get crushed. She lost, but for a libertarian running in Austin, I
was really shocked.
Jad: Yeah. Well and I think
that’s kind of you know, that has got to be the largest growing political party
and well probably nationwide I guess, but whatever it may be, the anti-party, the
anti-authority party, because I think they had county guy ran for the Travis county
sheriff’s department on the platform of like, “I’m not gonna arrest
anyone for marijuana”, you know, but he was straight like libertarian
platform. “I’m not gonna send out constables for revenue raising
purposes, it’s only gonna be protecting property and investigating crimes”,
and I think he also did like 30%, 40%, you know? Again, for such a crazy position
– sane, but crazy – he did pretty well.
Kevin: Yeah. Yeah.
Jad: It would be kinda interesting to see
what they’re doing for this 10/1 thing anyway and it might be time to saddle up
and ride as they say.
Kevin: I’m interested, I really am. You know,
they’re doing the whole – I forget what the group is called – but
right now, they’ve put together another one of their commissions to try to draw
up where the lines are gonna be, and that’ll be interesting in itself, you
know? I mean, if you wanna talk about the whole notion of gerrymandering and
stuff like that, I mean you can bet your ass that the people who are gonna be involved
in this provided that – let’s just say the people who are on the commission
are the more traditional kinda 78704 people that I’m always talking about, I mean
if those are the people that are on it, you can be sure that they’re gonna be
knowledgeable of this and I could tell you how they would district it because
they’re gonna make sure that their group gets that any little bit of Westlake
starts including a bunch of the middle ground too so that you can balance yourself
Kevin: So I would think they’re gonna try to put as many
groups as they can in the core center and then have some of the larger districts on the
outsides, I don’t really know but I mean, it’s gonna play a huge role in
it. And then the question will be like for example, you’ll have single
member districts so do you have to live or do you have to follow some of the city
guidelines to actually run in that particular district, or could you still live
anywhere in the city and run in a particular district? Like could I run in the
Westlake district you know, those are the sorts of questions that are really gonna come
out and right now you know, I’ve got that property I own and then this house that
I just bought, so I probably will cross into at least one district there.
Even so, I could probably still run in two different districts, but anyway, those
are the sorts of questions that are gonna become very significant and it changes a lot
for a lot of people because hell, I’d quite frankly be interested in trying to
run in an area that is a little bit more Westlake-ey. I think I’d have a
much better shot to say, “look, I’m not republican, but so I fit into the
core of the city a lot better but at the same time, I have no interest in wasting your
money”, just as simple as that. Everybody should love gay people, you can
have your guns, let’s be environmentally friendly, and not spend people’s
money – pretty simple platform.
Jad: Well like you said, unfortunately
that’s the people that like you know, bonds for downtown libraries, and downtown
courthouses, and revitalizing Barton Springs, and all that kinda stuff.
Kevin: They’re not gonna like those bonds. Like the
Jad: Oh, is Westlake too far away for
Kevin: I would tend to think they would be strongly opposed to
those sorts of things I mean, I don’t know.
Jad: You know better than me.
Kevin: I mean I don’t really know, but I would assume from
the people that I talk to you know, if you just kinda talk to people around our office
about the library downtown I mean, most everybody pretty much says the same thing where
they’re just like, “yeah, we’re spending fucking $600 million dollars
to build a goddammed library in the year 2013 downtown, no less”, so –
Jad: I guess that makes it so that you
think the 78704 are people that are east of Westlake, so like closer to the downtown so
that they are benefiting from that kinda thing.
Kevin: Yeah, I don’t even know if it’s that
they’re benefiting from it, I think there’s just a perception that
they’re benefiting from it. These are the people I think who predominately
wanna see – they just wanna spend the money, it’s just cool you know, like
“oh, that’s gonna be a badass library.” It is gonna be a badass
library I mean, I’ve seen it, it looked awesome, there’s no doubt about
it. The question is you know, it’s just a matter of there’s only so
much badass money that can be spent so if we’re going to spend it on – is a
library really the best thing to be spending that on in a time when these exact same
people are probably arguing in favor of light rail and expanding light rail lines, I
would say right off the bat I’d be like, “I’d be much more interested
in exploring alternative transportation mechanisms than putting money into a fucking
library”, you know? I like books, I like libraries, their cool.
I like new architectural projects, it doesn’t mean it’s a good use of
taxpayer money. No private company is gonna come in and build a goddamn library
this day and age, it’s just not gonna happen.
Jad: Well that’s the thing too is
that I think actually – and this is a different subject altogether – but I
think actually they would if cities didn’t do that.
Kevin: If they didn’t perhaps, sure.
Jad: You know, if you had the whatever his
name is, David Booth Memorial Library, I’m sure that would happen. It would
cost like what, a tenth of a percent of his wealth to create a you know, gigantic
library named after himself, I’m sure that would [?].
Kevin: Yeah, fair enough.
Jad: So yeah, that kinda thing gets done
when people are allowed to do those kinds of things and when you know, the city
isn’t in the business of filling that niche.
Kevin: Yeah, I mean you’re probably right there. I
didn’t really think about it from that side, so –
Jad: But you don’t really wanna go
– I mean that’s making an argument for the [?], you know?
Kevin: Well, –
Jad: Back when the Carnegie’s were in
charge, shit got done.
Kevin: Well, we can always –
Jad: It did though.
Kevin: Yeah it did, for sure it did.
Jad: And that’s where we leave it for
this episode. Thanks to Lee Caffey and Chris Baton[Sp?] for providing us with
quality sound engineering and editing – we wouldn’t get far without
them. Hosting services are provided by City Core, LLC. Our graphical
caricature was provided by our friend, Sayeed Mod Badril Hisham[Sp?] in Malaysia, and
transcription services are provided by Deidra Alexander of Galaxy Creative
If you have any questions, comments, ideas for a show, or just wanna say hello, we
love receiving email. You can find Jad at www.Jad-Davis.com, and you can find Kevin at www.KevinLudlow.com. Thanks again for tuning
in, and we’ll be back with another episode soon.