Category Archives: Democracy Reform

Engagement Rearrangement

A set of proposals to improve the City of Austin’s community engagement routines.

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Quantity & Quality

Improving Austin government’s public engagement process requires procedures and tools that separate the two major goals of citizen input: uncovering insightful information and assessing political support.  As long as engagement routines mix both goals together, sub-optimal engagement is likely.

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Preliminary thoughts on the preliminary map

Here’s the preliminary map that might rule us all (in Austin): Below are some preliminary thoughts on the implications of the map.

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The troubled IRC’s real lesson

Austin’s City Auditor sent out a blunt press release sounding the alarm that the Independent Redistricting Commission’s (IRC) applicant pool is just way too white given Austin’s demographics.  An additional subtext is that very few people have applied.  Perhaps these … Continue reading

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Towards Ending Austin’s ‘Meetingopoly’

[Originally posted at Burnt Orange Report on 1/21/13] This past November Austinites replenished our municipal democratic practices by shifting towards geographic districts and moving elections from May to November.  However, much work remains to be done to ensure that city … Continue reading

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The Austin Cut is not the deepest

This story by Brandon Roberts in the Austin Cut examines the policy substance tied up in the competing city council election designs at a much higher granularity than previous media coverage. It was a good effort and the author clearly … Continue reading

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A meme is worth a thousand words

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Three choices not two

The City Council voted today to place an 8 single-member district and 2 at-large option on the November ballot.  This is in addition to the 10 single-member/’Independent’ re-districting commission/various other implementationalia plan that Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR) petitioned onto … Continue reading

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The advantages of a hybrid city council

Some weeks ago I was approached by some of the members of the 2012 Charter Revision Committee who read some of my previous posts on single-member and at-large districts.  They asked me to write a more comprehensive document detailing the … Continue reading

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Austin has seven Mayors, actually

From the Austin City Code:  The councilmember elected to and occupying the place designated “mayor” shall be the mayor of the City of Austin. At its first meeting following each regular election of councilmembers, the council shall, by election, designate … Continue reading

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