SRCC GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING (www.srccatx.org)
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 7:00 PM
Zoom Meeting via
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 pm.
CALL TO ORDER/COMMITTEE REPORTS/APPROVAL OF MINUTES
1. 7:00 Meeting procedures, Zoom tools, etiquette, welcome newcomers. Verification of quorum. Reminder: state your name when presenting or seconding a motion. If an acronym is stated during the meeting and you don’t know what it means, please feel free to raise your hand and ask.*
Presenter throughout: Megan Spencer, SRCC VP, unless otherwise noted. (8 min)
2. 7:08 Membership and voting. Pay multiple years in advance and get a discount. Single membership: 1-yr $20; 2-yr $35; 3-yr $50 / Family membership: 1-yr $35; 2-yr $65; 3-yr $95 NOTE: In order to vote or make motions, dues must be paid a month in advance, with the exception that if a former member’s dues have lapsed no more than 2 years, they may renew at the meeting and be eligible to vote. (2 min)
The Chair reminded the group of the membership and voting process
3. 7:10 Treasurer’s Report – see reverse of agenda. All reports available upon request to the Treasurer @ email@example.com
Presenter: Will Andrews, Treasurer (5 min)
The Treasurer gave the treasurer’s report for Jan – March. SRCC had revenue from dues and interest. There were payments made for ANC and the annual subscription for our accounting software.
4. 7:15 Committee Chairs report
1) Planning and Zoning; 2) Historic Preservation; 3) Finance; 4) Mobility; 5) Public Safety; 6) Parks and Environment; 7) Schools; 8) Communications; 9) Executive Committee; 10) Land Development Code Rewrite ad hoc committee; 11) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ad hoc committee (15 min TOTAL)
- Planning and Zoning – active case at 1601 Brackenridge (old Montessori school). An architect bought it and plans to restore it. The owner wants to build an ADU, and needs a variance to reduce the setback. P&Z unanimously supported the variance. They will ask for a GM vote in the May meeting.
- Historic Preservation – there is a house on Leland that has applied for demolition. There has been discussion in the state legislature about people who don’t want to be part of a historic neighborhood, and are proposing legislation to override some of the ordinances regarding historic preservation. There is concern that those bills will be a problem with our NHRD application. If anyone is interested in testifying, please contact the committee chair.
- Finance – the finance committee has met since the last SRCC meeting. See item further down.
- Mobility – Regarding the S Congress Parking Study, the previously announced timetable for feedback has been slowed down; residents can provide feedback on the study until the end of the month. There is also a proposal for a circulator bus route. At the May SRCC General Membership meeting Austin Transportation Department will present about the parking study. Cap Metro is doing outreach starting on Tuesday about the Orange and Blue Lines.
- Public Safety – the number of people participating in neighborhood watch activities has declined. The committee chair will try to solicit additional participants.
- Parks & Environment – at Little Stacy Park the road/path work is underway. South of Woodland in the greenbelt portion of Stacy there are trail improvements being made. There is an upcoming workday at Blunn Preserve on May 1st. Richard Whymark is meeting with Parks & Rec to discuss the riparian zone around the pond at Heritage Oaks, and see if it can be cleaned up.
- Schools – nothing to report
- Communications – nothing to report
- Executive Committee – nothing to report
- LDC Rewrite ad-hoc – one of the major issues right now related to the LDC is action by the state legislature. There is a bill to get rid of some of the protest rights for neighboring properties, especially with respect to large scale rezonings within a municipality.
- DEI ad-hoc – nothing to report.
Representatives: 12) ANC*; 13) SCC*; 14) South Central Waterfront; 15) St. Edward’s; 16) S. Central Affordable CDC (10 min)
- ANC – there was a March 24 meeting, with presentations from Cap Metro and the new council members. There was a vote by the ANC to oppose the Proposition F Charter Amendment, the Strong Mayor proposal; the vote to oppose Proposition F passed on consensus.
- SCC – SCC held a meeting recently which included discussion about opposition to the Strong Mayor Charter Amendment.
- SCWAB – Tom Groce has taken over from Wendy Todd as the SRCC representative to the South Central Waterfront Advisory Board. There is an upcoming meeting about the changes to the board processes, the meeting now set for Wednesday, April 28 on WEBEX. Among other items to be discussed, the SCWAB members will decide on either a new Board composed of the same members plus participation by a member of the to-be-formed tax increment development district, and issues related to future development including public improvement districts.
- St Ed’s – nothing to report
- S. Central Affordable CDC – nothing to report
5. 7:40 Approve minutes from the January, 2021 monthly general meeting (available at www.srccatx.org). Reminder: Schedule for General Membership meetings: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 7:00pm -8:30pm. Location: teleconference during 2021 (eventually will return to Good Shepherd on the Hill). (5 min)
Remaining meeting dates in 2021: EC May 4; GM May 18; EC Jun 1 (tentative); GM Jun 15; EC Aug 3; EC Sept 7 (tentative); GM Sept 21; EC Oct 5 (tentative); GM 19; GM Nov 16; EC Dec 7.
No changes or additions to the minutes were proposed, and the minutes were approved.
6. 7:45 SRCC Financial Report
Presenter: Sam Martin, Chair Finance Committee (5 min)
For the annual report for 2020, there was $3800 income and $5100 expenses. $3000 of the expenses were contributions – $2000 were PTA contributions, and $1000 was a donation to the Central Texas Food Bank. Another $1200 was spent on meeting signs (the signs were produced, but we have not been able to use them during the pandemic). Recent membership income is down, and there is a plan to send more reminders for members who have lapsed.
7. 7:50 Report from the Nominations Committee/Officer and Area Coordinator Elections. The SRCC Nominating Committee has identified an excellent slate of strong candidates for the election.
The slate of candidates is:
President: Cynthia Milne
Vice President: Megan Spencer
Co-Vice President: Kenneth Burnett
Treasurer: Will Andrews
Secretary: Dan Fredine
Membership Secretary: Mary Friedman
Austin Neighborhoods Council (ANC) Representative: Betty Weed
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 1: Claudette Lowe
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 1: Marylin Orton
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 2: Russell Fraser
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 2: Eugene Kubelka
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 3a: Jo Webber
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 3a: Sara Newsom
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 3b: Brooks Kasson
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 3b: Marc Davis
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 4a: Sam Martin
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 4a: Carol Martin
Area Coordinator – Area 4b: Kris Asthalter
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 5: Neal Nuwash
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 5: Elloa Mathews
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 6: Rachel McClure
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 6: Laura Gass Weaver
Area Coordinator – Area 7: Frederick DeWorken
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 8: Kim Lanzillotti
Area Co-Coordinator – Area 8: Vicky Moerbe
Presenter: Dan Fredine, Nominating Committee Chair (20 min)
All officers have volunteered to return for another term, and Cynthia Milne expressed interest in moving to President. Ken Burnett expressed interest in Co-VP. Richard Whymark stepped out of his role as AC for Area 7, and Fred DeWorken volunteered for that role. The Nominating Committee met twice, and interviewed Ken Burnett. The committee unanimously endorsed the slate of officers.
All volunteers were elected for the positions as identified in the list above.
8. 8:10 City of Austin Charter Amendments. See the Charter Amendments here.
Presenters: Gretchen Otto, League of Women Voters; Megan Spencer, SRCC Vice Pres; Andrew Allison, Austinites for Political Reform https://www.austinprogress.org/
Arnold Garcia, Austin for All People https://austinforallpeople.org
Stacy Slayden, Austin for All People firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest: Kathie Tovo, District 9 Council Member https://www.austintexas.gov/department/district-9 (30 min)
Gretchen gave an overview of the 8 different propositions, provided detail about Proposition A, B, and C, and took questions.
Propositions D – H were presented by Austinites for Political Reform. Andrew Allison gave some of the background for Austinites for Political Reform and the basis for these propositions. These propositions came via citizen petitions and were developed by a steering committee and group of meeting participants.
Prop D. [Mayoral Election in Presidential Year] In order to get the biggest electorate for the election of the most important Austin elected official (the mayor), this amendment would move the mayoral election to the same year as the presidential election. The 2022 mayor would serve a 2-year term to get synched with the presidential cycle. Then the term will be on a 4 year cycle. One of the cons discussed is that the presidential election could crowd out discussion about the mayoral race, or result in an increase in non-local interest in the mayoral election.
Prop E. [Ranked Choice] Rather than choosing one candidate for a given position, you can list your top 5 candidates in order of preference (though you could still just vote for one candidate). If someone gets more than 50% of the 1st place (top ranking) vote, they are the winner. If that doesn’t occur, then the candidate with the fewest 1st place votes drops out, and their votes are reallocated. This eliminates the need for a runoff election. One of the cons is that this could be difficult to understand, and that if someone doesn’t select all 5 candidates then their vote may not be counted. Also, there is a concern that this may not be legal under Texas law.
Prop F. [Strong Mayor]. Austin currently has a Council-Manager form of government where all council members have the same power, and they appoint a City Manager to oversee the day to day operations of the City. In the proposed form of government, the mayor would appoint the City Manager and could veto actions by the Council, though the Council could override with a ⅔ majority. In this amendment, the Council would be the “legislative branch”, and the Mayor would be the “executive branch”. Some of the cons are that it would place a lot of the power related to running the city in the hands of the mayor (appointing the City Manager and the ability to veto Council), instead of spread out among the Council which guarantees that many viewpoints have to be considered and a consensus must be reached. Similarly, the Council can currently replace the City Manager with a majority vote, but if a Strong Mayor were running the city, the Mayor could only be replaced by during elections or by recall. There are also concerns that this form of government would be less representative of minority groups.
Prop G. [Adds Council District] If the mayor is no longer part of the Council, then there would be an even number of council members, and could result in a tie vote. While this is a separate item from Prop F, it is related. One con to this is that if Prop F doesn’t pass and Prop G does, then we will have the possibility of a tie vote.
Prop H. [Democracy Dollars] Voters get 2 vouchers of $25 each to contribute to the candidate of their choice. This is intended to solve the issue that a small percentage of Austinites contribute to campaigns, and most of the money comes from just 3 districts. This is intended to level the economic playing field. While the exact figures are in debate, some say that the total cost of the program is less than $850K per year. Onc of the cons is that the actual cost to implement the program is unclear, with some estimates much higher than $850K. There are still some questions about the details of implementing the system.
8:40 Q&A on Charter Amendments (15 min)
Prop B – How has the “point in time” count of people experiencing homlessness changed as a result of the decriminalization of camping? CM Tovo: The number has increased, but it is unclear what the causal factors were.
Prop F – Why weren’t Prop F & Prop G combined? Andrew Allison: As proposed, they were a single item. However, Council has the authority to split a proposal, and did. CM Tovo: It was determined that both proposals could stand alone. There were people who specifically asked about creating a separate seat, and Council decided to split them.
Prop E – how likely is it that the State will allow ranked choice? Andrew Allison: State Law is a little unclear, though it is not specifically mentioned. A lot of the concern seems to be based upon a memo from the Secretary of State 20 years ago which said they felt it was against the law. The amendment is written in such a way to only allow the amendment if it is determined to be legal.
Prop F – Interest in juxtaposition between single member districts and the veto power under the Strong Mayor proposal. The residents within a district elect who will be their voice in council. If the Mayor gets veto power over Council, does that diminish the power of the voters who elected their Council member? Andrew Allison: Voters would now choose the chief executive, which is not currently allowed. The Mayor is losing legislative power by moving off the Council. CM Tovo: this would diminish the power of Council representatives. While the veto is extremely significant, there are other concerns. Sometimes the Mayor and Council have different takes. Right now the City Manager can be removed with a majority vote of Council and Mayor, which allows for immediate accountability instead of waiting on an election. Arnold Garcia: there is a concern about the human nature to accumulate power, and this would allow for a lot of concentrated power in the mayor. A recall election is very difficult to call in Austin, but a vote of Council could be quicker and more effective.
9. 8:55 GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Charlotte Bell indicated that the Travis Heights Art Trail will be held this November 6th and 7th. If anyone is available to host an artist in their driveway or yard (the event will be held outdoors), please contact her at email@example.com.
Wolf Sittler shared that the Phase 2 construction plan for the Norwood House has received PARD approval. The project is shovel ready. It is in limbo while waiting for City Legal to review an amendment by the Norwood Park Foundation to change the requirement that all funds for project completion must be in hand before starting Phase 2. The Norwood Park Foundation believes once work begins, the project profile will rise along with public interest and financial contributions. This means beginning now with already designated funds.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:58pm
- SRCC has restarted the NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH program, and is looking for participants. Anyone interested should contact Tom Groce, SRCC Public Safety Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
- Greater South River City Neighborhood Planning Contact Team members are stewards of our 2005 Neighborhood Plan. To join or for information, visit this page:
http://www.srccatx.org/about/greater-south-river-city-neighborhood-plan/ Contact Terry Franz if interested: email@example.com
- Do you have questions about using the SRCC ListServ? This link is the front door to everything you need to know: https://groups.io/g/SouthRiverAustin
- The next SRCC Executive meeting is Tuesday, May 4, 2021. The next General Membership meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,May 18, 2021.
*Frequently used acronyms: ACF: Austin Community Fund; ANC: Austin Neighborhood Council (https://www.atxanc.org/); SF: Single Family zoning category; FLUM: Future Land Use Map; GSRC NPCT: Greater South River City Neighborhood Planning Contact Team; NCCD: Neighborhood Conservation Combining District; PUD: Planned Unit Development; SCC: South Central Coalition of NAs
Agenda Prepared by Megan Spencer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Agenda subject to change. Please check www.srccatx.org for most updated version.