Saturday, October 25, 2008

Prop 2: Discuss

Allow me to take a detour into local politics here in Austin. I'll try to keep it short.

While I'm very decided about my presidential pick, I haven't voted yet because I'm very undecided about Austin's Prop 2.

Here's a brief history:

There's a shopping mall called The Domain in Austin. (One of the Austin Meet Ups meets at the The Steeping Room in The Domain.) The Domain gets subsidies from the city.

The people behind Prop 2, Stop Domain Subsidies, say this is a bad deal, and the developers misrepresented themselves. These three videos explain their side better than I can:

There are some very valid points, and I am sufficiently convinced that the Domain subsidies were a bad idea.


The other side, represented by Keep Austin's Word, say that if Austin goes back on this deal, it will open the city up to the lawsuits. (Not to mention the general ethical matter of the city going back on it's word.) They also say that Prop 2 goes beyond on The Domain, and will make sweeping changes that will affect other incentive programs, including an affordable housing development at the old airport.

Also, Prop 2 changes the city charter, and many question whether changing the charter goes too far. (It's sort of like the city equivalent of a constitution, if I understand correctly.)

Here's an add they've been running on local TV stations. (Keep in mind, this is a tv ad, so there isn't time to go as in depth as the mini-documentaries I posted from Stop Domain Subsidies.):

There's some details I haven't been able to straighten out yet. And when I figure these out, I'll know how to vote:

-Would the city really be opening itself up to lawsuits by passing Prop 2?

-How far will Prop 2 go beyond The Domain to affect other incentive programs? (The Austin Chronicle is against Prop 2 for this reason. They think the Domain was a bad deal, but Prop 2 just goes too far to support.)

I'm not willing to take either groups word at face value on these topics. What do you think?

1 comment:

Linda Curtis said...

Hi Sally:

I am working on the pro-Prop 2 side. Thanks for trying to get to the bottom of the issue. Just FYI, there is a post under our "7 Misrepresentations" section at, which contains a lawsuit settlement in 2004, that shows the City cannot be sued because we (Brian Rodgers, the founder of Stop Domain Subsidies), won a settlement that allows the City to walk away without legal penalties. As for mixed use development, we aren't arguing against that -- there are other funding tools the city has in its arsenal. Local retailers just don't want the city to fund retail, as it sets up unfair competition. Hope this helps and thanks again. Linda Curtis for Stop Domain Subsidies