Parking, Driving, Rocking: Austin City Council Election 2011

Probably more than any other election, your vote as a responsible Austinite for the three city council places up for grabs really does count.  Apparently hardly anyone votes in it, which is a shame, because we all are affected by the decisions these people make, from our taxes, to our zoning, to parking meters issues, etc.

As with every citizen, I find particular issues to be of more importance than others, but I feel it is vital for Austinites to pick the candidates of their choice and get out there this Saturday, May 14th, and vote!  Go here for voting info, including the candidates in each Place, and your particular polling location.

I live in East Austin, walking distance from downtown, and as most twentysomethings in Austin like to do, I enjoy taking in the essence of the Live Music Capital of the World.  I feel the current city council hasn’t done enough to protect the unique identity of Austin, its culture, and its entrepreneurial spirit, the reasons I chose to move here.  I am concerned the new parking meter weekend regulations will affect the downtown scene, and I feel more creative ideas can be kicked around to help deal with traffic congestion other than the expensive, archaic light rail plan currently being talked about.

I am for a single member district in Austin, and, most importantly, I am for city council members responsibly finding a balance with music venues and residents, so we can continue to have a thriving, vibrant music community.  Supporting artists and musicians is a high priority, as well as dealing with noise ordinance issues that could hurt the spirit and hipness of Austin.  I am for proper zoning that helps, not hurts, the bars and venues that make Austin awesome.

Finally, I want city council members to find ways to curtail the trend of the skyrocketing cost of living in the city, which has become frankly ridiculous, and has caused an unprecedented amount of gentrification on the East and South sides, while high-dollar development condo projects continue to be built downtown at unreasonably high rental rates.  I fear if we don’t elect new blood to the city council, Austin will slowly become what I fear the most – just another Texas city like Houston or, even worse, Dallas.

So, without more ado, here are my picks for Saturday’s election.  I encourage you to find your picks, or, even better, just go cast your vote for mine. 🙂

Place 1: Josiah Ingalls

Ingalls is running on a platform of “more transparency” in our local government, which I’m all for, as this has become an issue recently due to some discovered “closed-door meetings” that took place. While I don’t necessarily consider myself a “fiscal conservative,” per se, I do approve of a candidate that takes into account the need to round up spending on projects that the community doesn’t really care about, and Ingalls declares his passion for this more straightforwardly than the other candidates in this Place.

Place 3: Max Nofziger

Always great to see an Austin musician supporting the rights of his fellow artists, and fighting for their voice in this unique city. Cutting the budget is Max’s top priority, and he’s got some creative ideas for making Austin the Electric Vehicle Capital of the World, as well as a frontrunner on solar energy use. He’s got years of experience on getting our local economy and budget under control, and he firmly supports a single member district for better representation for Austinites. And as a bonus, he’s got the most badass moustache in town.

Place 4: Toby Ryan

Far and away my favorite candidate, Toby Ryan has no political background and doesn’t really want one. He’s a DJ at 101X, which is obviously a plus for a radio guy like me, and he wants to represent the people that actually make Austin what it is – the people in the service industries, the artists, and the thriving, but lately neglected, music scene. He has attended zero city council debates for this election, because he feels (rightly so) that it’s unnecessary if you want to work for the people who don’t vote, the other 90% of the city. He’s running on a platform to protect the interests of Austin music, and fighting the ridiculous sound ordinances and zoning issues that have come up recently because of incumbent Laura Morrison. More than any other candidate, Ryan is working to keep Austin’s unique identity, to keep us from becoming a boring hot Texas town, to Save Austin Music, and to bring a little common sense to City Hall.

Read a Q&A with Toby here.

One Response to “Parking, Driving, Rocking: Austin City Council Election 2011”

Leave a Reply