By Bill Oakey – April 20, 2016
News Exclusive From AustinAffordability.com
All of us would probably agree on the need for safe, affordable transportation options here in Austin. But the heated debate between the “Pro” and “Con” folks fighting for your support in the upcoming May 7th Proposition One election has gotten a bit ugly. Regardless of which way you happen to be leaning, you have probably heard the shouting about the need for honesty, integrity and fairness. Today, this blog has obtained an exclusive advance copy of a formal ethics complaint soon to be filed against the Pro-Uber, Pro-Prop One campaign. That complaint appears in its entirety below:
Formal Ethics Complaint
Filed in the Umpteenth District of Travis County, Texas
In the Court of Public Opinion
On This Date Henceforth, April 20, 2016
The factual basis for this complaint arises from Against Prop One handing of Ethics Complaint #1 vs. Pro Prop One, and relies in part upon current information as well as ongoing cases of a similar nature.
The case at hand being on the matter of certain transportation network companies seeking to avoid specific regulations imposed by the City of Austin. To wit or without wit, be so however, the requirement of fingerprint-based criminal background checks. As well as other requirements set forth by City Ordinance.
We hereby accuse For Prop One of violating the basic standards of truthfulness, misleading the public, and committing acts of fraud and misrepresentation. The allegations regarding Pro Prop One’s conduct are summarized as follows:
- Numerous, multiple and repeated instances of unprofessional and unethical behavior
- Willful deception
- Unethical appropriation of Against Prop One’s main political action committee, “Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice,” by creating a copycat Facebook page labeled, “Our City, Our Safety, Your Choice.”
- Daring to place a prominent logo on the copycat page that says, “Don’t Believe the Lies.”
- Stating in public commentary that voting for Prop One will “keep transportation network companies in Austin,” and that those companies have “operated without incident” since they started here.
- Repeatedly and falsely claiming that a vote against Prop One will cause great harm and expense to Austin taxpayers.
- Other fraudulent, willful and contrived misrepresentations.
We dutifully wish to thank The Court for your consideration and anticipated cooperation.
The views expressed in the ethics complaint above may or may not represent the views of this blog’s sponsors or its advertisers (of which there are none). Voters are encouraged to study the issues in the May 7th proposition election very carefully. Accepting the accuracy of any verbiage – in audio, print or video format without careful verification is not recommended. Regardless of your own personal viewpoints for or against Prop One, let’s keep in mind that the City of Austin maintained a proud public slogan for several decades, “Austin the Friendly City.” To those who support or condone highly negative and divisive discourse, on either side of a political issue, we would suggest that Austin is simply better than that. We should encourage proposition supporters and opponents to offer up clear and unambiguous facts to the public. And in the spirit of our great democracy, “may the best side win.”
What Will Happen If Uber Leaves Austin?
Thankfully, there is an innovative invention that solves that disturbing dilemma. Even before the results are announced for the national “Smart City Challenge,” Austinites can rejoice as we look forward to our single, united transportation and housing solution. In a rare cooperative effort by the City’s Transportation and Housing Departments, plans have been announced (but not publicly yet) to revive a 1925 invention by the Studebaker Automobile Company.
A modern version of the 1929 model of the Studebaker House Car is envisioned to be ready to roll on Austin streets and toll roads by 2021. City officials are even considering allowing them on free highway lanes as well. In its first year on the market, Studebaker sold 2,225 units. By 1928 an eight-cylinder model was introduced. By sometime in 2021, Austinites will no longer have to fret over sitting in traffic. Or having to pay high rent or high property taxes. The new fleet of house-cars will allow everyone plenty of time to enjoy themselves, no matter which road they are stuck on. We will have total gridlock by 2021 on most of our roads. So, why not just put people in these innovative house-cars, so they can live out their lives blissfully? Even if they are permanently stranded in traffic. While the average price for these vehicle-houses has not been determined yet, it will be a small price to pay for peace and comfort.
Musical accompaniment for this blog posting:
- “Riding In My Car (Car Song)” – Woody Guthrie
- “Cab Driver” – The Mills Brothers, 1968 or Hank Thompson version, 1972
- “Taxi” – Harry Chapin, 1972
- “This Ole House” – Stuart Hamblen, 1954
- “In the Middle of the House” – Vaughn Monroe, 1956
- “Come On-A My House” – Rosemary Clooney, number one song, 1951
I like that you included a music list.
I agree with you on the deceptive, despicable campaign by the right wingers darling billionaire startup corporation uber. It’s Uber uber alles.
I disagree that the so-called smart city challenge will be any panacea and it will probably benefit uber more than it will the public. Adler is not showing much interest in the REAL Smart City, one which is oriented toward the interests of the public, namely investing real money into getting Austinites out of private cars altogether and onto a functional, fast transit system that is affordable for everyone and which is accountable to the public.
A vision of a car-free Austin, at least in the central city, is a goal that all progressives should get behind. Some European cities are already doing this and the trend will only increase. But it requires a first rate transit system, bicycle infrastructure, focus on pedestrians and rollback of parking space requirements for businesses and development of park and ride programs. it requires a commitment by leaders to transform Cap Metro from a bus company to a comprehensive transportation network that connects the city to the distant suburban enclaves and employers that have not yet embraced the need to rethink the underlying assumptions of urban development, design and functionality that is necessary to adapt our sprawling inefficient and wasteful urban areas to more sustainable, less polluting population centers that are connected to the outside world in ways that influence development patterns in ways that require conforming to the city’s transportation and environmental standards and not the other way around which is the status quo today.
Sadly there are as of yet no voices speaking up and out for such a comprehensive transition although many people are picking around the edges. That piecemeal approach won’t accomplish much because it doesn’t deal with the larger systemic issues that caused Austin to grow to the unmanageable and unsustainable mess it is today.
Political leaders won’t lead on comprehensive changes until and unless the progressive community unites under a visionary long term plan to transform the entire metro area starting with the city center and key travel corridors that commuters use to access the employment and entertainment centers. We must commit to reducing and ultimately eliminating private automobiles from downtown. This requires building high capacity transit for commuters on the established corridors, and taking lanes away from private automobiles. Light rail and streetcars require dedicated lanes to be efficient and encourage people to ditch the auto.
Transit is key, a necessary element of the city of the future that many Austinites want to become. That is the real smart city : one that thinks past moving cars around faster. it recognizes that that is a way to entrench the auto culture even deeper and ensure that the future of transit, bicycle travel and pedestrian focused urban design will never be able to go to the next level. The Mayor’s agenda is a shiny object that obscures the way forward and distracts us from coming together around a common vision for the future that we should be planning for.
Great insert about the ‘House Car’, I hope Tesla builds the first one! I am betting it’ll be closer to 2018 where every square inch of roadways will be covered by a vehicle which will bring a smog cloud in our ‘Friendly City’.