Tag Archives: Austin Prop One

Pants On Fire – Lies, Shame And Sleepless Nights

By Bill Oakey – May 1, 2016

Back in the 1920’s, the famous humorist, Will Rogers stated that “America has the best politicians money can buy.” Here in the 21st century, we can count on that being true. Especially since the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that a corporation is a person, and that contributions to political campaigns should be considered “free speech.” Much closer to home is Austin’s May 7th Prop 1 election. The folks who run the top ridesharing companies have already dumped an obscene and breathtaking $8.1 million into their campaign so far. That amount is OVER 6 TIMES MORE than the previous record for any Austin election in history! Somebody needs to calculate how many drivers could be fingerprinted for $8.1 million and / or how much more the companies could pay their drivers.

As pointed out previously on this blog, the Pro-Prop 1 campaign has flung a whole pack of lies at the voters from the start. (Is there no shame? How do they sleep at night?) The Big Money Machine would have you believe that voting “yes” is not only as good as apple pie and motherhood, but even better. And, in keeping with the Federal court rulings allowing unlimited campaign spending, the same court system has upheld various forms of public lying. When Congress got fed up with shysters wearing fake military medals and claiming to be war heroes, they passed the Stolen Valor Act (2005). But the Supreme Court struck it down in 2012 as a violation of free speech rights. (It’s still not a good idea to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater unless the building really is on fire. But it could very well be legal).

Pants

So, without any legal remedies against bald-faced lying, we are left with one other thing. If you are reading this on Sunday, you may have been in a building where they talked about this. Check out the ninth item:

10 Commandments_M

Vote Against Prop 1 During Early Voting Or Next Saturday, May 7th. Click Here to Donate to “Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice.”

Extended Song List for This Blog Posting, “Pants On Fire – Lies, Shame and Sleepless Nights” (Beware of certain political commercials when you click on these songs)

  1. “Lies,” – The Knickerbockers, 1965
  2. “Liar, Liar” – The Castaways, 1965
  3. “Mama Didn’t Lie” – Jan Bradley, 1962
  4. “It’s the Truth Ruth” – The Big Bopper, 1959
  5. “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” – Somethin’ Smith & The Redheads, 1955
  6. “Lie No Better” – Delbert McClinton, 1997
  7. “Little White Lies” – Annette Hanshaw, 1930
  8. “Your Nose Is Gonna Grow” – Debbie Peters, 1962
  9. “Tossin’ & Turnin”” – Bobby Lewis, 1961
  10. “You’re The Reason” – Gerry & The Pacemakers, 1964
  11. “Another Sleepless Night” – Jimmy Clanton, 1960
  12. “Wake Me, Shake Me” – The Coasters, 1960
  13. “Musta Notta Gotta Lotta” – Joe Ely, 1990
  14. “Don’t Sleep In The Subway” – Petula Clark, 1967
  15. “Ain’t That A Shame” – Fats Domino, 1955
  16. “Shame, Shame, Shame” – Jimmy Reed, 1963
  17. “What A Shame” – The Rolling Stones, 1965
  18. “Shame On You” – Willie Nelson & Asleep At The Wheel, 2009
  19. “Shame On Me” – Bobby Bare, 1963
  20. “Lyin’ Eyes” – The Eagles, 1975
  21. “Little Lies” – Fleetwood Mac, 1987
  22. “Don’t Lie To Me” – The Rolling Stones, 1975
  23. “All Men Are Liars” (??) Nick Lowe, 1990
  24. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” – Elvis Presley, 1960, or Al Jolson version, 1950 (One spoken line is taken from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare. The song was written in 1926, first recorded by Charles Hart, 1927)

(The song, “All Men Are Liars” should be taken with a huge grain of salt. For something closer to the truth, listen to what this woman has to say)!

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Conservative Group Seeks Legislative Path Around Austin Voters on Prop 1

BY Bill Oakey – May 2, 2016

The Prop 1 election battle just took a stunning turn towards the one place where many of us expected it to wind up. Under the big dome on Congress, overlooking downtown. But were we prepared to see it happen so soon?

This past Friday, KXAN News teported that the Texas Public Policy Foundation is already courting State Legislators. Their goal is to get bills written and pre-filed for next January’s Legislative session. If Austin voters turn down Prop One next Saturday, the plan is to overturn their wishes with the Big Hand of State Government.

For the record, this blog is non-partisan, and affordability is a bipartisan issue. It would be helpful in this situation if the folks who support local control of education policy would advocate local control of City Government. There is no contradiction in that reasoning. Our official City Organization Chart clearly lists the Citizens at the very top. The City Council and the City Manager are beneath us. And that’s where the buck should stop when the local voters speak.

You can see and read Friday’s KXAN News report here: http://kxan.com/2016/04/28/city-ridesharing-regulations-could-be-trumped-by-state-law/

If Prop 1 Passes on May 7th, Look Out For What Comes Next!

By Bill Oakey – April 27, 2016

Austin is well-known for its highly educated work force. We have a population that reads more books than in a lot of other cities. For that reason, George Orwell would draw a good crowd at Book People if he could time travel over there in a few weeks. What’s happening now in the Prop One election campaign is like something straight out of Orwell’s classic, “Animal Farm.” My favorite line was the big message that appeared on the side of the barn one day, “All Animals Are Created Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others.”

You could pick any number of taglines from the deceptive Pro-Prop 1 ad campaign, and see the eerie similarities between the messaging laid out in George Orwell’s novels, and the real-life future that he predicted so well. But this time there is one big difference. You have a chance to change the ending of the story. You can get out there and VOTE AGAINST PROP 1 before it’s too late. Early voting is already underway. And in case you were wondering if this would happen…well, sure enough it did! Lyft is now offering free rides to and from the polls. Travis County officials apparently believe that it’s legal. Drivers will receive $10 credits for each ride.

Vote Against Prop 1 and Click Here to Donate to “Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice”

After my last blog piece on this subject, one commenter wondered what this issue has to do with affordability. Well, for one thing, the City estimates that running the election will cost between $500,000 and $800,000. Not only that, I scratch my head every time I read about a less- than-sober Uber rider who wakes up alive the next morning…minus upwards of $150 to $200 against his credit card for a “surge pricing” Uber tab. (Sometime next year, we can all look forward to “surge pricing” on toll roads, starting with the new lanes on North MoPac. The CTRMA calls them “managed toll lanes.” More on that at another time).

So, What Comes Next If the Voters Fall for the Misleading Ads and Vote for Prop 1?

We would have to wait two years for the next eligible time for a petition-initiated election. But just imagine what is probably already being cooked up in some conference rooms around Austin. Who knows which corporations will be first in line for the next referendum ballot. Maybe it will go something like this. The large industrial and other big business electric customers could write a new City policy for the management and control of Austin Energy. In the new policy, these corporations would hand-pick the board of directors for Austin Energy. Then they could set their own electric rates and build the least environmentally friendly power plants.

Your mailboxes, your radios and your TV’s would be filled with positive, cheerful Orwellian messages:

“Vote Yes for clean, affordable and reliable energy in Austin”

“Keep the high tech Job engine roaring in Austin. Vote Yes!”

“I want the lowest electric rates in the State of Texas. That’s why I’m voting yes.”
“I’m voting yes too, Sally. Let’s ask our friends to join us. We all need to vote yes.”
“Yes! Yes!…Ohhh…Yes!

restaurant scene from "When Harry Met Sally"

Meg Ryan in the restaurant scene from “When Harry Met Sally”

Austin’s Prop 1 Ridesharing Debate – Who’s Telling The Truth?

By Bill Oakey – April 25, 2016

With early voting already underway for the May 7th election, some of you might still be asking, “Which way should I vote?” Well, in times past I might have suggested that you keep an eye out for good information in your mailboxes. Or, you might have been able to listen to some passionate statements from former Austin officials, and have confidence that you could believe them. But not this time…not even close!

Let’s Get One Thing Out of the Way First – We Should Vote “No,” As In “Against” Prop 1

We should support the position of our current mayor, Steve Adler, who came out against Prop 1 on Monday. Mr. Adler, who has consistently pushed for compromise in the contentious battle, stated that a vote against Prop 1 would be “” The ordinance offered by Uber and Lyft in Prop One would block the City from mandating fingerprint-based background checks for at least two years. Adler called a vote for Prop One “a false choice.” Then he made this comment,

Watch Out for Your Mailboxes, Your Radios and Your TV’s

The $2 million plus special-interest ad campaign in favor of Prop 1 marks the lowest level of deceit and outright falsehoods in any Austin political campaign that we’ve seen in decades. It is well beneath our dignity and our values as a community. That alone is reason enough to vote against the proposition. To heap a mountain of false claims upon the unsuspecting voters in the manner that has been done in this campaign is simply appalling. The oft-repeated drivel consists of bogus statements like, “If Prop 1 Fails, Taxpayers Pay.” Or, “Vote for Prop 1 – Uber and Lyft Keep Paying. Vote No – Taxpayers Pay.” The truth is that the ordinance adopted by the old City Council specified that administrative fees for Uber and Lyft would be spelled out in a separate ordinance. Then they left office without passing such an ordinance. So, if the ridesharing companies were to continue paying what they are currently paying, that amount would be zero.

What About the Issue of Public Safety?

It is not true, as Prop 1 supporters have claimed, that the ridesharing companies have been operating here “without incident.” Multiple sexual assaults have occurred, which has prompted the victims’ shelter organization, SafePlace, to come out in opposition to Prop 1.

How Can We Find Out What We Are Really Voting On?

Austin American-Statesman transportation writer, Ben Wear, really distinguished himself for informative, balanced, and accurate reporting in an article over the weekend entitled, “Q&A: What Austin Voters Need to Know About the Prop 1 Election.” If you are not a subscriber, it would be well worth your while to seek out this piece and read it carefully. You can also watch the video online to the recent KUT-Radio debate over the issue. Just do a Google search for “KUT Watch our debate.” The number of sparks seen flying back and forth is almost breathtaking.

Both the Statesman and Chronicle Have Endorsed Voting Against Prop 1

Both publications make compelling and convincing arguments. But to save space in this blog piece, I will only repeat 3 brief sentences from the Austin Chronicle, “First, defy the laws. Second, rewrite the laws. Finally, buy the elections.”

What Happens to Good People Who Don’t Tell the Truth? And Is There Anything We Can Do About It?

Besides voting against Prop 1, there is something else we can do. We may wonder how they can look themselves in the mirror. Or how they can sleep at night. But, it isn’t up to us to judge other people, especially some of our political friends who have been swept up in the Pro-Prop 1 campaign. Perhaps we can all join together in a great big circle and offer support to those folks who slipped up on one of the Ten Commandments. And as we join together, we can all sing along to this fine song.

circle

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Do it right now, using this link.

Further musical accompaniment for this blog posting (dancing is permitted):

  1. “Lies” – The Knickerbockers, 1965
  2. “It’s the Truth Ruth” – The Big Bopper, 1959
  3. “Liar, Liar” – The Castaways, 1965
  4. “Your Nose Is Gonna Grow” – Johnny Crawford, 1962
  5. “Mama Didn’t Lie” – Jan Bradley, 1962
  6. “Tossin’ and Turnin'” – Bobby Lewis, #1 song, 1961
  7. “You’re the Reason” – Bobby Edwards, 1961, or British Invasion version by Gerry & the Pacemakers, 1964
  8. “Another Sleepless Night” – Jimmy Clanton, 1960
  9. “I Never Go Around Mirrors” – Merle Haggard, 1976
  10. “Man In the Mirror” – Michael Jackson, at the Grammy Awards (remastered), 1988
  11. “It Isn’t Fair” – Sammy Kaye, featuring Don Cornell, 1950
  12. “Why Don’t You Believe Me?” – Patti Page, 1952

TV clips for your viewing pleasure:

  1. “To Tell the Truth” – Dr. Seuss appearance, 1959
  2. “Truth Or Consequences” – Daytime show debut, introducing Bob Barker, 1956

Records

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Pro-Uber Campaign

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:

  1. Numerous, multiple and repeated instances of unprofessional and unethical behavior
  2. Willful deception
  3. 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.”
  4. Daring to place a prominent logo on the copycat page that says, “Don’t Believe the Lies.”
  5. 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.
  6. Repeatedly and falsely claiming that a vote against Prop One will cause great harm and expense to Austin taxpayers.
  7. 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.

1929 Studebaker House Car

1929 Studebaker House Car

Musical accompaniment for this blog posting:

  1. “Riding In My Car (Car Song)” – Woody Guthrie
  2. “Cab Driver” – The Mills Brothers, 1968 or Hank Thompson version, 1972
  3. “Taxi” – Harry Chapin, 1972
  4. “This Ole House” – Stuart Hamblen, 1954
  5. “In the Middle of the House” – Vaughn Monroe, 1956
  6. “Come On-A My House” – Rosemary Clooney, number one song, 1951