By Bill Oakey – July 23, 2014
We would all like to find candidates who will hit the ground running as soon as they take office. But the voters in District 4 are lucky enough to have someone who is working hard for affordability even before the election! I’m talking about Laura Pressley, and I’m pleased to offer her the endorsement of this blog.
Here’s What Laura Has to Say About Affordability
“As a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault and one that received support from various organizations to survive, I understand the need for social services in our community. I have lived through not being able to pay for rent, food and only having $16 to my name at Christmas and not being able to buy my daughter any presents. Those were incredibly scary times and we got through them with the help of many generous organizations and friends.”
“Today, a woman coming to Austin, in my same situation, most likely would not be able to make ends meet given the cost of living and affordability issues we have. Many of the overwhelming affordability pressures that exist in Austin are directly due to the policies of our elected representatives at City Hall. The massive corporate subsidies and tax breaks, the misplaced budgetary priorities, up-zoning that enables and drives gentrification, inefficiencies in key city departments, and the “we’re rich” spending culture that various Mayors, City Council Members and City Staff have with regard to parties, banquets, travel, etc. are like a thousand cuts tearing at our affordability. These are some of the important policy changes that are needed at City Hall.”
“We need a course correction at the leadership and policy level of our City Council. We need experience, leadership, and the courage to lead by example and hold the budget writers and departments accountable for waste and policies that drive higher utility rates, higher tax rates and more City debt.”
Here’s a Look at What Laura Has Already Done for Affordability
1. Stopping a $1.5 Million Water Utility Fee Waiver – The City Council was poised to give away $1.5 million in badly needed Water Utility revenue to U.T. for a medical school construction fee waiver. After reading about it on this blog, Laura dug into the issue, contacted the media, and stood her ground in front of the City Council on June 12th. Her success in stopping the fee waiver is nicely documented in this YouTube video.
2. Taking the Lead On Public Outreach Regarding the Urban Rail Bonds – When Laura joined an email discussion of the badly misplaced and hugely expensive urban rail bonds, she did a lot more than just listen and share her thoughts. She organized an urban rail public forum for August 26th, which will feature several speakers focusing on various aspects of the issue. The forum will be moderated by KVUE-TV. More information will be posted on this blog as soon as it is available.
3. Helping to Reform the Public Input Process at City Hall – Like most of us, Laura is frustrated by the fact that big ticket consultant-driven plans like Imagine Austin, CodeNEXT, and Project Connect only pay lip service to public input. There are no guidelines to require that the public suggestions and opinions be summarized, quantified, or incorporated into the new policies that are developed in the plans. On this blog I proposed that the City adopt a Public Engagement Ordinance. (You can read about it here). Laura immediately took the proposal to the Austin Neighborhoods Council Executive Committee, so they could prepare a resolution. Once again, she is hitting the ground running, without waiting until after the election. District 4 voters should follow her lead and run to the polls during early voting this fall and vote for her.
Visit Laura Pressley’s Website And Facebook Page to Learn More
When you go to her website, you will see that affordability is right at the top of her list! You can click here to make a donation to her campaign. And go here to visit her Facebook page. Make sure that you send this blog link to all of your friends and neighbors in District 4.