The Clawback LIVE! Episode 14

logo-tr.pngEpisode 14!

The Clawback LIVE! is back for 2020 and I cover marijuana, Project Connect, public meetings, and did you hear about the Zilker Train?


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Episode Transcript

Hello Austin Hello District Six. We are back, the Clawback is back. It is 2020. we've been away from the video series for a couple of weeks now, in part because of the holidays and part because I got sick but we are back I'm feeling better and there's a couple of things to talk about today, but I hope everybody had a really good holiday season. I certainly had a great holiday got to spend some time with friends. Got to get out of town for a little bit ready to get to work in 2020. And I hope you all had a great holiday too. let's jump into some topics this week.


So at the Council meeting last week, we approved a resolution that directed APD to no longer do citations or arrests for low levels of marijuana possession, and this stems from a state law change that created a very challenging situation for prosecution and district attorneys and Travis and Williamson County. In addition to other counties across the state of Texas have all decided no longer to prosecute these low-level amounts and so the city of Round Rock already made this decision in terms of enforcement and we made that decision as well. but I don't want anyone to think that this means that marijuana is decriminalized or that there's some kind of free for all happening. In fact, we are still having an active conversation, I'll say, with police Chief Manley about his beliefs around enforcement around low levels amount of marijuana possession so still be careful and of course anything the city Council does doesn't change how a sheriff will act or how a state trooper will act but we are taking the steps that we can take at the city to to be thoughtful and frankly to be better stewards of taxpayer money. It doesn't make a lot of sense to spend time either through APD or through the municipal court running folks through a citation or or even worse an arrest. If we already know the DA's are not gonna prosecute Low-level amount. So hopefully we will get all of that resolved in short order.

Project Connect

Bigger news this January for Project Connect you know it's been a long long series of meetings and many years of work to rethink how we're going to see the future of transportation in our community. we did a joint work session with the Cap Metro Board and the City Council. I think it was about two weeks ago and got all the data back got the analysis back and it shows definitively that we need a train. We need light rail in this town and Furthermore that light rail needs to go underground when it's downtown and there's a lot of reasons for that. but I wanna talk specifically about why that's important for district six. you know you might think well, what is a train that goes underground downtown gonna do for me in my district six commute. Well, the reality is these decisions that we make have long term impacts on our ability to address traffic in this community. If we under build this core system, we will never be able to serve district six and we're seeing that happen in Dallas. The DART system right now, which I believe is one of the largest light rail systems in the country. The Dallas system did not go underground downtown when they originally started building it and they're now retrofitting that decision now because if you don't. Go underground If you keep your trains at the same grade as all the cars and pedestrians and the bikes you actually can't fit enough trains on it. And if you can't put enough trains on your system, you'll never serve district six by the time the train gets from district seven into district nine. The train is full, so you have to have enough capacity in your system in order to serve the areas that are farther out and that's what I'm looking to. I'm looking to make sure that district six is gonna get service and in fact in the project connect map you see the Parmer Lane line, which is a new high capacity bus line that's in that map but a lot of folks will have access to an orange line that would go Tech Ridge on all the way down to slaughter in the in the big plan and a line to the airport and I know a lot of you out there are excited about taking a train to the airport. I know I'm excited about being able to take a train to the airport a lot of good work still yet to come. We're gonna run the numbers. We're gonna understand what the election will look like at the end of the year. What the tax impacts are going to be, but but more importantly, the thing to remember at this point as we get all the numbers vetted and we bring in outside transit agencies to vet the assumptions. the things that I'm looking for are is the system sustainable are we creating a system that will still be operating 20 and 30 years from now and won't be maxed out at capacity or underfund the maintenance, which then causes other issues and we see that in some some older transit systems in this country and what is the governance around it. are we creating a transparent and open system that creates the right incentives for behavior between the city and Cap Metro and our partners and hopefully a system that will allow our neighbors to the North and our neighbors to the Southeast and West to join in to that system. moving forward. A lot of great work happening on project connect lot more details yet to come.


NWAC, we had our that's our Northwest Austin Coalition. That's the meetings I've been holding since 20 - 13. I think it's been since 2013. since before I was a Council member basically serving as my monthly town Hall. we had a great NWAC this month, it's the 4th Monday at the Spicewood Springs Library and we went through all of the work that we did over this last year and talked about what we wanna be doing moving into 2020. Some great conversations on homelessness. Some great conversations on land use public safety, lot of stuff on transportation of course, and you can find that entire town Hall on video broadcasted live on the Northwest Austin Coalition Facebook page, and we started broadcasting those live last year and so now even if you can't get to the library on a Monday at 630pm. You can access that video and see all of the information that we presented and that's on top of the other public engagement that we are continuing to do. We have a couple of great meetings with the Canyon Creek neighborhood and the Balconies Village Spicewood neighborhood. Talking about the land Development code got to dispel a lot of myths and some of some misinformation and identify some areas where there's still work to be done. we're heading into second reading on Land Development code in February. I'm gonna be bringing some more amendments they'll be some really good work to do as relates to district six. Honestly, the future of this community, you know if we get land development code right than 20 and 30 years from now, we will have a system that can be served with transportation and we'll have a tax base that doesn't require ginormous tax increases year over year. That's we're trying to get to so that's our our top list for this week. I wanna try to not spend too much time today. so it's an actually digestible video and not go the like 25 minutes. I think I went in the last one in December.

Zilker Train

I wanna end the Clawback today talking about a topic you may have heard about the Zilker train now this is this is an example of of why I created the clawback. Now, Originally the clawback was a blog and there's four or five blog posts on my website. with the intention is when there's when something gets misunderstood on social media. It goes viral almost more viral than the truth goes, and I wanted a way to inform the public when that misinformation is going viral, and to claw it back, that's the point we don't wanna let these memes take on a life of their own and and we had that happen a little bit this week with the Zilker train the operator of that train, having a dispute with the city made a Facebook post. the implication being that the train was gonna go away and some members of the media shared that Facebook post with a note saying that more story would come later. but of course, you know how it works on social media, The headline is the thing that goes viral and a lot of very concerned citizens reaching out about the future of this community asset. So rather than get into the details of the Zilker train, which by the way is not going away, there are some maintenance issues. We're gonna be opening up bids for a new operator that train will be there even though it hasn't been operating for almost a year now because of maintenance and erosion issues that will be taken care of, but it's kind of my point. This year 2020 is going to be a year full of misinformation and viral memes and half truths and one -sided stories it is really important that we all take a moment and take a breath. If you see something come across your news feed and it creates an emotion in you. That's the most important moment to pause. Why is it creating that emotion and you... read the story... Look for missing details. Look for things that say, Oh, you know more story to come or you know or or or it was just like one paragraph and it's just a Facebook post. There's always context to the things that are going on, especially in Austin, where we have so many good community leaders and partners that are all trying to do the right thing. This is gonna be a difficult year for that and it's gonna be influenced by National election and state election politics, but my commitment to you all is that I will continue to put out the accurate information and the good information that I have and that if you come across information that seems weird or unusual or mind boggling sent it to me, send it to me. We can review it on the clawback or I can or I can respond to you privately. there are answers and reasons why all the things happening in this community and and doesn't mean that you have to like the reasons but it's rarely some type of ginormous conspiracy sometimes it's incompetence. sometimes it's just a difficult choice, but if we're gonna be a successful democracy, we have to know how to read that information and interpret it and be smart about the decisions that we make as a community. so stay tuned to the clawback as we continue this work we're gonna keep reviewing stuff that's going viral in the community to the extent that we can and of course, it is also campaign season for me so go to my website. You can make your donations there to support our campaign. You can also sign up as a volunteer. Follow us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter Share this video Share the Clawback with your friends and neighbors. I'm gonna jump over to our credits. thank you all again so much for watching the video. we've got a very challenging and exciting year ahead of us and I'm so proud to be your city Council member and I hope to continue to be your city Council member with your vote and your support in the re-election Campaign Thanks.

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