Fifty years ago, Austinites against integrating neighborhoods worked to put up a petition on the ballot to fight housing integration. They called Austin’s Fair Housing Initiative “Forced Housing.” IndyAustin and its allies are fighting the same fight—they want to freeze Austin’s neighborhoods in amber and forbid more homes west of I-35 in Central Austin, thus accelerating the rapid change and displacement happening in the East. In their attempt to block adoption of CodeNEXT, Austin’s new land development code, they hope to maintain our unaffordable, segregated status quo.
By taking money from Big Billboard to fight against a future for Austin, IndyAustin has shown their true nature: opposition to economic integration. AURA continues its call for an Austin for Everyone, and that means planning our city so that as many people as want to live in a neighborhood can afford to.
IndyAustin’s petition isn’t just bad for Austin, though: It’s a fraud. The fraudulent petition is illegal under state law, which doesn’t allow for ballot initiatives on this type of zoning matter. Any lawyer worth his salt would know what the Texas Local Government Code § 211.015 says on the matter, or at least do some research.
AURA looks forward to the rejection of this invalid, illegal, and fraudulent petition by the City Council. If for some reason a ballot initiative gets to voters anyway, we hope Austinites embrace the future, continue to be a welcoming city, and bury this effort in our exclusionary past. Their fraudulent petition misled Austinites and was an intentional distraction from the real issues of sustainable and affordable growth.