Kylie McGivern at KXAN news contacted Justin Arman, TAG’s ED, to ask for comment about TAG supporting the effort to recall Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen, of District 5.
This aired yesterday on KXAN 6 O’CLOCK news, which you can watch here.
Here’s the extended interview which didn’t make the news.
Why do you support the recall of CM Ann Kitchen?
Texans for Accountable Government supports the recall of CM Ann Kitchen because she’s representing lobbyists rather than her constituents in District 5. Look on Page 41 of Ann Kitchen’s October 2014 Campaign Finance Report, you can see a bundled donation from Lone Star Cab of $4,000. It’s a clear cut case of the taxi lobby greasing the palms of lawmakers to insulate themselves from market competition. Also, if you look at CM Kathie Tovo’s, you’ll find thousands of dollars coming from the taxi lobby, this is completely ridiculous, and it’s undeniable what is going on here. Source: View p. 23 and 24 Kathie Tovo’s Campaign Finance Report 12/8/2014 and p. 90 of Tovo’s Campaign Finance Report from 10/6/2014.
Rideshare companies operate in over 100 cities in the US, and in over 300 cities worldwide without fingerprinting, and according to sexual assault complaints here in Austin, a person is 6 times more likely to be assaulted by a cab driver: 913 cab drivers and 3 complaints; 15,000 drivers and 7 complaints with zero criminal charges. Kitchen’s 12-page ordinance has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with power.
Taxis lost over 1 million rides in the first year after TNCs starting operating in Austin. Instead of innovating and adapting to the desires of the market, they have come to the government to put in place regulations that will drive out TNCs, removing competition.
Some are concerned about the precedent this could set – council members potentially making tough decisions knowing it could result in a petition for their recall. What are your thoughts?
That is exactly why Austinites have the power to recall their representatives. Council members should always be concerned with losing their jobs when they abuse their power. This is an historic recall, and I hope this sends a clear message to the rest of the council, including the Major.
What more do you think needs to be known about Austin4All?
I don’t speak for Austin4All, but I do speak for Texans for Accountable Government. This recall effort is a coalition of many organizations and activists that are tired of corruption and backroom deal making, and that desire to hold politicians accountable. What makes Austin the greatest city in America is our freedom – social and economic – and we need leaders that respect our cultural fabric. As far as I’m concerned, this recall effort is a win regardless of what happens at the ballot box, because thousands of concerned residents in Kitchen’s district have expressed their disapproval, and though Kitchen will try to spin this like a typical attorney, there’s no question she’s been shown the power of grassroots activism, and she knows she’s made a mistake.