FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2018
Austin, Texas — AURA released the following statement today about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recently-filed lawsuit against eight individual volunteer members of Austin’s Planning Commission:
AURA is appalled that Fred Lewis and Austin’s anti-housing groups have succeeded in enlisting Attorney General Ken Paxton to target Austin’s all-volunteer Planning Commission. The slap in the face to hundreds of hours of work by dedicated volunteers is intolerable.
Fred Lewis and Austin’s anti-housing groups will work with seemingly anyone to put shelter further out of reach for hardworking Austinites. His Faustian bargain with Tea-Party demagogue Ken Paxton is a new low. It comes on the heels of an anti-CodeNEXT petition campaign spearheaded by these same groups and financed by corporate billboard lobbyists intent on dismantling Austin regulations, aimed at subverting the political representation granted to working-class Austinites by the new 10-1 City Council system.
Austin City Council must stand up to Ken Paxton: it should defend the Planning Commission and the work they’ve done on CodeNEXT. AG Paxton is intent on dismantling local regulations that seek to uphold environmental protections and community health. Paxton’s suit against the Planning Commission is but the latest example among the litany of state-level attempts to erode local control. He has fought to overpower Austin for years, on issues such as paid sick leave, tree ordinances, and plastic bag bans. Austin’s anti-housing groups would make our city vulnerable to Paxton’s right-wing vendetta in order to stymie hundreds of hours of volunteer work to increase affordability and address displacement.
Local organizations fighting new housing and resisting a future for the next generation of Austinites have aligned with an Attorney General who openly despises our city and our shared principles of equality, sustainability, and inclusion. We hope and believe that the Paxton-Lewis alliance will open our city’s eyes to the moral bankruptcy underlying the relentless attempts to deny housing to current and future Austinites.
AURA remains committed to the CodeNEXT process and the hard work completed by our Planning Commission. We will continue to work towards a land development code that is fair and equitable for all Austinites.
AURA is an all-volunteer grassroots urbanist organization focused on building an Austin for everyone by improving land use and transportation through policy analysis, public involvement, and political engagement.
- Josiah Stevenson, 832-466-2785, firstname.lastname@example.org