AUSTIN (KXAN) — A political action committee has formed with a goal of ousting Austin Mayor Steve Adler and five members of the Austin City Council.
The PAC “Our Town Austin” formed yesterday. Sharon Blythe created it and says the PAC’s purpose is to prompt a recall election for Adler plus council members Natasha Harper-Madison, Pio Renteria, Ann Kitchen, Paige Ellis and Kathie Tovo. Those are the members of council who are not up for reelection in 2020.
To recall a council member “Our Town Austin” will have to gather signatures from at least 10% of each of their districts. For Mayor Adler, they will need 10% of registered voters within the entire city.
If the PAC gets the necessary signatures, the council members or Mayor Adler will have five days to resign or the city will hold a recall election.
Blythe has been outspoken about several big issues in Austin, including Austin’s MLS stadium deal and plans to expand the convention center.
Earlier this year, Blythe filed a lawsuit against the city claiming that Austin City Council altered the ballot language of Proposition A. If passed, Prop A would require the city of Austin to get approval from nine of the eleven Austin City Council members as well as a majority of voters for any sale, lease, transfer or permitting of City of Austin owned land for any sports or entertainment facilities.
Blythe’s lawsuit claimed the ballot language was an attempt to confuse voters into voting to approve a deal to fund a possible team and/or stadium by removing any reference to sports stadiums.
Blythe says while that issue is important, the mayor and council’s handling of the city’s homelessness issues pushed things over the edge.
“The city government is not paying attention to the taxpayers of Austin,” Blythe said, adding that she feels the council is making to many decisions behind closed doors.
Adler said he wouldn’t comment on the recall efforts, but he said he didn’t agree with the notion that the public hasn’t been involved in discussions about homelessness.
“I’ve been in many community-wide town halls at this point, and I think we’re moving forward,” Adler said. “I am pleased that both the criminal justice advocates as well as the Downtown Austin Business Alliance basically said the same thing after the council took its action last Thursday, which is it was a step in the right direction, and now we need to pivot away from discussing ordinances and actually start talking about housing.”
Mayor Adler was re-elected in 2018 to a four-year term, which would be the end of his tenure as mayor due to city term limits.
City of Austin spokesman David Green says in at least the past 19 years, there has only been one other recall effort that’s been submitted to the city. That was in 2016, when a PAC created a petition to recall council member Ann Kitchen over rideshare ordinances. Because they didn’t get the petition notarized, it died.