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Kim, Shade bicker over meaning of SOS remarks

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 by Austin Monitor

Last week, a group of Austin environmental leaders sent out an email criticizing Place 3 challenger Randi Shade for remarks she made about the passage of the SOS Ordinance and subsequent legislative action. The Jennifer Kim campaign reiterated those remarks in a press release and the Shade campaign has accused Kim’s campaign of “willfully misrepresenting” Shade’s remarks.

 

Signing the Kim campaign letter were Bill Bunch, former Council Member Brigid Shea, Robin Rather, former Mayor Gus Garcia and former State Rep. Ann Kitchen.

 

Their letter says, “We were stunned to hear last week Austin City Council candidate Randi Shade said at a public forum that she thought the City should have compromised with developers instead of passing the SOS ordinance. This statement shows a shocking ignorance of the history of the ordinance and a disregard for the will of the Austin voters.”

 

Shade denied that she has ever said anything like what Kim and her supporters claim she said. Shade was speaking at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Council of Austin.

 

Shade says, “The Jennifer Kim campaign is trying desperately to attack me as being soft on the SOS ordinance, and unfortunately for them that couldn’t be any further from the truth.  I strongly support the SOS ordinance – I always have and I always will.”

After Kim asked her a question, Shade replied, speaking about a conversation she had previously had with Brian Rodgers of Stop Domain Subsidies: “What I told him was how sad it made me to see it result in legislative action. That the will of the citizens … of Austin was basically taken by legislative process. And that there wasn’t a better compromise that made everybody a winner. Because really when you saw the original proposal less land would have been developed than what ultimately did get developed. And I just … You know I think that was what I was talking about, the importance of compromise. It was in the context of the Domain subsidies discussion that we were having.”

 

Shade said she never said, as the Kim campaign alleged in a press release, that “Austin had made a mistake by not compromising with developers instead of passing the SOS ordinance.”

“That’s a complete fabrication,” said Shade. “What I said to Brian Rodgers – which is what I was asked about at the candidate forum by Jennifer Kim – was
that I wished Austin had been able to find a compromise with the state legislature in 1995 when House Bill 1704 was passed.”

House Bill 1704, passed in the 74th Texas Legislative Session in 1995, grandfathered all Austin development rights in place at the time of their original filing, no matter how old the filing, invalidating much of the protection that had been afforded under the city’s SOS ordinance.

“If Austin had been able to find a compromise with legislators in 1995 to prevent that grandfathering legislation from being enacted, or at least limiting its scope, more of Austin’s environmentally-sensitive land might ultimately have been protected,” said Shade. “That’s what Brian and I were talking about, and that’s what I believe.”

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