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Kim says farewells on final day at Council

Thursday, June 19, 2008 by Austin Monitor

Council Member Jennifer Kim said good-bye to her colleagues and staff at Thursday’s Council meeting. As the first Asian-American Council Member, Kim has been a strong advocate for minority businesses in the city.


Although she lost her re-election campaign, Kim, 35, remained a favorite of the environmental community throughout her tenure. She was the first Council Member to say ‘no’ to placement of the Water Treatment Plant 4 on the Bull Creek site, a position finally adopted by the whole Council once the site’s extreme sensitivity became clear.


On Thursday, Council Member Brewster McCracken said of Kim, “She’s just a total idea machine. Back in the early part of the decade, when I first got to know Jennifer…before either of us was on the City Council, she would give me phone calls or e-mails saying ‘look at this great idea to change the world.’”


McCracken added, “I’ve also always admired your total fearlessness here in politics. I really appreciate your service and your vision. I think you had a very relevant vision that brings in our public values.”


Former firefighters union chief Mike Martinez: said, “I was very proud to be one of the strongest supporters of your campaign when you ran (in 2005). I think you’ve served the city well. I think you set pretty high marks, especially when it comes to minority business enterprises. There was no stronger advocate over the last three years than you, and I know that we have big shoes to fill.”


Kim said, “What I love about Austin is we can really appreciate how we have people from all different walks of life, from all economic status to be able to live here. I don’t think you can find that in any other city.


“I’ve learned so much, particularly about the environment, and I just want to say that I hope that’s something we continue to value even as we have new people moving into Austin who may not know the history of the city and the battles we had to go through to be able to protect what we love about Austin.


“Affordable housing is something that I’ve been very fond of working on. It’s a very complicated, complex issue that touches people in a very personal way. You see it in whether or not people can afford to continue living in their neighborhood, whether or not families are looking in the ads for the free month’s rent special for the next apartment complex.


“I think that there’s a lot that we can be proud of in Austin, having passed a bond package. I think that’s unprecedented for a city to have done that with the voters’ approval. That’s just the beginning. Really, the limits are your imagination. I’m so glad that now affordable housing is a big part of everyone’s conversations when we talk about zoning, when we talk about land use, when we talk about the future.”

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