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City has new PAC filings

Thursday, March 31, 2016 by Jo Clifton

There has been a flurry of political action committee filings this month in anticipation of the May 7 election on rules for ride-hailing companies and a possible new attempt to recall City Council Member Ann Kitchen. Mary Ann Neely, who lives in Kitchen’s District 5, is the treasurer for the PAC called “We’re for Ann.” Neely said the committee was formed to “let people know she’s been a good Council person representing her district, in case there’s a recall effort.” She noted that the previous recall effort, which failed because the petition collectors did not notarize each page, was not based on Kitchen’s lack of concern or hard work for her district. “The recall had to do with the way she voted” and her leadership in regulation of transportation network companies, Neely said. The committee working for Kitchen’s recall is the Austin4All PAC. Although it has not yet indicated its plans, some observers believe there will be a new recall effort after the upcoming May 7 election. Another new PAC is called “Austin Unites,” and it opposes Proposition 1 – the ride-hailing regulations proposed by Ridesharing Works for Austin as an alternative to those passed by the city – which will appear on the May 7 ballot. Kristian Caballero, who works for Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea, was designated treasurer on March 17, and Johanna Kraus-Darden became treasurer the following day. Caballero told the Austin Monitor that she first said she would do the job but, after dealing with serious health issues, decided she couldn’t. Caballero explained why she wanted to help Austin Unites: “I believe in the cause – against corporation bullying.” Political consultant Mykle Tomlinson said Austin Unites is a group of young activists who want to make sure their voices are heard in the TNC debate. He said the group would be younger and more diverse than the other committee opposing the Uber- and Lyft-sponsored proposition. That group is called “Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice,” and its treasurer is longtime Democratic activist Joe Pinnelli.

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