'Austin 4 All' PAC explains Ann Kitchen recall petition

Tori Moreland and Rachel Kania are the faces behind the political action committee "Austin 4 All."

Moreland says it's an idea they've been kicking around for a couple of years -- especially since 10-1 went into effect.

"It was so hard to disseminate information from what was happening at City Hall to what Austinites were thinking and feeling and talking about," Moreland said.

Moreland says it was time for Austinites to have a voice.

"It's pretty clear what's happening here.  Austinites are really sick of this special interest, backwards-thinking, elitist type of council members who aren't listening to our wants," Kania said.

In the midst of the ridesharing fight at City Hall, Moreland and Kania decided Ann Kitchen, chair of the Mobility Committee needed to be recalled.

"She's led the fight for these stricter regulations on TNC's and she's accepted thousands of dollars from the cab associations in campaign contributions," Kania said.  "Well and she tried to slip it in all under the guise of public safety and I think Austinites saw right through that," Moreland said.

So with the help of volunteers and paid recruits, they gathered more than 7,000 signatures in support of the recall.
Last week they submitted 5,300 to the city clerk's office.  Those signatures are in the process of being verified by the city.
Austin attorney and election law expert Fred Lewis has filed an ethics complaint against Austin 4 All.

"State law says if you spend more than $500 for any election, recall or petition, you've got to file a campaign treasurer appointment.  And they spent tens of thousands of dollars.  They didn't file a campaign treasurer appointment until after the complaint was filed," Lewis said

"That's completely unfounded.  We've been 100% compliant from the get-go.  We're confident it will be dismissed," Moreland said.

Council member Kitchen has the option to resign if the signatures are validated.  Kitchen says she's not sure yet if the group really got enough verified signatures.

"My concern is it was initiated and funded by people outside of the district and it also appears to have been conducted in a way that was misleading and not straight-forward to the residents of my district...at least as they have reported to me," Kitchen told us by phone Wednesday.

"Every single petition on every single page said in capital letters at the top 'This is the petition for the recall of Council Member Ann Kitchen,'" Moreland said.

Also in Austin Wednesday, a group hoping City Manager Marc Ott's performance review process will be made public instead of those discussions happening behind closed doors.

"The public ought to have an opportunity to understand what this council thinks about his performance, what he thinks in all fairness, what he thinks about his performance.  But it ought to be laid out in a way that everybody in this town can see it," said former Travis County Judge Bill Aleshire.

We received a statement from Ott's office saying: "As an appointee of the city council, I'm open to discussing any review process the council may choose.  I've consistently been a proponent for transparency and open government, and am prepared to assist the mayor and council as they may deem appropriate.  Just as any other employee would expect, I would simply want to ensure that the process is fair, respectful and relevant to my work as City Manager."

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