Former elected officials take sides for Prop 1 ridesharing issue

Former Austin elected officials are taking sides for the prop-one ride-sharing issue. Tuesday, those who plan to vote against it held a rally on the steps of city hall.

"The question is, Is Austin for sale?" "No!" "Is our citizens’ safety for sale?" "No!" "Do we want $60 billion dollar corporations running our city?" "No!"

Former state senator Gonzalo Barrientos joined former council member Laura Morrison, the Austin Police Association, current council members and other recognizable community leaders to convince citizens to vote against Prop 1.

"This is an election about who will run Austin:  citizens or corporate special interests,” said Morrison.

Morrison said from the steps of city hall that Uber accepts fingerprint background checks in cities like Houston and New York City, but has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars campaigning to prohibit that here.

Finance reports: 

"We should not let these corporations repeal and re-write our public safety rules and make no mistake this is a corporate initiative,” said Morrison.

The initial rules and regulations for ridesharing, which included background checks, were established when Lee Leffingwell was mayor. He's now joined the vote for Prop 1 campaign as the chairman for the political action committee Ridesharing Works for Austin.

Leffingwell says the following in a video on the group’s website, "When I was mayor of Austin in 2014 the council passed an ordinance to govern ridesharing operations. It was an ordinance that was thoroughly vetted by the council and it's been in operation for almost two years now without incident. It's worked very well."

View the entire video here:  

Those against Prop 1 say the contrary. They say in 2015 Austin police received 20 reports of unwanted sexual contact or allegations of sexual assault by Uber and Lyft drivers.

But, Ridesharing Works for Austin deputy outreach director says proposed measures on the ballot including fingerprinting and identifying transportation network company vehicles with a distinctive emblem do not make passengers any safer.

"It actually makes it more dangerous to assume the vehicle is safe just because there is a sticker on it. Anybody can print an emblem. What Uber requests of passengers is look at your app look at the LP number make sure it matches up with the vehicle look at your driver and make sure it matches up,” said Huey Rey Fischer, Ridesharing Works for Austin.

"The council doesn't want them to leave, just follow the rules everyone else follows,” said Morrison.

Early voting starts on April 25th and goes through May 3rd. The election will be held on May 7th.

View the sample ballot here:


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