Dear Editor, As part of its opposition to single-member districts in Austin and to the independent redistricting commission that was charged with drawing them, The Austin Chronicle twice suggested that the entire concept was designed by Rube Goldberg. As I said at the recent dinner honoring the members of the independent commission, "With apologies to Mr. Goldberg and the Chronicle, this change to single-member districts, and the process that achieved this change, was not the success of one person or organization, but the result of the efforts of many Austinites in an extraordinary demonstration of democracy." Since the process has proven a grand success, please let The Austin Chronicle give credit to the many – including Austinites for Geographic Representation, the city auditor, the CPAs on the applicant review panel, the members of the independent commission, and the Austinites – who trusted the process despite the Chronicle's sarcasm.
[News Editor Michael King responds: Professor Bickerstaff's repetitive insistence that we applaud his personal conception of single-member districts comes at the expense of the historical record: The Chronicle endorsed single-member districts each and every time it was on the ballot, including this one. His declaration that the process "has proven a grand success" is also quite premature; we don't yet know the outcome of the real test and what sort of City Council and government this process will deliver, although we certainly hope for the best. Finally, Bickerstaff's conception of "democracy" is that a couple of unelected lawyers (including His Self-Appointed Self) and their political allies should rewrite the city charter to their personal satisfaction and then present the result to the voters as a fait accompli. He's right on one thing: We owe an apology to Rube Goldberg.]