In Zimmerman's Defense

RECEIVED Tue., Aug. 30, 2016

Dear Editor,
    Michael King sure dislikes Don Zimmerman; however, he is throwing the baby out with the bathwater [“Point Austin: Zimmerman's Hypocrisies,” News, Aug. 26]. A part of Council Member Zimmerman's anger at the city's attorneys regarding the mobility bond was that he, along with other council members, had worked long hours to get a "truth-in-lending" provision on the ballot. That provision would have told a homeowner how much the tax impact would be for a $300,000 home, with the homeowner left to calculate the exact number using some math.
    When staff started arguing the legality of this provision, it felt like "lobbying" since it is not illegal to put that information on the ballot. It might have required some assumptions, but it was not illegal.
    On the first and second readings, such a tax impact statement was to appear on the ballot, and this passed 11-0. When the third reading occurred, the language had been removed and the count went to 7-1 with 3 abstentions showing the importance of disclosure of the cost.
    Just because Council Member Zimmerman speaks his mind is not a reason to state that his anger at staff is without merit. He is one of the few fiscal conservatives in this city, and his stand on this Item (as well as the courthouse) is welcome to those of us who have no advocate in opposing these bonds, due to a failure to disclose the real cost to the borrowers.
John Goldstone
   [Editor's note: Only Council Member Zimmerman (who voted nay) and one of the abstainers (CM Ellen Troxclair) cited the ballot language as a reason for their votes.]
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