Naked City

Curtis Signs Up for Beverly

Among the throng of signature-gatherers aiming to help Council Member Beverly Griffith override term limit rules is campaign-finance activist and former council candidate Linda Curtis. (She ran in 2000 for the open seat claimed by Will Wynn.) "Beverly is a modest alternative voice opposing the folks who run things on the council," says Curtis, "and even a modest alternative is better than none at all."

Meanwhile, Curtis and her new group Independent Texans are suing HEB and Barton Creek Mall over the retailers' refusal to let her gather signatures on their premises for her last effort, the Austin Fair Elections Act public-financing ordinance (see "Austin@Large," p.14). Griffith herself has not taken a position on the Fair Elections Act, says Curtis, who also led the drive to pass Austin's current campaign-finance ordinance in 1998. Austin's term limits were adopted earlier, as a charter amendment in 1994, but next May's election is the first one it will affect. Curtis says that "as long as we have these problems with public access, it's going to be difficult for any incumbent to gather the 18,000 signatures" necessary for Griffith, Jackie Goodman, and Daryl Slusher to run again. (Actually, closer to 20,000 are needed to match the 5% of voters who were registered as of the last election.)

Easier ballot access for grassroots candidates at both the state and local levels has been one of Curtis' several causes over the years. Although this might suggest she'd be opposed to Austin's stiff term-limit provisions, Curtis says, "as these laws go, Austin's is pretty good, since to run again an incumbent really needs to show the support of the community." However, the 5% threshold "may turn out to be too high." If Griffith, Goodman and Slusher fail to clear that hurdle, many Austinites might find themselves in agreement.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Beverly Griffith, Linda Curtis., Will Wynn, Independent Texans, Austin Fair Elections Act, Jackie Goodman, Daryl Slusher

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