The Austin Chronicle

The Austin Neighborhoods That Believe Certain Things and Exclude All Others Council?

The Austin Neighborhoods Council seeks to shut the door

By Nina Hernandez, April 27, 2018, News

Last summer, the Austin Neighborhoods Council's executive committee voted to block the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association from joining the umbrella association, because DANA is a member of Friends of Austin Neighborhoods, a group ANC believes operates against its mission of preserving neighborhoods. According to ANC President Jeff Jack, the situation exposed an issue with the group's bylaws.

Wording of the code governing new additions made it such that new groups would be granted automatic entrance, but that the executive committee could (if it found cause) overturn the acceptance, as happened with DANA. As we go to press Wednesday, ANC is considering a change of that rule to make it clear that the executive committee has jurisdiction over decisions, and could act pre-emptively to avoid any scenario where a group could be admitted and then banned. "If somebody applies and gets rejected and wants to appeal that decision of the executive committee, they certainly have the right to take it to the full membership" if the new rules pass, Jack said.

But not everyone is on board with the proposed change. Windsor Park Neighborhood Association delegate Brian Graham sent an email of dissent over the weekend, saying that the changes are contrary to the group's values, and that he plans to abandon his post immediately after Wednesday's meeting. "There is not now ... and has never been ... a requirement in the Bylaws that an application group must share the same beliefs as some part of the existing membership nor any power granted by the bylaws for anyone to require any set of beliefs by an applicant," he wrote. See next week's issue for the outcome.

This story has been updated to accurately reflect the name of the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, not Downtown Austin Neighborhood Alliance.

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