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OKAY.

[00:00:06]

ALL RIGHT.

GOOD MORNING.

Y'ALL

[City Auditor Launches Citywide Campaign on Redistricting Process News Conference]

I'M COREY STOKES.

I'M THE CITY AUDITOR HERE IN AUSTIN, AND I'M HERE TODAY TO KICK OFF OUR REDISTRICTING RESPONSIBILITIES FOR 2020.

UM, TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS PROCESS, YOU CAN GO TO REDISTRICT ATX.ORG.

THAT'S OUR WEBSITE, AND THERE'S A LOT OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON THAT SITE.

I'M GOING TO DO A QUICK PRESENTATION AND THEN I'LL TAKE QUESTIONS FROM OUR POOL REPORTER.

SO THE FIRST THING I WANT TO INTRODUCE IS REDISTRICTING.

WHAT IS REDISTRICTING? IT IS A VOTER DESIGN PROCESS, UM, TO REDRAW COUNCIL, DISTRICT BOUNDARIES BASED ON NEW CENSUS DATA.

SO IT SHOULD HAPPEN EVERY 10 YEARS.

UM, THAT DATA RIGHT NOW IS BEING COLLECTED AS YOU KNOW, IN 2020 AND WILL BE AVAILABLE IN EARLY 2021.

FOR THIS PROCESS, THESE BOUNDARIES WILL SHAPE HOW RESIDENTS ARE REPRESENTED, UH, NOW, AND FOR THE, OR BEGINNING IN 2022, UM, THE ELECTION IN NOVEMBER 22 AND GOING FORWARD FOR THE NEXT DECADE.

SO OUR JOB AS THE AUDITOR'S OFFICE, UH, IS TO WIDELY PUBLICIZED A PROCESS FOR APPLICANTS.

AND, UH, THAT INCLUDES TWO BODIES, UH, FROM THE COMMUNITY.

SO TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO BE PART OF THIS EFFORT.

THE FIRST IS A PANEL AND THAT PANEL IS MADE UP OF, UM, CPAS OR CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS, UH, THAT HAVE SOME AUDIT EXPERIENCE.

UH, AND THEN THERE'S ALSO A COMMISSION AND THE COMMISSION IS THE GROUP THAT'S REALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR REDRAWING, UH, THE CITY COUNCIL BOUNDARIES.

SO I'LL TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT HOW THIS PROCESS WORKS, BUT, UM, THERE ARE REQUIREMENTS, VARIOUS REQUIREMENTS FOR BOTH OF THESE, FOR THE PANEL.

AS I MENTIONED, YOU HAVE TO BE A CPA WITH SOMEBODY TO EXPERIENCE FOR THE COMMISSION.

UM, THERE ARE CERTAIN VOTING REQUIREMENTS, UH, RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS, AS WELL AS CONFLICT OF INTEREST REQUIREMENTS, UM, TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PEOPLE SERVING ON THE COMMISSION ARE INDEPENDENT.

SO THERE'S A LOT MORE ABOUT THAT AND THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

AND YOU CAN ALSO APPLY ON OUR WEBSITE, AS I MENTIONED, UM, REDISTRICT ATX.GOV.ORG.

SO, UH, THE PROCESS, THE APPLICANT REVIEW PANEL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR, UH, BASICALLY REVIEWING ANYBODY WHO APPLIES FOR THE COMMISSION AND THEY TRY TO NARROW THAT DOWN TO THE 60 MOST QUALIFIED APPLICANTS ONCE THEY HAVE THE 60 MOST QUALIFIED APPLICANTS, THOSE, UM, FROM THOSE 60, WE RANDOMLY SELECT MY OFFICE, RANDOMLY SELECTS, UM, EIGHT COMMISSIONERS, AND THEN THOSE EIGHT COMMISSIONERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SELECTING THE REMAINING SIX COMMISSIONERS TO MAKE A COMMISSION OF 14.

UM, AND THAT, THAT REALLY HELPS ALLOW FOR A VERY DIVERSE COMMISSION.

SO SOME KEY DATES, I WON'T GO THROUGH ALL OF THESE, BUT SOME KEY DATES RIGHT NOW, THE PROCESS, THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS OPEN.

UH, WE OPEN THAT UP ON JUNE 1ST, LAST WEEK.

UH, AND SO YOU CAN APPLY FOR EITHER THE PANEL OR THE COMMISSION STARTING NOW OR A WEEK AGO, UM, ON SEPTEMBER 1ST, THE PANEL APPLICANT APPLICATIONS CLOSE.

AND SO THAT'S THE DEADLINE IF YOU WANT TO APPLY FOR THE PANEL TO GET IN THERE.

UM, AND THEN FOR THE COMMISSION, THAT DATE IS SEPTEMBER 30TH.

SO REALLY BETWEEN NOW AND SEPTEMBER 30TH, YOU'LL, YOU'LL HEAR A LOT ABOUT THIS.

I HOPE, UH, YOU'LL SEE A LOT ABOUT THIS BECAUSE WE'RE REALLY TRYING TO RECRUIT AS MANY APPLICANTS AS WE CAN, SO WE CAN HAVE A DIVERSE COMMISSION.

SO, UM, ONE, ONE THING TO NOTE THAT'S DIFFERENT.

THE LAST TIME WE DID THIS PROCESS, UH, WASN'T 2012, UH, IT PASSED AND IN 2013, UH, WE, WE DID THE RECRUITMENT, UH, WHEN WE WERE DOING THAT, WE HAD ABOUT 35,000 ELIGIBLE VOTERS, AND NOW WE HAVE OVER 150,000.

UM, THE AUSTIN'S POPULATION HAS INCREASED, BUT I'M SURE, YOU KNOW, IT HAS NOT INCREASED BY QUITE THAT MUCH.

UM, THAT SHIFT IS REALLY BECAUSE THE FIRST TIME WE DID IT, WE WERE DOING THAT, UM, BASED ON MAY LOCAL ELECTIONS AND WHEN THE LOCAL ELECTIONS MOVED TO NOVEMBER, UM, AS ANTICIPATED, WE HAD A LOT MORE PARTICIPATION.

AND SO THERE ARE A LOT MORE ELIGIBLE, UM, PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR THE COMMISSION BASED ON THAT VOTING REQUIREMENT.

SO, UM, BOTH BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE IN POTENTIAL COMMISSION CANDIDATES, AS WELL AS, UM, THE PANDEMIC, WHICH HAS CHANGED OUR PLANNED APPROACH TO OUTREACH.

UM, WE REALLY HAVE DONE, WE'RE DOING MORE EXPANSIVE OUTREACH THAN WE DID LAST TIME.

UM, SO WE DO STILL NEED TO MEET OUR TIMELINES AND THE CHARTER RELATED TO THE COMMISSION, BUT WE'VE SHIFTED OUR FOCUS FROM TO MORE VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT AND ALSO, UM, PHYSICAL OUTREACH THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE IN PERSON MEETINGS.

SO THAT INCLUDES THINGS LIKE BILLBOARD, TV, AND RADIO SPOTS, UH, SOCIAL MEDIA, VIRTUAL MEETINGS, AND MORE.

AND SPEAKING OF THE ANIMAL MORE, THE, UH, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A VIRTUAL TOWN HALL WHERE THE PUBLIC CAN COME, CAN ASK US QUESTIONS VIRTUALLY, UM, ON JUNE 18TH AT 6:00 PM.

AND THAT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE COMMUNITY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROCESS AND ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THEY MIGHT HAVE.

UH, AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE OTHER VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE CAMPAIGN.

SO ARE EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REDISTRICTING.

AND AS I'VE MENTIONED IS ON OUR WEBSITE, REDISTRICT ATX.ORG, UH, AND

[00:05:01]

YOU CAN ALSO APPLY TO BE ON THE COMMISSIONER OF THE PANEL THROUGH THAT WEBSITE.

UH, WE ARE TRANSLATING ALL OF OUR REDISTRICTING MATERIALS, UH, INFORMATION AND APPLICATIONS INTO MULTIPLE LANGUAGES.

RIGHT NOW WE HAVE THOSE TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH, CHINESE, AND VIETNAMESE, UH, BUT WE WILL TRANSLATE INTO OTHER LANGUAGES BY REQUEST.

AND WITH THAT, I'M HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROCESS, AND I HOPE YOU ALL WILL PARTICIPATE IN SHAPING AUSTIN'S FUTURE.

GOOD MORNING, THIS IS RYAN TULO WITH THE AMERICAN STATESMAN.

I'LL BE THE POOL REPORTER ASKING QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF OTHER MEDIA MEMBERS, A GREAT COREY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER ASKS.

COUNCIL MEMBERS MUST LIVE IN THEIR DISTRICTS FOR SIX MONTHS BEFORE THEIR FILING DEADLINE.

WHY DO MEMBERS OF THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION HAVE TO LIVE IN THE CITY FOR FIVE YEARS? YOU KNOW, I THINK, UH, THE WAY THAT THAT WAS DESIGNED THAT WAS DESIGNED BY A GROUP OF CITIZENS BACK WHEN IT WAS, UM, BASICALLY THE REFERENDUM WAS PUT ON THE BALLOT AND PASSED.

AND SO, UM, THOSE, THOSE RESTRICTIONS WERE ALL DESIGNED BY THOSE CITIZENS AT THE TIME.

SO NOT SOMETHING THAT WE NECESSARILY HAVE INFLUENCE OVER, BUT IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THOSE, THAT THOSE REQUIREMENTS WHEN, UH, RECRUITING COMMISSIONERS K U T NEWS ASKS, IS THERE A PARTICULAR INEQUITY IN THE CURRENT MAP THAT YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON ONE WORD WHEN REDRAWING THE DISTRICTS? UM, NOT TO MY KNOWLEDGE.

I THINK THAT THE IDEA IS THAT WE DON'T REALLY HAVE THAT DATA YET WITH THE 2020 CENSUS WE'LL HAVE NEW DATA AND THAT NEW DATA WILL ALLOW US TO FIGURE OUT, UM, OR NOT REALLY US ALLOW THE COMMISSION TO, UM, FIGURE OUT WHAT THE BEST BOUNDARIES ARE FOR THE, THE COUNCIL DISTRICTS TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYBODY IS REPRESENTED ON THE, ON THE COUNCIL GOING FORWARD, KX A N NEWS, ASK A QUESTION THAT YOU MAY HAVE JUST ANSWERED IN YOUR LAST ANSWER THERE.

HOW WILL THE GROWING POPULATION AND CHANGES IN DEMOGRAPHICS PLAY A ROLE IN REDISTRICTING? I THINK THAT, THAT THOSE THINGS ARE KIND OF KEY TO THE WORK THAT THIS COMMISSION WILL, WILL THE, THE WORK THAT IS IN FRONT OF THIS COMMISSION.

SO THE COMMISSION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DRAWING.

THERE ARE SOME, SOME REQUIREMENTS AROUND, UM, FOR EXAMPLE, THEY SHOULD BE EQUIVALENT OR NEAR EQUIVALENT IN POPULATION.

AND SO THEY'LL HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT'S STILL TRUE, UM, IN ANY REDRAWING THAT THEY DO.

UM, AND SO THERE ARE VARIOUS REQUIREMENTS FOR THOSE DISTRICTS THAT I THINK THIS DATA IS REALLY GOING TO BE.

THAT'S GOING TO BE THE CHALLENGE BEFORE THIS COMMISSION IS MAKING SURE THAT EVERYONE HAS A VOICE, UM, OR CAN HAVE A VOICE ON THE AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL.

HMM.

AND THEN I WILL ASK YOU A COUPLE THAT I CAME UP WITH.

IS IT POSSIBLE THAT WE COME OUT OF THIS PROCESS WITH MORE THAN 10 DISTRICTS? I DON'T BELIEVE THAT'S POSSIBLE, UM, BECAUSE THE WAY IT'S SPECIFIC IN THE CHARTER THAT THERE WILL BE 10 OUT LARGE DISTRICTS PLUS THE MAYOR.

OKAY.

UM, COMMUNITY IMPACT HAS ONE MORE QUESTION.

WHEN THE PANEL SELECTS AT 60 QUALIFIED APPLICANTS, DOES IT HAVE A WAY TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE 10 EXISTING DISTRICTS? IT IS.

THAT IS INFORMATION THAT WE COLLECT AND IT'S INFORMATION THAT I BELIEVE THAT THE PANEL WILL CONSIDER AS WELL.

THE COMMISSION, UM, WHEN THEY, UH, WHEN THE COMMISSION IS SELECTING THE REMAINING SIX, UH, MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION.

SO, SO THAT'S DEFINITELY INFORMATION THAT WE'RE COLLECTING AND THAT WE'RE PROVIDING TO THE PANEL.

UH, ANOTHER ONE FOR ME, HOW, IF AT ALL, WOULD THE REDISTRICTING IMPACT ELECTIONS FOR A CITY COUNCIL MEMBER WHO HAS YEARS LEFT ON HIS OR HER TERM, WOULD IT IMPACT AT ALL? UM, OR WOULD THEIR DISTRICT JUST POTENTIALLY CHANGE? SO, UM, MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT IT WOULD, IT WOULD NOT IMPACT THEM CURRENTLY OR BETWEEN BEFORE THE ELECTION IN 2022.

UM, I BELIEVE THEY WOULD, THEY WOULD SERVE OUT THEIR TERM, BUT THAT'S REALLY MORE OF A LEGAL QUESTION AND SOMETHING THAT, THAT WE CAN GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT.

UM, BUT MY, BUT YOU DO HAVE TO LIVE IN THE DISTRICT THAT YOU REPRESENT.

SO AT SOME POINT, IF YOU NO LONGER LIVED IN THE SAME DISTRICT, YOU WOULD BE IMPACTED BY THIS PROCESS.

OKAY.

UH, AND THEN A CLARIFICATION FOR ME, AGAIN, YOU SAID THAT THE 14 MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION INCLUDE CPAS OR NO, THAT THAT'S THE PANEL.

SO THE APPLICANT REVIEW PANEL IS THE GROUP THAT SELECTS THE 60 MOST QUALIFIED COMMISSIONERS.

AND SO THOSE, I MEAN, YOU COULD BE A CPA AND BE ON THE COMMISSION, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE A CPA TO BE ON THE PANEL.

AND THEN THAT PANEL, WHICH HAS CPAS WITH AUDIT AT LEAST FIVE YEARS OF AUDIT EXPERIENCE, I BELIEVE IT IS, THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR NARROWING DOWN, HOWEVER MANY APPLICATIONS WE GET TO SEE WHAT THEY FEEL IS THE 60 MOST QUALIFIED.

AND HOW LARGE WILL THAT CANDLE BE? UH, THREE PEOPLE.

I GOT YOU.

I GOT YOU.

I

[00:10:01]

BELIEVE THAT IS ALL THE QUESTIONS THAT I HAVE IN THE QUEUE.

EXCELLENT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

THANK YOU.

.

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.