City of Austin receives recall petition for South Austin Council Member Kitchen

Ann Kitchen Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen speaks Jan. 26 at a South Austin Neighborhood Alliance meeting.[/caption]

An effort to remove Ann Kitchen from the Austin City Council District 5 seat is officially underway.

Local political action committee Austin4All submitted a recall petition to the city of Austin Office of the City Clerk on Feb. 18, the office confirmed Feb. 22.

The city of Austin is in the process of counting the petition’s signatures, city spokesperson Bryce Bencivengo said. A signature count in the 4,800 range—which is about 10 percent of qualified voters in District 5 based on October numbers—must be reached for the city to contact Travis County for up-to-date District 5 qualified voter counts.

“This [minimum number of signatures] is a moving target,” Bencivengo said. “It depends on when we pull the number.”

After the city receives an updated voter count, it will then start the “real validation process,” Bencivengo said.

The way the recall effort has been conducted subverts the 10-1 City Council system, Kitchen said. Citing the $29,500 in cash contributions Austin4All has received according to the paperwork filed Feb. 18, Kitchen said $20,000 of it has come from one individual who lives outside District 5, and smaller contributions have also come from outside District 5.

“You’ve got large amounts of money coming in from outside the district, which is a concern to a district’s ability to elect their own individual,” Kitchen said. “This is not an effort spearheaded by people in the district.”

Some residents in Southwest Austin, including those in the Barton Hills, Cherry Creek, Onion Creek, South Lamar, Southwood,  Zilker neighborhoods, have said they are against the petition and want Kitchen to remain in office.

Members of local group Austin Neighborhoods Council Sector 8, which includes the area from roughly Ben White Blvd. and Manchaca Road to the city limits south and west, met Feb. 21 and voted to approve proclamation in support of Council Member Ann Kitchen, according to resident Wayne Shipley.