After news that a Political Action Committee had gathered enough signatures to recall an Austin City Council member, neighbors and fellow council members came out Monday to show their support.
“My experience with the Council member is that she is so hard-working and diligent and cares so much about this community,” District 4’s Greg Casar said of Kitchen.
“She listens. She supports. She’s involved. And to say that she is doing anything else would be totally wrong,” said South Austin Neighborhood Alliance President Ken Jacob.
The PAC called “Austin4All” says it’s collected enough signatures to recall Kitchen’s election. Petitioners going door-to-door have brought up Kitchen’s support of stricter regulations for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft as a reason for recalling her.
In an email, an Austin4All representative said that Kitchen "clearly does not represent the majority of Austinites' view that open access to ridesharing improves the quality of life for all Austinites, including riders and drivers, and the overwhelming success of our petition reflects that."
The PAC said via email that the majority of its donors are "Austin residents investing their time and energy to collect signatures," though it didn't elaborate — except to say that neither Uber nor Lyft is involved with Austin4All "at this time." Both companies have denied any involvement with the PAC.
In a press release distributed by Austin4All early Monday, one of the PAC's directors, Rachel Kania, stated that, in the case of Kitchen's proposed Uber and Lyft regulations, the Council member's "effectively putting Austinites out of work" and that the group would "not stand for that."
Though the PAC's two directors have been named — they are Rachel Kania (whose name appears on the petition with the title "treasurer") and Tori Moreland — not much else is known publicly about who else is involved. PACs that receive contributions greater than $500 are required to file a campaign treasurer appointment, which Austin4All has yet to submit. Despite the fact that the committee hasn't filed the paperwork, representatives assert that it's "compliant."
If the roughly 6,000 signatures are verified, the Council member would have five calendar days to resign. If she did not resign within that time, then the recall question would be put to a public vote. But, as of 4:59 Monday afternoon, no recall petition had been delivered to the city clerk's office.