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The Roy Faires Collection, no. 50 - Interviews about Austin City Council Lawsuit (1981)

Austin History Center

Sound | 1981

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  •  Interview with a member of the Austin City Council about potential changes to the city charter 
  •  Reporter Pat Comer asks the council member if the proposed system is discriminatory and unconstitutional, the claim of a pending lawsui 
  •  Comer speaks with another council member, questioning his approach to attracting voters in an upcoming bond election 
  •  The councilman discusses the upcoming trial about changes to the council’s election system 
  •  Comer records several takes of his report on the lawsuit for 24 Action News 
  •  Interview with Jonathan Davis, attorney for the Black Citizens Task Force, which was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Austin City Council 
  •  How the single-member district plan discriminates against minorities 
  •  Comer asks about a presumed gentleman’s agreement in the current at-large system 
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This footage features three unedited interviews regarding a lawsuit involving the Austin City Council. The segments later appeared on a 24 Action News broadcast on Austin’s KVUE-TV. In the first two interviews, reporter Pat Comer speaks with members of the Austin City Council. Comer asks the politicians about proposed changes to the council charter, and specifically its plan to switch from at-large appointments of members to the creation of single-member districts. The Black Citizens Task Force filed a lawsuit against the Austin City Council in response to the proposition, claiming the single-member system discriminates against minorities. In a third unedited interview, Comer talks with Jonathan Davis, attorney for the Black Citizens Task Force, to learn about how the at-large and single-member systems affect racial representation on the council. At the time of the interviews, a local judge ruled that a trial must determine whether or not the single-member plan is constitutional.