Op-ed: Melissa Zone – Endorsed by Neighborhoods

Editor’s note. AustinDistrict7.org’s editorial board, consisting of neighborhood leaders from throughout the new District 7, met at the start of October to discuss a candidate endorsement, but decided not to endorse. Instead, the site has offered each candidate the opportunity to submit an endorsement by local supporters. Here is one from Austin District 7 Board Member Kernan Hornburg, explaining why he supports Melissa Zone for the District 7 City Council position.

By Kernan Hornburg, Austin District 7 Editorial Board Member

I’m strongly backing Melissa Zone as the only Democratic candidate that will support neighborhoods’ interests over developers because she owes nothing to the political power brokers and developers’ lobbyists. She didn’t seek money from developers and the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA), but Paver, Boyt & Pool did. In fact, Melissa Zone is the only major candidate who did not accept developer money and will not be beholden to them when elected to Council.

This year, together with many other neighborhood leaders from here in District 7, I served on the editorial board of AustinDistrict7.org. We considered a possible endorsement, but ultimately decided not to endorse, however one thing was clear; we want a candidate that’s responsive to the neighborhoods’ and not developer interests.

After personally meeting all the candidates (besides Wittle & Ingraham), just the two of us face to face, it’s clear that we have some great folks running and I like them all personally, but not all are ready to serve.

It’s important to note that in Austin local politics there are long time paid power player consultants working hard behind the scenes. 10-1 was meant to change that. However, if you follow the money you will see that the players are very much still working for certain candidates behind the scenes.

If I can see it from here, I hope you can see it from where you sit now. I’m not a paid consultant. I’m a born and raised Austinite who’s trying to make it clear that you can either vote for the same establishment candidates that have served other’s interests since the late 80’s or vote for the candidate that will be there for you, that candidate is Melissa Zone.

Melissa has 20 years of professional experience in urban planning, public policy, land use, and transportation. Melissa works for Travis County in transportation and water resource planning. Melissa believes that we must rethink how we deal with growth. A council member who actually understands land development codes and regulations will be a great asset. Her expertise here will enable her to ensure that the CodeNEXT rewrite continues to protect the vision set forth in our neighborhood plans. Melissa believes that growth needs to pay for growth. She knows that giving unnecessary incentives to developers raises property taxes for all of us. We need people on city council who will speak for us.

Oh, and I’m not alone;

“Austin Neighborhoods Council (ANC) is proud to endorse Melissa Zone. I am supporting Melissa because she is the most neighborhood-friendly candidate in District 7. She is the only candidate in District 7 who will hit the ground ‘running’ and she will serve the needs of District 7 well. I have no doubt about her qualifications and her breadth of knowledge regarding all of the aspects of what it takes to be a Council Member. Melissa is not a political “insider”- how refreshing! She is a gutsy person who takes the preservation of neighborhood values very seriously with experience. We need this type of person on the City Council.”” – Mary Ingle, ANC President

We were trying to investigate how impervious coverage would affect our property with the new watershed rules. We tried numerous attempts at the city to find answers to no avail. Melissa helped us navigate City Hall and thanks to her help we were able to finally get the answers we needed.”

 – Sandy Schiller, Riethmeyer’s Auto Repair

Melissa’s been a key leader helping the Crestview Neighborhood Association in an ongoing effort to get parkland for our neighborhood. Melissa works relentlessly to fight for the little guys that oftentimes don’t have a voice.” 

– Kat Correa, Crestview representative and long-time neighborhood activist

I support Melissa Zone because she understands that the city exists to serve citizens and not developers, and that policy decisions need to reflect the values and needs of actual residents, not multinational corporations or chain stores. Several of the contenders for District 7’s seat are experienced and competent, and others have solid empathy for average citizens, but I have found that Melissa Zone is the rare candidate that combines both those virtues, so I don’t have to choose. I want a councilmember who believes that public policy can help us shape a city and future that we want, not just the future that generates growth for its own sake. I want a councilmember that understands that supporting local businesses and local retail is far more valuable than handouts to international corporations who neither understand, value nor support our city. If you listen closely to many of the other candidates, their “solutions” revolve around “build more” without apparently realizing that “build more” is the very source of many of our problems, creating bland sprawl and congested roads. “Build Smart” is a better philosophy than “Build More” and Melissa Zone is the one candidate that seems to know the difference.” – Javier Bonafont, Founder and former President of Walnut Crossing Neighborhood Association

Melissa was instrumental in assisting our efforts to stop approval of a cut-through from a high-traffic road through our quiet neighborhood. Melissa helped our coalition of several homeowners associations focus on pragmatic solutions, enlightening us on the workings of local government and making sure we were doing the right things. Melissa’s expertise and encouragement were very much appreciated by everyone involved and helped galvanize our efforts to drive a workable solution to growth in our neighborhood.”



Jack Newton, neighbor in northwest Austin

Transportation messes are about to consume us, and it’s because we haven’t done enough planning for exploding growth. Melissa’s been a professional urban planner for 20 years. We need her expertise on City Council.“
 – Rollie Sidla, Harris Ridge HOA Treasurer and long-time neighborhood activist

Melissa Zone, who lives in Crestview, is the candidate who’s first concern is for us – the citizens and residents of District 7. She’s extremely knowledgeable on the process it takes to get things done through the city bureaucracy and is a strong voice for neighborhoods. Melissa is a planner and has been working on issues such as traffic, water, density, etc.; She knows the monetary value of issues and whether they are a long range benefit or not.Donna Beth McCormick, Allandale Resident since 1962 and two time President of Allandale Neighborhood Association.

Melissa Zone is Endorsed By:

Austin Neighborhoods Council, Austin Police Association PAC, Better Austin Today PAC, Central Texas Building and Construction Trades Council, IBEW Local Union 520, Stonewall Democrats of Austin & Workers Defense Action Fund.

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