Austin is the largest city in the United States with a city council elected entirely on an at large basis where all of the voters of the city vote on every council seat and candidates have to run for a specific seat. The seats on the council are not linked to any geographical area so if a highly motivated group can turn out in large numbers they can control the election of every seat on the council.
This system of voting disenfranchises large areas of the city and is particularly effective at excluding minority groups from having a meaningful role in the election. It allows a small area of mostly wealthy, anglo-American neighborhoods to completely control all of the seats in the city council and how the city government operates. The city council has one perspective, one ideology and speaks with one voice. The rest of us who aren’t part of that elite group are effectively disenfranchised.
The solution to this problem is to divide the city up into contiguous districts of equal population and to have each of those districts to elect their own representative on the council. This would not only make the council more diverse, but it would give every citizen and every neighborhood a specific council member to whom they could take their issues and who would have a vested interest in taking care of them. He’d be there council member.
This is the system used in almost every major city in America with Austin being the largest city not to employ single member districts or some similar method of providing for direct representation. In some cases the Department of Justice has intervened on the basis that at-large elections violate the civil rights of minorities who are effectively excluded from having fair representation in government.
Like the our colonial ancestors the people of Austin are at the mercy of an autocratic government over which they have no control. It is literally a return to taxation without representation.