Austin
1:25 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

The Formula One PR Blitz at City Hall

Want to load up on the latest Formula One paraphernalia? Race over to Austin City Hall.

F1 baseball caps, water bottles and bumper stickers were distributed today in a public relations blitz ahead of City Council's vote on the race track project. So many were given out that white caps speckled the capacity audience in City Council Chambers -- a dramatic image for City Council members from their seats on the dais.

By the time the item came up on the agenda, 243 people had signed up to speak in favor of the project, 26 had signed up against and three had signed up neutral.

Some of those who signed up were, technically, on the clock.

"[Our bosses] told us that they want us all to come down and vote and support," said Abel Leon, one person in a large crowd of construction workers employed at the site of the planned F1 track that attended to show support for the project.

"We're getting paid to be here," said Davonna Long, another construction worker.

Long added that attendance from her crew was voluntary. She said she was at City Hall because she believed F1 was good for the City.

"I think it would continue more jobs for the people that need jobs. I have five kids that I take care of and I need this job," Long said. 

Update: City council council postponed the vote until Wednesday, June 29.