City Council Elections: Election Day, Saturday, May 14th

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City Council Elections: Election Day, Saturday, May 14th

Postby Miggy » May 13th, 2011, 9:43 pm

City of Austin Election Day is Saturday May 14th.

Polls are open 7am-7pm. It takes just a few minutes max and all it requires is your driver's license.

Unlike early voting, you have to go to your designated local precinct, which you can find out here:
http://www.traviscountytax.org/showVoterNameSearch.do

As of right now only 3.5% of registered voters or 18,000 people have voted for a city of ~800,000 people that leads a region with twice that amount. It's expected to get up to 5-8% which is still abysmal.

I'm voting for:
Chris Riley http://www.chrisforaustin.com/
and
Randi Shade http://www.randishade.com/

If you do, too: great. If not, please still vote. With turnouts like these, seriously, your vote matters more than ever. These are the folks who are making the decisions that will impact the future of this City.

Thanks for listening,
Mike
Last edited by Miggy on May 13th, 2011, 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Miggy » May 13th, 2011, 10:18 pm

and here's a quick little video discussion of the election with Chronicle reporter, Wells Dunbar:

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/dpp/good_day/City-Elections-Set-for-May-14-20110509-ktbcgd#axzz1MID7f4rE
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Postby Terry » May 14th, 2011, 1:59 am

Absolutely. Local turnout had been atrocious.

If you need more info., austinist.com did a Q&A with the candidates. http://austinist.com/tags/citycouncil2011

While I'm also pushing hard for reelecting Randi Shade and Chris Riley, I urge all of you to get out and vote, no matter who you support. Your voice in the community makes such a difference, especially in elections like these that will determine the vision of the future of Austin as we know it.

Find me, tell me you voted and I'll buy you a round.
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Postby Terry » May 14th, 2011, 3:55 pm

Three hours left. Come on, go get your civic duty on!
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Postby Miggy » May 15th, 2011, 11:43 am

ugh. run-offs bring out the worst in politics and even less turnout. that's probably what's most frustrating in this Shade/Tovo matchup.

A total of 32,869 people or 7.4% of registered voters braved the awesome weather to get out and vote by yesterday. About half that might show up for the next go around - and it will heavily favor Tovo especially with her already in the lead on vote tally. Because of a slick move by her veteran campaign manager David Butts, she's also in the lead on funding, too, thanks to public coffers. He did the same thing three years ago - ran a wealthy neighborhood activist who could fund her own campaign and still qualify for public money, convinced a credible candidate on the side to be a spoiler and thus drive it into a run-off which favors those same demographics (older, mostly white, mostly women, upper middle class folks living in the inner ring of single-family home areas like Bouldin Creek, Zilker, Tarrytown, etc..). That's how Laura Morrrison was elected with him as campaign manager in 2008 and it's how Kathie will, too. Not that their opponents don't have flaws - I could certainly devote words to that, too - but I find it aggravating that the central issues both put forward: F1 racing (http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2011-05-06/point-austin-race-off/) and fearmongering development (http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/5675/) are so obviously and knowingly false.

Whatever... I can live with a Council Member Tovo even if I didn't vote for her. I'm just frustrated with an electoral system where if you now get ~8,000 people or 1% of the entire city to vote for you, then we have elected our next city leader. I genuinely don't think Single Member Districts would help turnout - but that's me - I would be less interested in voting under those circumstances. Moving election day to November might help, but the argument there is that non-partisan local issues get lost in bigger and more partisan state/federal campaigns. It also gets more expensive to run a campaign because talent and ad space cost more while donors get fatigued...and that has other impacts on who runs and who influences those campaigns.

The current set up - from election timing, to at-large representatives, to limits on donation size (with some exceptions regarding loans and qualifying for public money)...all make a lot of sense to me. Clearly it isn't resulting in turn-out, though...so what the hell do I know?
Last edited by Miggy on May 15th, 2011, 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Matt » May 15th, 2011, 12:08 pm

One thing that always interested me was that the only way I tend to know that an election is even happening on some (apparently) random saturday is when somebody (such as yourself) posts here. We have these big electronic message boards on the highways that give useless messages (Buckle up!, Old people lost in El Paso license # blah, etc). Can we not advertise elections on those?
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Postby Terry » May 15th, 2011, 12:33 pm

Well said, McGill. Well said.
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Postby Miggy » May 15th, 2011, 4:41 pm

Matt wrote:One thing that always interested me was that the only way I tend to know that an election is even happening on some (apparently) random saturday is when somebody (such as yourself) posts here. We have these big electronic message boards on the highways that give useless messages (Buckle up!, Old people lost in El Paso license # blah, etc). Can we not advertise elections on those?


Those signs are owned by TXDOT, but sure. Anything's game. I don't typically look to those signs for the news, but I think we've already established that my personal ways of gathering information shouldn't be the yardstick to measure the effectiveness of advertising or PR programs.

Any other suggestions?

Name recognition signs went up all over the city, radio spots were popular this year and there were 45+ community forums to participate in, some giving endorsements to their email lists, some not. Newspapers issued endorsements and did profiles. Postcards and mailers went out in mass mailing and probably several times to likely voters (based on past participation). Folks block walked and dropped door hangers in high-turn-out neighborhoods. Taxi cabs gave free rides to the polls on election day.

There is some emphasis on people who have already voted, but that's because getting new voters has been so unreliable. About 40k voters have come to the poles in gradually shrinking numbers every year for the past 40 years....meanwhile the overall population of the city has expanded greatly in that same time...resulting in lower and lower turnout %'s.

I don't own a tv, but the city's Channel 6 kept candidate profiles on loop I'm told and these ads below did make it on the air according to the campaign finance disclosure of expenses. I'll post below for these two candidates going into the run-off.

Kathie Tovo
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6C7PfPzS9w&feature=related[/youtube]
Randi Shade
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQqzblYcpFE&feature=related[/youtube]
Randi Shade
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVZM811C6zc&feature=relmfu[/youtube]
Kathie Tovo
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RzzvijPlgg[/youtube]
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Postby Miggy » June 6th, 2011, 12:07 pm

Early Voting for the Place 3 Run-Off Starts today and continues through next Tuesday. You can vote at any of the below locations. It takes no more than a minute of your time.

Please vote.


Offices
5501 Airport Blvd
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

Fiesta Mart Central
3909 North IH-35 @ Delwood Shopping Center
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

University of Texas
2400 Inner Campus Drive
Flawn Academic Center Lobby, West Mall, UT Campus
Mon–Fri 8 am–5 pm, Sat Closed, Sun Closed
Lunes–Vier 8 am–5 pm, Sab Cerrado, Dom Cerrado

Howson Branch Public Library
2500 Exposition Boulevard
Mon–Wed 10 am–6 pm, Thur Closed, Fri 10 am–6 pm,
Sat 10 am–5 pm, Sun Closed
Lunes–Miércoles 10 am–6 pm, Jueves Cerrado,
Viernes 10 am – 6 pm, Sab 10 am – 5 pm, Dom Cerrado

NORTH / NORTE
Ben Hur Shriners Hall
7811 Rockwood Lane
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

Asian American Chamber of Commerce
10901 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste B206 at Chinatown Center
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

NORTHEAST / NORESTE
Goodwill Industries
1015 Norwood Park Boulevard
Mon–Fri 8 am–6 pm, Sat 9 am–6 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Viernes 8 am–6 pm, Sab 9 am–6 pm,
Dom Mediodía–6 pm

NORTHWEST / NOROESTE
Randalls Research and Braker
10900-D Research Boulevard @ Braker Lane
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

HEB Four Points, FM 620 and RR 2222
7301 FM 620 North (temp building in parking lot)
(edificio provisional en el estacionamiento)
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm
SOUTH / SUR
HEB South Congress
2400 South Congress (temp building in parking lot)
(edificio provisional en el estacionamiento)
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

Randalls Ben White and Manchaca
2025 West Ben White Boulevard @ Manchaca Road
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

SOUTHEAST / SURESTE
Dan Ruiz Public Library
1600 Grove Blvd
Mon–Thur 10 am–7 pm, Fri Closed, Sat 10 am–5 pm,
Sun Closed
Lunes–Jueves 10 am–7 pm, Viernes cerrado,
Sab 10 am–5 pm, Dom cerrado

Fiesta Mart Stassney
5510 S. IH-35 @ Stassney
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

SOUTHWEST / SUROESTE
Randalls South Mopac and William Cannon
6600 South Mopac @ William Cannon
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

Randalls Brodie and Slaughter
9911 Brodie Lane @ Slaughter Lane
Mon–Sat 7 am–7 pm, Sun Noon–6 pm
Lunes–Sab 7 am–7 pm, Dom Mediodía–6 pm

EAST / ESTE
Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center
2608 Gonzales Street @ East 7th
Mon–Fri 10 am–7 pm, Sat 10 am–5 pm, Sun Closed
Lunes–Viernes 10 am–7 pm, Sab 10 am–5 pm,
Dom cerrado

Carver Complex
1165 Angelina Street
Mon–Thu 10 am–7 pm, Fri 10 am – 5:30 pm,
Sat 10 am–4 pm, Sun Closed
Lunes–Jueves 10 am–7 pm, Viernes 10 am – 5:30 pm,
Sab 10 am–4 pm, Dom cerrado
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Postby Miggy » June 13th, 2011, 12:28 am

So far, voting is exceeding (admittedly low) expectations. The total vote so far for the run-off is 17,715, or 4.19 percent of eligible voters. Which may not sound great, but considering only 32,869 votes were cast in the Place 3 race during the general election, 17,715 is actually a pretty healthy number.

Early voting continues through Tuesday and then election day is Saturday.

If you have any quesitons - post and I'll try and give both sides of the issue as fairly or impartially as I can.

Mike
Last edited by Miggy on June 13th, 2011, 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Matt » June 13th, 2011, 8:27 am

For me, as someone who doesn't have cable tv (and thus can't see public access channels or other tv ads), elections need to show up in my news feeds or be visibly advertised outside. Seeing name recognition signs clues me in that an election is coming up at some point (or has already passed and they left the signs up), but doesn't give me much info on what the eleciton is about or when it occurs.

A reminder on KUT during the morning or afternoon drives (repeated daily during early voting periods) would be effective for me.
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Postby Miggy » June 13th, 2011, 11:25 am

Here's my attempt at doing two sides:

Pro:
There should indeed be more public service announcement - style impartial get out the vote campaigns. No disagreement. Drive time radio spots are a good idea, but relatively expensive if this is to be public money. Election day is June 18th. Perhaps that message gets muddled by offering people the convenience of early voting for two weeks prior. What the election is about is a council member race 1 out of 7 votes that decide all policy in the city.

What the election is about from an issue standpoint is more for the candidates to define. Right now it is being painted as a tired Neighborhood (Tovo) vs. Development (Shade) battle personified most clearly by the Park PUD zoning case where Tovo was the main opponent and Shade's vote was needed to get a super-majority of council (http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2011-01-21/the-park-is-in-the-pud-ing/).

Or Neighborhood (Tovo) vs. Live Music (Shade) battle exemplified by the Scott Trainer/Unplugged at the Grove incident where Tovo was on the Austin Neighborhood Council and Shade was in the process of setting up the city's music department (http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/music/entries/2009/06/16/one_call_placed_to_911_complai.html)

Other issues include where you stand on Water Treatment Plant 4. Shade was the swing vote that moved it forward which drew the ire of the Sierra Club and the endorsement of business and the fire department. Tovo says she would have opposed it and has not been willing to answer if she would stop construction, already underway, if in office. The arguments for and against would take a while to explain and I think reasonable people can disagree on this substanitive issue.

F1 I guess is an issue, too, although that's still in the process of getting more information on how fund recovery works with the state. It's a complicated issue and the process has been very hurried and a little backwards, but regardless of what each campaign spins - both are for it and both don't want the city to be on the hook for subsidies if the larger than expected tax revenue doesn't materialize or the State tries to change the rules on their special event funds.

Lastly, there is the issue of the blackberry e-mails back and forth amongst council members during all-day council meetings that were obtained as a part of a freedom of information request. Several of them were raw and not necessarily how you would expect elected officials to speak if done in public, but out of thousands of messages, few rose above the level of unflattering. The most controversial ones were from Mike Martinez and to some extent from Mayor Leffingwell, but neither of them are up for election this year so they seem to be fading into the background. The Statesman has treated this as a big issue but endorsed Shade. The Chronicle has considered this a non-issue but endorsed Tovo. I think it's a non-issue and have endorsed Shade. Take your pick.

Con:
Depending on what people or fan pages you have liked on Facebook, it probably is just to the right of your newsfeed being advertised to you. If you went to either candidate's page you can sign up for e-mail reminders that give additional information on polling locations, etc... and yes...those have been just about every day of early voting. You have friends (me) reminding you in multiple forums, there are TV ads on more than just cable, there is phone banking and block walking going on. I'm getting at least two mailers a day from the campaigns or from independant PAC's. I'm frankly being overwhelmed by notifications to vote or appeals one way or another and I don't have a TV either.

There's simply no excuse for not voting. All it takes is 30 seconds of time at some point over a period of two weeks at locations convenient all around town. Do it.
Last edited by Miggy on June 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Terry » June 13th, 2011, 12:19 pm

There's simply no excuse for not voting. All it takes is 30 seconds of time at some point over a period of two weeks at locations convenient all around town. Do it.


Hear, Hear.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » June 13th, 2011, 12:30 pm

Terry wrote:
There's simply no excuse for not voting. All it takes is 30 seconds of time at some point over a period of two weeks at locations convenient all around town. Do it.


Hear, Hear.


"I'm a convicted felon" apparently works. :P
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Postby Miggy » June 13th, 2011, 12:38 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
Terry wrote:
There's simply no excuse for not voting. All it takes is 30 seconds of time at some point over a period of two weeks at locations convenient all around town. Do it.


Hear, Hear.


"I'm a convicted felon" apparently works. :P


Ok Jordan - you get a pass. So do all the under-aged kids on this list I guess.
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