City Council Elections 2009

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Postby Miggy » April 27th, 2009, 10:54 pm

spantell wrote:Riley for city council because he has a lot of experience and is well informed on the issues and is big on stuff like transit, which I am also big on.


Yay! Thanks Susan! And I'm just excited that I'm not the only one posting on this thread!
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Postby Miggy » April 27th, 2009, 10:58 pm

Jeff wrote:I'm gonna vote for Leffingwell because his name sounds like Laughing Well. Where do I vote?


Lee's a nice guy and would be a fine mayor - but that's a terrible reason to vote for someone.

Voting locations and info are here: http://www.co.travis.tx.us/county_clerk/election/

or on a map here: http://www.beloblog.com/KVUE_Blogs/politicaljunkie/2009/04/your-handy-google-map-to-austi.html

Nothing else is on the ballot - just mayor, 3 council elections, and then scroll down for the special election to assume the last two years of Lee Leffingwell's term in Place 1 (Riley/Cavazos).
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Postby Miggy » April 27th, 2009, 11:42 pm

Leah wrote:I imagine they are fans of the gentleman's agreement, as well.


Also - not that I'm a fan of the current arrangement - but it is largely only in place right now to preserve African American representation - not so much hispanic anymore. Gus Garcia broke that hold back in the 90's.

Single Member Districts are on hold until after the 2010 census (if the city rather than the state has their way) when they can be drawn correctly to ensure we don't lose at least one African-American member of council (and thus run the risk of running foul of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965#Preclearance). Referendum votes have failed 6 times in 30 years I believe which is why this arrangement was set up in its place. The most recent failure was 2002.

Currently Sheryl Cole is in that 'gentleman's agreement' position and incidentally she opposes SMDs because it would likely dilute that African-American Vote (1/7th of the vote on council but less than that in population - it was 9.8% in 2000 and expected to decline in % terms in 2010). Other influential black leaders in Austin, including Rev. Joe Parker have gone on record supporting SMDs even though it decreases black representation in city government.

Essentially, the council would have to expand to at least 12 and maybe 15 members (with associated staff/costs/etc...) in order to get a district small enough to elect a black council member. Gerrymandering is just a different sort of gentleman's agreement - and one that brings up other thorny issues. Does voting for 1 out of 15 representatives improve my representation over voting for 7 out of 7? What happens and who do you turn to if you disagree with the rep that supposedly speaks for your district? Is the voting turnout so low in some areas (like far South East Austin) that you lose the quality filter and anyone with a good social network could get elected? Would that really represent that area better? How do we draw the lines? - If you lump Clarksville and Downtown together, blood will run down Lamar every election as one group emerges winner or loser. Also - Republicans - currently a shut out minority in this town - could likely get representation unless Tarrytown and the Northwest Hills where they live get divided up to disenfranchise them Tom Delay - style.

Meanwhile - and I think this was your point - the at-large system does not appear to be fully representing that between a third and a half of Austin are hispanic (currently with only one vote on council - Mike Martinez). All of this of course assumes that a black/hispanic person cannot win in or represent a white district and a white person could not win in or represent a black/hispanic district - or that such 'districts' are so mono-cultural. All of those assumptions are incorrect and antiquated.

SMD's are a big and complex issue and I could spend all day debating it (just with myself!). Because of the many trade-offs, many folks are supporting a hybrid approach (think senate/house of representatives). My only argument is that if everyone voted in Austin - we wouldn't be worrying about this crutch - we'd get the representation we ourselves voted on - not because of someone's race or gender or whatever - but because they're the people that inspire us, the people we think will do the best job and who's vision of Austin is closest to our own.
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Postby York99 » April 28th, 2009, 8:19 am

themoss wrote:hey thanks burnt orange for being so blatantly racist towards the cavazos add.
Her campaign is not playing the race card, why do you?
Just reminds me of how backwards and racist our little lefty utopia still is.
I imagine they are fans of the gentleman's agreement, as well.
vote for who inspires you, who you think will do the best job, who's vision of Austin is closest to yours.


I'm confused. Where is this racy exchange you speak of?
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Postby Jeff » April 28th, 2009, 12:57 pm

Miggy wrote:
Jeff wrote:I'm gonna vote for Leffingwell because his name sounds like Laughing Well. Where do I vote?


Lee's a nice guy and would be a fine mayor - but that's a terrible reason to vote for someone.

Voting locations and info are here: http://www.co.travis.tx.us/county_clerk/election/

or on a map here: http://www.beloblog.com/KVUE_Blogs/politicaljunkie/2009/04/your-handy-google-map-to-austi.html

Thanks for the 411 Mike! And on the terrible reason-- if he'd make a fine mayor, then no harm no foul, right? :)
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Postby Miggy » May 1st, 2009, 1:32 am

And late comer to the TV ads, Sheryl Cole (who's a fantastic council member btw):
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoe_R2eia9k[/youtube]
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Postby Miggy » May 1st, 2009, 1:33 am

Jeff wrote:Thanks for the 411 Mike! And on the terrible reason-- if he'd make a fine mayor, then no harm no foul, right? :)


Vote for Leffingwell or McCracken - and we cool. Vote Carole, and we'll need to talk.
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Postby Miggy » May 1st, 2009, 1:47 am

Related to that posting above on the 'gentlemen's agreement' and the voting rights act....it's being played out right now in the supreme court case of Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder. Here was a nice little article from a day or two ago in the NYTimes giving it some nice context:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/us/28voting.html?scp=3&sq=texas%20voting%20rights%20act&st=cse

and from today's news on the justices' initial reactions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/us/30voting.html?scp=1&sq=texas%20voting%20rights%20act&st=cse
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Postby Miggy » May 2nd, 2009, 12:41 pm

See Brewster's campaign vid that pissed off St. Louis (cuz it's kinda true):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3fUkvuvFHg

And if you haven't voted yet, please go this weekend. Incidentally - you can vote with Chris Riley tomorrow Sunday, May 3, at Wooldridge Square, 900 Guadalupe, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Head across the street to the Court House, cast your ballot, then come over to play a game of Giant Chess with Chris Riley.
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Postby Miggy » May 7th, 2009, 6:15 pm

Ok - this is my last push on this. Elections are this Saturday, May 9th from 7am to 7pm. I'm out of pocket as of tomorrow so I won't be posting.

5 out of 7 votes on the Council (including the Mayor) are up for election. It's important - and it's quick and easy to do (there's nothing else on the ballot). Just show up with your driver's license and you can vote.

Chronicle Endorsements are here:
http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A770564
And the Statesman's are here:
http://www.statesman.com/opinion/content/editorial/stories/04/19/0419endorse_edit.html
(they're identical in supporting Riley, Spelman, Cole and Martinez. They differ in that the Statesman endorsed McCracken and the Chronicle endorsed Leffingwell)

Not that anyone could have missed it - but I'm supporting my good friend Chris Riley in Place 1. Endorsed by the Statesman, Chronicle, Police, EMS, Sierra Club, League of Bicyling Voters, Daily Texan, Burnt Orange Report, Stonewall Democrats, University Democrats, and the majority of Travis County Democratic clubs....and about 1000 other people: http://www.chrisforaustin.com/supporters/

He has a degree in economics from Harvard, a law degree from UT. He is a native austinite who has done a LEED certified green renovation of the historic home he grew up in. He does not own a car and he helped found Austin Car Share. He has a decade of high level public service including chairing the Planning Commission, the Downtown Commission, Founder of the Alliance for Plublic transportation, Founder of the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, Chair of the Austin Parks Foundation, President of the Austin History Center. He's also been on the board of the ACLU and the women's advocacy project and the community court as well as about a half dozen other organizational involvements.

He's a selfless public servant with extensive experience but who genuinely welcomes new viewpoints. He is deeply committed to Austin and would make a great city council member. If you want to read more about his positions, please check out: http://www.chrisforaustin.com/issues/ His opponent's position summary is here: http://www.voteperla.com/custom?key=260

Even if you don't vote for Chris, though,....please do vote!

If you have questions - please consult the county's FAQ page:
http://www.traviscountytax.org/goQuestions.do#voters

Thanks,
Mike
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Postby Jeff » May 9th, 2009, 4:18 pm

Miggy wrote:
Jeff wrote:Thanks for the 411 Mike! And on the terrible reason-- if he'd make a fine mayor, then no harm no foul, right? :)


Vote for Leffingwell or McCracken - and we cool. Vote Carole, and we'll need to talk.

I'm voting for McCracken. Leffingwell's website blows.
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Postby Miggy » May 10th, 2009, 8:45 pm

Yay! Chris Riley won! I was quite surprised by how commandingly (66% or 2-to-1) . Good for him. Perla's going to stay in the picture, too, no doubt. Yay! Austin wins!

Jeff wrote:I'm voting for McCracken. Leffingwell's website blows.


It's strangely interesting to me how often I hear that as a determinant for people in their voting patterns. Sign design seems to matter to a lot of people, too.

As for the mayor's race - again - I was surprised at how commanding a lead Leffingwell took (47%) and how many people voted for a thoroughly unfit-for-office Carole Strayhorn who knew she could never win a general election but was banking on coming in second and driving a turn-out of her base during a run-off.

There's little in the way of precedent for someone pulling off a come-from-behind runoff (Saturday, June 13th, incidentally) especially when Lee's base is in the precincts that actually vote in this town. I really don't think Brewster has a shot to pull it off and would be wise to concede in return for a post at the head of the Pecan St. Project or something. It would save the city money the cost of the run-off election, if nothing else.

Anyways - regardless of who you were supporting, I think we can all agree that the turn out was depressing: 58,630 votes or 13% of registered voters / 8% of total population.

What's worse? Half that number is likely for a run-off so realistically all you need is 2.1% of the city to like you (and critically - vote for you) and you can apparently be mayor. Needless to say - this is not a recipe for great representitive democracy. Brewster had a large well of support - perhaps even bigger than Lee's - but it was amongst business folks who likely split their votes with Carole. He then paired that with the fairly unreliable demographic of musicians, artists, students, tech folks, etc.... that aren't traditional municipal voting types. It's a shame - the city would be more vibrant if those folks hit the polls more often.

On an unrelated and somewhat sadder note, Josiah Ingalls - strange dude that he is - was fired from his job as a janitor at the convention center Hilton because of his campaigning. Presumably slumlord David Buttross will just crawl back to wherever he normally stays quiet and out of the affaires of government. He can do so with his new baby that was being delivered on Election night. Hopefully, too, this is the last run of the Strayhorn.

To the surprise of no one, Martinez and Cole were re-elected (with loud protest votes though - especially in the case of 2012 Mayoral hopeful, Martinez). Lastly, unopposed candidate Spelman had a somewhat shocking 24% of people abstain from voting for him.
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Postby Jeff » May 11th, 2009, 12:12 am

For the record, I've been yanking chains a little bit with my cavalier reasons for voting for people. Kinda self-deprecating satire or something. I think it's only I who finds it funny at all, which I'm okay with.
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Postby Matt » May 11th, 2009, 9:13 am

I voted, therefore I feel I have the right to complain about the actions of the council during this term.
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Postby Miggy » May 11th, 2009, 10:04 am

Matt wrote:I voted, therefore I feel I have the right to complain about the actions of the council during this term.


Please do. Democracy is much more than voting.
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