City Council Elections 2009

If you must!

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight

City Council Elections 2009

Postby Miggy » February 26th, 2009, 3:26 am

I thought about first posting back in November when the basic line up was more or less set - even if they hadn't officially announced. I didn't want to wear people out, though, because it's a long march to May and the actual elections. What changed my mind was the video below which was too stupid not to share.

First the quick set-up: City Council is made up of 7 total seats - 6 council members and the mayor. 5 of those are ostensibly up for election this season (Randi Shade and Laura Morrison having just been elected last year are not up). In reality, Mike Martinez, Sheryl Cole and Bill Spellman (a former council member, a popular current professor at UT’s LBJ school of public administration and a brilliant but supposedly disorganized academic with a PhD from Harvard) are all running effectively or literally un-opposed. The two races to watch are Place 1 between Chris Riley and Perla Cavazos (where I am working on Chris' campaign) and the Mayoral race - which conventional wisdom says will go to a run-off election but eventually cut Lee Leffingwell's way.

Mayor's Race

Carole Keeton Strayhorn is running for mayor after her failed gubernatorial bid in '06. She was already mayor (first to be elected three times and first/only female mayor in Austin history) back in 1977. With a couple of party changes and a half-way-to-Elizabeth-Taylor marital history - she also became Texas Railroad Commissioner and State Comptroller (basically the secretary of the treasury of the state of Texas). As you might expect for someone 69 years old (a supporter referred to her as "even smelling old') and with that history - she has a lot of connections. Also her father was deeply connected to the UT Law School (Dean Keeton Blvd. is named after him) and her sons went on to prominent roles in Washington as Press Secretary under George W. Bush (Scott McClellan) and head of the FDA (Mark McClellan). She is seen as the potential spoiler because of her deep campaign pockets and connections - especially to the disaffected Republican minority in Austin.

That being said - she has hardly put in strong performances to date. For a former comptroller, she has been unfavorably fact-checked on some of her comments regarding the city's budget. There's also this video, the first part of her grand plan to cut city spending that she announced at her kick-off (http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Blogs/News/?oid=725138). While it's hilarious to me to watch, maybe it's not for everyone. The summary is that she wants a 'strong mayor structure' while simultaneously cutting city council staff (total for 7 council members - 23 overworked, underpaid staffers that work more or less as surrogate representatives). She doesn't say what we should "significantly cut" them to but she says that these lay-offs are the key to stopping lay-offs in Austin - but won't commit to them until after elected. She also calls out the city's lobbying expense - to the state and federal government. In truth, we probably need to up it - or at least shift it to the right lobbying firms. Austin/CAMPO gets laughably little in the way of federal funding and gets painfully little traction on issues in the Lege. Houston gets more federal funding for transportation in a month than we do in a year. I'm not a big fan of how lobbying works presently - but no sense being foolish about how we operate.

Anyway - the best part is the end where she gets called out for being a no-show for the first, and, as yet, only candidate forum (from the Travis County Democratic Party/Texas Bar Association):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiGGM4PGx78&eurl=http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Blogs/News/?oid=748980&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Beyond Strayhorn and a not -serious vlogger candidate - there are the two currently seated council members - Lee Leffingwell and Brewster McCracken (Texas Monthly publisher and Emergency services gadfly Mike Levy decided not to run because his constituencies overlap with Strayhorn's).

I really don't want Strayhorn - let's make that clear. On the others, I'm a little torn and have not declared for either (not that anyone is waiting with baited breath for my endorsement). I still want to see how they do in candidate forums - but I think most people consider them both known quantities and have already come out one way or the other. The forces that be, David Butts and Mark Nathan, have both backed Leffingwell, as have all the public safety unions - which basically makes him the candidate to beat. I'm not beyond bucking the system to endorse the unlikely candidate, though.

So far though, the candidates have been a study in well-known contrasts: Leffingwell has zero flash but is a genuinely nice guy with a reputation as an earnest and honest dealer that has few political enemies despite several years on the dais and an entire lifetime in Austin. McCracken, on the other hand is all flash and little substance in the eyes of his detractors....and he has many. I know people who were in his wedding who bad mouth the guy as a "twit" and "opportunist". I know people on his campaign that say he's a surprisingly lazy campaigner despite his open ambition for the Mayor's mantle for years and years. I personally disagree with a lot of compromises McCracken's made over the years and while he's younger than Lee - he really doesn't have any more charisma. His campaign has sought to portray this as an Obama vs. McCain battle but that's not really the case. Lee did fly for the military in Vietnam and the candidates line up in age - but the comparisons end there. Both are dyed in the wool Democrats, Lee's in vigorous shape and both consider themselves environmentalists. McCracken hues towards green energy issues (proposing a Green Energy version of Sematech and championing the smart grid "Pecan St. Project"). Lee on the other hand is more of the conservation, water/air quality emphasis environmentalist. In the sorry system of our city council where other members defer to single council members who lead on an issue - Lee has become the default Parks guy. Brewster is the Green Energy and Vertical Mixed Use guy. He’s also trying to be the digital/art convergence guy although that’s been a little more rocky.

The reason I’m giving Brewster the benefit of the doubt is that I’ve been around the guy and he really does care deeply about this stuff – and many of his ideas are attractive to me and more visionary than keep-the-course Leffingwell. I saw Brewster's reading materials when I sat next to him on a plane to Vancouver last year and it was pretty wonkish – and I'm disinclined any more to call him ‘the poor man’s Thomas Friedman’ as he so often gets tagged with. I know good people who are supporting him….but I just can’t yet. There are those who say that power corrupts…but I’ve come to believe that power more often attracts the corruptible. Given the many personal accounts of backstabbery and opportunism, as well as the plain-to-see petty politicking – the burden of proof is on Brewster to prove that his goals and his ability to execute them for the city are so great that we should take a risk on his questionable history of operating.

Place 1
This is a very strange race. For starters – because this is the vacated seat of Lee Leffingwell who didn’t want to trigger an expensive special election and so had to wait until only 120 days out from the general election to avoid that under state law – the candidates had to announce for a seat that wasn’t technically open yet. The race has seen two candidates (Kathie Tovo, Rick Cofer) drop out before it ever got off its feet and the usual power brokers have not backed either of the two remaining candidates yet and may very well sit this one out in an unusual twist.

The other reason it’s an unusual race is the remaining candidates – neither of which cut the usual polished political figure. They’re both quirky in their own way – not a deal killer – but hardly a slam dunk when trying to build coalitions. It’s not like last year’s place 4 election that I was involved in where two visions for the city were bitterly pitted against each other with skilled organization builders. In this case – both candidates are nice, intelligent and so far complimentary folks. Cavazos is young and ambitious, which stirs fears in some of the recently ousted Jennifer Kim. 2 out of 4 big unions have supported Riley and while Cavazos is double dipping on the affinity groups (women and Hispanic), there isn’t much evidence that the latter vote straight tickets the same way some women will vote for the female candidate in races they're not familiar with such as those on the local level. If we were judging today on number of signs only – I haven’t really seen many Perla signs. Who knows, though. It’s votes, not signs that matter in the end.

For this race, as well as the mayoral race, I would strongly encourage people to get out to a meet & greet to see them live to make their own decision. There is one going on this evening for example for Perla at J. Black's - details on her site.

For me, I have been friends with Chris Riley for many years and am supporting his candidacy without any reservations (If you were at my birthday party you may have met him - he was at my place until the wee hours of the morning and bopped his head along to the Wu-Tang we were playing far too loudly). Perhaps closer to the election itself, I’ll write a little more on the topic of how deeply I respect the man and some other good reasons to get out and vote.

In the meantime, you can find out more about all the candidates here:

Lee Leffingwell: http://draftleeformayor.com/
Brewster McCracken: http://www.brewstermccracken.com/
Carole Keeton Strayhorn: http://www.caroleforaustin.com/
Perla Cavazos: http://www.voteperla.com/
Chris Riley: http://www.chrisforaustin.com/

All the best,
Mike
Last edited by Miggy on April 20th, 2009, 7:05 pm, edited 10 times in total.
User avatar
Miggy
 
Posts: 761
Joined: July 29th, 2006, 7:49 am

Postby shando » February 26th, 2009, 9:58 am

Thanks again, Mike, for keeping us in the loop about this kind of stuff. Your endorsements definitely count for me.
http://getup.austinimprov.com
madeline wrote:i average 40, and like, a billion grains?


"She fascinated me 'cause I like to run my fingers through her money."--Abner Jay
User avatar
shando
 
Posts: 2875
Joined: August 31st, 2005, 5:20 pm

Postby Jeff » February 26th, 2009, 9:31 pm

shando wrote:Thanks again, Mike, for keeping us in the loop about this kind of stuff. Your endorsements definitely count for me.
likewise here.
User avatar
Jeff
 
Posts: 2257
Joined: April 22nd, 2007, 3:15 am

Postby Miggy » March 26th, 2009, 1:50 am

from today's Chronicle:

Candidates Forum on the Arts
All you creatives, it's time to show up

By Robert Faires
Hey you, with the brush/script/instrument/camera in your hand: If you care about creativity in Austin, you need to be at the Paramount Theatre Wednesday, April 1. That's when all the candidates for mayor and City Council will be onstage telling you where they stand with regard to the arts, culture, and creativity. And if there are only a dozen bodies scattered around the first few rows, well, they won't feel much need to treat the city's creatives as a priority once they take office.

And they should. Pardon my soapbox, but collectively the creative sector in Austin – music, film, the arts, digital media, et al. – generates $2.2 billion in economic activity every year and employs 44,000 people. That sector is not only responsible for a lot of the city's international rep (Austin City Limits, Slacker, Stevie Ray, Willie, South by Southwest, to name a few), but it's grown steadily over the past 30 years, even through the real estate and dot-com busts. Hey, if you're looking for economic stability ...

But when money gets tight, if anything gets cut faster than library hours, it's arts and culture. And part of the reason is we don't show up. Let's not make that mistake this time. A packed Paramount would send a pretty powerful message to City Hall. I think I saw it on a trailer at the SXSW Film Festival: Creativity is all. All is creativity.

Betty Dunkerley will moderate. The action starts at 7pm at the Paramount, 713 Congress. You can park free at One American Center, 600 Congress, after 6pm. The Paramount bar will even be open. So come on, let's fill the joint.
User avatar
Miggy
 
Posts: 761
Joined: July 29th, 2006, 7:49 am

Postby arthursimone » March 26th, 2009, 2:13 am

Miggy wrote:If you care about creativity in Austin, you need to be at the Paramount Theatre Wednesday, April 1.



I'm there!

You know what burns me??????
The idea that Austin pats itself on the back for being such a vibrant art-town, but is getting to the point where that, now with reputation solidified, large commercial ventures set up shop to cash in on the hip-vibe and then proceed to import all their designer buddies.

I think any new office or condo building that gets sweetheart treatment from the council in terms of tax incentives or construction/zoning goodies must be given proper incentive to hire local designers, decorators and artists instead of importing rotten hack art from their corporate headquarters.
"I don't use the accident. I deny the accident." - Jackson Pollock

The goddamn best Austin improv classes!
User avatar
arthursimone
 
Posts: 1898
Joined: December 7th, 2005, 7:48 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Postby shando » March 26th, 2009, 10:49 am

arthursimone wrote:
Miggy wrote:If you care about creativity in Austin, you need to be at the Paramount Theatre Wednesday, April 1.



I'm there!

You know what burns me??????
The idea that Austin pats itself on the back for being such a vibrant art-town, but is getting to the point where that, now with reputation solidified, large commercial ventures set up shop to cash in on the hip-vibe and then proceed to import all their designer buddies.

I think any new office or condo building that gets sweetheart treatment from the council in terms of tax incentives or construction/zoning goodies must be given proper incentive to hire local designers, decorators and artists instead of importing rotten hack art from their corporate headquarters.


Word.
http://getup.austinimprov.com
madeline wrote:i average 40, and like, a billion grains?


"She fascinated me 'cause I like to run my fingers through her money."--Abner Jay
User avatar
shando
 
Posts: 2875
Joined: August 31st, 2005, 5:20 pm

Postby beardedlamb » March 26th, 2009, 4:29 pm

tell them to open the state theatre so it doesnt sit dark for another 3+ years. just because there's a historical building right next door thats bigger and prettier doesnt mean we should have an arts hole on our most prominent street. make the state historical so they dont have to pay multiple millions of dollars to bring it up to a modern ridiculous code.

wait, is this an april fools prank? they get all the artists into one building and then lock the doors.
.............
O O B
.............
User avatar
beardedlamb
 
Posts: 2676
Joined: October 14th, 2005, 1:36 pm
Location: austin

Postby spantell » March 28th, 2009, 4:15 pm

Another forum if you can't make the arts one.

Sat. April 4, 10-1:30, St. David's Episcopal Church.

Focus on creating a livable city/urban environment
spantell
 
Posts: 121
Joined: December 26th, 2007, 1:09 pm

Postby Miggy » March 28th, 2009, 9:32 pm

spantell wrote:Another forum if you can't make the arts one.

Sat. April 4, 10-1:30, St. David's Episcopal Church.

Focus on creating a livable city/urban environment


Yep - I'll be at that one. The organization I'm part of, DANA, is a co-sponsor along with several other groups:

Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA)
Congress for New Urbanism (CNU)
Old Austin Neighborhood Association (OANA)
Rail4Real
Austin Parks Foundation
Austin Metro Trails and Greenways
6ixth Street Austin
Austinist.com

Unfortunately I can't make the one at the Paramount due to a conflicting engagement. I'd love to hear about it, though, if others go.
User avatar
Miggy
 
Posts: 761
Joined: July 29th, 2006, 7:49 am

Postby Miggy » April 25th, 2009, 7:51 pm

For those with TV's you're probably getting the ad assault for Mayor and Place 1 Candidates because early voting starts Monday. Here's a survey of the different ads.

Cross-Posting from BOR (http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/8481/austin-mayoral-place-1-tv-ads)

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman
Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 09:00 AM CDT

Mayoral Race: Brewster McCracken

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvYks2k6iVU&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Folksy-ish music? Yes.
On campaign message? Yes.
Walking into City Hall shot? Yes.
Actually see candidate talking? Yes.
Total number of pears left uneaten in family room? 7.

Mayoral Race: Lee Leffingwell

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2quYy57NdTA&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

(also see similar version #2 of ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtSGXlOTGhw)

Folksier music? Yes.
On campaign message? It almost runs over you.
Walking into City Hall shot? No, like last year.
Actually see candidate talking? No, like last year.
Haven't we seen this footage before? Yes, like, you get the picture.
Likelihood for Phillip Martin to "hate" this: High. (http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/8454/the-5-things-i-hate-about-austin-city-council-races)

Mayoral Race: Carole Strayhorn
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkIuzIJPbA0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

(also see original more awesome Strayhorn ad: http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/7771/)

Creepy, ominous music? Yes.
Creepy, fake cheery voice? Yes.
On campaign message? Yes, if crazy is a message.
City Hall shot? No, apparently City Hall moved since she was mayor.

Place 1: Chris Riley

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CCXmMid_Dg&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Folksy music? Yes.
Number of bicycles in ad. 1.
Number of posed children. 5.
Walking into City Hall shot? Yes.
Born and raised inside city hall? Possibly.

Place 1: Perla Cavazos

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNZH-Hi_Wgg&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Folksy music? Oh hell no.
Urban pseudo-latin spicy music? Oh hell yes!
Most memorable but most undefined message? Possibly.
Gives pro-downtown impression when played with sound off? Ironically, yes.
Laura Morrison-esque downtown building hate? NOOOOOOO! (meaning yes). (http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/5675/)
Number of Cesar Chavez Cavazos Cervezas I need now? Seis. (http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Blogs/News?oid=oid:726958)
User avatar
Miggy
 
Posts: 761
Joined: July 29th, 2006, 7:49 am

Postby themoss » April 27th, 2009, 2:02 pm

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.
User avatar
themoss
 
Posts: 515
Joined: November 21st, 2006, 10:44 am

Postby Jeff » April 27th, 2009, 2:42 pm

Miggy wrote:Mayoral Race: Brewster McCracken
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvYks2k6iVU&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]
Folksy-ish music? Yes.
On campaign message? Yes.
Walking into City Hall shot? Yes.
Actually see candidate talking? Yes.
Total number of pears left uneaten in family room? 7.

yay alamo
User avatar
Jeff
 
Posts: 2257
Joined: April 22nd, 2007, 3:15 am

Postby spantell » April 27th, 2009, 7:19 pm

just bumping people to vote. the mayor's race is close, and I think Strayhorn would not be at all good.

I'm voting for Leffingwell because I think McCracken is good at talking the talk, but from what I hear, won't be able to get much done and he kind of flip-flops on issues.

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.
spantell
 
Posts: 121
Joined: December 26th, 2007, 1:09 pm

Postby Jeff » April 27th, 2009, 7:26 pm

I'm gonna vote for Leffingwell because his name sounds like Laughing Well. Where do I vote?
User avatar
Jeff
 
Posts: 2257
Joined: April 22nd, 2007, 3:15 am

Postby Miggy » April 27th, 2009, 10:53 pm

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.


yah - I debated about including that or not. State Rep Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) laid into KT in the comments section (copied at bottom). Figured this would be an interesting test market to see if people saw humor in it. Apparently not. Not sure if it means Austin is backwards (nor was it ever utopia).

vote for who inspires you, who you think will do the best job, who's vision of Austin is closest to yours


Couldn't agree more! Even if you disagree with my own choice of Chris Riley in Place 1 - please do go out and vote! Seriously - I mean that.

I'm with you (0.00 / 0)
I saw that this morning and thought, "Am I being over sensitive about this? Is it a dig on Cesar Chavez the man? the street? about Perla maybe becoming the first Latina on Austin City Council? Am I just humorless without at least two cups of coffee?"
I guess it can be dismissed as bad alliteration but I wonder if someone tried that with gay candidate or African-American candidate what would happen. I am not even going to give examples because I can't make up any inoffensive ones up.

I know KT is not a racist but does feeding into negative stereotypes (even if not intended) fit into BOR progressive values?

Language is always important even when trying to be funny.

And yes, I get it. The last line in the blurbs were supposed to be the non-serious funny line....



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

by: M. Eddie Rodriguez @ Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 14:30:33 PM CDT
[ Parent ]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

no no no (0.00 / 0)
Ceasar Chavez is the street that runs in front of city hall, where the council chambers are, that Perla is running for. It's local humor.
The "Cavazos Cervezas" are born out of conversation with Laura, her campaign manager, about the logo, which was originally in reaction to this Chronicle story back in January. This was back when she had her kick off across the street from "La Perla" bar in east austin and I suggested they should have slapped the logo on some cold ones and taking the afterparty across the street for a little fun local color (and drinking).

Therefore the Ceasar Chavez Cavazos Cervezas would be the ultimate city hall drink!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman @ Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 18:28:53 PM CDT
[ Parent ]
Last edited by Miggy on April 28th, 2009, 12:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Miggy
 
Posts: 761
Joined: July 29th, 2006, 7:49 am

Next

Return to Politics and Religion and Stuff Like That

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest