Mayors Race 2014

Mayor’s Race 2014

Steve Adler

Occupation: attorney

Experience: chief of staff/general counsel for state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh; attorney (has argued civil rights cases, focuses on eminent domain defense); Anti-Defamation League Austin Region board chair; Texas Tribune board chair

Issues: new 10-1 system, traffic, affordability, public education, poverty, water, environment

Website: www.adlerforaustin.com

Facebook: Steve Adler for Austin Mayor

Twitter: @AdlerForAustin

Sheryl Cole

Occupation: Mayor Pro Tem

Experience: Three-term City Council member; attorney and CPA; public schools advocate (former PTA president)

Issues: Affordability, transportation, water, diversity, equity

Website: www.sherylforaustin.com/

Facebook: Sheryl Cole For Austin

Twitter: @SherylCole1

Mike Martinez

Occupation: City Council member (since 2006)

Experience: longtime civic activist; former firefighter and president, Austin Firefighters Association; Capital Metro board member and current chair

Issues: affordability, traffic and transportation, equity

Website: www.mike4mayor.com

Facebook: Mike Martinez

Twitter: @CouncilManMike

Todd Phelps

Occupation: musician; businessman

Experience: energy negotiations, lending projects, farming, ranching, property management; arts and film production

Issues: transportation, environmental protection, taxation, open space

Website: www.phelpsforaustin.com

Facebook: Todd Phelps

Twitter: @PhelpsForAustin

Randall Stephens

Occupation: aircraft mechanic; tech entrepreneur (CEO of AdBirds website)

Experience: Air Force veteran

Issues: campaign finance reform; transportation, small business development, short-term rental rights

Website: www.stephensforaustinmayor.org

Facebook: Randall Stephens for Mayor of Austin

Twitter: @AustinBlueDog

Brigid Shea for County Commissioner

Brigid Shea for County Commissioner, Precinct 2:

“Environmentalist Brigid Shea published a media-savvy package of glowing YouTube testimonials from state Sen. Kirk Watson, ex Texas Ag Commissioner Jim Hightower, former Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos, Austin NAACP President  Nelson Linder, and Livable City Chair Ann Kitchen. Joining the effusive headliners were AISD Chair Vince Torres, environmentalist  Robin Rather, and community activist Paul Saldana, all gathered for the Sunday grand opening of Shea’s campaign headquarters. ” – Austin Chronicle

Here are just some of the reasons why I will vote for Brigid Shea to County Commissioner and why I hope you will join me in supporting her:

We need to give citizen interests more power than special interests. Brigid has proposed major ethics reforms to severely limit the amount lobbyists and their firms can give to city council candidates.
Under Lee Leffingwell, the City Council has been more concerned with making big development deals than with maintaining the quality of life and affordability for the people who live here. Stop giving away unnecessary incentives like those to the Formula One race track outside the city and luxury hotels downtown.
The city uses less water than it did ten years ago, but our water rates have doubled and are set to rise another 19%.
Electric rates are are expected to rise 20%. Property taxes have gone up. Traffic is up. City fees have gone up. But for many people our quality of life has gone down.
Brigid believes that the protecting the environment is crucial to the economic health of the city.
Leffingwell’s first campaign report showed that 43% of his total campaign donations came from just 11 bundlers, representing lobbyist and city contractor interests. Brigid Shea said, “Just 60 days after announcing my candidacy, I’ve raised almost $100,000 from over 465 people. My contributions show that the people of Austin want City Hall to work for them, not just for the deep-pocketed insiders who are funding the incumbent’s race.”

Please help to spread the word to your friends and associates so we have an extraordinary turnout at the polls.

Message about Technology Leadership:

I believe Brigid Shea will make a great County Commissioner and I am asking you to please join me in supporting her. Here is what she has to say about Technology Leadership:

I was honored to be the Channel 6 host of the very first SXSW Interactive with my good friend, Dewey Winburne. He was my translator for helping folks understand the Internet. I also helped explore how the city could assist this growing industry through the Council’s early Technology Committee. It is amazing to see how the tech community has shaped Austin and made it the place it is today – an incredibly creative and lively place for all of us.

And while the mayor tries to take credit for all of it, I say it’s the people who make Austin so remarkable–not the mayor or council. I am so proud to have been at the beginning of the tech surge, and now I see all the creative media and entrepreneurs who are adding so much to the character and quality of Austin. And there’s so much more to do–imagine what we could do with all the dark fiber that’s lying unused under our streets. Or if the city really listened and acted on the tech community’s many recommendations for innovations. Let’s see what else we can imagine together!

New balance of power?

According to a statesman.com article,”The [Tovo vs Shade] race’s outcome could have consequences beyond election day — subtly shifting the dynamics on the council, possibly making it tougher for Leffingwell to push an agenda, and shaping next year’s race for mayor, according to interviews with two dozen people who follow city issues.”  The article compared the current Leffingwell, Martinez and Shade Council members to a cool kids clique that usually gets what it wants.

Council member Sheryl Cole is supporting Kathie Tovo for Council.  Statesman: “”Sheryl has wielded a quiet, intelligent power on the council, especially on Waller Creek. She’s on the rise,” said Fred McGhee , a Tovo supporter and former president of the Black Austin Democrats . “If Kathie decides to overtly align herself with Laura and Bill, then Sheryl will be in a strong position.”

Source A Tovo win could reshape Austin City Council alliances, unsettle balance of power

Austin Chronicle endorses Tovo

The Austin Chronicle has endorsed Kathie Tovo in the runoff for City Council, Austin, Texas. The Chronicle says that “Shade has drifted sideways into apparently unwinnable ethics complaints and “no growth” scare tactics” while Kathie Tovo has remained consistent in her planned approach to Austin’s future.

The Chron says of Tovo “All of us applaud Tovo’s dedicated public service on projects both official (Planning Commission; Austin ISD task forces) and unofficial, and anticipate that if elected, she will bring much beneficial experience to council. Her ongoing efforts to keep open central city schools would be important council assets, as would her interest in inner-city development via affordable, family-friendly neighborhood initiatives.”  And the Chron editorial staff goes on to say of Tovo “that city policy defaults too readily to developer interests and that Tovo’s presence will be a bulwark against such encroachment.”

The Austin American Statesman noted in an article about the runoff that “One political consultant said Sunday that Shade should seriously consider bowing out. “If you’re an incumbent and get less than 50 percent (in a general election), it’s a very bad sign,” said Elliott McFadden , who has worked on local races but none this year. “You’re basically asking voters to re-hire you, and a sizable majority has already said ‘no’ …” before the runoff gets under way, he said.

The Statesman article went on to say “It looked a few months ago like Shade would sail to re-election. She had been raising money since the fall and had no major opponents.  Then she made public hundreds of her emails in response to open records requests; a few showed her disparaging activists and groups that frequent City Hall. Tovo said the emails added to concerns she already had about decision-making at City Hall, spurring her to join the race in March. She raised money at warp speed, loaned her campaign another $53,000 and scooped up endorsements from neighborhood and environmental groups whose members reliably show up to vote in city races.  Moderate and progressive voters who backed Shade in 2008 felt betrayed by her pro-development votes and were ready to support someone else, said Peck Young, who has worked on past council campaigns and now heads the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College.”

 

 

Kathie Tovo for Austin City Council

Kathie Tovo for Austin City Council
Kathie Tovo for Austin City Council

Kathie Tovo is in a runoff election on June 18 (early voting June 6) with Randi Shade for City Council Place 3, and AustinMayor.com supports her. Former Austin Councilman Max Nofziger, our contributor, also has directed his supporters to Kathie Tovo.  Max was in the primary election with Tovo and Shade.  AustinMayor supported Max in his 2nd place finish in the Mayoral election against Will Wynn, remarkable that he did so well considering he was outgunned financially. Likewise, Tovo was outspent by Shade but managed to win impressively and just shy of a majority in the primary.

 

Here is what Kathie supports:

1. Affordable Housing – all income levels should be able to live in all parts of the city

2. Completing Communities – places where people can live close to where they work and play

3. Neighborhood Schools – keep schools open and growing through city partnerships with neighborhood school districts

4. rebuild trust in City Hall

Election Day – May 14

Early Vote – May 2 – 10

Kathie Tovo website: KathieforAustin.com

 

Austin Chronicle article

Statesman – funds approved for Tovo runoff

Statesman – former Mayor Garcia says Shade should get out and save the city half a mil

Austin Mayor Leffingwell

Brewster McCracken has bowed out of the runoff gracefully, facing a 20 point vote deficit and Lee Leffingwell is Austin’s new mayor.

I’m sure Max will be along soon – when he gets back in town – to give his viewpoint on the Mayor’s race and the future prospects for Austin.

McCracken withdrew just two days after he finished second in the polls behind council member Lee Leffingwell. McCracken made his decision Monday after talking to his supporters, but he says it became apparent on election night that winning a runoff was just too much of an uphill battle.

McCracken received 27 percent of the vote. Leffingwell led with 47 percent, just short of the “50 percent plus one vote” rule, that would have put Leffingwell into a runoff with McCracken.

McCracken said Monday a runoff would have required a tough fundraising drive in tough economic times and that the runoff itself would have been costly for taxpayers to the tune of about half a million dollars.
“I believe that pursuing a runoff election would not be in the best interest of Austin, so that’s why I’m doing it,” said McCracken. “I thought it would have been a distraction in a time when Austin needs to get to work tackling our challenges.”

McCracken offered his support and help to Leffingwell, who will be sworn in next month.

“We know there are some very difficult budget decisions ahead of us,” said Leffingwell. –”It will not exactly be a pleasant time to be mayor, but it’s an important time to be mayor.”

Mayor-elect Leffingwell said his priorities include tackling the budget and establishing a cabinet of community leaders to help advise him.

McCracken had reached his term limits as a council member. He says leaving elected life will give him more time to spend with his 5-year-old son and his new wife. He plans to stay involved with renewable energy issues like the Pecan Street Project.

Leffingwell said Monday that he will consider withdrawing his criminal complaint against McCracken if the issue can be resolved another way, such as by an attorney general’s decision or by city council action.

Stick around Austin Mayor blog for some thoughts and comments from Max Nofziger about Austin’s future.

Runoff: LeeandBrew

LeeandBrew…sounds like a German beer…

The big surprise in the Mayoral election was that almost ALL of the large undecided vote went to Leffingwell.  Brewster and Carole hardly budged from their pre-election poll numbers.

I thought Carole was showing some late momentun, and I felt sure she was really working the Stop Domain! mailing list.  The other big surprise of this election was how little gain she got from that valuable campaign tool.  Either she was unable to reach those specific voters, or they were not motivated enough to return to the polls in large numbers, as they had in November.  Carole only needed a few thousand of them to turn out to support her on that subsidy issue, and she would have passed Brewster…who was/is a big supporter of the Domain subsidies…and would be in the runoff this morning.

Too bad…then we would have a race on our hands:  outsider vs. insider.  We would have a hot discussion of substantive issues, with the candidates highlighting real differences.  This would have been good for Austin and good for Democracy.

With LeeandBrew, we have two sides of the same coin.  Boring…very boring.

In fact, it would not be at all surprising if Brewster announced that  he was dropping out of the race.  It is going to be very difficult for him to raise money, especially because most of Carole’s voters will either not vote, or will vote for Lee.

It’s hard to campaign when you don’t have a chance to win.  The month-long runoff campaign will feel like six months.  Unless Brewster just loves campaigning and the camera (publicity) so much, he would be well-advised to follow Ronney Reynold’s precedent in 1997, when he dropped out of a runoff with Kirk Watson.  I came in third in that race, and it was clear to everyone that my voters were going to go 90% for Watson.

I just don’t see much upside for Brewster if he continues the campaign only to suffer a resounding defeat.  Maybe if he bows out, Lee will drop that criminal complaint he filed about Brewster’s  (alleged) campaign fund-raising violation.

For Brewster to be competitive at all in the runoff, he would have to completely re-invent himself, which would only appear calculated and cynical to the voters.

Carole had the support of the Stop Domain! folks, and that was her only real hope of winning.  But now they are 0-for-2, having suffered a narrow loss in November, and their horse in this race came in a distant third.  I wonder what their next move might be?

I hope they don’t give up and go away, but Leffingwell sure does.  The slow economy is turning out to be hard on the high-end retailers like those at the Domain, and it will become more and more obvious that Leffingwell was willing to risk taxpayer dollars…he must be held accountable for his folly and fiscal irresponsibility.  The media sure isn’t going to do it…they support such special interest subsidies…so it is up to the citizens like Brian Rodgers and Linda Curtis to do it.

Carole was the underdog, and I like underdogs ( having been one most of political career ), especially when you can see a plausibe possibility for their success…a strategy that could really work.  The elements for her success were there, but she was unable to assemble them in a winning strategy.

Her long career in politics is probably over, unless she tries to bring it full circle and run for school board.  But she got only 12,435 votes, a pretty weak showing for someone with such high name ID coming into the race…and she spent a lot of money.

So Lee is going to waltz in, no doubt to continue his big-spending ways and his ignorance of substantive environmental issues…

Come on, Mayor!!  Wake up and DO something!!

How McCracken can win

Lee Leffingwell has nearly half the votes. If you added Carole Strayhorn’s and Brewster McCracken’s votes together they would add up to the same total as Leffingwell. McCracken trailed Leffingwell by 20% in last nights vote.

So, can McCracken turn this around? Not likely. But there is a scenario by which he could make up this gap by the June 13 runoff election. It would be like the Mavs coming back from a 3-0 deficit where they are in the playoffs now, it’s never been done before.

So how can McCracken come back? He’s going to have to do a cold reboot, a complete rebirth. He will need to pick up the Carole / stop domain subsidies/ changeaustin.org vote, woo the environmentalists led by Max Nofziger, dig deeper in to his social networking / social media base, and sharpen his green / high tech message.

McCracken is going to have to revisit his position on corporate subsidies, or he’ll never get the support of Brian Rodgers and Linda Curtis powerhouse mailing list and website. He needs to do some soul searching here and have a one on one with Brian (who should have run for Mayor because he’s the Austinite most deserving and qualified for this post). He doesn’t stand a chance without the support of this major power broker who delivered the votes in the StopDomain referendum and supported Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

McCracken used Michelle Greer ( @michellegreer ), the Statesmans top social media person in Texas, and a team of social networking mavens to build up a modest following on twitter, facebook, myspace on on his blog and website. Now he needs to increase this following a hundred fold and there are social networkers in Austin like @springnet, @perrybelcher and others who have to clout and expertise to help with this.  He may have to reach out to the local team that supported Obama with a social networking strategy.

McCracken needs to re-evaluate his platform on the environment.  Max Nofziger won more votes than any other white guy in Austin election history running on an environmental platform with real substance.  McCracken has come out in support of high tech, green energy iniatives.  Now he needs to really address Austinites environmental concerns.  It would help to meet and discuss these issues with Max and other local environmental groups and leaders.

Is it possible for Brewster to come back?  Sure, it’s possible that the Mavs will win their playoff round too.  He’ll have to seriously consider the factors above in order to rise from the ashes.  It’s possible.  But it will require a complete rebirth and some major changes in his positions that encompass a wider electorate.

And here’s Michelle Greer’s take on Brewster McCracken:

This is harsh, but it just means we need a leader who actually listens to the tech community because although we often don’t realize it, our feedback is incredibly valuable and vital to the Austin economy. We need a leader who wants to expand other industries like the biotech, energy, and film sectors too, because a diversified economy is much more recession-proof. We depend on each other, believe it or not. Brewster McCracken is listening to the leaders in these communities and we need to make sure he’s elected.

Lee Leffingwell wants to focus on key city services like roads, police, etc. That’s great, but I’m sorry, the tech industry is getting more and more competitive each day. Do we want a leader who isn’t really paying attention to this stuff, or do we want someone who will actually foster relationships with business leaders to make Austin a global leader in technology, biotech, energy, music and film?

If you are with me, please consider the following actions:
1.) Remember to vote on May 9th. June 13th.
2.) Express your ideas for Austin at www.ideasforaustin.com and encourage others to do the same.
3.) Consider volunteering for Brewster. You can keep up by subscribing to the email, Twitter, and Facebook updates available at Brewster’s website.