Thirty Years of Austin Politics

This Spring is the 30th anniversary of my first run for city council in Austin.

In 1979 I was a candidate for Place One, and that’s when I first met then-Mayor Carol McClelland.  She went on to win re-election, while I finished next-to-last in my race…Lee Cook was re-elected to Place One.

So began my quest for a city council seat…I was an “also-ran”, but I enjoyed campaigning, and knew I would run again at the next opportunity…and the next, and the next, etc., until I finally got elected to Place One in 1987.  Since then, I’ve run four more campaigns, with the latest effort in 2003, when I came in second to Will Wynn in an eight-person race.

Thirty years is a pretty long time in local politics, and from this perspective I will comment on the Mayor’s race, and politics in general in Austin.  Much has changed since I served on the council from 1987-1996, and not for the better.  The environmental movement, for instance, has become very weak and ineffective, to the point where there are NO environmental candidates in the race for Mayor.

Lee Leffingwell is green-washed by the media, but has done very little to protect our air, water, or land in his years in office.  McCracken barely bothers to pretend he is interested, and Carol is actually hostile to the environment…you would hope that someone who is so proud of being a Grandma would care about the world we are leaving the grandchildren.

Greenwashing has taken the place of real political power for environmentalists.

The police, the developers, and other special interests…including the media…run this town, and have since 1997 when Kirk Watson put that coalition together to get elected Mayor.  Real environmental power has been diminishing ever since…

More later