Think about this…

I really don’t know who to vote for for Mayor.  I’m not interested in telling you who to vote for…I want to provide information and perspective to you so you can make a good decision…

Here’s something I’d like to ask the Mayoral candidates:

Do you know that diesel exhaust is a carcinogen?

If the answer is “No, I didn’t know that”, then that candidate may be too poorly informed (ignorant) to be Mayor.

If the answer is “Yes”, then the question is “Why haven’t you done something about it?”  Especially Lee and Brewster, who have recently sworn oaths to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare ( Carole’s oath, last taken in 1981, has probably worn off by now ).

This morning, I went for a walk in the park, my daily constitutional.  As usual, I had to dodge the UPS and Fed-ex trucks that constantly criss-cross the neighborhood, spewing toxic clouds of exhaust, poisoning the air wherever they go

Why do we tolerate this?  It’s another sign of weakness in the environment movement.

Here’s what a Mayor…or city councilmember…who truly cared about the environment  or the health and welfare of the people would do:  write a letter to UPS, Fed-ex, and Dhl, explaining that it is unsustainable for them to continue to drive their polluting, carcinogenic behemoths all over town, every day, fouling the people’s air and contributing to global warming.  The city could work with them to convert to smaller, battery-powered vehicles.  The city could urge them to be the first one to enjoy the competitive advantage of “going green”.

Big Brown…what can you do for me today?  Go Green!!  Stop spreading that Big Brown toxic cloud coming from your vehicles!

Fed-ex…the citizens of Austin are “Fed-up” with your trucks polluting their air and poisoning the planet.  Let us help you make $$$ without poisoning everyone!

The city, which has launched a climate protection program with much fanfare, should calculate the carbon-footprint of these delivery companies and actually DO SOMETHING about it.

But Will wynn doesn’t really care…he’s already gotten what he wanted: his picture in the paper and a puff-piece saying how “green” he is.  In the 70’s and 80’s, you actually had to DO SOMETHING to be an environmentalist.

I doubt that any of these Mayoral candidates will do anything about it, either.

We haven’t seen any good strong environmental public policy since I left office in 1996…only a lot of greenwashing.  And the big problem with greenwashing, in addition to the hypocrisy, is that the people think something is being done…when it isn’t.  The people are lead to believe that things are getting better, when they are really getting worse!

Time is a luxury we can no longer afford!

“Who should I vote for?”

So I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop when this guy walks up–a stranger–and says, “Max, who should I vote for in the Mayor’s race?”  This happens a lot.

I tell him that I don’t know, I haven’t decided who I’m supporting yet…and since I vote on election day, I still have time to make up my mind.

Here’s my problem:  I’m a strong environmentalist AND a fiscal conservative…there’s no candidate in the race like that.  Lee and Brewster are both big spenders…huge spenders!  In their years on the city council, they have only spent more and more money.  They can’t tell anyone “NO”!  Why?  Because the way you make friends in politics is by spreading money around.  That’s why they hire all these consultants, and want to build all these projects we can’t afford.  Their political ambitions and their wild spending have put the city in a very precarious financial condition.  We are really out of position to deal with the economic conditions we find ourselves in.

Carol is “right on” to run against their unsustainable spending.  What were  Lee and Brew thinking when they gave $60+ MILLION to the wealthiest retail chains in the nation to come to Austin ( The Domain ).  If (when) those stores start pulling out, it will be clearly revealed how reckless they were with our money.  And how much have they spent in subsidizing the Second street retail area?  And how much did they give to the Marriott Corp. to destroy Las Manitas?

Lee and Brew have spent nearly $100 MILLION to turn Austin into Dallas.

How much have they spent on protecting the environment?  On reducing the city’s carbon footprint?  Very little…

As Molly Ivins used to say, “Watch what they do, not what they say.”  That is, watch where they spend money…that reveals their true priorities.   Talk is cheap…

The Problem with Carol is that she doesn’t care about the environment…never has, and obviously still doesn’t.  In fact, her choice of Louise Epstein as her campaign treasurer is a clear signal that she is hostile to the environment.  ( I served with Louise on the City Council, and she was a disaster for the environment, fighting every effort to protect the land, air, and water ).  

If elected, Carol would be much better on fiscal issues, which are front-and-center right now, but she would take this opportunity to dismantle the environmental programs that I and many others have fought for over the last thirty years.

On the other hand, Lee and Brew have records as Big Spenders, and we can no longer afford that.  Our financial crisis is only going to worsen, and they are still talking about bond elections for hundreds of MILLIONS…They are still oblivious to the new economic reality.

So pick your poison, Austin.  If you are an environmentalist who also is concerned about the ever-escalating cost of living here, you have no one to vote FOR…

I can hardly believe it has come to this…

MAX

Mayoral candidate debate

CRC and ADL

JCRC 2009 Austin Mayor and City Council Candidate Forum

Date: April 29, 2009
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Add to your calendar

Location: Show map
Dell Jewish Community Campus
7300 Hart Lane
Austin, TX 78731

Contact: Lisa Goodgame
Phone: (512) 735-8012
Email: lisa.goodgame@shalomaustin.org

Hosted by the JCAA’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC),
the first portion of the program will be dedicated to the Mayoral race
and the second program portion will integrate additional Council candidates.
Austin Area Interreligious Ministries (AAIM), and Harvard Business School Alumni Club

and Northwest Austin Civic Association are co-sponsoring the forum.

This event is free of charge, but we do request that you RSVP

Mayoral Forum Press Release Event Details Flier

Confirmed Participants:

Mayoral Candidates City Council Candidates
Lee Leffingwell Perla Cavazos (Place 1)
Brewster McCracken Chris Riley (Place 1)
Carole Keeton Strayhorn Mike Martinez (Place 2)
Jose Quintero (Place 2)
Sheryl Cole (Place 6)
Samuel Osemene (Place 6)

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

max

what the polls say

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin voters are split three ways on who they want to support for mayor, with only single-digit percentage points separating the top three candidates, according to a KXAN-sponsored poll released late Tuesday.

And with the May 9 election just over two weeks away, nearly a quarter of local voters are still undecided.

City Councilman Lee Leffingwell edges ahead with 27 percent of support. He is followed closely by Mayor Pro-Tem Brewster McCracken at 24 percent. Former mayor Carole Keeton Strayhorn has 21 percent.

A full 22 percent are still undecided.

Austin Mayor candidates speak for themselves

From a News 8 Austin televised public debate of Austin, Texas Mayor candidates.

MCCRACKEN: Thanks, Paul. I want to thank News 8 for giving us the chance to speak directly to Austin voters. This election comes at a critical time in Austin’s history. For a generation, the semiconductor industry has been the foundation of our economy. Now, these jobs are moving over seas. How will Austin respond to this challenge? Will we move forward or will we be content to stand still and watch others pass us by? I believe Austin can lead in tomorrow’s economy in clean energy and biotech and health care in the creative media sectors. I believe the Mayor can play a critical role in making that happen. I fully understand the city faces tough budget challenges and I am committed to preserving basic city services, but I believe we can tackle today’s problems and move forward into the future at the same time. In fact, I think we have to do both. This is the approach I brought to City Council and that is the approach I will bring if I have the honor of being your Mayor.

INGALLS Thank you. I am running for Mayor because I feel that our current government no longer represents the people and instead it represents only the special interests that exist now simply for the sake of having government and we need to return to a government that exists for its original purpose and why we put it there and it is to help the people and to ensure quality of life for the people and also because I want to tackle the issues that our current sitting government is neglecting such as our homeless population, our job loss and also our mental health problems and other healthcare problems, the things that really affect the majority of our city because must of our city do make over $40,000.00 a year, so therefore, they are considered to be the poverty level of our society. Those are the people that need our help most and those are the people that we need to be reaching out and putting our attention to because they have been neglected for a long time.

BUTTROSS: I’m David Buttross and I would like to be your next Mayor. Every day at City Council, business decisions are being made by politicians and I believe you need a business man to make those decisions. I’ve helped over a thousand renters because homeowners in Austin, Texas, adding over a hundred million dollars to the tax space and over $2.5 million a year in extra tax revenue for the City of Austin. I have also created a small business incubator at 7901 Cameron Road to help the small businesses of Austin. I think the city needs to get out of the way of business. They need to shrink in size. They need to be more helpful for businesses and people. The bureaucracy is tying their hands and there is so much more that we can do as a city. If elected Mayor, I will help streamline and cut the fat out of the Austin budget. We’ve got over a thousand people who make over $100,000.00 a year who work for the City of Austin. We need to start cutting fat soon. Thank you very much.

STRAYHORN: Thanks Paul, and Reagan and Channel 8. I’m Carol Keaton Strayhorn and I’m running for Mayor because I love Austin. I will be a leader. I will be accountable and I will energize this city’s government. This city has given me a lifetime of shear joy and it’s time to give back my lifetime of experience. This is the 20 and 30 and 40 year olds that inspire me. This race is about our future. My priority is an Austin city government that Austinites can afford. Tie spending to inflation, population growth and our families incomes. Get Austin moving. Quit studying the traffic problems and start fixing them and create leverage and retain jobs right here in Austin. I want to build a world class medical school in Austin right now.

LEFFINGWELL: Thanks Paul and Reagan. I am running for Mayor of Austin to be the 51st Mayor of Austin, Texas because I think we need a strong steady hand in the Mayor’s office to keep us focused on the fundamentals and that’s jobs and certainly we need to attract new major employers, but we also need to promote diversity in our economy so that we don’t put all of our eggs in one basket with a major emphasis on local small business. We need to address traffic issues with a bond election for roads, sidewalks and bike facilities in 2010. We need to maintain levels of public safety and social services so that people don’t fall through our safety net. We need to emphasize more environmental protection with a specific emphasis on water and energy conservation and we need to do a lot more with respect to open government to make City Hall more transparent, more inclusive and more accountable

The entire debate at

http://www.news8austin.com/content/your_news/default.asp?ArID=238738

gearing up for the Mayors race

We’ve cleared the deck on this site by moving the old AustinMayor.com site to

http://austinmayor.com/austinmayor/

which will become our historical achive for that historical mayors race between Will Wynn, Max Nofziger, Marc Katz and that restauranteur guy.

It’s a new era and new mayor’s race and this site has a new head cook and dishwasher.  This new guy is someone you may remember from that 2003 Mayor’s race, Max Nofziger, and he’s looking for a few good men and women to help him blog about this year’s mayors race and the issues that confront the city.  If you’re interested in helping Max or have any comments, please add your comments in the comment section of this or any other blog post on this site.