Tag Archives: election

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

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

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.

Brian Rodgers endorses Carole

Brian Rodgers and changeaustin.ORG endorse Carole Keeton Strayhorn for Mayor as someone who will shake things up. Brian criticises Leffingwell and McCracken’s overspending, and cites numerous examples (eg. the Domain). Carole is committed to “sunshine and open government” and responsible spending, as Brian says.

Now, if Carole will make a committment to the environment . . .

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