Tag Archives: government

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

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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