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TV takes big bite out of campaign chests

Monday, June 6, 2005 by

Clarke's total expenditures $101,000 to Kim's $51,500

Both contenders for the Place 3 City Council race filed their campaign finance reports with the City Clerk’s Office on Friday. Neither revealed any startling information, but the Margot Clarke campaign spent nearly twice the money as the Jennifer Kim campaign in the time period covered by the report—April 29 through June 1. Clarke, given a more than $91,600 boost by the city’s Fair Campaign Finance Ordinance, raised approximately $41,000 more for a total of more than $134,000. Kim continued to demonstrate her fundraising prowess, bringing in $72,520.

Clarke has not repaid herself any of the $41,750 she loaned the campaign.She had spent nearly $101,000 and Kim had spent $51,503 through last Wednesday.

The largest expenditure for the Clarke campaign was for $40,000 to Rindy Miller Media for TV ad production and placement. Campaign manager Elliott McFadden said $35,000 of that amount was the ad buy and $5,000 was spent on production. Likewise for Kim, the largest expenditure was a $20,000 media buy paid to the Davis Group. She also paid $1,000 to tweak her previous television commercial, adding some endorsements.

Clarke’s campaign consultants, Ignite Consulting, received a hefty payment of $6,000 on May 21, but McFadden said that included some back pay. Ignite received separate sums totaling more than $13,000 for printing and mailing voter materials, voter identification phone calls, and buying print ads. McFadden explained that Ignite has its own AutoDial machine. “For the ID calls we contracted to an outside vendor and then took care of paying them, much like we make sure the postage and printing gets paid,” later invoicing the candidate, he said.

Glenn Maxey, who joined the campaign for the runoff, also got $1,500.

Former Place 3 candidate Mandy Dealey gave Kim a $100 contribution although Dealey did not make an endorsement. Kim also received a contribution from former director of the National Security Agency Bobby Inman and Clarke received a contribution from US Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. Both candidates received $100 contributions from the Austin Board of Realtors, while only Kim got a contribution from the Austin Apartment Association, which has also put up signs in various locations touting its endorsement of her. Kim’s contributors include numerous engineers and the Camp Dresser McKee PAC. She also received contributions from Lowell Lebermann and Johanna Zmud, who sit on the Central Texas RMA board. Clarke has numerous lawyers amongst her contributors and has made refusal to take “toll road lobby” funds a cornerstone of her campaign.

Kim’s fundraiser, Yael Ouzillon, received a consulting fee of $3,564. Campaign consultant Peck Young received a $2,000 consulting fee and was paid separately for producing Kim’s yard signs. Littlefield Consulting, Mark Littlefield and Rick Cofer, was paid $2,050. Littlefield is doing a phone bank operation for the campaign. Although consultant David Butts is still working for the campaign, he did not receive a payment during the time period covered by the report. Young noted that Butts did get paid for the May 7 election, adding that each consultant makes his own arrangement with the candidate.

Because of the prohibition on a candidate receiving more than $15,000 in an election or $10,000 in a runoff from non-City of Austin residents, Kim had to return several checks, totaling about $500 to non-Austin residents.

New tennis courts still in question

New rule would allow fine of $5,000 per day

Members of the Galindo Neighborhood Association are not satisfied with a proposed compromise over new tennis courts at South Austin Park. The Zoning and Platting Commission recently rejected a conditional use permit for a proposal to build eight new courts, but members did say they would allow for a total of four new courts. But that decision, reached after a marathon hearing with testimony from park neighbors and tennis players, is continuing to draw opposition from Galindo-area residents, who have taken their complaints to the City Council during citizens' communications.

"Everyone has agreed that this park site is not a place for a large regional tournament facility, and Council needs to address the policy directive to the city manager that takes a court expansion of South Austin Tennis Center off the agenda," said Kathryn Kawazie at a recent Council meeting. "Any expansion will result in solidifying South Austin Tennis Center as the largest public tennis facility in Austin and as a regional tournament facility."

Several opponents also spoke out at the May 19 Council meeting, just a few days after the ZAP's support of four new courts, not eight. "It is socially and environmentally unacceptable for a facility to consume most of the open park space in the neighborhood's only park," said Jessica Gordon. "The South Austin Tennis Center expansion is out of scale and an inappropriate use for our neighborhood park. Locating a large number of courts significantly closer to the park perimeter diminishes the quality of life for surrounding residents."

Supporters of the new courts have not turned out at Council meetings, but did have a significant presence at the ZAP meeting on the conditional use permit. "As far as tennis facilities are concerned, Austin lags way, way behind," said tennis player Larry York. "We don't really have anything that we could call home and be really proud of aesthetically. We could do better, and we're only asking for eight additional courts." South Austin resident Sam Zweiger told the ZAP that the eight courts proposed would help alleviate the need city-wide for more facilities for tennis players. "Austin is a large city, we're growing," he said. "We need more public courts. We have plenty of private courts. We need them in one spot." Building those courts at South Austin Park, he said, was necessary to fulfill a promise the city made years ago. "The integrity of Austin is in a bond election we had, which I was here and voted for in 1998. The citizens, as a majority, voted for bonds for additional courts in South Austin, and I hope we build them."

That has been the position of the city staff involved in the project. Stuart Strong of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department told ZAP Commissioners that the department had drawn up the plans for eight courts in line with the 1998 bond vote. "When you went to the ballot, you saw the words that 'playgrounds, ball fields, and tennis courts' would be included," Strong said. He also addressed concerns from neighborhood residents that more impervious cover at the park would aggravate drainage problems. "Part of our plan includes a raised trail that circumvents the park. Because it's raised, it will catch and channel the water into the drainage facility," he said.

Although the ZAP asked the Parks and Recreation Department to come up with a new plan for four courts at the location, there may be support on the City Council to build those courts elsewhere. "I asked the City Manager about pursuing a co-location agreement with AISD," said Council Member Brewster McCracken. "I think that would be a good solution, if we do something like that it will provide what I think the tennis community wants, an expanded tennis capacity, and also preserves South Austin Park." Parks Department Director Warren Struss told McCracken the department would pursue that option. "Obviously, we want to get joined at the hip with AISD to pursue those programs," he said. If that were to take place, Galindo residents have argued that the intent of the 1998 bond election could be fulfilled by making other improvements at South Austin Park that do not involved constructing new tennis courts.

©2005 In Fact News, Inc. All rights reserved.

Mayor signs environmental accords . . . On Sunday, Mayor Will Wynn joined world leaders at the World Environment Day celebration in San Francisco to sign the Urban Environmental Accords. The accords are an endorsement of the United Nations 21 efforts to advance sustainability, foster vibrant economics and protect the planet’s natural resources. ( Last week, the City of Austin received a Sustainable Cities Award from SustainLane, a part of the World Environment Day celebration. Wynn asked Austin environmentalist Robin Rather to serve as proxy to receive the award. The award is given to cities that show leadership in green building, providing a pedestrian-friendly urban center and preservation of open space . . . CAMPO board to vote tonight. . . The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Policy Board finally will vote on the CAMPO 2030 plan on tonight. The final vote on the plan was delayed an extra month until the legislative session was completed. The Central Texas Vision Coalition, which is made up of members of various other organizations, such as the Save Our Springs Alliance, Liveable City, People for Efficient Transportation and the Save Barton Creek Association have been running ads in the Austin Chronicle opposing the plan. There will be an attempt to amend the proposal, but such an amendment will likely have an uphill battle . . . Early voting . . . As previously observed, more people voted at the early voting locations at Northcross Mall than any other location. This weekend, however, the Randall’s store on South MoPac was the hot spot, with Northcross second and the Randall’s on Research Blvd third. Voters in East Austin seem not to know or care about this round of voting, with vote totals lagging. With two days to go, Travis County Clerk Dana de Beauvoir reported last night that a total of 12,010 or 2.94 percent of the city’s registered voters had voted so far. Based on experience, it seems unlikely that voters will turn out in the numbers they did for the May 7 ballot, which was driven not only by three races but also by the hot-button smoking ban issue . . . Fans needed . . . Family Eldercare will kick off its 15th annual summer fan drive beginning at 9am today at the group’s office, 2210 Hancock Drive. The non-profit agency, in conjunction with 41 distribution partners, hopes to deliver more than 6,100 fans to low-income elderly Central Texans. For more information, call Tina Hester at 483-3563 . . . Levin says he’s not a Libertarian . . . Outspoken conservative Marc Levin has sent an email to In Fact Daily stating that he is not a member of the Libertarian Party. Levin, who is well known for his conservative point-of-view, says he has voted in the Republican Primary.

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