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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014 by Elizabeth Pagano
RECA forum discusses the effects of districts on Austin city politics
Politically attuned Austinites continue to wrestle with the uncertain future that the 10-
The forum, moderated by the Austin Monitor’s
LBJ School of Public Affairs Professor Terrell Blodgett, former San Antonio City Manager Alex Briseño, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and political consultant Mark Littlefield tackled the topic for those present at the Four Seasons on Tuesday afternoon.
Blodgett said that November’s election will be “the most critical election that this city has faced, probably ever.”
“The mayor is going to have the job of herding that bunch of cats,” said Blodgett.
Blodgett said that early indications from City Council candidates showed a focus on their district’s interests, which worried him. He said that, in particular, the mayoral election would shape the direction of the new system.
“If the mayor
Saying that she wasn’t afraid of the changes to come, Cole expects that the new
Littlefield said that, in his opinion, the biggest change for the
Littlefield said that while in the past it was possible for the
“Not only are you going to see two districts that
Littlefield put his faith in Austin’s voters, quipping that one of Austin’s best qualities is that
“I trust Austin voters,” said Littlefield. “Yeah, it could be a disaster. But, I go into it with
When asked whether the complete overhaul in
He said the way he got beyond that was a lot of hard work from his office to ensure that the city’s needs were being met, and nurturing the talent pool of elected officials for smoother transitions.
“I didn’t really see a transfer of power to the staff. What I saw was more accountability for staff,” said Briseño.
As for what may come, Cole said she saw a future as bright as the very bright present.
“I remember when there was only one crane in the
Cole, along with Council Member Mike Martinez is widely expected to run for Mayor. Others eyeing that race in the outsider category include Steve Adler, Patsy Martin and Bill McClellan.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council November 2014 Elections: The November 2014 Austin City Council elections marked a shift from an all-at-large City Council to one elected based mostly on geographic districts. The city's Mayor remains elected at-large.
Council-Manager government: Austin has a council-manager form of government. Under this system the elected city council is responsible for the legislative portion of our government. The city council-appointed city manager carries hires staff and is responsible for implementation of city ordinances.
Real Estate Council of Austin: 501(c)6 for "more than 1,700 commercial real estate professionals representing the top leaders in the Central Texas business community." RECA is a donor to the Capital of Texas Media Foundation, the parent of the Austin Monitor.