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Austinites file to run for new Council seats

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Jo Clifton

(Reporter Gene Davis assisted in the preparation of this story.)

By the end of business Monday, the Austin City Clerk’s Office had assisted 76 78 Austinites wishing to serve their community as members of the new 10-1 City Council. There were a number of new entrants into the races, as well as a number of would-be candidates who decided not to run after all.

City Clerk Janette Goodall said, “I think it’s going to be a good thing for the voters to vote from their districts. I hope that translates into higher voter turnout.” She noted that there were 23 more than 20 applicants on Monday alone.

Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, the best known of the more than a dozen who filed ballot applications Monday, said she’s found that traffic, affordability and water are the three most important issues among voters. Cole said she is encouraged by her conversations with voters and is looking forward to the election.

Joining Cole in the race for mayor are Council Member Mike Martinez, attorney Steve Adler, and five others: Ron Culver, David Orshalick, Todd Phelps, Randall Stevens and the newest candidate, Mary Krenek.

Newcomer Krenek said she decided several years ago to run for city office, though she only showed up on the radar Monday, filing both a treasurer designation and a ballot application for mayor.

Asked what her main issues will be, Krenek said, “A keep-Austin-weird thing, modernize and ‘environmentalize’ the city. But one of my main concerns is election fraud.” She is also concerned about the “constitutional merits of election machines.” Krenek went on to name bicycles, trees and recycling as platform topics. She said her campaign would primarily consist of Friday night parties and educating the public.

CarolAnnRose Kennedy, who prefers to be called just Kennedy, is the second woman to file for the District 5 seat. Council watchers may remember Kennedy, who has spoken to and serenaded the Council in the past.

Kennedy explained that she retired from the IRS in 2005 and wants to “give back to America.” She said she has been in training for a leadership position and doing volunteer work since then. She listed the environment, marijuana legalization, recycling, police brutality, homelessness and helping veterans as her major issues.

Dave Floyd, a lawyer and business consultant, also filed for the District 5 seat Monday. Similar to Cole, Floyd said water, traffic and affordability are the big concerns facing Austin.

Kennedy and Floyd join Dan Buda, Jason Denney,  Ann Kitchen, Mike Rodriguez and David Senecal in the central South Austin district.

Ed Scruggs, who is running in District 8, said his number one issue is taxation and affordability. “Austin is in an affordability crisis for renters, homeowners … all the way around. We’ve got to get a handle on it soon or I see really hard times ahead. It’s hard to see that right now, with as well as things appear to be. But I’ve talked to many people door-to-door who are very concerned, angry and even scared about the future. And that doesn’t sound like the good times to me. And it really motivates me to continue on in this because we’ve got to do something.”

Scruggs faces Eliza May, Becky Bray, Ellen Troxclair and Darrell Pierce for the District 8 seat.

Norman Jacobson is running to take fluoride out of the water. He is a retired engineer who lives in District 1.

George Hindman, another District 1 candidate, said in addition to the pressing issues of traffic, water and affordability, he is concerned with freedom of speech and privacy rights. Hindman, an engineer, added that District 1 has issues with unemployment and underemployment, and that he “hasn’t seen other candidates really address that.”

Jacobson and Hindman face Andrew Bucknall, Michael Cargill, Ora Houston, Chris Hutchins, DeWayne Lofton, Valerie Menard and Samuel Osemene for the District 1 seat.

Jason Meeker, who is running in District 10, said, “The issue that everyone wants to talk to me about in District 10 is transportation.” He said he is concerned about the way the rail route has been planned because it does not appear to impact the majority of Austinites. He said he has not made up his mind about whether he will vote for it. Meeker faces Margie Burciaga, Tina Cannon Mandy Dealey, Sherri Gallo, Matt Lamon, Robert Thomas and Bill Worsham in this race.

Marco Mancillas, 35, moved to Austin 15 years ago from Brownsville. He said the most important issue in District 4 is affordability. He said people who have lived here for a long time need to be assured that they will not be forced out because they can’t afford to continue to live in Austin. He noted that District 4 is a very diverse district, with 80 percent of its population renting.

Also a candidate for District 4, Gregorio Casar said his experience as a community organizer made him want to elevate the voices of the district. “I’m running for City Council because I’ve seen over the years, here at City Hall, there is a lack of attention to the needs of regular folks and working folks. District 4 is primarily a district made of working people who are not sharing in Austin’s prosperity enough and not having their voices heard enough.”

Joining Mancillas and Casar in the race are Katrina Daniel, Monica Guzman, Louis Herrin III, Sharon Mays, Roberto Perez Jr. and Laura Pressley.

Edward Reyes, who filed for District 2, is the president of the Dove Springs Neighborhood Association. He said District 2 residents, who include “educators, veterans, hard workers and business owners,” want their fair chance at City Hall. “Our district, we want to have access and we want to be at the table for decisions.”

John C. Sheppard filed for District 2 right at the 5 p.m. deadline. Sheppard, who runs a small real estate company with his wife, said his daughter, a political science major, convinced him that morning to run for the seat. “I’ve always been a believer in saying that if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain. I complain a lot, so I figure I better do more than just vote.”

Sheppard and Reyes face Delia Garza and Mike Owen in the race.

Christopher Hoerster, who filed for District 3, said he has thought about running for office since 2012. The former housing specialist with Caritas Austin said he was particularly upset that “there are companies that have come in and bought all the affordable housing on Riverside, and now it’s not affordable.”

Hoerster is one of 12 candidates running for District 3.

Darryl Wittle, a District 7 candidate, also said that affordability, traffic and water are the big issues facing Austin. However, unlike several candidates, he said the current Council has done a good job, and the city will likely face those three issues “ad infinitum.” “I think we have to have some positive action that’s going to quell some of peoples’ fears. We are becoming a big city; there is no closing that barn door, there is no unringing that bell, it’s done.”

Joining Wittle in the District 7 race are Jeb Boyt, Ed English, Zachary Ingraham, Jimmy Paver, Leslie Pool, Pete Salazar Jr. and Melissa Zone.

(The number of candidates was updated Aug. 19 to reflect updated information.)


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