Martinez tries to paint Adler as rich, out of touch
Thursday, September 11, 2014 by Jo Clifton
Mayoral candidate Mike Martinez’s campaign continued its attacks on opponent Steve Adler on Wednesday, alleging that he “owns a villa at Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, one of the most exclusive resorts in Mexico.”
That proved to be an exaggeration. Bo Delp, Martinez’s deputy campaign manager, said they got the information from Adler’s recently filed financial statement.
But the Monitor examined Adler’s financial statement and found that Adler actually disclosed “1/12 ownership, unit 1703, Esperanza resort, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.” In other words, Adler has the right to occupy a timeshare unit for one month out of the year.
It’s all part of the Martinez campaign’s attempt to show that Adler is out of touch with the middle class, and that his proposed 20 percent homestead exemption would help the wealthy to the detriment of the poor and middle class.
In a news release, Delp said, “Steve Adler is desperate to change the conversation after revelations that he would force hardworking middle-class renters in Austin to pay nearly $80 more per year for his $36 million plan to give millionaires tax breaks … I’m not sure if Steve came up with his plan while summering at his villa in Cabo, but I sure hope he sees that it will hurt, not help, middle-class families here in Austin.”
When the Monitor asked Delp whether he made a mistake in referring to Adler’s timeshare as a villa, he responded, “Ownership is a term Adler used first on his PFS (personal financial statement), not us, and just for additional background. Villas are definitely on site at the resort.”
The campaign of Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, on the other hand, did not criticize Adler directly, but contrasted Adler’s plan with Cole’s work on the City Council. Cole campaign consultant Genevieve Van Cleve said in an email, “Adler’s got a great staff and lots of resources; if he wants to create a beautiful plan on paper, he certainly can. He has time for great graphics, considered opinions and loads of research to back up his positions. However, if the budget talks have taught us nothing else, the mayor’s plan or ideology can result in 6-1 vote — over and over and over again.”
Van Cleve was referring of course to Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s repeated “no” votes on budget amendments and, in the end, on the budget itself.
Cole worked to make sure that the decision to try to buy the Bull Creek property would not move forward without proper financial analysis. She also slowed it down considerably, but it seems unlikely that the resolution would have passed as it was originally proposed, telling the city manager to negotiate and execute the purchase.
Van Cleve added, “Whoever the next mayor of Austin is — the plan on paper is a good place to start, but certainly isn’t enough. The next mayor of Austin is actually going to have to be able to work with the Council publicly or go into Executive Session and get something done.”
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