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Election roundup for City Council Districts 6-10

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 by Austin Monitor

Close District 6 race will see December runoff

District 6 candidates Don Zimmerman, Jimmy Flannigan and Jay Wiley all remained within 375 votes of each other as of publication. If that holds, Zimmerman and Flannigan would face each other in a Dec 16 runoff.

Zimmerman celebrated at his campaign office on Anderson Mill Road with a small group of his staff, including campaign manager and wife, Jennifer.

Zimmerman turned to the failed 2014 rail bond. He said he wasn’t surprised voters failed to support Proposition 1, adding he campaigned on the slogan “roads not rails,” since the start of the race.

“The urban rail is a horrible idea,” he said.

Zimmerman also said fellow candidate Mackenzie Kelly, who earned less than 10 percent of the vote, called him to say she would support him in the runoff election.

Flannigan joined state representative candidate John Bucy at his election night party at Third Base Sports Bar. “I know once the final votes are counted, we’re going to head into a runoff with a lot of momentum,” he said.

Still, Wiley remained well within striking distance as of press time.

(This story was written by Kara Nuzback and Mark Richardson)

Pool and Boyt in likely District 7 face-off

In District 7, Leslie Pool pulled in just over 32 percent of the vote as the Monitor prepared to run its morning edition. Pool maintained her lead after Election Day results came in. If the numbers hold, she’ll face Jeb Boyd, who scored nearly 17 percent of the vote, in a December runoff election.

Pool, the best-heeled candidate in District 7, put together a sizable war chest, combining some $27,000 in contributions with a $40,000 loan. She drew endorsements from the Sierra Club, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Education Austin, Stonewall Democrats and Black Austin Democrats. She also shares endorsements with Jeb Boyt from the Austin Chronicle, Clean Water Action and Bike Austin.

Pool, 59, has lived in Austin for the past 34 years. She works for Constable Precinct 5 Carlos Lopez as an executive assistant. She was previously an education policy staffer for State Rep Ann Kitchen at the Texas Legislature from 2000-03. Pool’s main issues were affordability, and the corridor plan study of Burnet Road, which she calls the “spine” of District 7.

Boyt built a war chest with $36,000 in contributions and $28,000 in loans, while drawing endorsements from AURA, Austin Young Democrats, Burnt Orange Report, Real Estate Council of Austin, University Democrats, Austin American Statesman and Austin Environmental Democrats. He shared endorsements with Leslie Pool from the Austin Chronicle, Clean Water Action and Bike Austin.

Boyt, 50, is an attorney specializing in governmental relations and administrative law. A Democrat, Boyt has worked for the Texas Attorney General, as well as the Railroad Commission and the Texas General Land Office. Boyt campaigned on issues such as affordability, transportation and accountability. He supports affordable housing and reducing the cost of building. He also supports urban rail, I-35 updates and Lone Star Rail.

District 7 consists of two distinct neighborhoods — one is an established North Central area sandwiched between two high-volume traffic arteries, and the other a more recently developed suburban region, still looking for the city to provide pools, parks and sidewalks. The district encompasses the Crestview, Allandale and Brentwood neighborhoods in the south, bounded by MoPac Boulevard and U.S. 183, and the Gracywoods, Milwood and Preston Oaks neighborhoods, sitting between Braker Lane on the south and Wells Branch Parkway on the north.

(This story was written by Kara Nuzback and Mark Richardson)

District 8 to see Troxclair, Scruggs in runoff vote

Ellen Troxclair and Ed Scruggs will be in a runoff election Dec. 16 to represent the southwest neighborhoods of District 8. Troxclair polled about 26.6 percent of the votes while opponent Scruggs was close behind with 25.6 percent

Troxclair is a real estate agent and chief of staff to State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs). She has a degree in business from the University of Texas. Troxclair has emphasized dealing with skyrocketing property taxes and gridlocked traffic, as well as providing better roads, facilities and services for neighborhoods. She raised $55,921 and loaned her campaign $55,000.

Scruggs, the founder of the Circle C Democrats, is a clinical research associate at PRA International. He is also a former director of the Circle C Homeowners Association. Among his campaign issues are transportation, including developing mass transit; fixing the Oak Hill Y but opposing SH 45 SW; water conservation and alternative energy programs; and housing affordability through controlling the cost of living in Austin. Scruggs raised $23,231 and loaned his campaign $26,264.

Troxclair told the Monitor at her election night party at Santa Rita Cantina on Slaughter Lane that she is “humbled and grateful for the support.”

“I think it just proves that southwest Austin is ready for a taxpayer advocate and someone who is going to take a stand when it comes to being able to afford to live in this city in the future.”

Troxclair supporter Ben Stratmann said he is “really excited to have a fiscal conservative, an appropriate spender and a smart representative for the people to look out for us down here in southwest Austin.”

Scruggs said at his election night party at Serranos on West US 290 that he and his team are “very confident that we can hold (our place) and maybe even move up a little bit and go from number two to number one.”

Scruggs said that southwest Austin and District 8 “haven’t had a voice for a long time.” He said that, if elected, he’d advocate for a solution to traffic congestion, protecting open spaces, parks and water quality and supporting schools in the area, which he said are “in serious need right now due to overcrowding and other issues.”

Scruggs supporter Yvonne Massey Davis said she believes Scruggs is “the most hardworking, dedicated public servant there is in Austin,” and that he is “most in tune with the issues and the voters that concern District 8.” Davis said the issues that concern her the most as a resident of the district are transportation, affordability and the environment.

Becky Bray, a transportation engineer and land planner reported raising $51,000 and loaning her campaign an additional $50,000. She also reported that she has repaid $20,000 of that. She indicated on her latest report that she has about $76,000 left in the bank. Bray’s civic involvement includes the Real Estate Council of Austin and the Capital Area Transportation Coalition. She campaigned on her transportation expertise, support for construction of State Highway 45 SW, fiscal responsibility, providing affordable housing and developing water conservation plans for the city.

Eliza May reported that she loaned her campaign $24,000 and had contributions of $34,895. She is the director of mission services at the Austin affiliate of Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure. May was an original supporter of the Save Our Springs Alliance and helped lead the effort to pass the 10-1 voting system and the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. May says the major issues facing District 8 include traffic, rising tax burdens and threats to the water supply brought on by drought and unmanaged growth.

Darrell Pierce is president of SNAP Management Group, a consulting firm. He has also worked for IBM, the State of Texas and Motorola. He reported raising a total of $85,750 and loaning his campaign $2,500.

He currently serves on the mayor’s Transportation Working Group. His primary issues include transportation, including securing adequate funding to support a regional transit study in South Austin and finding a solution for congestion at the Oak Hill Y, developing affordable housing, creating economic diversity and making city government operate more efficiently.

More than 77,000 people live in District 8. Its southern tip extends to Hays County and its northernmost section includes parts of Zilker Park. Along the way, it picks up the Oak Hill and Circle C neighborhoods and reaches west to the Barton Creek Preserve. District 8, along with Districts 6 and 10, represent the western portions of the city. More than 80 percent of the voters in District 8 are white.

(This story was written by Jo Clifton and Tyler Whitson)

Tovo takes commanding lead over Riley in District 9

Council Member Kathie Tovo took a commanding lead over fellow Council Member Chris Riley for the District 9 Council seat on Tuesday evening. As of publication, Tovo was ahead with 49.64 percent of the vote. Riley tallied 39.4.

Tovo’s count was just under the magic 50 percent figure necessary for Council members to avoid a runoff. The non-incumbent in that race, Erin McGann, received 10.89 percent of the vote, creating that possibility.

It was a hard fought battle. Tovo and Riley, who have been on the same side of most votes during the past three years since Tovo joined the Council, have sparred more frequently in the last few months, but most of their disagreements have come in the form of advertising.

Tovo gained endorsements from the Austin American-Statesman and the Austin Chronicle, as well as the Austin Police Association PAC, the Austin Neighborhoods Council and the Austin Central Labor Council. Riley was endorsed by the Austin Firefighters Association PAC, the Real Estate Council of Austin, Austin Board of Realtors and the Austin Apartment Association PAC.

Tovo has loaned her campaign $40,000 this year but the campaign still owes her more than $100,000 from her campaign in 2011. Riley had no debt from his last race and has loaned his campaign $25,000.

One of the main points of contention between them is about density. Riley, a downtown resident, has pushed the vision of the city in which granny flats help ease Austin’s affordability crisis. Tovo worries about the added burden on neighborhoods already stressed by too many cars, too many festivals and too many businesses without enough parking.

Riley has also sponsored a city ordinance to help alternative transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft. Tovo has fought hard against that ordinance and she has considerable support from traditional taxi companies.

District 9 encompasses the central core of the city. MoPac and Lamar Boulevards border the area on the west, Manor Road and Interstate 35 on the east, Oltorf Street on the south and 51st Street on the north. District 9 includes most of downtown and the University of Texas campus but does not include the Capitol or most of the state office complex. Residential neighborhoods include Bouldin and Travis Heights to the south, Clarksville and Hyde Park on the north and Cherrywood and Mueller on the east.

Riley lives downtown and is one of the founders of the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association. He is strongly associated with new urbanism and density, especially downtown. He practiced law before joining the City Council in 2009. Riley is also known for his support of alternative energy resources, including solar and wind, to power Austin Energy.

Tovo was first elected to Council in 2011 with the overwhelming support of central city neighborhoods like Bouldin, where she used to live and the West University area, where she now resides. She is a former member of the Planning Commission and a former writing teacher at the University of Texas. Tovo stresses neighborhood protection and affordable housing as well as needs of families with children.

For her part, Tovo was ready to jump right back into work. “I’ll continue to focus on a lot of the issues that I focused on in this term: affordability, education… some of the issues that I have talked about this campaign, but really have focused on in my time on Council,” she told the Monitor. “I may take a little time off tomorrow, but not a lot of time, because we have Council on Thursday.”

As for the possibility of a runoff, she remained confident. ““We’ll do what we did in the general election, which is to run a really strong campaign, with a huge base of community support and just talk to as many District 9 voters as I can,” she said.

Riley told the Monitor that he is “gratified by all the hard work that our team has put in.” He cited “a lot of support from a lot of good friends and very enthusiastic folks throughout the district.”

He continued on to cite reportedly long waits on election day, especially in the UT area. He noted that he and his team would continue to watch those percents as results come in. As for a runoff, Riley said he would “look carefully at the election day results.”

“I am confident that if we are within shooting distance of victory in this race, that the campaign team that has been supporting me will be eager to get out there and work for victory on December 16.”

(This story was written by Jo Clifton and Beth Cortez-Neavel)

Dealey, Gallo set for runoff in District 10 contest

The District 10 Council race is headed to a runoff with Mandy Dealey locking up just over 30 percent. Dealey will be joined on Dec. 16 by Sheri Gallo, who received 23 percent of the vote.

Dealey raised more than $126,000 in cash and loaned her campaign another $50,000. She has an extensive list of endorsement, including (but not limited to) the Austin Chronicle, Austin American Statesman, AustinAffordability.com, Austin Central Labor Council, Austin Environmental Democrats, Austin Sierra Club, Austin Young Democrats, BikeTexas, Black Austin Democrats, the Burnt Orange Report and Clean Water Action.

Dealey was surprised about her runoff opponent. “I knew there would be a runoff. With eight candidates you can hardly avoid one, but actually I didn’t expect to be running against Sherri. She’s an absolutely lovely person, but I thought all along it would be Robert,” she said. “I’m going to have to readjust my plans and we will go forward from here.”

Dealey, 63, is a community advocate who has served on six city boards, including the Planning Commission and Waterfront Overlay Task Force.  Dealey ran for City Council in 2005, losing to Jennifer Kim. Dealey focused her campaign on water conservation, improving transportation, affordability, protecting neighborhoods and preserving the bedrock of Austin, which she identifies as the people, the environment, the culture and the geography.

Sherri Gallo raised some $87,000 for her campaign. She received endorsements from the Real Estate Council of Austin and the Austin Apartment Association.

Gallo, 61, is a real estate agent and owner of Private Properties, Inc. Gallo also serves on the UT Development Board, the UT School of Social Work Advisory Board, the executive board of the Settlement Club, the Austin Apartment Association and as a docent of the Texas Governor’s Mansion. Gallo’s campaign promises included transportation solutions; affordability and controlling taxes; water, drought and wildfire; public safety; “aggressive and organized” infrastructure improvements; helping local businesses and transparency in government and spending.

Robert Thomas, who finished third, raised almost $97,000 and loaned his campaign another $100,000. He received endorsements from the Austin Board of Realtors, Real Estate Council of Austin, Austin Firefighters Association PAC, Austin/Travis County EMS Employees and Austin Police Association.

Thomas, 47, is a lawyer and business consultant who is the chair of the AISD Bond Oversight Committee, SafePlace’s board, Austin Partners in Education, the Northwest Austin Civic Association, representative for the Austin Neighborhoods Council and a board member of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Thomas campaigned on five core issues: traffic congestion, affordability, water, emergency services and environmental stewardship.

Other candidates in District 10 included Jason Meeker, Tina Cannon, Matt Lamon and Bill Worsham.

This district is made of up neighborhoods nestled in the hills west of downtown with names like Tarrytown, Northwest Hills, Rosedale, Jester Estates and Great Hills. It is populated by many of the city’s movers and shakers — people with high-dollar occupations such as doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and families with generational wealth. The district is roughly bounded by MoPac Boulevard on east, Lake Austin on the south, U.S. 183 on the north, and the boundary with District 6 on the west.

(This story was written by Mark Richardson, with contributions from Alex Dropkin)

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