The Latest From Austin’s Election Campaigns: District 5 & 8 Candidate Forums, Beto Moves, So Do Local Recommendations – News

Beto O’Rourke speaks at the Lockhart Evening Lions Club (photo by Mike Clark-Madison)

Craig, Ellis Assemble Support in the Southwest

Candidate forums sponsored by the city and the League of Women Voters of Wards 5 and 8 The Austin City Council contests — both in the southwest, split by Barton Creek — will take place the evening of Sept. 22 at the South Austin Senior Activity Center, 3911 Menchaca Rd. The contenders in D5, where the incumbent Anne Kitchen retires, will face off at 6 p.m., most likely (they told the the Chronicle) to continue the conversations about housing and affordability that have galvanized every council race. At an informal housing and transportation forum Sept. 6 in Luster Pearl South, Kitchen’s political aide Ken Craig – who garnered endorsements from his boss and local union leaders, including the Austin Firefighters Association and Labor Defense Action Fund – talked about streamlining the permitting process, building on transit corridors and preserving existing multi-family units from demolition. Stephanie Bazan referenced building “missing middle” – i.e. both unit sizes and prices – which Ryan Alter went further, pointing out that decades of inaction have caused the current housing crisis and that development must look beyond the hallways to be truly diverse. Bill Welch (a Republican) and Aaron Velazquez Webman (firmly anti-establishment) were more hesitant to encourage city-wide development, with Welch wanting to preserve apartment-free neighborhoods and Webman encouraging case-by-case action, which which Alter criticized as a piecemeal approach as it called for “one code for all of Austin”. Brian Anderson IIwho was not at Luster Pearl, suggests on his website that he shares the pro-housing views of Alter and Bazan.

In the D8 debate at 7:30 a.m., the holder Paige Ellis is the clear favorite in her re-election bid, having been endorsed by the Fire and EMS unions, UNITE HERE Local 23 Hospitality, and U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett; she noted in a recent press release that “we are working for faster response times, ensuring that the two new fire stations in Southwest Austin are delivered on time and on budget.” Richard Smith is the inevitable conservative foil to Ellis this time, the role played by Frank Ward four years ago; he became a board member Mackenzie Kellythe endorsement and support of several Republican clubs. He recently tweeted that the Council needs a voice that “cares about public safety” and called for an audit of Austin Energy to cut utility bill costs. Kimberly Hawkins and Anthony Ross are also in the race. – Lina Fisher

Beto completes 49-day quest to meet with every voter in Texas

Beto O’Rourke wrapped up his 49-day “Drive for Texas” summer tour in front of a large, cheering crowd of hundreds Caldwell County Democrats at the Lockhart Evening Lions Club (even MAGA’s mandatory hecklers were impressed with the turnout). Lockhart is getting hipper as it attracts budget-conscious Central Texas creatives (including musical opening act Beto James McMurtry), and the crowd was eager to transfer some of Beto’s energy into downward runs at the southern end of Austin’s Eastern Crescent. Whistles and town halls across the state have already begun to turn into TV spots as O’Rourke and incumbent Governor Greg Abbott try to bury themselves in this race’s record cash flow. Then: the Texas Grandstands Festival From September 22 to 24, and the one confirmed debate between the former congressman and the current governor, scheduled for September 30. (Beto has “accepted” “invitations” to three others.) – Mike Clark-Madison

Harper-Madison thanks naysayers for showing up

The other incumbent candidate for re-election to the Board, Natasha Harper-Madison outperformed all of her challengers combined by about a factor of 10, so she could afford to be magnanimous at the District 1 City/LWV Candidates Forum, held at the Asian American Resource Center on September 10, and thanked his fellow suitors for their bravery and commitment to finding a position. That was pretty much the sum total of the argument in their favour; while each of the three challengers had a great time on stage, Harper-Madison was able to use the institutional knowledge she gained over four very eventful years on the stage to her advantage.

An exchange on the issue of systemic racism illustrated the point. When the moderator asked if efforts were being made to expand law enforcement training to address diversity, equity and inclusion, the challengers could only speak in generalities. Melonie House Dixona long-time resident of Eastside, responded that racism is perpetual and that the community needs to “hold the [Austin] police department responsible for what they do and how they do it. » Misael Ramosa technician and community volunteer, said he wanted to see more investment in marginalized communities, after which “we can start talking about reassessing what we need to do for APD”. Clinton Rareywho is running as neither a Republican nor a Democrat, agreed but said the post-George Floyd the political climate drove the good cops out of the force, “leaving only the bad cops”.

Compare that to what Harper-Madison said: “Honestly, I think DEI training is kind of a joke,” she told attendees. “I had our APD union president [Ken Casaday, who just announced his retirement] tell me that implicit bias training was exclusively given to make white men feel guilty. Said it to my face. So I’m convinced it’s working well for ODA.” Recall that it was in December 2019, six months before George Floyd, that Harper-Madison launched a measure (known inside City Hall as the name Resolution 66) to address racist and homophobic culture, following the controversial and lucrative retirement of former ODA Deputy Chief Justin Newsom for, among other things, calling the Harper-Madison predecessor a ” n—-r stupid”. Brant Bingamo

City Council Candidate Forums

This series of forums is co-sponsored by the city, the Ethics Review Commission and the local League of Women Voters; each can be viewed in person, online, on TV or radio, and you can email [email protected] to suggest questions to ask applicants; see more information at

District 5: Thursday, September 22, 6 p.m., South Austin Senior Center, 3911 Menchaca Rd.

District 8: Thursday, September 22, 7:30 p.m., South Austin Senior Center, 3911 Menchaca Rd.

District 3: Thursday, October 6, 6 p.m., Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center, 808 Nile

District 9: Thu., Oct. 20, 6 p.m., City Hall, 301 W. Second

Mayor: Thu, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m., City Hall, 301 W. Second

Campaigns are ramping up to just under 60 days

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