Warning: this post has nothing to do with movies, it’s about the Austin mayor’s race. You can skip it if you like, but I have become quite intrigued with local politics and thought you might find it interesting. I don’t have a personal blog, so I’m slapping it up here instead. Sorry about the super-grainy still photo on the youtube video
Last night I attended the mayoral debate and forum at KUT studios, two solid hours of questions and answers from our next mayor and four other folks. During the second hour, I went ahead and stepped up to the microphone to ask a question. To me, the most vital issue for this election is the crumbling economy and how Austin is going to face that challenge.
I asked a very simple question to all of the candidates: “What have you specifically done in the last year that shows me that you are the leader that can keep our economy strong for the years ahead?” I didn’t realize until after I heard all five responses, that implied in my query is another question, “If I ask you a simple question, can you process it and give me an actual answer, not just your stock speaking points?”
Here’s a brief summary of the answers, or you can listen to the uncut audio above.
David Buttross – He’s flat out. He didn’t answer the question. His answer was a riff on his one and only answer to all questions that evening: he’s a businessman and the city would be governed better by businessmen instead of politicians. He then went on to name projects of waste and spending. I’m sorry, but that is not an answer to my question.
Lee Leffingwell – Again, He didn’t answer the question: what did YOU do IN THE LAST YEAR that shows me you are a leader who can keep our economy strong for the years ahead? He seemed to latch on to my introductory statement that I was a small businessman and talked about his proposal to have a preferential system for awarding government contracts to local businesses. Nice speaking point, but not an answer to my question.
Carole Keeton Strayhorn – the odd thing about Carole is that she did hear the question, she parrots it right back, but then again fails to answer it in the least instead points to alleged failures of the current council.
Josiah Ingalls – Frankly Josiah is out of his game. His answers all night showed his fundamental lack of understanding of the both the issues facing our city and the operation of government in general. He sure was pissed though. He again did not pass my test, however, of giving me a single concrete example of personal leadership in the last year.
Brewster McCracken – last and most certainly not the least, the candidate I’ve been supporting for the past several months, Brewster McCracken. He not only processed and understood the question, he answered it. He had so many concrete examples of leadership roles he has taken on in the last year that he had trouble squeezing them all into the allotted time. In the last year, he chaired the city’s emerging technology committee; he led the effort to create the Pecan Street Project, arguably the nation’s most significant clean energy research organization; he has recruited stimulus funding for a smart-grid energy system; worked with UT to create a biosciences incubator; worked to accelerate bond funding for Ausitn Studios; and recruited solar, medical device and video game companies.
Above and beyond the issues and the platforms, don’t we need a mayor who is listening? Someone who can understand a simple question and give a thoughtful answer. On that basis alone, Brewster is your only choice for mayor this election. The fact that he is a leader dedicated and working hard to ensure that Austin has a bright and vibrant economic future, well that’s just icing on the cake.
Early voting begins April 27. Election day is May 9. Get out and vote for Brewster and use social networking to tell your friends to vote for him too. Every vote counts.
Tim League Founder, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Brewster McCracken Supporter