Monday, October 20, 2014

Austin City Council: Conservative/Libertarian Voter Guide

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

Author's Note: Readers can find their Austin City Council District here; readers can find TCRP's endorsement spreadsheet here.

With early voting set to commence in Austin's historic 10-1 election, the 78 candidates currently running can be intimidating.  Here at Cahnman's Musings, we've been studying these races for months.  We endorse the following candidates:

District 1 -- (Far Northeast Austin): Michael Cargill

Texas Firearms Celebrity Michael Cargill was the first federally licensed firearms dealer to accept BITCOIN in his store.  That, by itself, should tell you everything you need to know about him.  In a city where entrenched special interests are abusing the political process to preserve their status, Cargill's actions illustrate his commitment to genuine innovation.

Cargill has been a fixture in local politics for some time.  In 2012, he ran against an incumbent Travis County constable who had previously accepted money from drug cartels.  Unfortunately, a la Rosemary Lehmberg, the Democrat machine rallied around their incumbent.  In 2013, Cargill was a critical presence in the successful campaign against the Austin ISD bond.  He has a documented history of taking on petty tyrants.

Cargill is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility and reducing traffic.  He has signed the Citizens for Tax Relif NOW pledge.  He has also been endorsed by Texans for Accountable Government (TAG). Specifically, he has proposed widening 183 as a free road and relocating City of Austin offices from downtown to the outskirts of the city.   Cargill will also protect our second amendment rights from gun grabbing politicians at the local level.

Avoid: DeWayne Lofton -- Supports the rail bond.

District 2 -- (Southeast Austin): They All Suck.

District 3 -- (Central East Austin): Kent Philips

A former regional coordinator for Debra Medina, Kent Phillips is running to lower Austin's cost of living by eliminating wasteful spending and burdensome regulations.  Kent intends to audit the city budget, implement zero-based budgeting, and pass budgets at the effective tax rate.  Kent understands that the root cause of Austin's current affordability challenges is a City Council (and County and School District) that regulates too much, spends too much, and taxes too much.

Endorsed by TAG, Kent is a regular attendee at Liberty on the Rocks and other liberty themed events around Austin.

As a rapidly gentrifying part of town, affordability challenges are especially poignant in District 3.  We should know, this is our home district.  We intend to vote for Kent Philips and you should as well.

Avoid: Susana Almanza -- Supports $15 hr minimum wage; remember, this one's personal.

District 4 -- (North Central Austin): Laura Pressley

The best prepared and most knowledgeable candidate in this district, Laura Pressley is the clear choice in District 4.  A 26 year Austin resident, Laura was instrumental in passing 10-1.  She has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Laura ran against Mike Martinez in 2012.  She supports a 20% homestead exemption and reduction (Author's note: preferably elimination) of corporate subsidies.  She has spoken previously about cost saving measures at Austin Energy.

Laura has previously supported Ron Paul and has earned the endorsement of TAG.  She intends to curb the "we're rich" culture of spending at City Hall. Pressley is the candidate in district 4 most clearly committed to the fiscal pruning City Hall desperately needs.

Avoid: Gregorio Casar -- A Leftist Demagogue in the mold of Julian Castro and Hugo Chavez who has raised serious money.

District 5 (South Central Austin): Mike Rodriguez

Another longtime 10-1 advocate, Mike Rodriguez knows the City of Austin's budget in more detail than anyone this author has ever met.  He's been studying the City of Austin's culture of overspending for decades.  And it shows.

Mike wants lower cost of living by reducing burdensome regulations.  He specifically cites Project Connect, Code Next, and Imagine Austin.  He has been endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Mike says it best on his website: "Rather than always thinking of what more government can do, Mike will stay focused on the need to limit any added burden on our taxpayers and renters."

District 6 (Far Northwest Austin): Jay Wiley

Jay Wiley got in this race over a year ago.  He's raised more money than all the other candidates combined.  He's been endorsed by TFR and was the first candidate in the race to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  While there are other fantastic candidates in this district, this isn't their time or race.  Don't try to get cute.  If conservative voters are smart, this can be an easy win.  Vote with your head, not your heart.

District 7 (North Austin): Ed English

In a race full of career bureaucrats, Ed English is the only candidate in District 7 to have worked in the real world.  A successful businessman, Ed led the fight to pass 10-1.  As a leader of Austinites for Geographic Representation, he donated "several thousand hours" over a "two year period".

Ed is running to eliminate wasteful spending and give hard working taxpayers "real relief."  He understand that excessive regulation, excessive spending, and excessive taxation are the root cause of Austin's affordability challenges.  He also opposed boondoggles like water treatment plant #4 and the biomass plant.

Finally, Ed is the only district 7 candidate who lives north of 183.  This is an important advantage, considering that two thirds of the district is north of 183.  He has also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

District 8 (Southwest Austin): Ellen Troxclair

Ellen Troxclair has been called "a spending hawk."  She's also been called "a suburban pit bull."  We have another title for the list: Ellen Troxclair is a femme fatale for bloated government.

Considering the demographics of the district and her issue positions relative to the other candidates, supporting Ellen is the easiest decision in the city.  District 8 is a 50/50 district, and Ellen is the only conservative candidate in the race.  In addition to working as a realtor, Ellen is a former chief of staff to State Rep Jason Isaac and has been endorsed by TFR and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Traffic congestion is, easily and by far, the biggest problem in district 8.  Ellen has pledged to start with "with improving our road system....Money spent on transportation solutions should focus on getting the greatest number of people to the most in-demand locations. To help with the congestion, we must increase our road capacity, improve our bus service to the region, and allow for innovate transportation options such as Lyft and Uber."

District 9 (Central Austin): Erin McGann

Erin McGann is the only candidate running in district 9 who isn't an incumbent.  That should tell you everything you need to know.  She's been endorsed by TFR and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Erin is the only candidate in district 9 to oppose the current rail boondoggle.  Erin supports cost effective traffic solutions like traffic-light synchronization and expanded bus service.  She also opposes corporate-welfare masquerading as "business incentives."

Regarding affordability and the central premise of her campaign, Erin writes: "Current City Council doesn’t seem to understand the correlation between increased taxes and affordability. When Council approves more spending, higher utilities or taxes, the level of affordability decreases, and yet Council continues to pay lip service to affordability while increasing spending.  We need prioritize the basic needs of Austin – fix our roads and sidewalks, encourage and improve middle-income apartments and condos, the increase the number of multi-bedroom units for families, keep utility rates low, fund our first responders and end corporate subsidies."

Avoid: Riley and Tovo are both AWFUL!!!

District 10 (West Austin): Bill Worsham

While there are several candidates with a Republican voting history in district 10, Bill is the most solidly conservative.  He's been endorsed by TFR and TAG and was the first candidate in district 10 to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  As a civil engineer, Bill's professional background leaves him uniquely suited to understand the technical details of Austin's transportation challenges.

On transportation, Bill supports expanding our road and highway network.  He supports ridesharing and cost effective solutions like traffic light synchronization.  He does not support the current rail proposal.

Bill understands how regulation and taxation indirectly inflates housing costs.  He is specifically committed to reducing red tape for restaurant owners.  He's the candidate best positioned to give the Austin City Council the radical course correction it needs next January.

Avoid: Robert Thomas -- Claims to be a fiscal conservative but brags about sitting on the Austin ISD bond committee on his campaign website.

Mayor (Citywide): Todd Phelps

With Adler virtually guaranteed to make the runoff, there's no reason not to swing for the fences in the first round of the mayoral race.  Unlike the "big three," Todd Phelps opposes the current urban rail boondoggle.  He was the first mayoral candidate to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Avoid: Mike Martinez -- The worst member of the current council.

Bond Initiatives -- Vote AGAINST all:
  • Prop. 1 City of Austin (Urban Rail)
  • Prop. 1 ACC
  • Prop. 2 ACC
  • Prop. 1 State of Texas ("Transportation")

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