Right outside the Hays County Election Administrator’s Office, the signs of a San Marcos City Council run-off election enliven the holiday season. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The two remaining candidates for the San Marcos City Council await next Tuesday’s result in a run-off election that could be wide open because of anticipated low turnout.
Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commissioner Ryan Thomason is in the run-off with academic advisor Lisa Marie Coppoletta after he fell three votes short of the needed majority to win election to Place 5 on Nov. 3. The winner of the Dec. 15 run-off will take the seat being vacated by Pam Couch, who decided to not seek re-election, then signed on as Thomason’s treasurer.
Thomason received 924 votes (49.90 percent) of the 1,960 ballots cast for the seat, while Coppoletta took 504 votes (26.2 percent). Small business owner Shane Maycock missed the run-off, receiving 460 votes (23.91 percent).
Thomason said he is gaining new support while hanging on to the electorate base that almost put him in office, though he cautioned that it’s still not in the bag.
“I don’t know how confident anybody can be with such a smaller turnout,” Thomason said, adding that every vote cast is important because the race can easily be swayed in any direction.
During the general election campaign season Coppoletta touted herself as “the most qualified candidate” in the race.
“I’m sure there are some things she is more qualified in, like animal rights,” Thomason said. “But not more qualified when it comes to the budget, or planning and zoning … I’m the most qualified person.”
Coppoletta’s campaign didn’t comment on Thomason’s claim to be the most qualified in budget, planning and zoning. Asked for a response, along with other questions, the Coppoletta campaign asked for written questions, then didn’t provide answers, citing a family emergency and two planned events.
Thomason has served for three years on the P&Z, which addresses issues such as zoning codes, future land use policies and fiscal budgets. Thomason said his tenure on the P&Z has provided him with an “edge” over Coppoletta.
On the night of the November election, Maycock said he wouldn’t support either remaining candidate for the council seat.
“Both of my opponents (Thomason and Coppoletta) will have their work cut out for them, and I wish them both luck,” Maycock said. “But I don’t think Lisa (Coppoletta) is the type of individual we need on council … And I think Ryan (Thomason) is a decent guy, but I cannot throw my support behind someone that is backed by so many special interest groups. I don’t think when you’re backed by special interest groups that you can make independent decisions that a councilmember needs to make.”
Thomason, who is endorsed by realtors and public safety employees, said interest groups would not have undue influence on his performance. Thomason said people donate to his campaign because they “have things in common” and trust he will “do a good job.”
Said Thomason, who has lived in San Marcos for most of his life, “I’m not the new guy on the street. People know me, they know my family, and if they donate to my campaign, it doesn’t mean I owe anything to them.”
Thomason said he has not held any fundraisers for the runoff election, though he said he has received contributions. He said he’s bought new signs and sent out a political mailer last week.
Early voting runs through Dec. 11 at the Hays County Election Administrator’s Office, located at 401-C Broadway, every day during normal business hours.
So Lisa’s campaign asked for written questions and then didn’t answer them. WOW. If she is already being this shady right now as a candidate, what can we expect if she were to get elected. I’m definitely NOT voting for her.
Don’t candidates want news coverage? What is she so afraid of, that she won’t speak out? I know that she declined the University Star for an on-camera interview, and did the same with Newstreamz, and now this. Sketchy! Sketchy!
Looks like Ryan is getting my vote. At least I know he will talk to those with concerns and questions.
Well, that endorsement sign at the top of the photograph just helped me make a decision.
I have to agree with both comments. If lmc gets on council the council should charge admission to council meetings because she and her husband are gonna make it a “freak”in circus! And I find maycocks comments funny as now it seems he had now come under the spell of lmc.
Yea for someone who says they want to be on the city council, Lisa sure does avoid media and appear to be quite irresponsible in followup. Not a good sign for a public servant, unless they only care about their personal agenda and not the public’s interest. She wants to avoid the media, fine, I’ll avoid voting for her and go for the other guy who is accessible to media and the public!!!
Anyone else disappointed in the candidates this year. An eccentric, a special interest bought politician type and an ultra Conservative. The extremes off all categories.
Please John, Ryan is anything but a bought politician. Have you stopped and taken the opportunity to listen to him speak or reach out and ask him questions? If so, you would see that he is a good and dedicated public servant that deserves to be on city council. It speaks highly of him that SO many groups have stood up to support him. If you are so disappointed in the candidates, I encourage you to step up to the plate and run for a seat during the next election.
I’ve heard Ryan speak at multiple debates both this election and when he ran against John. Not impressed at all. Endorsements mean absolutely nothing to me. In fact some Endorsements work against the candidate for me because I know the shenanigans it takes to get them. I’m not impressed with his debate speeches or Zoning decisions. I’ll most likely sit this vote out.
According to Ryan’s mailer he is endorsed by: SM Board of Realtors, SM Home Builders Assoc., Hays County Home Builders, SM Police & SM Fire Unions.
Yeah Mr. Speaker i dont think that isnt any secret. Public knowledge. So your point is?
It would be in the extreme best interest of the taxpaying victims in San Marcos, to break up Susan’s 4 to 3 majority “cartel” on City Council. While in my opinion, LMC’s platform is not ideal, I do not believe that she will march in lockstep with the Narvaiz agenda.
As for Thomason, well his endorsement by SMPOA and SMPFFA says it all.
If you are happy with the (sickening, bankrupting, special interest pandering) status quo, then vote Thomason.
I am quite certain that LMC (love her or hate her), will break up Susan’s little party, on City Council.
My concern is whether LMC’s erratic behavior and lack of transparency will make “breaking the cartel” only temporary and perhaps actually damage any legitimate opposition. Thomason is not the same guy he was when he started on P&Z. He has tempered his “pro-development at any cost,” which indicates to me that he is at least somewhat receptive to new ideas.
If you are choosing somebody because of some potential affect he/she might have on a block of voters on city council, rather than on their statements and approaches during their campaigns and past community activity, then you are compromising ideals under an assumption that she will be an effective elected leader. While I am not happy with the borderline cartel approach employed by the mayor that has symbolized local politics for the last few years, I am not willing to put someone in office that lacks transparency and is not accessible to the media. I also look for someone that can take statesmanlike positions and an ability to compromise. I have not seen that from LMC, which disappoints me.
Thomason is not a great candidate either, but I am far more comfortable with his approach and openness that LMC. Perhaps a close runoff race will send him a message that some of her ideas have merit, or that topics she supports are not just supported by some tiny minority–that there is a real constituency there. Neither candidate is ideal, which is a shame. Historically, San Marcos has had good candidates for public office, but this seems to have begun disappearing over the last decade or two.
Believe me, I’m with you on most of that, however:
“If you are choosing somebody because of some potential affect he/she might have on a block of voters on city council,”
This unfortunately is politics.
And politics is a tough town, but something has to be done, and NOW!
Pray tell, what’s next on the Narvaiz agenda, before she leaves her debris field in San Marcos, the aftermath of which we will already have to deal with for years to come, as she moves on to her next political aspiration.
How many more millions of our tax dollars will she squander, in ebb of her political dominion, here in OUR city.
San Marcos is merely her stepping stone, in an ambitious political career, which is actually the only occupation in which she is able to excel.
Unfortunately, I will continue to have to live here, and pay (personally) for her extravagances, for the extended, indeterminate future.
The City of San Marcos cannot afford much more of her mis-management, and we certainly deserve better, as a community, and not just for the narrow benefit of her favored supporters and her pet projects.
I become nauseous, just thinking about the prospect of it for yet another year, of her having her unbridled way with our tax dollars.
If LMC doesn’t meet expectations, then without a $100,000.00 re-election campaign warchest, to prop her up, then she’s done.
I would bet my last tax dollar however, that Thomason will continue the “yes” vote for Susan.
If you don’t believe me, then ask the Police and Firefighter’s unions.
B. Franklin, you and I are quite close in our thinking. Don’t mistake my criticism of LMC as support for Thomason, because, frankly, I would like to vote for someone else. My fear though is that LMC may sour folks and be too extreme, creating a backlash in the next election. Voters have short memories, and will likely forget the problems of the past and only see issues of the present. As a result, we may end up with only a one or two year break, with a return of an even more entrenched version of the voting block politics that have done such disservice in recent years. That said, perhaps some of her followers will be more likely to act independently if they are not constantly living in fear of election consequences. This really is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t election. I don’t mind being on the losing side of individual decisions on city council, provided that each member is voting their conscience independently. Unfortunately, in recent years a pattern has emerged in which councilmembers do not seem familiar with issues being discussed and are instead being guided in their votes. There are a lot of independent, talented leaders in this city, yet they seem to avoid running for city public office like the plague.
Your comments are well taken.
I do mind being on the losing side of City Council decisions, when it costs me (us) another $6,000,000.00 (Stonecreek) plus another $5,000,000.00 (failed (fortunately) Springtown initiative), plus another $350,000.00 (Master’s School) plus another $8,000,000.00 (police union contract) plus the upcoming firefighter’s contract (??), plus what’s next (????).
Is there a limit here somewhere? (Hell NO!)
Before long, like this, “A few million here and a few million there, and pretty soon, we’re talking real money!”
I think I’m gonna be sick.
And those decisions bothered me as well because many of the council members failed to educate themselves on the topics before them. They were not voting their consciences independently in many cases. You and I are in complete agreement, with the only difference being my focus on the process used to arrive at decisions rather than just the decisions themselves. You rarely hear well thought out, healthily skeptical questions from a portion of the Council, and that is serious cause for concern.
That’s for sure!
the mayors consistient selling out of the environment dooms her future in politics. As more people understand her role in pushing very bad things like the fiasco sewer line out Lime Kiln road she will head off into oblivion. I know a lot of folks who are going to hold their nose while they forced to vote for LMC for lack of an alternative. Mr Thomason just lost a lot of votes over the Buie tract development plans and his handling of that at P&Z. We do not need political leaders who are willing to sell out the river and recharge zone. that needs to become the single most important criteria voters base their decision on.
By the way where has Newstreamz been on the Buie Tract and all of the fast track development plans they are attempting to run thru city council / planning and zoning. They are looking more like Snoozestreamz on this one
I have no idea what the mayor’s future political plans are. However, there are few cities in Texas as environmentaly concious as San Marcos. If you think the mayor’s support for things like the Lime Kiln sewer line will hurt her outside of San Marcos, you are sadly mistaken.
I was all set to vote for Thomason until the Buie tract vote. Bill Taylor ia about a pre-growth as they come, and he voted against that. I am really torn on this one now. One thought on LMC, if she is as extream as many say she is, she is likely to become the Susie Carter of city council. I don’t know how many times Carter was on the losing end of a 4-1 vote on the commisioners court.
I bit my tongue and voted LMC. Felt bad not voting at all and I just couldn’t vote for Thomason.
“Thomason, who is endorsed by realtors and public safety employees, said interest groups would not have undue influence on his performance.”
That line really helped too. To say your endorsements have little influence on how you vote to me is an insult to voters. Of course they are, you don’t get them for being a swell guy.
I wasn’t impressed at any debates with him nor his zoning decisions but to me LMC will have less of a negative impact on Council I felt in regards to wasting our money. At the very least she will negate plans Queen Susan has.
Austin Business Journal reports San Marcos sales tax revenue fell by 5.2 percent between November 2008 and 2009. Whoever wins this race, I hope they will help put the brakes on excessive government spending in these tight economic times.
If you are concerned about government spending, then you really need to check further into Thomason’s record on P&Z, especially when the CIP process was being reviewed by P&Z. He was against most everything that involved wasteful spending. That may mean less frills but that is what we need to do in lean times.
It is sad, indeed, how the LIBERTINE philosophies of Mister “Dubyah” Bush, gone, but not forgotten, the current status through most of the Nation’s administrative bodies has changed little to this point. Government at all levels seems to value (someone else’s) money and yes, often someone ELSE’S influence. Limelight must shine for hopeful aspirants who may be led to office by the raw motive of “good pickin’s at the trough.” When, through their legerdemain, they often get a little taste of the limelight, it becomes a habit, if not an addiction. Beware the public servant who lies low and doesn’t say much–it’s either a good one or real mischief afoot.
Of course, part of the training for a successful moderen office-seeker is to more often than not give a cryptic or noncommittal answer. Ambiguity in speech, action and thought can be the first- and- second-termers’ best resort, so the strongest, most ambitious gets involved and rises in stature, in part by one’s having been turned into something really special. What that is, is a vision.
Takes some kind of egotism, usually a friendly if not MORE than friendly gift of gab. The hopefuls behave like a pod of whales, swimming around in circles, having great fun, feasting and revels as the oceanographer (or local paper) selects which is most liked by the polls he watches and usually remote acquaintances, some of whose function is to befriend and/or ingratiate the alpha wannabe. The oceanographer prays for a clear sea so he can reap and spread useful knowledge for its own sake.
But muddy or clear, the whales are ever-fascinating.
Who is conspicuous for some reason or another? Can he talk, either in a hyper-friendly or a theatrical way? Will the campaigns look like they can generate some interest, at least in the most minimal fashion? Who can help, as I navigate this totally foreign territory–sort of like the new guy sorting out prison inmates on their first jail–“Who are the big fish in this pond, and how can I select a winning horse if the guy isn’t interesting or photogenic? A candidate who has no real passion to BE an actual and honorable public servant, it is well-known, is a typecast. They have almost an actual part to play.
Some of the most ardent and sincere, I think, can have a strong desire (lust, maybe, if only in the heart?) for the appearance of power and elevation to a status of extra (and appropriate, if you will!!) importance. The proper salability of such a person; a special ability to agree, disagree, or pull off a hat trick–informationless communication: these are stock in trade-the minimum grade to get in, or maybe just buy or adopting someone useful outright, in the most decorous and photogenic ways,
usually accompanied by grand fanfare: “Look, Mama! No Hands!”
The economics of this process defies all reason, except for the rise of a whole class of people who make their livings by whispering often poorly-sorted bits of info, or a deal to be made, favors to be done, information and speeches prepared by someone who’s literate and not very individualistic or provocative–unless that is the REAL goal, to flex for the cameras, to show one’s tough kind of compassion or undeniability or outrage. That part’s the theater part, in brief.
Job itself is a peach–more perks than anybody deserves, in many cases, even some not given BY the taxpayer, but by well-meaning individuals who like the haircut, or wish to offer a tangible salute for a genius move made for the Cause of the Day. Like government contractors and consultants: Smart people with intense interests at stake based on a successful vote. And money to buy power.
They are actually helping to DIRECT the play being acted in front of the folks that own the joint– so WE reward THEIR policy decisions based on our respect and gratitude for their incredible justice, fairness, compassion wisdom, vision, foresight and humility.
Unfortunately, if one swings that way, there ARE people who can help almost anybody avoid a misstep, by faking the information, or so camouflaging the facts that they just fade out of view. Some seem to revel in doing the process backward–they sift through the mountains of garbage until the gold, if any, is located. But once in a while, the ease of throwing out garbage tempts folks to just sit on the gold for a while. Also easier to announce the other stuff–keeps popular opinion from running round and causing others to become active in a “wrong” way. That’s why God created newspapers, radio, TV, movies, electronic games, the Internet and other powerful tools of distraction. Can also be used as “litter” to soak up
nastiness and discontent and need, work undone, sins done.
Saturation public messages are not only the conduits and makers of public opinion, but most engage the Honorable Ones help to hold up the VERY false backdrops the media provide. The big ones use regular intelligence arms to find out each what the other is doing or planning, with the exception of the small, and/or rural outlets.
Bless the citizens who mostly only want peace, safety, intelligence, plain talk and results, and who are willing to help move the National Diseases of Apathy and Ignorance. This they do at risk of “falling out” with people over issues and policies neither of whom has seen in action or fully thought out.
That’s evolution. Progress. Relief, maybe–if only our democracy had not been degraded so that there are now virtually only two views, two sides, two attitudes. If it isn’t in box number one, then it MUST be in box two.
Hung with bunting and praised to the rafters, meanwhile, it seems our notion of a democratic republic has almost boiled down to, “Which of those two identical antique crocks do we buy? They seem to be identical, in the way Fun House mirrors do. “Just follow the money and the nobles’ coats of arms down that Yellow Brick Road we’re planning to build; it’s already taking shape. Ask anybody.”
Sorry. You guys have chrystallized for me a terrible frustration with the ways these vaporous elections are being run. No wonder campaigns cost a bunch–they ARE literal “campaigns,” not only to gild the Lily in some acceptable way, but to select the more stable, smart, responsible and ethical-appearing one without having to seem to compromise the needs of the Movers themselves.
I really apologize to the civilized. The uncivilized, I don’t think even my drivel would slow down much.
Billy you hit the nail on the head with your statement “literal campaigns”. Gone are the days when those seeking office ran campaigns with volunteers in the trenches day to day, and where volunteers could later seek help in return from those they helped elect. Now it’s the “literal campaign” geared towards the money bundlers and big financial donors—if you aren’t one of them, you mean nothing to the candidates. And voters interests? Only important in the final couple of weeks when they want to be re-elected. Otherwise, just money talks. Sad.
If people wanted to hear from Lisa they’d go to her website where you can still watch the debates. Does Ryan put his responses at debates up in the internet? No?
Does that make him shady? Call Lisa’s personal phone number, it’s on her signs and most campaign literature. Otherwise she probably really is too busy to answer questions from this site, especially a vaguery like “what makes you qualified?”
How about “How does your occupation as a home builder equal smart growth, Ryan? The conflict of interest is the sketchiest bit of this contest: to profit from new building and also make decisions about where this building should take place responsibly is too many hats to wear comfortably in my book.
“Austin Business Journal reports San Marcos sales tax revenue fell by 5.2 percent between November 2008 and 2009. Whoever wins this race, I hope they will help put the brakes on excessive government spending in these tight economic times.”
I distinctly remember the mayor asking last year “How much is sales tax revenue supposed to increase this year?” “1.5%” said someone. “And we’ve budgeted for just 0.5% increase” as if she was being fiscally responsible.
I would like to pose the question to the voters of San Marcos,…
How many issues that were addressed in the November 2008 mayoral election, are rearing their ugly heads now?
Dan, any candidate that avoids the media and only spews from their website is not worth voting for…reminds me of a Nixon or Cheney…what is she hiding from that she can’t take a few minutes to talk to media, including the newspaper at Texas State where she draws a salary that comes from student tuition/fees? They pay her salary, in effect, and she doesn’t respond? So what makes you think she’ll respond to taxpayers??
Our Mayor spoke quite frequently to the press.
Are you therefore satisfied with her “response” to the taxpayers?
People of San Marcos:
Don’t think for a moment, that this can’t happen to us.
Please read the following:
Police, fire employee benefits bankrupt Vallejo – Gilroy next?
Feb 29, 2008
By Dispatch Editorial Board
Burgeoning public safety benefits are fast becoming a huge burden
Unless you’re totally oblivious to regional news, you’ve by now heard the big news: The Bay Area city of Vallejo, population a little more than double that of Gilroy, is going broke.
Hundreds of media organizations have, of course, descended on Vallejo to report on something the Dispatch has been harping on for more than a decade – the exponential and outrageous burden being placed on communities by burgeoning public safety benefits.
Consider these bankruptcy-related messages:
Police and firefighter union contracts are breaking the bank
MediaNews: With the city of Vallejo on the brink of bankruptcy, 20 police and fire employees in the past three days have submitted their retirement papers and more are expected to follow, officials reported.
The sudden exodus of public safety employees has officials worried about how well the departments will be able to serve the city.
Channel 10 News: The Solano County city of about 117,000 has a $6 million budget deficit and is projected to run out of money by the end of March, says City Manager Joe Tanner.
Efforts to re-negotiate police and firefighter union contracts have broken down …
Some cutbacks have already been instituted: only emergency 911 calls will receive an immediate response; trees are not being trimmed and park maintenance services have been reduced. City officials are considering layoffs and rotating closures of fire stations and libraries.
Vallejo Times Herald: Bankruptcy is certain to spark fresh debate about the cost of unfunded employee benefits, and the impacts on bond holders.
As of December, the city had accrued a $135 million liability for the present value of retiree benefits earned by active and retired employees. Further, there is a $6 million added cost as current employees continue to vest and earn future benefits, the city said.
“If bond holders are hurt by a bankruptcy, then future lenders will probably put constraints on elected officials’ ability to make promises while in office that must be paid after they leave,” said CPA Marcia Fritz, vice president and treasurer for California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, which advocates for pension reform.
“It’s almost a relief that it’s finally coming to this in Vallejo because it will be an example of what happens when you’ve got a lot of people with their fingers in the cookie jar,” she said. “I saw this coming years ago.”
… Experts agree one thing is certain. If the city cannot pay its employees because the general fund is dry … City Manager Joe Tanner must instruct all employees to stay home.
Alan Davis, attorney for the police and fire unions whose leaders are negotiating with the city to erase an immediate $6 million shortfall, declined comment. The unions represent employees whose salaries total 80 percent of Vallejo’s general fund.
That was then.
This is NOW, in Vallejo, California.
An Open Letter to Vallejo Residents;
Now that the City Council has proven in court that they are unable to pay the city’s bills and should be considered bankrupt, the question on everyone’s mind is what happens next? What is the Council’s plan for an economic recovery?
Homeowners, seniors, business owners, and taxpayers all across the city have been asking us what we know about the Council plans to get out of debt, restore vital services, and stop the exodus of public safety staff who are leaving city employment at an alarming rate.
We have been asking the same questions… and haven’t gotten any answers. In the meantime, the 8.2% wage cuts that we began implementing back in March, before the Council declared bankruptcy, has grown to a 13% pay cut which is still in effect and has left Vallejo residents with barely enough police officers and firefighters to keep you safe.
In fact, the FBI recommends that we should have 50% more police officers on the street. As you know, fewer officers have led to a rapidly rising rate of crime, more drug dealing and gang activity.
Having closed two fire stations and eliminated more than 40 firefighters, response times are increasing at an alarming rate. Similar to police understaffing, Vallejo’s own study confirmed that it currently has 20% fewer firefighters than that recommended under minimum national safety standards.
Your police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and city staff who maintain our streets, parks, traffic safety, water quality and housing services have done our part to help the city get back on the right track.
Now, like you, we are waiting to see the Council’s comprehensive economic plan to revitalize our city, strengthen our local economy, and restore public safety and all the other services taxpayers need and deserve.
The Mayor and City Council must show real leadership and present a real plan before this crisis turns into a catastrophe.
Vallejo Police Officers Association
Firefighters Local 1186
IBEW Local 2376
And finally, last but not least!:
Bad Decisions by the City Council and Top Management Caused the Bankruptcy (Vallejo, California)
Now They’re Turning a Crisis into a Catastrophe.
City Management and a majority of the Council got us into this mess. Vallejo’s financial problems are the result of decades of mismanagement, not excessive labor costs.
Vallejo citizens pay less per capita for public safety services than other comparable Northern California cities with similar crime rates: In a survey of 18 comparable cities, 16 other cities pay more for public safety, per capita, than the citizens of Vallejo. Unfortunately, though, Vallejo has trouble even paying this lower cost, because over decades the city has racked up over $250 million dollars in debts from ill-conceived redevelopment and transportation projects, all without developing a sales tax base.
SAN MARCOS VOTERS
Before it’s too late for US!
I posted the below comment on May 27th and this discussion thread prompts me to post it again for consideration:
“The City of San Marcos continues to spend beyond its means. Total long-term debt increased from $122,310,000 (‘05) to $136,010,000 (’06) to $175,990,000 (’07) to $247,750,000 (’08). These figures are from the annual financial reports posted online at the city website. (See “Table 5 City of San Marcos’ Outstanding Debt at Year-End” in each year’s report for the details.) In just the past 3 years we’ve more than doubled our total long-term debt. Doesn’t anybody else think this needs to change?”
That’s outrageous, and disturbing, Steve; thanks Ben for pointing out the root of the problem – the public service debacle. Thomason’s sign addendum doesn’t look as attractive anymore does it?
How stand the city’s savings? “We’re in the black, we’re okay Jack?” Might I suggest gold? We’ll get more Globos for it next year.
oh and @ Mason – When you use words like “spews” and double question marks your malicious bias is clearly visible. Of course mine is, especially on Haynes, Cheatham, Barbara and Conway streets today reminding people to vote for the candidate who’s heart and mind are too busy for petty, redundant irrelevancies like “What qualifies you for council?”
Community Organizer qualifies one for presidency after all.
Her’s and opponent’s answers to the debate questions can be viewed (not spewed) @ lmc4sanmarcos.com.
I myself would have written back: “I live here.”
All of this talk about our recent “new and improved” City programs, including both the “incentives for all” trend and the contracts for public safety personnel, etc. (and the myriad of consultant contracts), have been raging in my dreams and waking life for some time now, since before retail sales and their concomitant tax revenues teetered and began to slump. Likewise, the sudden “unloading” of Prime Outlets in favor of a new City Patron based far away and seemingly new to our market. So much, so soon!
However, a key indicator (applicable to all government bodies and many others) is the rate of accrual of pension obligations way, way down the road (See “General Motors.”)
Now comes Mr. Harvey to remind me of my old nemesis, the amount of debt per capita we the peons are bound to pay with our future taxes, at the expense of programs new and old. If memory serves, it was about $500-$600 per capita in 1988, and by 2000, it had grown to +/- $16K per capita, what with the Airport, Library, Activity Center, Downtown “Sidewalk Renovation,” Small Business Incubator, new Water/Sewer facilities and infrastructure, and the refurbishing, repaving or reconstruction of well over 110 miles of previously neglected streets.
There were many other expenses which passed review by the citizens for effectiveness, efficiency, potential revenue returns and/or savings, all because the payment schedules looked sound enough to give taxpayers services they wanted and needed. We tried to be stingy about borrowing.
I often muse now, things being what they are, what the per-capita debt is today, and what the horizon looks like for getting it back down to reason without enjoying either municipal bankruptcy or program cuts and freezes, employee attrition, etc., with all the valuable PR that spreads like rings from a pebble in a pool.
Anybody want to go together and set up a large business in California, maybe after the spring thaw both in the weather and the markets, as well as the banks and Legislature?
Well, maybe when we inherit the Austin Ice Bats and an ACC Campus is provided by us, both directly and through new taxes, we can declare victory and get our pictures in the paper. Or we might get more serious about this stuff.
As a political science student you might want to spend more time studying political history. You should fear more a politician who avoids the media,and wants all questions in advance in writing. Political history will teach you that they probably either have something to hide or are paranoid. Why else would they be afraid to take questions from the media or in public? On the other hand, yes, special interests do have too big a control of our politicians. But would you rather have one who ‘wears their endorsments publicly’ so that you know how their votes stack up with those endorsements…..or… a politician who stays ‘hidden’ like Lisa so that you won’t know how their votes stack up with ‘hidden’ agendas that causes them to avoid speaking with the media?
America became great, in part, because politicians couldn’t hide from the media and thus could be confronted by reporters asking tough questions to get at the truth (“the truth shall set you free”). I’m concerned that as media disappears, and reporters less and less ask the tough questions, we will lose more freedoms and the special interests with the most money will control all.
But what I can control, and will not surrender, is making that easier by electing a politician that hides from media questions and whose agenda is thus questionable.
Mayor Moore, based on the $247,750,000 long-term debt amount Steve provided, and the current Census population estimate of 52,927, the current debt per capita for San Marcos is $4,681. Austin has around $6,500, San Antonio is around $5,900, Houston around $5,200 and Dallas around $5,100. Though I’m easily 10 years removed now, I seem to remember Moody’s considering $5,700 as high and about $1,400 as the median for municipal per capita debt ratios.
I have noticed a trend, which you hint at, toward the city issuing certificates of obligation rather than going through the effort of a bond election. If San Marcos isn’t careful, the rating agencies will notice this trend and ding the city’s credit rating. I also remember someone at the city a year or two ago stating in a CIP hearing that the city’s bonding capacity is pretty-much tapped unless the city increases revenue (i.e. taxes), and that there are a couple of years coming in which the city will have no capacity to issue new debt.
Personally, I think it is past time for the Council to show some leadership and conduct some soul-searching in regards to how they are treating the people’s money.
I repost my comment above, for your benefit, since it appears that you may have missed it.
“Our Mayor spoke quite frequently to the press.
Are you therefore satisfied with her “response” to the taxpayers?”
While I would have preferred that LMC attend all of the debates and interviews, I feel that I pretty much know were she stands on most of the current issues.
Most people that have been following San Marcos politics for a year or more, also have a similar perception of her, since this is her second run for City Council.
I DO NOT agree with every plank in her campaign platform, and I feel that she puts undue emphasis on some issues and proposed solutions that are of secondary importance, and that is probably to her detriment politically.
However, one thing that I feel quite certain of, is the reality that she is not in the pocket of big special interest groups here in San Marcos, and has no desire to be.
That is simply NOT who she is, and she derives her validation from being just the opposite, in fact. She has been burned by the local media and rhetoric in the past, and is being somewhat over-cautious, again to her detriment.
So, that being said, I do see fault in your process of logic when you indicate that since her platform is not conveniently published for you, in your medium of choice, that your “conclusions” concerning her and her agenda, are warranted.
This is a crucial vote on City Council, and if you have read any of the above, you might be inclined to draw the same conclusion, that we as a city must break up this “blind majority” that is leading us, the taxpaying citizens of San Marcos, like mindless lemmings, over the cliff and down into the sea.
We as a city are indeed facing a clear and present looming crisis.
Does the City of San Marcos wish to be pulled by the nose, into bankruptcy by a leader with no sense of fiscal responsibility or restraint, and who has been right there herself, before?
I as a citizen and taxpayer in this city, don’t want to be forced yet further down that path, and that is EXACTLY where we are headed.
Nope, didn’t miss your anonymous post “B.Franklin”. But I guess you just glanced over mine since you missed the part about also wanting reporters to ask tough questions, not fluff. BTW, interesting that you hide behind an assumed name….no wonder you back a candidate who hides from the media…makes sense. And yes, I’d rather have a candidate who is available to the media, like the current Mayor, rather than one who remains cloaked in darkness much like Cheney did in Washington while in office and look at the mess he left our country in!! (Be sure, B. Franklin, that you read the part “while in office” on Cheney as yes, I know he can’t shut up now that he is out–but like your candidate, refused to talk prior!).
And no, I don’t know Ryan either. I voted for the other guy first time.
If you did not miss my post, then you did indeed miss the point.
For all the idealism that you appear to embrace, you are certainly shining a dim light down a long dark road ahead.
I would more readily equate Cheney’s administrative flaws to those of our Mayor, rather than any other personality that I can readily think of.
And as far as anonymity, I still as yet do not know you from Adam.
Have a nice day.
“And as far as anonymity, I still as yet do not know you from Adam.”
That was hilarious.
Please encourage your voting friends in San Marcos to get out and vote on Tuesday the 15th!
Your comment was hilarious. Now back to Steve’s point………..everyone vote tomorrow !!!
B. Franklin wins the bad pun award for December. Congratulations. Please play again. When listing the misaccomplishments of the City, I am always disappointed that none of you ever seems to discuss building our 7 million dollar “central” fire station in Kyle. My assumption is that the City mothers decided we need to protect our own bridge to no where. Even if we had located the “central” fire station in some place logical, like the center of town, we could have built a very functional metal building with a nice exterior for less than a million dollars. Of course, it wouldn’t have towers and gun turrets but in times like these, even firemen need cut back a little.
I guess we have finally achieved some symmetry. We have an inaccessible police station on the far end of the city and a in inaccessible fire station on the other far end of the city. Just brilliant.
And in closing, please don’t be influenced by the above pleas to vote. If you have no idea of the issues or problems in San Marcos, please stay home. If you don’t know who or why you are voting for a candidate, you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.
NOW we bring up those pesky Certificates of Obligation–IOU’s, in common words. Do we all know how they work? The most amazing thing about them is that they can be used to fund capital improvements and other projects just as bonds can. The largest distinction? They may be (and, Lord, have they been!) passed and signed without a popular vote of approval–say, in an emergency or after a natural disaster, or when the Council doesn’t want to take the time or effort to get rated, discuss them in open forum,etc., or when the Council judges they might be tough to pass.
CO’s often pass in the quiet, with a deceptive agenda listing, perhaps at a special meeting or hid in “Consent.”
They are generally done “in bulk,” under a project name, without bothering to detail the items in them. They are a problem-solving and agenda-speeding tool at one time hardly ever used, except in extremes–like when the new Wastewater Plant needed rapid remediation for the “aroma problem” downwind and in the area. Make, say, a $3M dollar bioremediation device offered by an on-his-toes consultant, rather than, perhaps, as some cities do, just flare off the methane and hydrogen sulfide at the site, a kind of eternal flame in honor of the Council and Manager.
Some even use the captured methane as part of the energy source to run the plant itself (steam for power, say). Kill two birds with one stone, as contrasted with the SM method of building a digester, then a filter system, then a complex and expensive biogas removal system–continuing to patch until we got perhaps the most technically-advanced system there is (but SURPRISE!! If the wind and humidity are just right and the volume enough, the ‘product” still stinks to heaven).
Thus C.O.’s can be good for a PROGRESSIVE city like ours. They do have their uses, but most officials try to avoid them like the plague, since they tend to smell of secrecy or skullduggery coming from the Chambers (not the same odor as described above, just quite, but people have been cast from office and even jailed for their abuse). They also provide job continuity for consultants, lobbyists, financial advisors, construction folks and State regulators/inspectors, without having to waste time or go for a debt rating. Proficient rater/analysts like those at Moody’s and S&P actually rather look over their spectacles at cities who issue “too many” or questionable ones.
This is one of the reasons I often rail at those who say, “I’m qualified because I live here.” A hundred million bucks now and then requires some education and a lot of experience to manage effectively. Some people tend to act in office like a 12-year-old turned loose with Dad’s credit card–overcome by the “want’s” and the ambition to show up the less fortunate kids on the block, or to build popularity with those “someones special.” Thus are Senators born (Think “earmarks.”). Thus the SACRED TRUST of the public is pillaged over time.
This election reminds me of my first Chemistry set, in the glorious holiday of the fourth grade. I knew some science and was terribly excited, but my nerves were rather jagged from trying to calculate which of my mixtures and potions might explode, flame, smoke, or, once again, stink. I half expect after Wednesday we may get one of those reactions as the current company gets even more bonded together, or fractures appear. Either way, the Ringmaster will be a busy lady, indeed. What about US?
I could ALMOST vote for Charles Sims….
To the comment, “don’t be influenced by the pleas to vote,” I’d wager most of the Newstreamz readership family is engaged enough to cast a relatively informed vote.