San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 15th, 2009
Tuesday council run-off could draw 1,000

electionsofficeThe Hays County Elections Office hasn’t been a very busy place during early voting in a San Marcos City Council run-off election. Tuesday is Election Day. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

Associate Editor
While early indications favor San Marcos Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commissioner Ryan Thomason to win a city council seat, only Tuesday’s results in a low-turnout run-off election will tell if academic advisor Lisa Marie Coppoletta can cover a 456-vote deficit from the Nov. 3 balloting.
Early voting turnout for the run-off indicates that the total vote could come to fewer than 1,000 people for a critical city council seat in a city of 50,000 residents. Only 436 votes were cast in the early voting, 409 by personal appearance and 27 by absentee mail-in ballot.
“I just don’t think we’re going to have a large turnout at all,” said Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan. “They (the candidates) have to get the voters out to the polls. I just don’t think we’re going to get 2,000 voters again (like in the November election).”
Thomason received the most votes, by far, in the Nov. 3 election to fill San Marcos City Council Place 5, which is being vacated by Pam Couch. Of 1,924 ballots cast in November, Thomason took 960, three short of majority needed to claim victory. Coppoletta won a place in the run-off election by finishing second with 504 votes, while small business owner Shaune Maycock was eliminated after receiving 460 votes.
Only 2,049 voters, 7.09 percent of the registered voters in San Marcos, turned out for the November election. Of those voters, 809 voted early. Cowan said odd year November elections, which include only state constitutional amendments in many locations, tend to yield low turnouts.
Of the 436 votes cast so far in the city council run-off election, an overwhelming majority came from precincts that heavily supported Thomason in the November election. Precinct 336 (95 early votes) was by far the leader in early voting, followed by Precincts 332 (76), 315 (58), 330 (56), 113 (51), 116 (35) and 334 (27). In November, Thomason won all those precincts handily, except for 334, which he still won.
Coppoletta won two light turnout boxes, Precincts 112 and 114, in November, while Maycock won another light box, Precinct 111. In early voting, only 15 ballots came from Precinct 112, another 15 came from Precinct 114 and Precinct 111 produced 22 early votes. Precinct 120, which went decisively to Thomason in November, produced 17 early votes. Feather light Precinct 446 (32 total votes in November) produced seven early votes, and even lighter Precinct 447 produced none.
Thomason also dominated the fundraising between Nov. 3 and the run-off, claiming $2,900 in contributions and $1,512.56 in expenditures on campaign finance reports between Nov. 4 and Dec. 14. Thomason said he has $3,030.27 left in his campaign war chest.
The largest contribution for Thomason entering the run-off came from developers W.C. Carson, Chris Carson and Reagan Lehman, who each kicked in one-third of a $1,500 contribution. Terry Gilmore, who spent nearly $15,000 on Mayor Susan Narvaiz’ 2008 re-election campaign, contributed $500 to Thomason. Richard Skiles contributed $400 and Anna Mae and Donald Harrelson contributed $300. Gilmore tied James Kelly as the largest single contributor in this set of city council elections, each giving $2,000 in reported contributions for various candidates.
In total, Thomason has raised $9,725 for the race, spending $6,694.83. Coppoletta’s totals from the start of her campaign until now are $1,770.50 in contributions and $2,969.62 in expenditures. On her report for Oct. 26 through Dec. 5, Coppoletta claimed one $50 contribution and $119.33 in expenditures.
Cowan said she’s expecting the run-off election vote to total around 1,000, going as far as predicting an approximate 500 votes cast on Election Day, though she said her office is “prepared to handle every one and plus.”
Early voting for the run-off election took place during 10 days beginning on Nov. 30 and ending on Dec. 11. Thursday, Dec. 3, yielded the highest voter turnout by personal appearance, totaling 94 votes with 43 taking place at the Elections Office and 51 at the Texas State campus, the lone day voting was offered at the university. The last day of early voting brought out 92 voters, while the other eight days yielded results ranging from 13 to 33 cast ballots in any one day.
The following are polling places for specific precincts on Election Day, Tuesday Dec. 15:
– Precinct 110 and Precinct 113 will vote at the Elections Administrator’s Office, 401-C Broadway.
– Precinct 111 will vote at the Dunbar Center, 801 MLK Drive.
– Precinct 112 will vote at Guadalupe Hall, 212 Roosevelt Street.
– Precinct 114 will vote at the Allen Woods Homes Auditorium, 1201 Thorpe Lane.
– Precinct 116 will vote at Hernandez Elementary School, 333 Stagecoach Trail.
– Precinct 120 will vote at the San Marcos Housing Authority Residents Office, 820 Sturgeon.
– Precinct 315 will vote at Doris Miller Middle School, 301 Foxtail Run.
– Precinct 330 will vote at the Lamar Central Office Annex, 500 West Hutchison Street.
– Precinct 336 will vote at Horizon Bay (formerly Merrill Gardens) Auxiliary Room, 1720 Ranch Road 12.
– Precinct 332 and Precinct 334 will vote at the Old Fish Hatchery Building, 201 North C.M. Allen Parkway.
– Precinct 127, Precinct 446, and Precinct 447 will vote at Travis Elementary School, 1437 Old Post Road.

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0 thoughts on “Tuesday council run-off could draw 1,000

  1. I did not have my glasses on, and read that only 436 early votes were cast and that LMC had a 436 (NO,…456..?!) vote deficit to make up,…(whoa!)

    ….but that was from Nov. 3rd.

    (I do have my glasses on now!)

    It is still WIDE OPEN.

    Please go vote, but as Mr. Sims wisely states,…. please know for who and for exactly what, you are casting your vote.

  2. Your list above of the contributors to Thomason, the Carson duo and Lehman developers, has helped me make up my mind to vote for Coppoletta today. I’m sure they are good people, but I know what they want and they don’t give money to people who don’t agree with them 100%, IMO.

  3. If you care about neighborhoods or the aquifer, vote for Lisa Coppoletta.

    If you want to protect your property values or the aquifer, vote for Lisa.

    Vote for Lisa unless you want 453 apartments on Bishop between Franklin and Craddock on the Buie land.

    Her opponent is on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and on Dec. 8 he seconded the motion to rezone part of the Buie land for mixed use – apartments and businesses. He also voted for it. You can verify this by going to the city website and looking at the video.

    These apartments would be right next to established neighborhoods and would add much traffic to the area as well as the other problems that can come with apartments.

    The Buie tract is over the aquifer and has many caves and recharge features.

    The folks who live in Willow Creek should also be concerned because they are downhill and downstream from the proposed apartments on the Buie land.

    4 people on city council voted on Dec. 1 to have a development agreement with the potential developers of the Buie tract. The vote was 4 – 3 in favor. Again, you can verify this by looking at the video on the city website.

    Let’s elect Lisa, so the vote can be 4 -3 AGAINST.

  4. I hate that this runoff election has two absurd candidacies. One is bought by special interest and the other, well just really shouldn’t be in a position to make policy decisions. What is killing me is that every vote does count, I remember the Bose/Prather race, and Ryan didn’t win outright the first time because of three votes, so it is obvious every does count. I honestly just really still am on the fence.
    I wish I could compare the two on the video interviews Newstreamz did for November, but Lisa didnt do it. Also, it’s not like I can go back to the previous article on the runoff election to look for my answers, because Lisa after requesting the questions in writing didnt answer them. Well actually it looks like I may have just made up my mind. See yall at the polls.

  5. I’m not sure what Lisa is for because she has refused all interviews by all media outlets, and wouldn’t even answer the written questions provided to her. At least Ryan is willing to talk to the people and the media. Ryan is willing to talk about his political standpoints and explain why he supports them. Lisa refuses to talk to anyone. Why does Lisa REFUSE to talk to the media or be interviewed? Has she ever answered this question? If she wants to represent the city, she has to be willing to be accessible which she has proven time and again she is not.

  6. Those ranting for Lisa, the “invisible” candidate as the writer ‘surprised’ adequately addresses, remind me the old TV series, The Twlight Zone. And I’m afraid a vote for her would bring about the same result as each episode! Having followed Camille’s “leadership” ideas the past few years, I often wonder if she would have voted to continue with covered wagons vs. cars. Is the word “progress” just not in ANY of her dictionaries???

  7. If you are not sure what Ms. Coppoletta stands for, please check her website.

    She has links to the public city council candidate debates on her website.

    She has other information as well.

    Her web address and phone number are on all her signs, so your statement that she is inaccessible does not accord with the facts.

  8. Ryan also has a website. It’s for Wood and Thomason construction company. His biggest donors are developers. He again voted, unsuccessfully this time, for zoning a mixed use and high density development on our recharge zone. Is it true that one of Thomason’s campaign signs hangs from the Buie Tract fence?

  9. Like Surprised said, it’s hard to be happy about this election. Two years ago I read Coppoletta’s idea for revitalizing Main Street (rent it out as movie sets, “it works for Martindale!”), and because of this I can’t view her with much favor. I wish objectivity, sanity, humanity and common sense were available in one candidate … but then, I wouldn’t vote for myself.

  10. I wonder what made 3 others vote as they did about the Buie tract proposal. Can anyone suggest a quick way for me to learn more?

  11. When a candidate is asked about her (in this case) position on an issue, “check my website” isn’t an acceptable answer. I expect a candidate for public office to be accessible – not simply a referral source to some web page that may or may not actually contain her thoughts. I expect a thoughtful and deliberated response.

    I will not vote for a candidate who isn’t able to discuss the issues.

  12. If you need a reason NOT to perpetuate the Susan voting block on City Council (trading Couch for Thomason), I can give you 247,000,000.00 of them.

    When the city is bankrupt, and your taxes have gone through the roof, we can all think about what we maybe should have done today instead.

  13. Dear Dano,
    You won’t post under your own name, and you are writing about accessibility?

    The nice adjective to use about you and the previous poster “Karen” is “ironic.”

    It is ironic that you are writing about accessibility while hiding your identity.

    There are several appropriate not-so-nice adjectives, but I will refrain from using them.

  14. Maybe it’s just my imagination,…

    but several of the posters above seem to have exactly the same style of writing,….

    …and exactly the same point of view.

  15. So, the only thing saving us from bankruptcy is Lisa Marie Coppoletta? Please stop insulting our intelligence. In my opinion, Mr. Thomason is clearly the more qualified candidate but I do admire LMC’s tenacity. I’m not so cynical to think that he would sell out his hometown for a campaign donation. When I disagree with a candidate I don’t automatically assume that they are crooked. Reasonable people can disagree and they can do so without being disagreeable. This is still a small town and I believe everyone on council is a well-meaning public servant who wants to make our community better. Is that so hard to believe? I also shy away from single-issue politics, and worse yet, single vote politics. I want people on council who see the big picture, and who respect the opinions of others, even those with whom they disagree. And when each issue is decided, I want them to move on to the next issue without holding a grudge. I believe Mr. Thomason will be that kind of council member.

  16. “Dano;
    Talk to Susan.
    She’ll be happy to discuss the issues with you.”

    Actually, she will. You should try it sometime.

  17. And the foregoing is some evidence of why it would have been nice to avoid this runoff. Ryan isn’t a special interest pawn; Ryan isn’t at Susan’s beckon; LMC is not crazy; LMC probably has more ideas than one from three years ago; posters can have opinions without real names; candidates can choose forums to insure a fair shake… The truth lies somewhere in the middle, but campaigns always turn into villification and exhalting.

    On the last day of the election, I hope everyone votes and I commend both candidates on taking the time to do what they thought was best for the future of San Marcos. To the winner, stay strong and use the voice the people vote in, and to the loser, stay involved and understand that you don’t need a Council seat to be a City leader.

  18. Thanks John. The healthy tone you offer is very refreshing. I hope you’re right concerning our individual candidates.

  19. “Is it true that one of Thomason’s campaign signs hangs from the Buie Tract fence?”

    SO DOES COPOLLETA’s!!!!! So did Thomaides and Maycock.

  20. The difference, Camille, is that I’m not running for public office. Therefore, I have no obligation to provide any “transparency” and I doubt any can be reasonably expected of me.

    I’m not asking LMC to give me her home phone number or anything private – I would just like her to answer relevant questions about her position on the issues when asked. If you think that’s too much to ask of someone running for public office, that’s your prerogative. Personally, I choose to expect more of my elected officials.

    BTW, my name is Dan and all my friends call me Dano, so it’s not like I’m exactly obscuring anything. I’m just not trusting enough to go posting my full name on the web – most security experts will tell you that it’s a bad idea, dontchaknow.

  21. @BFranklin: I’m no fan of Susan’s and I’m no fan of perpetuating her “regime” in San Marcos. I know Ryan only in passing and I don’t know LMC other than by reputation.

    In short, I don’t have a horse in this race. My decision is based purely on which candidate did the best job of presenting themselves on the issues at hand. LMC (other than having a website) has disappointed greatly in this regard. So my vote went to Thomason.

    Do I have reservations? Sure I do. His apparent association with the Police and Firefighters unions is somewhat disturbing as well as his affiliation with SMABOR. It also disturbs me to think that he may fall into lock-step with Susan’s vision for San Marcos.

    But even with those reservations, I would take him over an enigmatic and eccentric candidate whose only apparent qualification is that “I’m not that other guy”. How did that work for Kerry in 04 again?

    Besides, I’m not happy that LMC forced the runoff to occur in the first place. She was defeated by a significant margin in the general election. While it’s true that she technically had a right to a runoff, it’s also true that her little battle is costing the taxpayers of this county a ton of money – and to no good end.

  22. Sorry about that sarcastic comment, Dano.

    Perhaps I’ve been a little “on edge” today.

    Concerning runoffs however, recall that Susan won the three way vote in her first mayoral bid, and then lost the runoff.

    She has cost the city and taxpayers a ton (or two) of money, also.

  23. Again, if you care about neighborhoods or the aquifer, please vote for Lisa. The polls are open until 7 today.

    My post above has more complete comments about the 453 apartments that could be built on the Buie land at Bishop and Craddock and extending west to Franklin.

    This land is on the recharge zone and next to established neighborhoods.

    On December 8, her opponent voted in favor of a zoning change for the Buie land to mixed use.

    Someone needs to double check the Election Code of the State of Texas, Dano, (perhaps you could do it), but I believe that state election law governs runoffs and governs when a runoff is required.

    On another topic, If we truly want professional jobs here in SM, we need good neighborhoods in all price ranges.

    We also need to protect the investment that homeowners make. People who have professional jobs tend to want to own their home, whether it is a detached house, a condo, or some other dwelling.

    Why should professionals buy in SM if their safety, quality of life, and property values can be put at risk by incompatible development nearby?

    The corridor has a number of towns where people can buy a home and feel that their investment is protected.

  24. Camille,

    You are misrepresenting the facts just a little, btw. P&Z was NOT voting to allow 453 apartments on that piece of land. It was simply voting to allow a zoning change and a land use map amendment (which meets the Horizon’s Masterplan and staff analysis, BTW). There is a big difference. TCEQ STILL has to approve the geo report and allow the development and P&Z STILL has to approve the watershed protection plan should the developer present a plan. The vote you mention was NOT to permit a specific development plan.

    Also, this development will not significantly effect traffic on Craddock, IMO. The vast majority of traffic will zip right over to the new, and very convenient, Wonderworld and go from there, thus helping the city with their pass through (traffic based) financing from the state. The more cars on Wonderworld, the more money the city gets from TXDOT.

    Your repeated message is just a scare tactic to try to influence people with your anti-growth agenda.

    Ryan is a true fiscal conservative. On P&Z, during the CIP hearings, he had identified a number of outrageous spending issues and questioned them. $600k+ for a tennis court? What about $800k+ just for engineering and architectural fees for a library expansion? How about $8 per square foot for sidewalks that can be done in the private sector for $3.50? He questioned all of these, as well as many more, as excessive.

    I believe he will be a good steward of the City’s tax money and will be a check on some of the excessive spending that many are complaining about.

  25. Just got back from voting for Ryan Thomason at the polling place for precincts 332/334. There were four or five people voting in there when I was there, including me, so I think turnout may not be as low as some feared it might be. But, granted, this was right after 5 o’clock right when everyone comes home from work so it was probably the busiest time of the day at the polls.

  26. I just got back from voting in Precinct 114 at 5:45 p.m. The polls had been open since 7 a.m. The poll workers told me I was the 23rd voter today at that precinct. Maybe the turnout will be as low as some feared.

  27. (Apparently) higher turnout in a Thomason precinct, lower in a Coppoletta precinct. Same story as in early voting. Bodes well for Thomason.

  28. Excuse me for disagreeing, but it is absolutely absurd to assume that Thomason will offer any significant opposition to the Narvaiz agenda lead on City Council.

    It just won’t happen, and you (and we all) know it.

    I expect that he may give some token lip service to support your myth and the assertion that he is a “true fiscal conservative” and an independent thinker, but in the end, he will fall into his rightful place in Susan’s spineless, brain-dead majority, as we concerned citizens have painfully witnessed time and time again.

    And another 5 or 10 million dollars in tax liability will be added to our massive city debt obligation, ad infinitum.

    I had hopes for Terry, and his desire and ability to stand up to her, but look how that turned out.

    When our city credit finally tanks, then and only then will any there be any slow down or relief in the runaway rate of city spending.

    I have an extreme sense of fear and loathing just now, as those with their short-sighted greed and self-serving motivations prepare for their evening of rejoice.

  29. With turnout this low, just a few volunteers knocking on doors every day, and making reminder phone calls today to vote, would have won this election. If you felt that strongly that Ryan Thomason should be defeated, you could have made it happen.

  30. Mr. or Ms. COS,
    Ah, these people who won’t post under their own names.

    You won’t be accountable by giving your name.

    Anyone over 12 knows to exercise their critical thinking skills when reading comments such as yours.

    Are the figures that you give accurate?

    Since you cite no specific sources, we have no way to verify what you say.

    I am not misrepresenting the facts. You are.

    Have you actually read the Horizons Master Plan? Your comment about it is flat wrong.

    The rezoning of the Buie land has been broken down into several requests, only the first of which was voted on at P&Z on Dec. 8.

    However, the man running for city council was anxious to vote yes on it and did.

    When it did not pass, postponing the other requests became very expedient.

    However, it could pass in the future.

    The multi-family zoning (MF-12) does NOT correspond with what the Horizons Master Plan says.

    Page 4-27 of the Horizons Master Plan designates the area where the Buie land is for very low density residential, which apartments are not.

    Good luck on thinking that the traffic will not be going through the established neighborhoods.

    You use that old chestnut and say that I am anti-growth.

    I support growth that preserves the good things about San Marcos.

    If we want to have tourists visit us, we need have something unique to offer them.
    I support keeping us unique.

    Dano, Ms. Coppoletta is not required to concede. Why should she?

    I’ve enjoyed my time on Newstreamz today and will probably go back to just reading it.

  31. I may or may not be on P&Z. I do have the right to anonymity and privacy!

    I know Ryan fairly well and honestly do not think he will march lock step with Susan or anyone else. I believe he will provide a good check and balance on the wasteful government spending on infrastructure issues at least. With his background, he actually has a grasp of the real world costs of things. He knows that it does not need to cost $600k+ to build a tennis court.


    Can you tell me what figures I gave that I did not cite sources for? If you are referring to the CIP stuff, I did indeed cite the source. You can easily review the records and video of all P&Z meetings. If you need help, it was the May 28th meeting. I know, I looked it up today. It took me all of 5 minutes. As you know, NS does not allow off-site links so I respected their rules and did not post one.

  32. Actually 258 according to the county website with 100% reporting. 61.38% to 38.62%. Congratulation, Ryan. The City of San Marcos is now doomed according to some!

  33. It doesn’t matter who won. We are all up a creek until we can dethrone her Majesty Susan. I don’t think were ever doomed, but I hope Ryan can stand up to Susan and be the fiscally responsible council member he promised to be.

  34. B. Franklin,

    Give him a chance and I think you may be pleasantly surprised. I do know one thing, the cost of all infrastructure spending will be highly scrutinized by him at least.

  35. Someone asked earlier how they could find out more about the “buie tract” and a lot of other folks are wondering what the big deal about it is. It gets real complicated real quick on this one. For those who are unfamilar with the site it is the 150 acres between the new Wonder World drive and the corner of Bishop and Craddock. It is the place that was cleared by bullodzers in 2007 and was bare red dirt till it started to rain recently. TCEQ is very familar with this tract because when the bulldozers were clearing the land they recieved a complaint about the illegal clearing. The following comes from their investigation report. They first recieved a complaint on August 29, 2007 where the complainant “belived that the land was being cleared in order to make room for a subdivision and that this might constitute a violation of the Edwards Aquifer rules” Several TCEQ investigator visited the site on Sept 7, 2007 and noted among other things a large tank containing red dyed diesel, which by law can only be used for agricultural purposes. on Sept 10 the TCEQ investigator talked to a Mr Rick Coleman, the contact for the land, who told him that ” he was clearing cedar trees in order to encourage native grasses to grow for his cattle”. He stated that “he was leaving most of the oak trees and other good trees” when asked if he had any plans for a subdivision he stated ” that he has no intention of developing a subdivision and the land clearing is only for cattle” It would be really interesting to find out exactally when the engineers involved with this project began to draw up the first plans for this development.

    yes TCEQ will have to approve the geologic survey of this site. TCEQ found serious deficiencies in the geologic assessment that was turned in and issued a notice of deficiency letter. The permit application was withdrawn the day before the city council meeting where the development agreement was signed. A meeting where the developer stated that they had a permit application being reviewed by TCEQ.

    It is so obvious to me that the police and firefighters just want to put up a shooting range in the park there with massive tax abatements to the ammunition store next door where Nick Ramus is going to be running a resturant and strait piping blackwater right into the aquifer. Where is Charles Od’Dell on this one.

  36. COS- In all your e-mails supporting Thomason, you kind of went to vehemently defending his strength as an independent thinker not to be bullied by the Mayor’s agenda of “build where/what/when you want” to “costs…will be scrutinized by him AT LEAST”. Sounds like low expectations…

  37. COS, if you are so sure the city got hoodwinked why didn’t you bid the tennis court job? You would have been low bidder by what, 500K? The city built something that will last for many decades and keep thousands of local kids and adults in shape. Parks and recreational opportunities were listed as one of the main reasons Business Week magazine rated us one of the “Best Place in US to raise kids”. Why aren’t you screeching as loud over the excessive Police & Fire contract? That $3 million in additional salaries was equivalent to 6 complete tennis court facilities in just the next 3 years! Please spare those of us that actually live in the city and pay taxes on our homes, your feigned outrage over well-built and quality family recreational facilities for ourselves and our kids. PS. The vote to build the tennis courts and the skate park was 7-0.

  38. Mr. Speaker, hang on a minute fellow!

    I have never said I was not against the police sweetheart deal. That has not even come up in discussion. It is a fact that the city pays extra for over engineering things. Hopefully with the new CIP director some of that will be fixed and a little value engineering will occur.

    It is rather funny that folks complain about wasteful government spending unless it is a project that they like. Then it is good spending. The cost to actually build the tennis court was not a problem. It is what was spent on the engineering and it’s related increase in cost due to the CYA factor that is the issue.

    All I am saying is that ALL city spending should be scrutinized under a microscope and that in tough time as we have now, some stuff may have to wait.

    I am also saying that now having someone on Council that ACTUALLY knows the cost of things will be a good thing.

  39. COS, What you neglect to understand is that engineering and design fees are set by the Texas Legislature and the city is required by law to have facilities built with public money certified by these engineering firms. As for over engineering, the last tennis facility was clearly under engineered and sat un-used for 15 years because of it. Sheesh, you just can’t be satisfied with anything. Better to spend a little extra now, than have to spend a lot later replacing them.

  40. “I am also saying that now having someone on Council that ACTUALLY knows the cost of things will be a good thing.”

    And not one of them did know, before?


  41. Come on now, B. Franklin! Don’t take my message out of context! I was referring to infrastructure costs and you know it. Tell me anyone else up there that has ANY real world experience in what it actually costs to build something.

    Let’s see, we have a personnel person, a water softener person, 2 TX. State employees, a realtor, a counselor, and now a builder. Tell me who would know the most about BUILDING costs out of that group?

  42. If fiscal responsibility is the goal, maybe we should elect more accountants to public office.

    It troubles me to see that the majority – if not the totality – of our Council has no apparent background in financial management or budgeting. Maybe that’s the problem…..

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