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December 16th, 2009
Thomason wins council run-off with ease

sherrySan Marcos City Clerk Sherry Mashburn, right, reads the run-off results at City Hall Tuesday night, while winning candidate Ryan Thomason and outgoing Councilmember Pam Couch, left, look on. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

Associate Editor

San Marcos Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commissioner Ryan Thomason comfortably won a seat on the city council Tuesday night, defeating academic advisor Lisa Marie Coppoletta in a run-off election that drew 1,138 voters.

Thomason took two-thirds of the early vote and cruised to victory, although Coppoletta closed the gap slightly during Tuesday’s voting. Thomason finished with 696 votes (61.38 percent) to Coppoletta’s 438 (38.62 percent).

“Finally,” Thomason said. “It’s really nice to be able to move forward and do the job now.”

Thomason finished just three votes short of winning a three-way contest for the seat during the Nov. 3 election. Thomason took 960 of 1,924 votes cast, while Coppoletta finished a distant second with 504 votes to qualify for the run-off. Small business owner Shaune Maycock finished out of the running with 460 votes.

Thomason and Coppoletta have campaigned for going on five months, since they both filed for the Place 5 seat in early August. Coppoletta, who lost to Chris Jones in a November 2008 bid for the city council, kick-started her initiative last January, when she first announced she would run for the seat being vacated by Pam Couch.

Thomason’s weakest showing during the run-off came on Election Day, when he took 384 (57.23 percent) of 671 votes cast, while Coppoletta won 287 (42.77 percent) votes, improving on her early vote record.

Thomason overshadowed Coppoletta in the ten-day early vote, taking 277 (67.73 percent) of the 409 votes cast by personal appearance, while Coppoletta picked up 132 (32.27 percent) votes. The absentee vote yielded similar results, giving Thomason 35 (64.81 percent) of 54 votes cast, whereas Coppoletta gained 19 (35.19 percent) votes.

“I feel really good about leaving now,” said Couch, whose last meeting as a councilmember will be on Wednesday. “I feel we have a fair and balanced candidate up there (on city council) making good decisions for the city … He’s not an extremist, he’s a good fair and balanced individual … He won’t be swayed by anyone.”

Thomason said he will concentrate on economic development for San Marcos, as well as attracting living wage paying jobs.

“Congratulations (to Thomason) on winning the run-off election,” Coppoletta said in a statement. “I personally like Ryan and hope he does well on the council.   I want the people who supported me to know that together we will keep their concerns before council and work to preserve the best of San Marcos.”

Said Thomason, “(Coppoletta) ran a good and fair race. We both made the efforts that  needed to be made. We both love San Marcos.”

San Marcos City Clerk Sherry Mashburn announced the results in the foyer to the city council chamber, where Thomason, Couch, Mayor Susan Narvaiz and others waited to hear them.

The room went into a congratulatory roar and applause for the new councilmember. The happiness felt in the room was briefly interrupted after Mashburn said only 1,138 (3.93 percent) of 28,954 San Marcos registered voters cast ballots, prompting Narvaiz to yell to Thomason, “Who cares? You won!”

Narvaiz said the election results are scheduled to be canvassed on Dec. 23 at noon. Mashburn said only two councilmembers present are needed for the canvassing.

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37 thoughts on “Thomason wins council run-off with ease

  1. “Thomason’s weakest showing during the run-off came on Election Day, when he took 384 (57.23 percent) of 671 votes cast, while Coppoletta won 287 (42.77 percent) votes, improving on her early vote record.”

    What factor(s) influenced this change in public sentiment?

    (chronic, rampant, runaway city spending? police and firefighters contracts? environmental concerns? present quality of life? long term vision over short term gains? pandering to special interests? or just more plain good ole girl politics?)

    Ryan, I hope that you will ask this question to yourself personally, and take it to heart.

    From the debates and interviews, you indicate that you have the highest, altruistic concern for our city.

    Now that you have been elected, put some substance behind your claims.

    You WILL make a difference, but will it be on the high road, or the low road?

    We are watching.

    And a sea change in San Marcos politics, is on the horizon in one year.

    Just how will you adapt yourself to your vitally important role, here and now, in our city and in our lives?

  2. “Mashburn said only 1,138 (3.93 percent) of 28,954 San Marcos registered voters cast ballots,

    prompting Narvaiz to yell to Thomason, ‘Who cares? You won!'”

    Ahhh, true grace in leadership!

    This says it all.

  3. Seriously? Our mayor doesn’t care about low voter turnout? Hmmmm. She must really believe that she can keep buying elections. So far it’s worked.

  4. “Who cares[about the low voter turnout?] You won!”…. that’s a horribly frustrating comment.

  5. How does Queen Susan make such horrible comments, bankrupt our City and still win elections?

    Is it just her massive Christian support? Is that all it takes here in San Marcos to win elections, being a super Christian?

  6. Being Christian or not has little to do with it, and very little to do with her either, I suspect.

    With our money and her fawning attentions flowing in those directions that yield her the highest political dividends, she has been able to cajole a large enough group of loyal and hopeful beneficiaries, to keep her in power.

    3.93 percent of the public is all it takes, and the remainder of our voting population is too distracted with the “more urgent” aspects of life, to notice (or care) that their financial life-blood is silently being drained away, and that the future of San Marcos is being sold down the road.

    When the enough of the public, finally wakes up to her game, then and only then, will this situation of co-dependence end.

    I only hope that it will not be too late, to avoid a severe financial meltdown in OUR city, or to avert a disaster of similar magnitude.

  7. If you don’t think her constant Christian rhetoric has anything to do with her getting votes then I have a bridge to sell you.

  8. I think it is wonderful that voters follow Susan because of her religious beliefs. People seem to forget that this country was founded by Christians, therefore we should be following Christian leaders, even down to the city level. I know that a decision made by her is one made by someone with high morals and values and not full of corruption.
    Congrats to Ryan!

  9. I did not say that she does not appeal to the church community. She does, and in a big way including breakfasts with the local clergy, every other month.

    I’m sure that she tells them exactly what they want to hear, and being trusting good natured people in general, they have been buying into it, as she works her program behind the scenes.

    Another related tactic, is her “fight” for prayer before the City Council meetings. It does not affect the subsequent proceedings in any way, but does gain for her, a broad base of support, by the wearing of her “faith” on her sleeve.

    My personal faith (or lack thereof), is my business and really no one else’s unless I choose to make it so, but Christians have as much of a right to their beliefs, as do you or anyone else.

    To use it as a political leverage tool, however is quite contrary to the spirit and intent of Christianity.

    Christ ransacked the Temple in Jerusalem when he found it being used for personal gain.

    “Upon entering the Temple, He found great disorder. There they sold sheep, bullocks and doves; money changers were sitting at their tables.”

    I don’t see much difference here but alas, that’s just my opinion.

    And Brother John, know this:

    I’m not a Bible thumper, but I do know a little about history and the world.

    And, I don’t need a bridge. Thanks.

  10. This is a new low in the Susan bashing.
    B. Franklin “[m]y personal faith (or lack thereof), is my business and really no one else’s unless I choose to make it so” — doesn’t an attack on the Mayor’s faith violate your own statement? Has she somehow made it your business? Does she quote scripture during meetings? Does her campaign literature include a devotional? Have you been to a fundraiser with an altar call? No, she has merely been open about her faith and who she is. I don’t think it is for any of us to question her faith or suggest it is being employed for political gain.

    Further, if you guys really feel that her religion provides her political advantage, attacking her faith would exacerbate her support among the faithful and said advantage. Maybe she keeps increasing her margins of victory because her opposition can’t get out of its own way.

  11. Congratulations Ryan, I hope you prove your dissenters wrong and your supporters right. I want to believe Pam Couch in her saying that you’re a fair and balanced individual, but only time will tell how you’ll act on city council. Your time on P&Z illustrated the opposite, but hopefully it’ll be different this time.

    Maybe Susan made her comment just out of the notion on not concentrating on the negative in a festive moment when they had just announced Ryan won. Or perhaps she doesn’t really care about this town, and will praise anything that will get her one step closer to her agenda. Just my two cents.

  12. “Being Christian or not has little to do with it”

    Followed by ..

    “People seem to forget that this country was founded by Christians, therefore we should be following Christian leaders, even down to the city level.”

    Classic …

    I said nothing about Christianity the religion. I don’t even want to come close to debating religion with anyone. Simply stating that Susan gets votes because of how intertwined she is in the Christian community. Not a low at all unless you think calling a spade a spade is a low.

  13. Actually John, Susan’s margin of victory in elections is receding not expanding. 50.02% ring a bell?

  14. I’m with John M. Turning our elections into debates about religion does nothing to benefit the city.

  15. Mr. McGlothlin;

    You seem to usually take a strange cant of opposition to counter the most valid opinions or points that are posted here on the blog (I am certainly not referring to my own), and all of this in the most characteristic methods of a professional arguer.

    Whether you do indeed believe most of what you write, or you are just “staying in practice”, I have bitten my tongue more times than I can count in my desire to respond to some of that, but I have not, because I DO believe you to be a individual of intelligence, and you are entitled to your statements of opinion, as are we all.

    In case you did not follow the flow of discussion to which you are referring, and jumped before you looked;

    I did not bring up religion at all, in the first place.

    It does disturb me however, when I see a group of people (Christians in this case), hammered on without cause, and singled out as a whole for their personal beliefs, as long as they do not seek to harm others within the scope of those beliefs.

    The previous poster had implied that I suggested that our Mayor did not exercise any appeal to the church community, and had also labeled her as a “super Christian” which I found generally offensive and felt it was within my right and interest to respond.

    You and I both know that our Mayor does indeed use that alliance with the church community, that she has so carefully cultivated, to her political advantage and benefit.

    I am also within the bounds of realistic thinking to make statement to the observation that her actions, and the path that she is leading us down as a city, financially if nothing else, does not reflect a committed manifestation of overall caring and equal, unbiased favor and good will toward ALL of her subjects, in what I would consider general, good “Christian” principles.

    This slip of the lip by YOUR Mayor:

    “prompting Narvaiz to yell to Thomason, ‘Who cares? You won!’”

    does indeed belie the woman behind the curtain. But painfully as we know, in that comment, we only see the tip of the iceberg.

    And what looms just under the surface, is unbridled greed and avarice, as well as a perpetuating hunger and lust for power.

    I note a glaring chronic disparity in her claims vs. her action, and such hypocrisy, especially when touted in such a moral, religious context, does bother me, and it does indeed bother most people.

    It apparently does not disturb you however, since you seem to run to the defense of the most despicable statements, that are posted here in this forum, but that IS what you are paid to do, and perhaps it has just become habit, by now.

    If the truth hurts, Mr. McGlothlin, be assured, it is hurting all of us.

    And I suppose on that, and in the future, you and I can agree to disagree.

  16. This forum is a wonderful place to discuss the issues affecting this city, it needs to be kept more or less civil. Anyone who has followed my posts in the past know I have some issues with the mayor. I voted for her opponant last year, and will in all likelyhood vote for her opponant next year, should she run and have an opponant.

    However I do not think that she does what she does due to “unbridled greed and avarice, as well as a perpetuating hunger and lust for power”. I think she is doing what she honestly thinks is best for this city. And yes, some of the spending has been unnecessry, but we are a long way from any sort of financial meltdown.

    Some of the tings said in the past few days in regards to the citiy council and the mayor has been way over the top. And some people need to chill.

  17. Thanks for including that bit of mayor-aggance at the end. How many of the 3% of votes were cast by people on the city’s payroll? Fair and balanced indeed.

  18. Larry;

    We have just about “chilled” until the point of no return, with regard to our financial future as a city.

    Did you read about Vallejo, California ($250 million in debt, with a population twice the size of ours), and how they “chilled” while the local newspaper was screaming to the high heavens, about the need for fiscal responsibility.

    And about the majority gridlock on their city council, that enabled and perpetuated this, while the concerned citizens “chilled” and were effectively forced to do so?

    I’m sure there were plenty of objections that were voiced over the years, but they were shouted down and diluted by reassurances, just such as yours, and soothing appeals for calm.

    They are now BANKRUPT!



    Our Mayor was BANKRUPT!

    And was coming out of it, when she was first elected!

    I’m sorry if strong language jars your comfort level, but for god sakes man, open your eyes!

    I know that there are those out there that feel my same level of hopeless frustration.

    But between the (effectively equal) influences of self interest and/or apathy within our city, we are surely being led down into a deep dark hole, that will take decades to recover from.

    When your comfort level IS finally violated, I have the extreme sense of fear that the permanent and irreparable damage to our city’s future will already be done.

    God help us.

  19. All in all, the mayor is only one vote of seven. Her term expires this November, if you’re unhappy with her, do not vote for her should she choose to run. Do not vote for her rubber-stamp votes. Get them out of office and keep them out of office. Only 3 percent turned out to vote this time, so it appears voters aren’t too concerned with what’s going on, which only perpetuates the tenure inappropriate people in city government. We must act, and now, or this will only get worse. However, if apathy remains, then so will our disastrous leadership.
    Or if perhaps you feel our leadership in office now is doing marvels, then continue them in office.

  20. B.Franklin, do you have any figures showing that this city is insolvant, or any where near insolvant. And please don’t list the projects you don’t like. They mean we are spending to much, they don’t mean we are insolvant, which is what you are saying when you say BANKRUPT.

  21. “How many of the 3% of votes were cast by people on the city’s payroll?” – DM

    It’s not their fault that so many people don’t care enough to come to the polls. When the electorate is disengaged, then the votes of a few carry so much more weight.

    If you think City employees have a disproportionate impact on election results, then go out and get people to vote. Remember, they get one vote just like you and I.

  22. You’re right, despite my efforts the electorate is disengaged. I was just pointing out the absurdity of Pam Couch’s statement that this was a balanced election.

  23. Also, B Frank’s statements carry weight, this is not just paranoid. I pointed out in the debates last year that San Marcos moves into budgetary crisis if sales tax revenue declines by 5% or more over budget considerations. So far revenue is down 3%.

  24. Larry;

    I’m going to take a liberty with Government Hack’s following post, to partially substantiate my concerns.

    I tend to look at trends, but these are representative numbers, which you asked for.



    government hack on December 14, 2009 8:21 am

    “Mayor Moore, based on the $247,750,000 long-term debt amount Steve (Harvey) 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.”


    Those per capita debt figures for San Marcos continue to rise at an alarming rate, with our present runaway rate of city spending.

    Other nearby cities are cutting back (Kyle for instance), but WE are not.

    When San Marcos’ expenses, financial obligations and improvement plans, exceed our income, and we can’t borrow money as a city, because our credit has been tapped out, and duly noted by the lenders and regulators, that will signal the beginning of our insolvency.

    And I am sure that you are aware, as an attorney, that it is not an overnight process, but stems rather from a progression of unwise and flagrant financial extravagances, as well as a severe sense of non-concern and denial.

    This lack of available money will further be exacerbated if (when?) revenue (Outlet Mall/sales tax on which we are severely and overly dependent) continues to drop.

    Are we (i.e. our elected public servants at City Hall) already gambling with our future, and “hoping” that OUR tax revenue figures will reverse their present downward trend?

    We are still as yet in a recession, and people are yet looking for and finding ways to cut back (not increase) their spending, and unemployment is still a huge issue.

    Shall I continue?

    Taxes will have to be increased to make up the difference, but most certainly, even you and I have our breaking points.

    As the bills and interest continue to mount (and they will, under our present regime), and sales tax revenues stagnate or drop, it will be a disaster.

    Maybe that will be the wakeup call, that you and the others need to see and feel.

    I would personally prefer not to endure that, but unfortunately, I’m not feeling that I’ll be afforded that luxury.

  25. According to the budget info on the city website, net debt per capita is $1,411. And in August 2009 the city’s bond rating was upgraded from A+ to AA- by Standard & Poor. The report cited “the strong financial performance, leading to high reserves, boosted by strong policies.”
    So maybe B. is for Bulls%#t.

  26. Yes, that’s right and everything’s just fine!

    I hear that the weather is going to be nice and sunny all through the weekend!

  27. The real debt (utilities, pensions included) stands over 250k. Divided by 52k residents does indeed put us up near $5000 each. You’re referring to the General Obligation debt only.

  28. The conversations is beginning to get a little tawdry, why not elevate our conversation to the facts and keep personal attacks out. I for one, am intrigued by the public debate, but not in name calling, there’s other places for that. Thanks!

  29. Mr “Franklin” as Larry and Dan have graced us with a real name could you do us the honor of doing the same? In the event you really are a Mr. Franklin I’d love to know your first name so that we can know who we are talking to.

    While I disagree with the Mayor on some issues and don’t think mixing church and city is a great idea; I don’t see much harm that has come from her talking to all sides including my rabbi.

    I am more concerned that we are excluding business owners and owners of partnerships from the P and Z if they don’t have property titled in their own name than I am in most of the “facts” I see propagated in the above posts. However, we live in a democracy and the voters that showed up and bothered to vote have spoken, that includes me.

  30. “Economic Development at Any Cost” and the real need for job generation are easy justifications for almost any scheme one might imagine, since both represent true needs in a fast-growing economy. They can also be used as battle-cries or slogans to justify near-absolute license to spend large amounts of “OPM.” Whether a necessary project expenditure, a disaster or crisis, a critical infrastructure failure, or a real INVESTMENT opportunity aimed at some future return on investment, costs–and occasional cost sinks–do come along, to gobble up first available funds, then budget-transferred funds, then debt issued to meet a particular need. Then more taxes.

    I have long asked that necessary expenditures be clearly articulated, in detail, to the public, to pave the way for voter commitment to meeting specific public needs, whether there is a potential cost-saving or return on expenditure or not. “It is what it is” in keeping the City and its taxpayers healthy. (All that smoke is bad for us, too.)

    Long ago, I spent much of a year pestering my fellow citizens about whether they would be willing to raise the tax rate by two cents, in order to do a comprehensive catchup project to bring our long- and sadly-neglected streets and associated drainage system up to a decent standard. Virtually all hands agreed to a project, “on the sole condition that any increase be balanced with possible decreases in budget, and dedicated solely to the Streets and Drainage Plan–no diversions or favors.”

    The Engineering and Streets Depts., along with the Planning and Development Department, prioritized rebuilds, overlays, new construction, corrections, etc. and reviewed them in the Capital Improvements Plan. What made it through the P&Z and citizen reviews, then the Council, was a comprehensive project of (4?) years, to fix 107 miles of streets and drainage. The project was not only done, and on time, but with careful management and close scrutiny, it went considerably over the 107-
    mile goal.

    That is responsible community development, which not only encourages more and better development in the municipal jurisdiction, not only satisfies longstanding individual and community needs, but also strengthens the financial picture for some time in the future. And none of the sitting Council had to apologize or, like Miss Piggy, give an astonished, “MOI…?”

    Growth for the sake of growth, or for the sake of some misplaced pride of ownership, growth unplanned, unforeseen, unregulated and unconstrained, is called “cancer.” And all the jobs in the world neither feed the public till nor the commercial sector if they are all service jobs, minimum wage, less than full-time, without employee benefits–especially if they aren’t “local.”

    The objective, then, can be strategically to broaden and diversify the tax base to include enterprises with larger facilities, a wider array of jobs, and solid connections with the community as a whole. A single job in even light manufacturing will generate two or more support jobs in other areas. Mining or heavy manufacture bring 3-5. Thus are both the citizens and the City served by preparing the City to compete, being less dependent on spectacular “deals” or gimmicks or inside favors for the local nobility. Or unconscionable regulatory exceptions, which without exception become cost burdens for the future.

    Sign me up with the folks in tinfoil hats who continue to beg, plead, stomp and throw tantrums for what is called “sustainability”–enterprises with enough durability to become a part of the community fabric and an asset to it. Why spend on something incapable of being viable down the road? It’s why we have Master Plans, regulations, expert staff, ordinances, budgets, citizen Advisory Boards, and the vigilance of some conscientious advocacy groups. Those are not just tinsel and frippery, but tools to be USED, with periodic reminders at the polls IF folks show up. Now is, after all, the structure for time to come.

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