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

January 13th, 2010
Kyle council filings promise busy campaign month

011310kylecityhallaKyle City Hall. File photo.


KYLE — The deadline for filing in a special Kyle City Council election passed Wednesday, setting up three races while pushing the city to the end of its legal wits.

Since filing began for county races, four of seven Kyle councilmembers have signed up to run for higher offices, compelling city attorneys to rifle through the city charter and state statutes. The Texas Constitution requires all councilmembers seeking higher office to resign their positions when more than a year remains on their terms.

Thus, four councilmembers have resigned their seats, which would make it impossible for the seven-member Kyle council to form a quorum were it not for a provision in the state constitution that allows resigning councilmembers to keep their seats until successors are determined.

Most of the jumble will be cleared up with the Feb. 13 special election, which will fill the mayor’s position and two city council seats.

The most complicated case involves the mayor’s race, where Place 5 Councilmember Lucy Johnson will go against Place 1 Councilmember Michelle Lopez. If Johnson loses the mayoral election, she will be off the council entirely. However, Lopez could lose the mayor’s race and stay on the council indefinitely, even though she, too, has resigned her seat.

Johnson, who started a three-year council term in May 2008, resigned her seat when she announced her run in December. Subsequently, four hopefuls have filed for her seat in the February election. By contrast, Lopez didn’t announce until earlier this month, too late for her seat to be included in the February special election. Because a successor to Lopez will not be determined in the February election, Lopez is secure on the council until at least the expiration of her term, which arrives in May. Meanwhile, Lopez can campaign, from a council position, to win that seat again in May.

According to the city charter, the city does not have to call a special election to fill a resigned councilmember’s seat if the next general election comes within 120 days of that councilmember’s resignation. Lopez resigned Monday and the next general election is on May 8 — 117 days later.

The Kyle City Council has not discussed the matter, but Kyle spokesman Jerry Hendrix said the time frame involved indicates that the city won’t have to call a special election for Lopez’s seat.

“Our attorneys have reviewed it, and are continuing to review it,” Hendrix said. “We believe we are in compliance with both state law and our charter.”

The mayor’s seat came open when Mayor Mike Gonzalez filed to run for Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner in the March Republican primary. Gonzalez is opposed by Hays CISD Trustee Mark Jones in the primary.

Running for Johnson’s Place 5 seat in the February election is a cast of four. One, Jaime Sanchez, won a law suit against the city over a piece of downtown property in 2008. Sanchez failed in a bid to join the council in 2006, when his suit was active. The other three candidates — John Simmang, artist Jon Claeton and Kyle firefighter Mike Fulton — are all seeking elected office for the first time.

The other Kyle Councilmember forced to resign as he seeks higher office is Ray Bryant of Place 6, which represents the eastern portions of the city. Bryant is unopposed in his Democratic primary bid for Precinct 2 Commissioner.

Two candidates have filed to run for Bryant’s seat. Russell Huebner is a local banker active in local organizations. Rhonda Cox, a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), is an assistant director of recreational sports at the University of Texas. Cox has served on six different city committees since moving to Kyle in 2001.

(Editor’s note: The above has been revised to indicate that the requirement for an elected city official to resign is given by the Texas Constitution, as is the provision that such office holders remain seated until their successors are chosen.)

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0 thoughts on “Kyle council filings promise busy campaign month

  1. The jumble is this article. It’s filled with subtle inaccuracies. It’s the State Constitution – not the City Charter – that prescribes that the council member must continue to fulfill their duties after resignation until someone is re-elected to replace them (Article 16, Section 17).

    I also like the subtle nuances here: Lucy Johnson “resigned” her seat, but Mike Gonzalez’s seat “came open when he filed to run…” Ray Bryant is also “forced to resign.”

    I am also not aware that Michelle Lopez has resigned her seat. Maybe you should check this out.

    I’m assuming that since this is posted as a “staff report,” it’s taken from yet another one of the City’s infrequent press releases. You should have done some fact checking on this one. There are some other issues involved as well…

  2. Looks like Michelle Lopez cheated the system. Didn’t Barton do the same thing (waiting until the last minute to file so he could hold onto his Commish seat). Lila has a point with some of the wording choices (“came open”?), and the idea of councilmembers keeping their seats until someone else can fill them is fairly universal across the state; I know that’s how it works in San Marcos and Houston.

  3. Don’t put the blame on Barton for Lopez. Geez. She even took advantage of his big announcement party to proclaim her own candidacy. You would think she would want to throw her own party for such a big declaration if she were so committed to the office.

    It’s a bit more complicated than what you state. Barton announced his candidacy fair and square. He met all the deadlines under the regular schedule for the election. Lopez waited out the game, AND missed an important City Council meeting in December for ordering a “special election” that resulted in a filing time for ALL potential candidates for the office of the mayor in only 1 week. Barton’s decision had no repercussions like that. It didn’t change the filing calendar for anyone.

    And yes, you are correct. Council members – as well as other elected officials – keep their seats until they are replaced – as dictated under the State Constitution.

  4. Lila,

    I know these questions will make you go ballistic just because I asked them, but you seem to have an inside with Barton so shouldn’t the readers have the benefit of your insights?

    Why did Pct 3 County Commissioner Will Conley (R) attend Pct 2 County Commissioner Jeff Barton’s (D) party announcing his run for county judge in the Democratic Primary? (Conley was the only Republican I saw in attendance)

    Why did Commissioner Barton (D) personally acknowledge Commissioner Conley (R) after all the other Democratic candidates around the room had introduced themselves at Barton’s invitation?

    Is Conley (R) teaming up with Barton (D) for the Democratic primary?

    Will you shed some light on this curious relationship?

  5. Anythign to get rid of “Liz” S is good with me. I am a conservative independent that leans republican and I would support Barton over “Liz” any day of the week. I am a firm member of the ABL (anyone but Liz) group.

  6. So Will Conley is supporting Jeff Barton for County Judge?

    I guess that makes sense, since Jeff Barton supported Jim Powers for County Judge last time.

  7. Chucvk, I’d wager there was more than one GOPer in the room, just becasue yu don’t know them as such doesn’t change the fact. Whe did Commissioner Barton acknowledge Commissioner Conley, first Conley IS an elected official, second to not do so would be rude.

  8. django I would say yes to Conley supporting Barton, he was at his kickoff event. I think they are lovers or something because they seem to spend a lot of time together outside of the office.

  9. Hay County Kid – what is this mess you talk of please be specific???

    Seton, HEB plus, Target???

    What has Lucy accomplished while on council also be specific??

  10. “Why did Pct 3 County Commissioner Will Conley (R) attend Pct 2 County Commissioner Jeff Barton’s (D) party announcing his run for county judge in the Democratic Primary? (Conley was the only Republican I saw in attendance)” – ODell

    Maybe he was invited?

    “Why did Commissioner Barton (D) personally acknowledge Commissioner Conley (R) after all the other Democratic candidates around the room had introduced themselves at Barton’s invitation?” – ODell

    Because it’s protocol to acknowledge elected officials at such events?

    “Will you shed some light on this curious relationship?” – ODell

    Why is it curious that a Republican and a Democrat may associate with one another? Don’t we WANT elected officials that are willing to work with members of the other party? I’m sure glad that not everyone has your political myopia……there’s too much partisan nonsense out there these days.

  11. The only thing Barton has going for him is money. He’s a college dropout, he is a very boring public speaker with no wow facture and and outside of Kyle he has very little county wide appeal.

  12. ghostofjefferson you send it all. Seton, HEB plus, Target. He didn’t recuit those companies that’s not how it works. The companies are looking for local and tax breaks, Mayor Mike and Kyle offered both at the expensive of the tax payers. Kyle does have one of the highest ad volurm in the area and it will just get higher.

    As far as Lucy Johnson I just think she’s hot

  13. ghostofjefferson, Barton may hold a certificate or a junior college degree but he never finished a 4 year degree so yes I would consider him as a dropout because he was enroll at UT at one time.

  14. Lucy Johnson has pushed hard to get a major revision of our Comprehensive Plan in Kyle – which we desperately need. The lack of a decent Comprehensive Plan is one of the reasons Kyle is grown without any rhyme or reason – the town just blew-up with little or no real planning. She realized this and pushed and pushed to get the funding in the budget for the Comprehensive Plan – which is now underway. She also has worked hard on Council, with some support – but not enough, to cut spending and pay-off debt. She was also a big supporter of keeping our library in the downtown area, where it will best serve the people who rely on it the most. And she has been a good advocate for our downtown area in general. I could go on….

    With respect to all this silliness about the county race – no one has mentioned the fact that Mr. O’Dell was also in attendance at Barton’s party. Does that make him a big supporter of Jeff Barton? Must be so – since apparently if you showed up, it’s implied that must be having a mad, passionate love affair with the man… In fact, Charles is so much in love with Barton that he taped his speech so he can watch it over and over and over again. O’Dell is mad about Barton. And clearly one of his biggest fans!

  15. So Johnson is a good choice because she wants to revise a plan?? She will not do it herself, citzens will sped tax dollars to hire professonals right?

    I would like to know if Johnson voted for the last few tax increases? It seems if she was serious about cutting taxes she would push to cut the Rec building costing millions not push for more funding to revise a plan.

    As far as Barton’s Bash I’m sure it was filled with all the local slimey politicians and developers, telling themselves how great they are. Or maybe it was a Jr. College re-union party lol.

  16. oh, I just put this all together Charles O’Dell is the same character who on writes those long winded manifestos in the Hays Free Press

  17. At least Barton cares about the Buda-Kyle-San Marcos area, unlike the incumbant who clearly has demonstrated the opposite,caring only about the small population in Dripping Springs! After a slew of County Judge’s from that one tiny city, it’s time THIS area (which has the majority population and pays the vast majority of county taxes) elected a County Judge who understands, cares, and lives in this area! And, who will work with these cities rather than fight them!

  18. Adam, wrong. If Barton cared about Buda he would have voted against the package for US FOODS, because that’s what the voting public wanted.

  19. So Barton only cares about Kyle and Buda?? I thought Judge was county wide??

    I have never really seen his name in the paper, except the Free Press, I’m guessing due to family ties, what has he accomplished? Seems like everything good has happened within the city of Buda and Kyle.

  20. Barton currently is the Commissioner of Precinct 2 (Kyle, Buda, Nederwald etc, but not San Marcos, Wimberly, or Dripping Springs). So it makes sense that his main focus has been Kyle and Buda, because that’s what he was elected to do. I don’t know where he lives but I think it’s supposed to be somewhere inside his precinct.

  21. some of you guys are so ill-informed of what is going on – it’s just not worth the time to comment on your posts. Your facts are wrong. And I’m not convinced you even really care that much one way or the other. You just like seeing your stupid little monikers in print with some dribble below it.

  22. Hays County Kid lives in a rubber room in his own mind. Barton lives in a gated community? In Mountain City? hahahahaha!! What a toothless, ignorant remark.

  23. Yea, I think “Hays County Kid” is just a cover for one of opponents followers….isn’t it obvious?? Just another reason we need change–whether Barton or one of Republicans running….

  24. To San Marcos: Yes I would call it a gated community, you need either a swipe card or a pass key code or you’re getting into the neighborhood.

    To Adam: You’ve made the discovery of the century. I’m not voting for Barton and depending on how the primary goes I might not even vote in the general election.

    To Lila: I like you, I think you’re a ball of fire so don’t ever change

  25. The state election laws do not require that a council member resign their position if they have less than 1 year left in office when they run for mayor. If Michelle Lopez loses her bid for mayor, she’ll remain on the city council, no cheating involved, that’s what the law says. Ask the countywide elections person if you have any questions about that.

  26. I hope the Buda City Council elections are as spirited as Kyle’s are turning out to be. Although the election isn’t until May I think filing begins in the 1st week of Feb. I think there to 2 slots up this time. Most Buda elections seem to be the unopposed type where the incumbents win time after time. Has anyone heard any rumors as to who might run? Are the incumbents even running? I

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