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

February 13th, 2010
Johnson wins Kyle mayor race, council to seat two new members

021310johnsonNew Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson, who won 52.6 percent of the vote in a special election Saturday night. Photo by Lance Duncan.

STAFF REPORT

KYLE — Just 18 months after winning her first election to fill the unexpired term of a resigning Kyle city councilmember, 26-year-old Lucy Johnson took the mayor’s seat in a special election Saturday.

Johnson defeated Mayor Pro Tem Michelle Lopez, 529 to 476, to fill the remainder of Mike Gonzalez’s mayoral term. That term expires in May 2011.

Gonzalez resigned to run for Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner as a Republican. Gonzalez is opposed in the March 2 primary by Hays CISD Trustee Mark Jones.

“I feel really thankful to my supporters because I know that tonight was only possible through them and their hard work,” Johnson said soon after her victory was official. “It was their determination that got me elected tonight, and I know that now I have to work hard for them and the people of Kyle.”

A Kyle-area native and graduate of Hays High School, Johnson joined the Kyle City Council in August 2008, winning the majority vote in a four-way race. She won the unexpired term of former Councilmember Mike Moore, who resigned to spend more time with his family. Johnson won the full three-year term outright without an opponent in May 2009.

Immediately on joining the council, Johnson jumped into the budgeting fray, contesting expenditures large and small as the city raised its tax rate 10.24 cents.

Johnson’s election could signal belt tightening by the city, which has raised its property tax rate more than 50 percent — from 27.07 cents per $100 of taxable value to 42.4 cents — in two years. More than half of the tax rate, 24.1 cents, is earmarked to service the city’s $73 million of indebtedness for more than a dozen big-ticket items.

In recent years, the city has discussed another $30 in debt to build a $20 million recreation center, along with a police station and a library. Johnson has said the rec center probably is too rich for the city’s blood right now, while Lopez has advocated at least putting the question before voters. The city has not yet called a bond election on any of the projects.

Lopez, who resigned her at-large Place 1 council seat to run for mayor, will remain in her position until May, when her term expires. Lopez was not required to resign because less than a year remained in her term when she announced her run for mayor last month. Lopez could remain on the council without interruption if she wins the election for her seat in May.

Lopez could not be reached to comment on the outcome of the mayoral race or to say if she plans to run for her seat again in May.

The Kyle City Council also will seat two new members as a result of Saturday’s election. Kyle native Jaime Sanchez won a majority vote in a four-way race for Johnson’s at-large Place 5 seat, which she resigned to run for mayor. In a race for Councilmember Ray Bryant’s Place 6 seat, which represents the eastern portions of Kyle, local banker Russ Heubner defeated Planning and Zoning Commissioner Rhonda Cox in a close count.

Sanchez won his election with 473 out of 951 votes cast. Kyle firefighter Mike Fulton finished second with 403 votes. Two other candidates — Jon Claeton and John Simmang — each received less than five percent of the votes cast. Claeton finished with 43 votes, while Simmang claimed 22 votes. Sanchez will fill out Johnson’s term, which expires in May 2012.

Sanchez ran unsuccessfully for the Kyle City Council in 2006, while he was suing the city over a piece of downtown property that he purchased at a tax foreclosure sale in 2003. When Sanchez began fencing the property, the city showed him maps indicating that the property belonged to Kyle and ordered him to stop.

Sanchez sued the city and won a settlement for $35,000, arguing that the city could do no better than produce a plat from 1883 and a map from 1968, and that the city collected taxes on the property for decades before he purchased it.

Huebner defeated Cox, 170 to 156, in the city’s eastern district. Heubner will fill the remainder of Bryant’s term, which expires in 2012. Bryant resigned to run for Hays County Precinct 2 commissioner in the Democratic primary, for which he has no opponent.

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15 thoughts on “Johnson wins Kyle mayor race, council to seat two new members

  1. Kyle is facing some pretty complex problems…..I hope their new 26-year-old (!) mayor is up to the task. I know at age 26 I was barely able to manage my own life, much less the issues of one of the fastest-growing cities in the state – if not the nation. Here’s hoping she finds a way to curtail the “spend and tax” mentality that had taken over the City.

  2. Guess you don’t know this gal very well then Dano. You should try to get to know her better. She is very sharp – and obviously, the voters of Kyle think so as well.

    Sorry it took you a while longer to come up to speed on managing your own life. But hey, it sounds like maybe you finally got there. Congratulations.

    And Congratulations to Lucy Johnson, Jaime Sanchez, and Russell Huebner.

  3. Don’t be sorry for me….I had a great time during my “irresponsible years” and I wouldn’t do anything differently if given the chance. Well *almost* anything…..lol.

    I wasn’t slighting (at least I wasn’t trying to slight) the new mayor. You’re right, I don’t know her – but I have nothing but high hopes and best wishes for her and for the City of Kyle. Even her most ardent supporters would have to admit that her age makes her unusual in the world of politics these days, though.

  4. Did this seriously just happen? A 26 year old girl who has no life experience, who has yet to get a job (self employed in a business that has no business) and has survived on her politically connected families money just bought herself the mayors seat?

    Really?

    That is frightening.

  5. Did a 26 year old girl from a politically connected and very rich family just purchase the Mayors seat?

    She has no life experience, no job (self employed in a business that has few, if any, customers), and has survived on family money her entire life.

    Does anyone know how much she spent to win the race for this volunteer position?

  6. Lucy is an extraordinary young lady. Don’t let the age thing fool you. I’m sure she appreciates your well wishes.

  7. Mr. Castillo, when the final financial reports are filed, I think everyone will be surprised. It was NOT Lucy Johnson that ran television ads. She went door-to-door for weeks every evening to meet the voters personally. And she had a cadre of volunteers who believed in her that did the same.

    And I don’t believe anyone who knows them would say the Johnson family is “politically connected.” They are very private. But I bet they are very proud of their daughter.

    From your description of Ms. Johnson, you appear as if you know her. Do you? Do you know if she does or does not have “life experiences”? Do you know if she has ever worked? Do you know if she has “survived” on her family’s money? Maybe you should get to know her before you make statements like this.

  8. Everyone should support our new Mayor Elect and Council members. At least get involved and let them know how you feel and find some time to volunteer on a city committee etc. Age, Gender, Race, Economic status etc. should not matter. What matters is that we work together to create solutions for our growing community. All the best to our new leaders, God bless them all.

  9. Sorry I commented twice, I was not aware that there was a delay before what I typed would show up.

    Ms. Knight-
    I have met Lucy in passing, and from my impression of her, as well as what I have been able to learn from my own research, what I say is spot on. Obviously you are not a good person to ask for an independent opinions of her.

    I am not nearly as politically connected or involved as you, but I am a citizen that tries my best to pay attention and make good political decisions. I wish my fellow citizens had made a better decision this weekend than they did. I’m afraid I just don’t understand the thinking that brought folks to making this decision.

  10. Mr. Castillo: With all due respect, meeting someone “in passing” is not the same as really knowing that person. But time will tell which of us is correct in our assessments.

    I was especially disappointed that you felt the need to bring her family into the picture. Particularly since you were wrong about their “buying” the mayor’s seat. Lucy has a very wide base of support, which is reflected in her financial reports. As well as in the number of people who volunteered their precious time to campaign for her.

    I understand the disappointment in having your candidate lose a race. It’s always difficult. But please keep an open mind and try not to be so judgmental about people you hardly know.

  11. Just one more comment – Sandra Tenorio, one of the best mayors Kyle has ever witnessed (if not THE best) – was 27 years old when she was elected to office. If we can’t trust our young men and women, then we probably didn’t do a very good job of raising them up. What does that say about us? Enough about the age thing already….

  12. Just to play devil’s advocate here……

    Sandra Tenorio may have been only 27 when she was elected to lead Kyle, and she may have done a good job…..but how big was Kyle at that time? With the rapid growth and the problems that it brings, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that running the City of Kyle is a far more complex job now than it was when Ms. Tenorio took office.

  13. Then you have no idea of what was going on in Kyle at the time. It’s not always a matter of size. There were some very complex issues going on – and some very controversial ones. She handled them brilliantly. Go check it out. Consult the newspapers from the time.

    And I guess Patrick Rose wasn’t able to handle being a State Representative at a tender age?

    All I’m saying is that we should be very proud of our younger adults (and I emphasize the word – adults) who are willing to serve in very difficult and stressful capacities. I don’t see anyone who is commenting here willing to campaign for office and then serve the public (for very little money). Let’s give credit where credit is due. You don’t have to be an old codger to be intelligent and capable. We shouldn’t be trying to discourage them. We should instead be giving them support in their endeavor.

  14. I don’t know that using Patrick Rose as an example is going to win you any points toward your argument….he hasn’t exactly done what I would call a “good job”.

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