San Marcos mayoral candidate John Thomaides shakes hands with supporters during his campaign kickoff Wednesday at Cafe on the Square. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
Hitting the campaign trail once again, San Marcos City Councilmember John Thomaides officially kicked-off his bid for the Mayor’s seat Wednesday night, promising restored confidence in government, sensible economic development, and much needed jobs.
Thomaides embarked on his new beginning with a short but to-the point message that about 120 supporters observed with hope and applause.
“San Marcos deserves a leader who understands that the size of our problems outweigh the smallness of our petty divisiveness,” Thomaides said. “Someone who is not afraid to fight for what is right for San Marcos. Someone who is able to bring people together to accomplish great things and make a difference for San Marcos. “
As Thomaides takes on this new challenge, Councilmember Gaylord Bose announced that he’s hanging up his hat and has decided not to seek reelection for his council seat. Bose said his commitment to San Marcos has not faltered, but, for now, he plans on dedicating time to his family.
Thomaides’ message was focused on attracting living-wage jobs, but also called for reasonable and “smart” spending of taxpayer dollars, at times taking jabs at the current administration under Mayor Susan Narvaiz.
“We can send a strong message that we can not only protect our existing jobs, but also attract the new jobs we so desperately need,” Thomaides said. “But we can’t accomplish this by giving millions in bailouts for out of town shopping center developers. Bailouts that would unfairly use your taxpayers’ money to compete with our existing businesses and those of you already invested in our community.
“We can not only grow our economy, but also protect the environment, which makes San Marcos the place people want to come work and to live and enjoy,” Thomaides continued. “It’s crucial we have a healthy growing housing market, but it’s equally important that we listen to citizens just as much as we do to apartment complex developers at City Hall.”
Thomaides said that among the changes he would bring about is the “my way or the highway” atmosphere wrought by the current administration at city hall.
“We have seven great minds on the council, and we need to use them to the fullest,” Thomaides said. “We need to be a team effort.”
Thomaides said the city government needs stability. The city council recently fired City Manager Rick Menchaca, and City Clerk Sherry Mashburn resigned Wednesday to become city secratary in College Station. Thomaides said that finding a new city manager is a top priority.
Coming off the heels of Menchaca’s ouster, which Thomaides voted against, Thomaides said more government transparency is needed. Thomaides said the city can do a better job of communicating with the press and public in effort to avoid perceptions of secretiveness that accompanied Menchaca’s removal. But Thomaides went a step further and said all city expenses should be posted online for easy accessibility and citizen review.
Gearing up to take task on the city’s upcoming budget, which last year amounted to $146 million, Thomaides said wisely managing resources, preparing for the future, and avoiding increased debt is necessary in the current economic climate.
And though it’s been about seven months since its passage, Thomaides is still discontent with the “too political and too expensive” meet and confer contracts between the city and police and fire departments. Thomaides said he “honors” the daily job police and fire do for San Marcos, but he said fiscal responsibility in these “tough economic times” is paramount.
“We can fight for a more fiscal spending policy at City Hall,” Thomaides said. “Crime is on the rise in our town, and when the police and fire unions use political tactics to get millions in pay increases without hiring a single new officer or fire fighter, I will make sure our streets our safe without breaking our city budget. It’s time we base our votes on the current economic situation, and not the current political situation at city hall.”
Narvaiz has not announced whether she will seek reelection for a fourth straight term. Thomaides said he’s prepared to win in November, though he cautiouned that Narvaiz is “an excellent campaigner and religious fundraiser.”
Failed 2008 mayoral candidate Dan McCarthy also has announced that he will seek the city’s highest elected office this year.
Thomaides was first elected as the Place 6 councilmember in 2003 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2009. Narvaiz was first elected to the city council in 2002, elected as mayor in 2004, and reelected in 2006 and 2008.
Four council seats will be up for grabs in November, and at least two will not have an incumbent in the race come. Councilmember Kim Porterfield has announced that she will seek reelection to her seat. It is expected that an election will be called to choose a successor for the two remaining years of Thomaides’ unexpired council seat.Email | Print