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

COVER: San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero, center, and State Rep. Jason Isaac listen to Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a press conference touting sales tax-free weekend at the San Marcos Walmart in August 2012. PHOTO by OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

COMMENTARY by BRAD ROLLINS

San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero and two city council members have drawn challengers to their bids for re-election. Monday was the last day to apply for a place on the Nov. 4 municipal ballot.

Jonathan Sorenson, 27, the business manager for a local nursing home and rehabilitation center, and Patrick Montgomery, 40, an apartment location consultant, have filed to run against the two-term incumbent.

Guerrero, 37, is a generally popular figurehead who will certainly be tough to topple, particularly for two political newcomers with limited name recognition.

If Montgomery’s emotional orations at public meeting in recent years are a preview of the campaign he intends to run, the funk band musician seems most likely to play the role of a campaign jester cast in the mold of Thom Prentice. During his bombastic campaign against Guerrero two years ago, Prentice’s over-the-top rhetoric and theatrical antics served mainly to stampede mainstream voters into the mayor’s camp. Montgomery has asked to be listed on the ballot with the nickname“P-Martian,” an eye-roll-inducing indication that his participation threatens to turn the mayoral campaign into a farcical skit with Guerrero as the beneficiary.

Sorenson, meanwhile, has for months been carefully laying the groundwork for a campaign that seeks to ride a wave of popular discontent over new apartment construction that far outpaces that of single-family homes. Sorenson’s early statements on “smart growth” have been measured and thoughtful; on the other hand, his campaign announcement in May has also given the Guerrero campaign ample time to focus-group responses and rebuttals.

Guerrero’s hired guns may be unable, however, to remake the bed he’s already made for himself.

Last year, shortly after beginning his second term, Guerrero collected between $10,000 and $20,000 as a “retainer” from J.L. Powers & Associates, a Dripping Springs-based consulting firm representing clients that include major companies who do millions of dollars of business with the city of San Marcos, according to financial records reviewed by the San Marcos Mercury. The firm’s owner, former Hays County Judge Jim Powers, is hosting an Aug. 26 fundraiser for Guerrero at The University of Texas Club, the luxury Longhorn hangout at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin.

Without a doubt, more of Guerrero’s private sector activities while serving as mayor will come to light in the months between now and Election Day. It is less certain whether Sorenson can capitalize on the opening especially with Montgomery doing his best, wittingly or not, to distract voters.

Other city races

Place 3 council member John Thomaides, 48, the city’s longest-serving elected official currently in office, will be challenged by Michael Davis, 57, president of 3D Welding & Industrial Supply Inc. and a former planning and zoning commissioner.

Place 4 council member Wayne Becak, 65, a retired banker, faces a challenge from planning and zoning commissioner Jane Hughson, 59, a business process analyst for Texas State University who previously served two terms on the city council.

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20 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ Blog: Daniel Guerrero’s toughest opponent may be himself

  1. Jim,

    Your thesis (i.e. first sentence) is correct and has been for at least the last five election cycles. It’s also concise to the point of parsimony. Your question, however, puzzles me because the term “economic barrier to the entry of the market place” applies here to the tune of about one hundred thousand dollars. Kapish?

  2. “Last year, shortly after beginning his second term, Guerrero collected between $10,000 and $20,000 as a ‘retainer’ from J.L. Powers & Associates, a Dripping Springs-based consulting firm representing clients that include major companies who do millions of dollars of business with the city of San Marcos, according to financial records reviewed by the San Marcos Mercury.”

    It’s hard to believe this is considered kosher. It’s difficult and even impossible to think the mayor didn’t check with city legal eagles to clear the propriety of accepting large sums of cash from people whose business is to forward the interests of companies who have contracts with the city.

  3. @ SMsince95: Yes, that’s what the winning side typically spends on an elections.

    @ Jim: I’m not saying your question isn’t valid — it is, but if you arrived at your thesis in a way that’s markedly different than mine, then I’d like to know how you got there. The “barrier to the market place” is more than enough to make running for mayor a fool’s errand (yet DG drew *two* opponents). If you have anything to add to that, I’m listening. I’d also like to point out that your question is more successful at being rhetorical than self explanatory (and that’s not a bad thing — not in the slightest).

  4. Tarl, I agree that this can’t be kosher, but I understand DG has a degree in ethics from SEU, so *of course* he doesn’t need to consult with the city legal eagles. Besides, what do *ethics* matter when there’s plenty of cash prizes and merchandise?

  5. True enough, Daniel. My question was more rhetorical than self-explanatory. All one has to do is look at the qualifications of the two opponents for the answer.

  6. I’m curious and I’m not really disagreeing, Jim… which qualifications do you think the challengers are lacking?

  7. I guess I’m trying to determine if it’s the candidates’ age or professionalism or something like that. It seems that the major qualifications of the job, besides looking good for photo ops, are rubberstamping unpopular developments and venality. Those are the real problem, and it seems some folks may not be paying attention.

  8. Daniel…”some folks may not be paying attention.” Do you mean the voters? Do you know the percentage of folks who actually vote in local elections? I don’t but I would guess it’s less than 15%. Apathy is our enemy. When there is a controversial issue (i.e. unpopular developments) only those directly involved will bother to vote. The rest of the eligible voters simply don’t care enough to go to the polls.

    Sadly qualifications of individuals running for office, not just locally, doesn’t enter into the equation anymore. Example: an unqualified man elected, not once but twice, to the presidency.

  9. Most of the turn out figures I recall were lower than 15%, and I agree it is a major problem. I don’t specifically mean the voters; some of them definitely are paying attention. Unfortunately, not enough Ethics Commissions, Public Integrity Units, police or judges seem to be paying attention, and I’m sure if we all think about it some, we could add to that list. And, yeah, that includes not just our local races. I also agree wholeheartedly about qualifications at higher levels. Once again, I’m going to have to bust you on your parsimony regarding your example; I’m sure there’s been more than one unqualified man elected, not once but twice, to the presidency!

  10. I think those various entities you mentioned are definitely paying attention, Daniel. You’re living in a dream world if you think we can rely on them, IMO.

    If I appear to be parsimonious with my words at times it’s for good reason.

    No, don’t ask. The subject has been covered ad nauseam.

  11. It’s hard to tell if we can rely on them since they don’t seem to do much of anything to problem officials, although I can think of one recent example. Regardless, I’m not that naive to think we can rely on them. My tongue was very near my cheek when I busted you for parsimony the second time, but I can tell you really don’t like the tarbrush.

  12. Into detail? Not really, but let’s just say it involved a planning and zoning commissioner. I know the Mercury covered it. But I’d rather focus on the mayor’s race and why it’s such a joke. I’ll lead the conversation here by saying that the problem with political jokes is that they get elected, and sometimes that’s all that runs. When the barriers to entry into the market place is too low you’ll get them, and when they’re too high, often times that’s *all* you get.

  13. You’re more familiar with the political landscape in this town than I am so in this race which is it…are the barriers too low or too high?

    We have a mayor who isn’t too popular among some for several reasons, a 27 year-old who spouts the same-old political rhetoric re apartments/housing for students that’s been going on for years with no changes, and a musician who apparently serves as the comic relief in this race.

    Isn’t there somebody out there who doesn’t have an agenda and just wants San Marcos to be a pleasant place to live? Is that too much to ask?

    ….sigh Now who’s living in a dream world.

  14. Too high. That said, *anyone* can file, and, honestly, I prefer it that way. But a lot of the time people ultimately vote for who they think will win. Simply put, that’s going to be the candidate with bigger or biggest warchest. In advertising, there is a formula that mathematically predicts market shares based on a company’s advertising budget divided by its industry aggregate advertising expenditures times a constant that accounts for companies that don’t advertise. “Candidates are really no different than toothpaste,” argued one ad exec. He’s right, except for the minty freshness.

    I wish what you asked for weren’t too much to ask for. But it seems to be like that everywhere. I’d like you to consider one more thing: There’s nothing wrong with living in a dream world, Jim. And I’m not saying this to you — rather I’m speaking to the “squares” out there — if you have a problem with a dream world, why are you still living in San Marcos? Why are you trying to turn it into Austin or Houston or San Antonio? It needs to be San Marcos. And it needs to dream.

  15. oo high. That said, *anyone* can file, and, honestly, I prefer it that way. But a lot of the time people ultimately vote for who they think will win. Simply put, that’s going to be the candidate with bigger or biggest warchest. In advertising, there is a formula that mathematically ***and accurately*** predicts market shares based on a company’s advertising budget divided by its industry aggregate advertising expenditures times a constant that accounts for companies that don’t advertise. “Candidates are really no different than toothpaste,” argued one ad exec. He’s right, except for the minty freshness.

    I wish what you asked for weren’t too much to ask for. But it seems to be like that everywhere. I’d like you to consider one more thing: There’s nothing wrong with living in a dream world, Jim. And I’m not saying this to you — rather I’m speaking to the “squares” out there — if you have a problem with a dream world, why are you still living in San Marcos? Why are you trying to turn it into Austin or Houston or San Antonio? It needs to be San Marcos. And it needs to dream.

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