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September 5th, 2008
Howdy San Martians

Howdy San Martians,My name is Daniel McCarthy. A long-time resident of the Hill Country, I moved to Dripping Springs in 1994 just after my 7th birthday. I am now a proud resident, student and tour-guide at Wonderworld here in San Marcos. I am also president of the Project for the New American Citizen at Texas State.

We San Martians have a unique opportunity this elections cycle to cast local and national votes which will determine our future. On November 4th voters coming out to cast a vote for President will also have the chance to vote for local offices: City Council, County Commissioner and Justice of the Peace to name a few.

I would like to be a part of that future serving San Marcos as Mayor because I realize the time is now to reject old parties and groups, which serve to amass power and divide voting blocs. It’s a false dichotomy – two sides of the same coin. We should begin the process of figuring out what we, the individuals, have to offer. I believe a fresh perspective will go a long way toward achieving the necessary.

For example, healthcare here in Texas will never be solved as long as the lobbying groups, which have made inroads on both sides of the aisle, continue to (generously) fill up those coffers. Instead we should seriously consider the recommendations made by those constituents who practice medicine.

Or, a local example: Responsible growth is not likely here in San Marcos if those in local government walk hand in hand with profit-driven developers. Where’s the public outcry? Do we want all of San Marcos to be another asphalt wasteland? The short term gain of a few should not take precedent over the long-term welfare of all. It’s not just irresponsible but reprehensible too, on the parts of citizen and officeholder alike. The time is NOW to look hard at the developments planned above ground and the long term impact they will have on our most precious resource: our underground watershed.

My driving force is the restoration of both conscientiousness to the voters and reverence for the city by local government.

The days of build first, ask later, and repair never are numbered.

Daniel Jerome McCarthy

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0 thoughts on “Howdy San Martians

  1. You are a tour guide and refer to San MARCOS as “martians”? Is this a joke?? Martians, if they exist, would be from Mars—not Marcos!! FYI, perhaps if you visit the Geography department at the University they could help guide you. Or maybe the English department could explain how words are formed. But I think the city budget may be too difficult for you at this time.

  2. Hey Daniel, the “Outer Limits” is on TV right now! Maybe you can find some “martians” there? idiot!

  3. Malcom, the term “San Martians” is widely recognized as a casual and humorous reference to San Marcos residents. I’ve heard it all over town.

    Calling Daniel an idiot only serves to make you look foolish and petty.

  4. Really Carl? I’ve never heard anyone use that term in over 20 years of living here, and don’t think it’s grammatically correct either. But I do agree with Malcom to the extent that using such a term is derogatory to our city. Why encourage others to make fun of our citizens, especially if you want to be the leader? What’s next? Our own version of headgear like “cheese heads” in Wisconsin?

  5. I’ve been saying San Martian since the ’70’s, I just spell it San Marcian. Doesn’t Ike Eichenberg have a song or mention being a San Martian?
    Best wishes Daniel! I hope your voice will be heard and that you continue to love and serve the greater San Marcian community for many years. What I would have like to have heard are your unique qualifications and ideas for dealing with problems like healthcare and population growth.
    Malcom, lighten up!

  6. I would add to your list of those who want to tar and cement the city one entity in your email address – Texas State. They are part of this problem. Though they claim to protect the environment, their sprinklers water the streets and they encurage growth that supports their goals just like the rest of the evil empire.

  7. FINALLY, someone who will actually TALK about how corrupt it is to line developers pockets with taxpayer money!

  8. So I am looking to see what seperates you from David Newman in the tell us why not to re elect Susan crowd. All kiding aside about the humor guys, this is a serious job because if you were a “Hot” female and happended to get elected you might become a Vice President in a few years. So other than a being a NIMBY candidate what do you realy stand for? Why should some one who is thinking about voting for Newman vote for you? Frankly wyou have said nothing about why we should not re elect Mayor Narvais.

  9. Carl – thanks

    Rick – San Marcian is definitely preferable. Healthcare needs solutions at the state level. Look into putting it in your party’s platform if you think that’s the role of government. Population control is definitely not one of those roles.

    David – I’m gonna dodge your question for now and invite

    Everyone – to come to the Sunday in the Park candidate fiesta at Rio Vista this coming Sunday. I may not be speaking but I’ll be doing sound and so just might have occasion to pick up a mic. Otherwise I’ll be happy to shake hands and talk with you all and discuss local issues.

  10. Rick – Very sorry I read control, not growth. Weird times these days, but I apologize sincerely, population growth is another thing entirely.

    I’d like to discuss this and whatever else is on your mind from 12:30 until 4:30 this Sunday, the 14th at Rio Vista Park. We’re gonna have free hot-dogs and sodas, it’s win/win.

  11. Daniel,
    So you’re 21 years old, is that right? And I’m sorry I missed it, how long have you lived in our fair city?
    I’m curious, did anyone help convince you to run, or how did you decide to just start with Mayor? How many city council meetings have you attended?
    Dave Newman has come out as the candidate with the environment as his top priority. In the past, when an environmental candidate put their name on the ballot, the “powers that be” would encourage a student to run so it would split the vote & they could continue with business as usual.
    Are you being used?
    I certainly can’t disagree with anything that you said in your letter but we all can often agree on the problems, it’s the solutions that are much harder.
    I look forward to meeting you on Sunday. Is this your event or will other candidates be there?
    Vicki Hartin

  12. Vicki, ouch.

    Why not just say that you’ve noticed some similarities between their platforms and suggest that they get together, compare notes and decide on the best way forward?

    Why insult the intelligence of this candidate or imply some sort of conspiracy on the part of the mayor?

  13. Vicki- I decided to run of my own accord to promote a few critical issues facing San Marcos. Unfortunately you’re right, and it looks like I may split the vote, leaving the establishment in power. I recognize that, and having reviewed Mr. Newman’s release and website I cannot rule out concession. However until I ascertain the response of the students I will remain in the race. Hopefully I can engage those at the University (who better than a fellow student) and help them identify with their city. If so this may be the revolution this city has been waiting for.

  14. Daniel, I wanted to like you so bad. As part of the post-college, younger generation that has stuck around this town, started a family & is working to stick around– I really wanted to support a “fresh face” with “new ideas” — but reading your letter my hopes fell flat. What do you want to do to get business in this town? How are you going to focus on the population growth that we’re experience? How do you plan to help this town from becoming an asphalt wasteland? & what does that mean anyway, because the most asphalt I see in this town is Texas State University. That being said, how do you plan to improve community relations between the college & the people that actually LIVE in this town? What are your feelings on cleaning up housing regulations?

    & you KNOW you may split the vote, leaving the powers that be in control of this city– yet you’re more interested in engaging the students? The students aren’t going to be around in 4 years, Daniel. & The students don’t pay taxes & they certainly won’t be showing up in large numbers to vote for you as most of them aren’t even registered in this town.

    Both my husband & myself are older than you Daniel, we’ve lived here our entire lives & hate what this town is becoming/has become. You sir, did not convince me that you even understand that feeling.

  15. Jenny, I understand your frustration and agree with many of your points. Before someone jumps on here and talks about how the town wouldn’t exist without the students, I’ll try to get us back on course by saying that while a great number of students commute, many do live here. Recent studies have shown that the university and students are responsible for about 20% of our economy and they certainly do pay taxes.

    They may not pay thousands of dollars in property taxes, but few of the non-students do, either. We have relatively few property owners in this city, which is something we need to work on. Housing regulations, jobs and improving relations between the city and the university all will help in this regard.

    Also, the students will be here in four years. The problem is that the students today will be *replaced* in four years by other students and most of those who are here today will be gone. This creates a lack of continuity and leaves a large portion of our population with a skewed view of the city and our issues, as they have very limited background information.

    The solution is to get more of the students to stay here and to get them to take more of an interest and develop a sense of belonging. Having representatives who understand and address their issues will only help with this. It would also be great to see the General Studies course that all students are required to take cover San Marcos politics, history, culture, town and gown issues, etc.

    I’m sorry that you hate what the town is becoming and I understand (and share) a lot of your frustrations, but we all need to do our parts to move us in the right direction. Blind-siding students who have little or no understanding of the history here only leads to greater feelings of isolation and persecution and will not help anything.

  16. In order to get the students to stay here, you have to have good jobs for them. In order to have good jobs, you have to have growth and economic development. IMO, as a life long resident and active participant in city government, Susan is the person most qualified to keep steering the ship.

  17. I didn’t mean for that to sound like an endorsement of any candidate. Anyone, student or otherwise could be capable of understanding and addressing student issues and anyone, student or otherwise could fail to do so.

    My point was just that drawing the student population in will benefit the city.

  18. Daniel, I must be blunt here. Do you honestly feel that your 3 years of experience outside of high school and being a tour guide at the WW cave qualifies you to be the mayor of San Marcos? Yes, that is more experience than Barack Obama’s 143 days but lets be serious here. The city may be small but there are MANY complicated, multi-million dollar issues at hand. This is NOT a part time after school position you can just jump into overnight because you are politically active at TSU and know about the Balconies fault line. The IH-35 corridor and San Marcos is one of, if not the most, rapidly growing areas of the country. Please withdraw and submit your name for student council at TSU.

  19. Daniel was a “no show” at Thursday’s candidate debates. The audience was told that Daniel did not respond to calls or emails from SMABOR. It made a lot of people wonder out loud whether Daniel is really running for the position?

  20. Chris Jones was elected while a student and with roughly the same amout of experience and Mr. McCarthy, and look how well he has done.

  21. But Chris Jones ran for city council, not mayor and that’s a huge difference! And if Daniel can’t show up for a debate or respond to emails, what does that say about maturity and leadership ability, perhaps a serious lack of both! Perhaps one day Daniel will be ready to lead a city of 50,000 but not now. And as for Chris, didn’t he hold other leadership positions both on campus and in the city prior to his first run? Yes, he did.

  22. Chris Jones was/is also only running for council, not mayor. Now granted, our system is a weak mayor system but they are still the face of San Marcos.

  23. In encouraging students to vote I will stir up some interest for the city and its future. There’s no real downside, as I had previously thought.

    I apologize for not attending the debate, but I did have another event planned for the 11th. Also there are two upcoming forums at the pavilion at Rio Vista Park Sunday the 14th at 12:30, and another Monday hosted by the Hays League of Women Voters.

    Jenny- I plan on beginning my adult life here as well, and remaining as long as I feel the city has spark. As mayor I will be responsible for being the driving force behind policy at city hall. First as Ted said, and Mr. Newman at the debate, keeping the students here is a priority. So how about a housing grant for graduates as a gift from the city? You could qualify by agreeing to live here for two years. And you’re right, the housing regulations need careful consideration, as does the role of the University in developing San Marcos’ future.

    Dan M- Not to worry, as a Ron Paul conservative I would not mismanage city funds once elected.

    Again, hope to see you all Sunday (rain or shine) and if I may say just a word about yesterday: If, like some students at Texas State, anyone out there has not yet reflected critically on the events of 9/11/01, taking time to examine all evidence, for God’s sake it’s time.

  24. Daniel McCarthy wrote: “I plan on beginning my adult life here as well, and remaining as long as I feel the city has spark.”

    The San “Martians” are looking for someone with a long term commitment through good times and bad, not just for someone to remain during good times when the city has spark. What do you seriously think you can bring to San Marcos? Do you have any experience with emergency management and natural disasters if the city was to face another serious flood? What should be the ratio of firefighters and police officers based on the population? What is your opinion on tax abatements to bring in business? What about the downtown parking issues? You seemed more concerned with the transient population of TSU students than the permanent residents of San Marcos. The University gobbles up property and does not pay taxes to the city while the Outlet malls do. Under the right leadership and incentive, San Marcos could be turned into the shopping capital of Texas. Inagine what that sales tax income could do for the city, housing, parking, watershed preservation programs, emergency services, parks, river walks, etc.

    Many years ago the Wal-Mart distributions center looked at San Marcos first and was turned away because of the lack of incentives. UPS wanted to turn the San Marcos airport into their hub for central Texas and again was turned away by red tape and lack of incentives.

    As Mayor of San Marcos you are EXPECTED to encourage profit driven developers! You are expected to bring in business to increase the sales tax base to support projects that benefit the people and city of San Marcos. Are there any developers who put in a business for loss? It is a homeostasis relationship where all benefit, the developer, the city, and the citizens. Do you know how many times parents arriving in San Marcos for their sons and daughters TSU graduations were turned away due to lack of available hotel/motel space? They had to travel to Austin and San Antonio to find a place to stay overnight.

    You mentioned Health Care. Do you honestly believe that being the Mayor of San Marcos has anything to do with national or state healthcare issues? You are obviously thinking way beyond the San Marcos level in politics. We don’t need a young inexperienced transient mayor who is looking to pad their resume and to stay on as long as “the city has spark”. We are looking for someone that has a long term investment, commitment, and interest in the city on many diverse levels.

  25. Dan, I have to respectfully disagree with the idea of turning San Marcos into the shopping capital of Texas. The city already relies too much on sales tax, which puts us in a difficult position if the retail sector suffers. Also the jobs at the outlet mall encourage a transient population, as there are no careers there to speak of and the jobs don’t pay enough to encourage home ownership.

    What college student is going to stay here after graduation, because of that great job they got managing The Gap? I drive 110 miles a day to get back and forth to my job, because I love San Marcos, but there are only a handful of similar positions here in town. How many people are going to be willing to do that and for how long?

    We need to diversify our economy, both to give the city multiple income streams and to bring *careers* to San Marcos.

  26. Also, since it seems to keep coming up in some form or another, I am a San Martian, without the quotes.

  27. Ted, both UPS and the Wally World distribution center would have created permanent jobs. That was a loss we cannot afford to let happen again. I do understand the commute. I did it 76 miles one way from south Austin to Ft. Hood on a daily basis for two years.

    I hear people talking about what we “need” to do but few have put any substance on the table to make it happen.

    I would like to see tax incentives IN PLACE, IN WRITING for those larger businesses similar to Rohr, Seafan, Butler Mfg, and Wide lite, Thermon, Fountain people, Stellar plastics, Parkview Metal Product,(to name a few) to come in and make San Marcos there home. Companies looking for a home could see ahead of time what San Marcos has to offer in tax abatements to make start up or relocation an attractive deal. Imagine if San Marcos put out a blanket policy that any new business which will employ X amount of personnel will get a 3 year tax abatement to make San Marcos their home, providing they stay for X amount of years. You can be sure that would attract businesses and the guys with the pocket protectors and calculators would quickly crunch the numbers.

    The hospital, communications, public safety, and TSU will always be here but those entities can only hire so many employees. Bringing in those larger manufacturing businesses would make the most sense. Tax abatements is one way to achieve that. My 2 cents.

  28. I have to strongly disagree!
    San Marcos is not a rich community. McCain put the line at 5 million a year to be rich—I dare say few people in town meet that requirement.
    Citizens have their homes taken from them every year because they are unable to pay property tax. No matter that they spent their lives working to pay for this home. No matter what family emergency or economic downturn has come to make it so that they are unable to pay.
    I think this should be kept in mind when spending any of our hard earned tax dollars. Is this something worth putting citizens on the street for?
    Anytime we give our scarce money to rich people who don’t live here, like Hammond, that money is gone. The businesses they build only suck money out of the community.
    When we support businesses that are locally owned, the money stays here in town.
    We don’t need to bring more minimum wage jobs to town, nor give housing grants to students.
    We need to support opportunties for people to create their own businesses.
    The new hotel on the highway is not going to add to the unique flavor of San Marcos, nor will any other national chain that we bring in.
    If we want to develop the shopping/tourist industry, we need to encourage that which makes us different. More Paper Bears!!!
    My 2 cents.

  29. Dan M.,

    The city already has the written policy you are suggesting.

    I think all the companies you listed have been given or offered incentives simply to have them stay and not move to Mexico. Many of the jobs they create are not real high income either. I seem to remember the AMD incentive discussion about 8 years ago. They chose a city in Germany that offered $260 million. We will NEVER be able to compete for that. UPS went nowhere else in our entire region to my knowledge. I am under the impression that many companies asking the SM govt. for incentives are just playing our city against another trying to beef up the amount they get in the location they really want to locate in. It is a game that we need to think differently about. Abatements of property taxes are considered a joke in the incentive game. Companies like Cabelas swindled millions in cash and roadwork from Buda and the state and are not creating the number or types of jobs that were promised by them or the politicians. Countrywide Mortgage received huge amounts from the state as well and is not producing. Incentives may be necessary but we need leaders with good judgment not to give away the farm just to pad their political resume or reward campaign contributors.

  30. BTW, I think Parkview Metal Products has gone out of business, but is definitely not operating in San Marcos.

  31. Encouraging retail and encouraging small business is not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both. Having strong retail enhances (for some) the quality of life. I think it’s important to acknowledge the importance of the I-35 corridor to the retail community. One facet in particular is the construction of Loop 110 from Yarrington around the east side all the way to McCarty. This will relieve congestion at the Hwy 80 and Hwy 123 intersections with I-35. Those intersections then become more attractive to investors. As to a one-size-fits-all economic development package, I would caution that we may use our entire budget on something like that when that may not address the need of that particular business. I would like to see us divert the sales taxes currently collected for property tax reduction over to economic development under the 4B program so we can compete better with other 4B cities.

  32. Your suggestion Phil for a 4B tax plan would raise my property tax bill and lower my city services. I am against that. I do agree however that we need a diversified ED strategy and retail pays our bills. I read today about the green-tech companies streaming to Austin. I think we are missing the boat on promoting green policies that attract owners and employees of these types of business. If I am not mistaken we are the most visited retail destination in the state. The hotel/convention center will only help that since it is located next to the mall and not above the river.

  33. Retail is not going to provide careers for college graduates, unless you get someone like Dillard’s to move their corporate headquarters to San Marcos.

    I love Paper Bear and I really appreciate all of the similar businesses we have here. I’m not going to work there.

    I don’t recall the details of the UPS deal, but the Wal-Mart distribution center is not a great fit for college grads, either. There are too few of the positions that people go to college for.

    I worked at Pixel Magic (now Dai Nippon) for six years. Out of 70 +/- employees, they had a handful in accounting, a handful in software development, a handful in quality assurance, a handful in product/project management, a handful in marketing, business development, tech support, customer service, etc. The majority of positions there would be of interest (and were filled by) college graduates.

    San Antonio is trying to promote its tech sector. Given the geographic size of Silicon Valley, it would make sense for the Austin/San Antonio corridor to get together and try to compete jointly. Austin may no be interested, initially, as they already have things nailed down pretty well, but San Antonio and others in the corridor probably could be convinced.

    We have a strong manufacturing sector already and playinh that up would not be a bad idea, either. There are many manufacturing businesses that offer the same sorts of positions as are listed above.

    Pharmaceutical, financial, whatever, as long as someone has a plan to get those jobs here.

    More of those jobs will mean more local people with money to spend and more demand for shops like Paper Bear. It will also mean more college students who see a future here after graduation. In fact, it means more of those students starting that future here, taking internships and entry level positions, even before they graduate. That translates to more students and non-students who know one another personally and who hopefully develop friendships, which means less friction between students and non-students.

    I wouldn’t turn away retail, local or otherwise, but I would not spend a lot of time or money trying to entice more retail to come to town. If we’re not already the number one retail destination in the state, we are surely close. The percentage of our budget that is covered by sales tax is staggering. That has not led to a reduction in the poverty rate in town, an increase in home ownership, an increase in retention of students after graduation, lessening of tensions between the city and the university, etc.

  34. Now, what I think would be *very* interesting, is if we identified a strong department at the university and then identified businesses within that field and looked for ways for the city and the university to work together to attract those businesses.

    For example, if we decided to pursue bio-tech, the university could tweak the science curriculum, but might also add bio-tech specific courses to the business school, or any other department where it might make sense. If bio-tech has a huge market in china, maybe we could add a Chinese studies degree. This is not to say that we would become hyper-focused, to the exclusion of other industries, but merely make sure that those courses are available.

    There really is no limit to the possibilities that the city and the university might come up with together. The city might offer financial incentives or work with local developers to identify a bio-tech district and approach it as a planned community, with thought given to transportation, housing, parks, etc. There could be adult education courses geared toward that industry. The convention center might try to lure indutry related conferences, or the city might even work with the university to start one.

    On a slightly unrelated note, the city could a act more youthful, if we want to keep college students here after graduation. I love the concert in the park concept, but we might want to work with SMPAA to add a few more concerts that would have stronger appeal for younger citizens. The unicycle football (stuper bowl?) might be something that parks and rec could help out with. Parks and greenspace are great, but more mountain bike trails would be even better.

  35. Mayoral Candidate Dan….I called you and e-mailed you as the Chair of SMABOR GA Committee in hopes you would attend our Debate. Many in our Organization were looking forward to hearing your platform and ideas, however, you declined to attend. Unfortunately, your unresponsiveness illustrated to our Organization (one of the Largest in SM) that you do not care enough about our City, our Organization, or the position you are running for to make the effort to attend.

    Dan Miasiaszek and Ted M….I agree with many of your points (surprised Ted!) The problem I am finding as I read through these comments is this: although creating new jobs, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, technology, etc., is a high priority goal and being in a position to compete with other cities by way of incentives/abatements is also great, there are 2 key pieces of the pie that are not being discussed. (1) Lack of housing in all sectors; meaning affordable, first time buyers and executive homes and (2) the big elephant in the room…the negative perception of our ISD. So, even if our Council were to lure a company that fits the bill, where would the employees live and would they feel comfortable bringing their employees to SM with all the bad misinformation they may have heard regarding our school system? (And yes, as a Realtor, I can attest to the fact that the negative perception is real and does adversely impact people’s decision to move to SM) Candidate Dan, can you please speak to these issues?

  36. Bravo to this thread & you great people. & Ted, thank you for the response, I realize we all need to do our part & I hope I am contributing as much as I can. With a 2 year old & another due on election day I am not nearly as involved as I’d like to be, but I have to say I am super excited after reading all the responses here. Whatever direction you think the city needs to go, it is refreshing that people are paying attention & care.

  37. So maybe we can agree on this: We need plenty of Retail (sales taxes, shopping choices) solid Manufacturing opportunities, (mid-level wages with benefits, skilled labor) mid to large white collar employers (engineers, sales, design careers) and Independent entrepreneurs that provide unique products and personal service. Anything else?

  38. Monica: Daniel already said that he had a previous engagement on the 11th. It’s as simple as that. Just because he didn’t drop his prior commitment on one of the most important days of the year does not mean he isn’t taking this race seriously.

    I support Daniel, but I am concerned about him splitting the votes and putting Susan back into office. Maybe Dan and Dave could combine their efforts and work together?

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