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

July 15th, 2010
Letter to the editor: Spell considers council run

To the editor:

Over the past several days, we have had a number of candidates step forward to run for office. All these people are familiar faces, either because we have seen them in action on the dais or because they have run for office before. I feel that is it time to see new people in our city government. In April, I was asked to seriously consider running for city council. Since that time, I have talked to friends and family and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Serving on the city council is both a tremendous responsibility and a tremendous honor, and running for office should never be taken lightly. I have decided to lay out what I believe and my positions, should I run for city council, so that citizens can have as much information as possible about their choices in November.

I believe that the primary function of municipal government is to provide services to its citizens. While revenue generation is important for maintaining these services, when the focus of government stops being about providing services those services suffer in quality and effectiveness.

While incentives can be useful for bringing in high-paying careers that otherwise would not be in San Marcos, we should not incentivize every development project, nor should we create the expectation that the City of San Marcos will foot the bill for any developer who wishes to build in our city. Overall, the tax base of San Marcos should not consist of just retail properties, but also light, green, and high-tech industries.

I support form-based zoning (as proposed under the SMART Code) in our Central Business Area District (CBA). Form-based zoning places an emphasis on the “form” (outward appearance) of a property rather than traditional zoning, which primarily focuses on land use. Form-based zoning, when properly implemented, creates a win-win scenario that maintains the character of the area while giving property owners more freedom with their land. Implementing the SMART Code into non-downtown areas should be done later, after the “bugs” have been worked out. Major sections of the city should not be rezoned unless there is a general consensus among the property owners. When we look at future zoning changes for new developments, we should keep in mind promises, commitments, and pledges that where made previously in supporting past development in that area, and reverse our policy only when absolutely necessary. I will oppose attempts by third parties to evade rules and regulations set forth by our city or state law, such as the “20 percent within-200 feet” rule for zoning changes.

The mayoral race is a difficult choice for me. I have worked with Lisa Marie Coppoletta in the past, and I consider her and Daniel McCarthy friends. However, our city deserves an experienced and fully committed leader, who will be able to hit the ground running from Day One and restore confidence in city government. I am supporting John Thomaides, and I encourage you to do the same.

I will work to restore confidence in city government by maintaining an open and honest relationship with community activists, neighborhood leaders, and other concerned citizens. We deserve elected officials and candidates who are committed to openness, honesty, and transparency, and I hope to meet and exceed every expectation. True representation is achieved by building consensus, not by pushing controversial proposals through the council because you have enough votes.

Do not hesitate to contact me with your opinions, concerns, or questions,

Griffin Spell
San Marcos

Cell: (281) 678-1737
You can also find me on Facebook

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