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

August 20th, 2010
Hooper announces run for council seat


Toby Hooper.


Toby C. Hooper, a contract administrator for Seton Healthcare and a member of the city’s ethics commission, announced Friday that he is running for the San Marcos City Council.

Hooper filed to run for the seat being vacated by Councilmember Gaylord Bose, who is not seeking re-election. San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jude Prather filed for that seat earlier this month.

Hooper’s filing means that all four council seats that are up for grabs will be decided in contested elections. Councilmember John Thomaides and former Councilmember Daniel Guerrero are running for mayor, former San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Officer Rodney van Oudekerke and local businessman Shane Scott are running for the seat being vacated by Thomaides, and Councilmember Kim Porterfield faces a re-election challenge from Texas State student Griffin Spell.

Making his announcement, Hooper emphasized fealty to the city charter, open government with citizen involvement, water protection, commuter rail, opposition to urban sprawl, strengthening of non-profit organizations to aid those with low incomes, Texas State’s role in economic development and balanced economic development.

“When negotiating a contract, both parties understand that they need each other,” Hooper said. “I want the people of San Marcos to get as much as possible from economic development. I want to foster projects that bring value and truly improve our quality of life. San Marcos should not be seen as a blank check, but rather a community that is not only inviting to business but also a community with expectations. It is possible to balance the two.”

Hooper said the city must emphasize an approach to growth that does not detract from the city’s quality of life. He said San Marcos can maintain a distinctive environment by resisting sprawl.

“During my life, I have observed, first hand, the larger Texas cities sprawl out of control and become challenging places to live and raise families and become less attractive. I want San Marcos to be different. Careful development blends the business model with conservation of neighborhoods and natural space to make an optimal place to live and work. “

Hooper and his family have lived in San Marcos for nine years. He has two daughters who graduated from San Marcos High School and one son currently enrolled in San Marcos CISD. One of his daughters attends Texas State.

A daily commuter to Austin, Hooper said the city needs to actively pursue transportation options, particularly a regional rail system. Hooper said city government can partner with business to create rail infrastructure the includes retail and residential uses.

“In our present system, if a person does not have a dependable car they have a limited life,” Hooper said. “If a mother cannot take her child to see a physician in Austin or San Antonio, that means delayed health … I’ve seen how a rail company built a train station with a large shopping mall in which people went from being passengers into shoppers. It was like delivering 30,000 wallets and purses into the shops everyday. No cars and parking concerns. Something like this can be done in San Marcos.”

In addition to serving on the ethics commission, Hooper also served for three years on the city’s human services advisory board. He said citizens stand to develop trust in city government by deep involvement.

“When a citizenry believes that they know what is happening in government they begin to trust government, and when they believe they are being heard and realize they have a measure of control, they understand that they are the government,” Hooper said.

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6 thoughts on “Hooper announces run for council seat

  1. Thank you Mr Prather for a possitive look forward. We need more of that around here. Not only in our elected officials, but all of us. We ARE a community.

  2. Sounds as if we have a match here. And another voice for sanity and changing the focus of the communication, within the larger community AND among those who must hammer out decisions. We can finally get down to what we really want for our town, and the candidates seem to represent a good group with a good spread of talent and interest–if they can avoid the vices of false promise-making and hatcheting away at each other and trivia. AND the “new guy” is joined at the hip to ETHICS. He could be a “Player,” if he gets some wind beneath his wings between now and Nov.

    You just have to love that the questions he is asked and answers DO sort of become obligatory for ALL the others, if one chooses to make that so. Sort of measure each one by his/her own stature, and then using the larger COMMUNITY yardstick to make a final comparison.

    Does anybody else react to the peculiar story in the “newspaper of Record” about how UPACC is finally, if reluctantly, going to have to get tough with people who trespass in their rights-of-way? They note the inconvenience to them and the safety issues, which are very real. Do they not understand that for many years they have been the biggest fly in the San Marcos ointment, with their long trains loitering across our east/west traffic? Have they been aware of the safety and convenience issues all the while they have thumbed their noses and refused to move the heavy freight traffic out to the new SH130 Route? Refused to move a peg until WE front them the money–which they would get back in a hurry anyway, once they began running longer, faster, and more frequent freight runs on the new road?

    Perhaps, using their own logic, it is time for SM to get tough on THEM for non-compliant behavior. We have “enforced” their traffic for years, but what is a citation and $250 fine from some podunk City, when the train you are pulling is worth at LEAST $2M per trip in cargo.? WE’VE been able to build one jumpover, on Wonder World, the road to our Hospital and our Police Station, but we did for us, not for them. They’d like us to build more–as many as we need. Which, of course, cannot happen. And should not, sez I.

    It is wonderful to see Mr. Hooper, the “new guy” able to talk as both a commuter and a resident about our transportation future. (By the way, late-comers, TXSTATE is just in the pre-launch phase of a major comprehensive Tran-Plan, which one must hope meshes rather well with those of HaysCo and SMCiCo. Esp. since universities and State Agencies don’t actually BUILD or PAY for roads–just create the need for them.) Now again, what about that I-35 Corridor Commuter Rail and Proposed SH110 Parkway Loop thingy, again, candidates? Mr. Hooper might just be able to OWN this issue.

  3. It’s a shame these two are running against each other. I think it would be nice to see them both on council.

  4. @ Neutral Observer: they both might sit on the council, in addition to other worthy folks, if the city didn’t have winner-take-all, single-seat elections that result in many votes being flushed down the toilet and little-to-no minority representation. The composition of the city council should reflect the diversity of viewpoints that actually exists and should give any constituency of at least 10 percent of the population a chance to elect someone who truly represents them. Citizens deserve some style of proportional representation.

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