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

August 21st, 2012
Brad Rollins’ Blog: Was development opposition much ado about nothing?


For all the anti-development sound and fury in the last year, the loyal opposition was unable to field a candidate against one of the most reliably pro-growth members of the San Marcos City Council.


When the dust settled after the end of candidate filing on Monday, council member Ryan Thomason was unopposed and thus virtually ensured a second term. Mayor Daniel Guerrero and council member Shane Scott did draw opponents  but not, at first glance, challengers picked from the top tier of  neighborhood and environment prospects.

With pro-neighborhood elements seemingly on the ascendancy for months now, Thomason, a building contractor, had been girding for a battle royale in which he would have been forced to defend controversial votes in support of the Sessom Drive and Buie tract projects and, inevitably, his own business relationships with local developers. Instead, he gets a pass.

Celebrating his political good fortune yesterday evening, Thomason said the scant field of council hopefuls reinforces his view that most of San Marcos is silently supportive of new development, within reason.

Thomason thinks of himself as independent-minded on zoning and land use questions and always notes that he voted against The Retreat at San Marcos and the Hillside Ranch student housing projects. But public outcry over the Sessom Drive apartments dwarfed all others and, prior to Monday, Thomason was certain that he faced a slog to re-election.

“We were told over and over that 2,000 people had signed a petition and they thought our position on it was unthinkable. After all the accusations and threats and the ‘Not Here. Not Now. Not Ever’ rhetoric, not one person felt strongly enough about it to file for a place on the ballot against me,” Thomason said. “I think that says something about how San Marcos thinks we’re doing as a council.”

Guerrero and Scott fared less well but they aren’t exactly facing the cream of the crop, either, in terms of their opponents’ chances. Election Day is Nov. 6.

No one is saying that Thomas Prentice, who is running for mayor, or Greg Frank, who is running against Scott, aren’t credible challengers or can’t mount credible campaigns. But let’s just say the deck is stacked against them and neither has come out of the starting gate with a show of strength or savvy.

Prentice, 52, holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas and appears to have a history of engagement in Democratic Party politics. Both resume points could be helpful in a left-leaning college town.

But let’s be real about it. Late August is a late date to launch a mayoral campaign against Guerrero, a lifelong resident with reserves of good will squirreled away in hundreds of places around town. Election Day is  76 days from today. That’s a awfully short runway for Prentice, who has lived here for less than two years.

Scott’s race is a little harder to handicap. Like Prentice, Frank, 31,  has to meet a lot of voters — and make a good impression — in a short period of time. The extent of Frank’s involvement in San Marcos municipal affairs appears to be a speech he gave last year in favor of banning single-use plastic bags and one he gave earlier this month in support of purchasing Cape’s Camp as parkland. The latter speech was, more or less, the Wikipedia entry for — you guessed it — parkland. (Frank originally filed to run against Thomason but switched to Scott’s race last week.)

On the other hand, just two years ago, Scott was little-known himself  in San Marcos’ political and business establishments and not much better versed on the issues than is Frank. That’s when he won a comfortable majority over a retired cop and prolific community volunteer, surprising just about everyone who pays attention to these things. Even more surprising: He won with a larger margin than did his three colleagues on the same ballot including council veterans Guerrero and Kim Porterfield as well as Jude Prather, who already had one citywide campaign under his belt at that point.

In other words, anything can happen. In San Marcos, it often does. I can’t think of a better place to look foolish saying something won’t happen here — whether you are talking about “now” or “ever”.

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43 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ Blog: Was development opposition much ado about nothing?

  1. Brad nails it you sessom creek slackers. Brad please include their facebook meme with your blog…what was that “we will not forget.” There is a meme about a meme in there somewhere!
    Best, LMC
    ps i’m looking fwd to your next blog….i’ve been leaving bread crumbs for you Brad

  2. It is not the neioghbors in Sessom Creek area that are slackers,it is the sitting officials that have failed to do anything of substance to refect our voices! just because someone does not have the time to hold a public office, or is unable to run for legal reasons, etc, does not mean that the overall consenses has wanned. Sessom Canyon has not changed, nor have the voices that will do all within their power to stop what our own elected officials should of ended with their vote in January. It is the process that is lacking/ slacking, not those that are sick and tired of the excessive amount of taxpayer dollars being wasted appeasing developers and their desire to get their way despite the publics outcry against them. Bring it DC,the same legal reasons still exist that will prevent your nightmare from ever plaguing our beautiful Sessom Canyon, primarily, it is against the law ( backed up by case law ) to rezone for the purpose of financial gain alone. See ya soon! JLB 🙂

  3. PS- Be careful Lisa C., speak for your own ambitions, not those of others. Not everyone has a desire to hold public office,however, we do have one from the Sessom area that is standing up. jlb

  4. Brad- I guess time will tell who is a fool or not. Those like you that do not give a damn about our town, or those like me and others that do and will stand up to protect it! I put my money on the horse that says you will lose on this one, just for grins! 🙂 jlb

  5. It’s a thinker. Frankly, I think it’s a wonder that anyone chooses to run. Some of the comments I heard about why people didn’t want to vote for the retired police officer you mentioned, being a prime example of why.

    Thanks to all who subject themselves to the BS, win or lose.

  6. “After all the accusations and threats and the ‘Not Here. Not Now. Not Ever’ rhetoric, not one person felt strongly enough about it to file for a place on the ballot against me,” Thomason said. “I think that says something about how San Marcos thinks we’re doing as a council.”

    Really??? Don’t count on it.

    There were a number of people who thought SERIOUSLY about it, but weren’t able to make the committment, which does not in anyway diminish their concern for ensuring development in San Marcos keeps the citizens,town and neighborhoods as the first priority.

  7. “Thomason said the scant field of council hopefuls reinforces his view that most of San Marcos is silently supportive of new development, within reason.”

    Mr. Thomason just because no one wants your job does not mean most people in town are not apposed to rampant high density development within existing neighborhoods and in environmentally sensitive areas. I am sure that many of the reasonable people that signed the petition, opposing this kind of development, voted for you. These reasonable people are tired of having to show up at council meetings and telling you over and over again “dont put high density developments in a neighborhood in the middle of a water shed that feeds directly into the San Marcos River!”

    It is your job to represent your constituents not to feed your ego!

  8. Running has A LOT to do with having the money to do so personally as well as to have a pac and/or special interests backing you and the time. We have an infant pac in town that will be fully matured next time around. For now Greg is the candidate FROM Sessom neighborhood, and has already won great support with his views on environmental issues and protection of neighborhoods.

    One step at a time. We are not foolish enough to think we can change everything in one election, so just maybe Brad, you don’t understand we are ALL in this for the LONG haul…it’s not a one election process, and none of us is crawling back into our hole. Ryan and the rest of the city will find that out soon enough.

    Shane voted for the retreat, for hillside II, and against Sessom’s, however he would not give John the 2nd he needed to deny the development for a year which has wasted untold man hours, city funds and resources as Casey turns in unacceptable plat after plat for the last 10 or 11 months. His current plat has around 9 non-negotiable issues per PZ, but yet he’s pushing ahead to try to get approval again. One has to wonder if he’s dropped his basket or if he’s just crazy like a fox.

    Link to greg frank’s site

  9. The only leverage the anti-development crowd has over Thomason ofr any other politician is the threat of being voted out of office if they don’t vote the righyt way. To do that someone as to actually run against Thomason. I am not suggesting that running for office is easy, but it is the only way you put any teeth into the angry meetings and petitions. Without that you are all bark and no bite.

  10. Complaining on comment boards, setting up websites to pretend to be an organization, and attending a meeting or two are easy. Leading is hard. It is now obvious that nobody who did those things really wanted to lead; better to sit on the side and complain. Why would you want to sit through all those discussions of other issues that really affect the community if all you really want to stop is anything in your backyard?

  11. Did Mr. Frank accidentally sign up for the wrong seat? Call me crazy, but if he is from the Sessom neighborhood wouldn’t he run against someone who actually voted for the apt complex in Sessom’s area?? If I remember correctly, Mr. Scott did not vote in favor of the Sessom’s project.

  12. @ skeptical, many of those who have been most vocal this past year still have teens and young children to raise. That factor is HUGE in any parents decision to run for office. For a lot of folks this isn’t the right time of life to commit the time required to serve their city. We are very blessed to have Greg, as it is the perfect time in his life for such an endeavor.

    I appreciate all of our public servants and the time they put into the city, we just don’t always agree. In few years I might decide to throw in my hat to join them, unless I’ve fled to another town by then because San Marcos has been ruined.

    I don’t know whose website your referring to, but the San Marcos Voice IS organized and has shown that during mediation with Hillside II. “attending a meeting or two” ~ you are totally out of the loop~ LOL, thanks for the giggle. The city is to serve it’s citizens, I for one will never stop reminding them whose best interests come first, doing whatever I can to support protection of the river and single family neighborhoods AND Greg, John, Travis, and Curtis….and ummmmm sometimes Matthew 🙂

  13. I do think it’s puzzling that there wasn’t more opposition in light of the petitions and the controversy. But this is the way democracy works, and it’s worked well for a long time. I hope it continues, and I hope our environment can stand it.

  14. Ah, to watch spineless landowners hide behind fake names and atempt to discredit those that at least have the courage to speak, and own their words, is surely one of the funniest ” Live San Marcos Comedy” clips to be found. What really tops the all-time funny list is the BOLD FACED LIE THAT BIG BUCKS SHIIBE put in his letter, the one that was printed in the San Marcos Almost Daily record just after Sessom was voted down in January, a letter that falsely claimed that protesters laid down on the steps of city hall and blocked his path, and even made threats at him. What a bunch of horse poop! Lies can not hide in the light of day, and will be exposed for all to see! Seee ya in the movies/ cartoons Big Bucks, make my day 🙂 JLB

  15. At Brad:

    When you change your reference from “retired cop” to a more accurate depiction of a pillar in our community maybe i’ll answer that mystery of the universe.

    And I find it puzzling that you would ask me such a question and at the same time NOT contextualize HOW Ryan won in your write up. You are using a cropped photo from the runoff after all, the one with embarrassing voter turnout from 2009. Oh, c’mon can’t you include the quote from Mayor Susan, which reflects her passion for voter turnout…NOT

    Maybe you should investigate why my traditionally highest voter turnout box, that being Victory Gardens, was AWOL during the general election of 2009 and that I fought to get it back for the runoff, thanks to the work of Ms. Cowan and Ms. Mashburn. But, your paper has not even covered that that box has been MIA. Nice job San Marcos at always being ahead of the curve. While the entire nation debates voter ID, we eliminate precincts in Hays County and no one says a word. Now the residents of Victory Garden have to walk or catch rides to the precinct. Where are you Hays County Democrats? A few of us Republicans are working on this issue.

    Or, maybe you should investigate those barrels that were out at the old phone company for months, the property Thomason was renovating. And, how we got those removed. And, the retaliation we endured from him via city officials, which was quelled thanks to the City Manager.

    There were some outstanding candidates who considered running. And, then we got the ones that actually filed. The ones who place silly titles by their names like its cute while legitimate candidates get called “part time film actors” when they are full time educators. Then having to spend time getting a correction run, when the story has already been run. (statesman).

    The question is why is there vile image on Daniel’s opponent’s facebook page.

    And why is there no contact info on Frank’s website.

    The question you should be asking me is why “when you were Shane Scott’s campaign manager last time around why you are not supporting him nor his opponent.” His opponent: NO contact info at the website. And, when you sign up it takes you to a wordpress account. Now that’s voter mobilization …. That’s when you lost me Mr. Frank.

    We are listed in the book, call anytime. This town is full of cliques and the irony is that San Marcos would have had a watchdog whose jaw does not let go. Maybe you should run a check on the open records I posted at my blog on how Scott looses travel records and submits a memo to the city in lieu of receipts, an action a state employee would have been fired for quicker than his head could spin.

    Maybe when you start to report all good things we do behind the scenes, which even KXAN and KVUE cover on Austin news, i’ll give you an exclusive about those packets. Daniel ran into Scott when he picked up the packets BTW, so if you start doing those things you’ll have a wonderful story!

    Happy Apathy San Marcos!
    Yours Truly, LMC

  16. Does anyone believe that Shane Scott voting against Sessoms is not an election year conversion after voting for the Retreat and Hillside re-zonings?

    Oh and LMC, you seem so full of hate for so many people in San Marcos. Maybe you would be happier if you moved to a different town.

  17. I can answer one of your many questions Lisa, the site it not yet fully complete, but does give you Greg’s resume and platform. That’s what we have so far, the rest will come shortly 🙂

  18. Nice try “Watson”
    That is what your crowd tries to do…mischaracterize people, but oh wait we don’t know your crowd because you don’t have the guts to use your real name when posting advocacy about our community. I love San Marcos and my neighbors. Unlike you, have the guts to post the truth when no one is saying a word and actually use my real name. Plus you have already outted yourself as a city insider by another comment you made that only the dias had privy too. Get your magnifying glass out to crack that puzzle “Watson.”
    Best to you Melissa!! Give me a shout!!

  19. Wow. This is a fine piece of work in many ways. First, Thomason, I would not count on a silent majority of support for your work on council…more like a majority who pays little attention, I suspect. And nice job dismissing many of your constituents who signed the petiton. Personally, if I did not have a family with young children and had been finished with my dissertation already I would gladly have run against you, even if I don’t have such nice hair and smile. I suppose I’ll just have to jump in next time around when I’m finished.

    And Brad, I seem to recall that you were all up in arms about the alcohol ban in the parks and supportive of the petition against that governmental overeach. Why, then, no chop piece aimed at the crowd who fought that battle sitting on the sideline this election cycle? Or is such condescension reserved for those you seem to beleive are hypocrites for daring question the wisdom of turning this town into one giant apartment complex?

    And, even more to the point, especially given your support for Carwash Conley in the primary, if you wanna call anyone out, where the $#&K is an article on the destruction of paperwork at the county and what our leaders were doing while this mismanagement was occurring? Some serious reporting about this probably criminal incompetency would seem way more productive (and probably increase your readership I imagine) than insulting what is I suspect a good chunk of your readership.

  20. Lisa Marie Coppoletta, “sessom creek slackers”, are you just trying to be cute?. That remark gives me an impression of how to characterize you. Do you know me? Am I supposed to know you?

  21. Interesting question, Keith. Why no candidates in response to the booze ban, and why no editorial about that?

  22. I was opposed to the booze ban and still am. In the course of opposing it, I did not accuse council members of corruption or incompetence or lack of sophistication or anything else that would seem to demand that they be challenged. I just said the policy was wrong and, when we lost that vote, I moved on with my life.

    You seem to regard this as an attack on people who opposed the Sessom development. I’ve said before that they have every right to be concerned and to be engaged in the issue. Consequently, I am genuinely perplexed — no, I am floored — that they didn’t field a candidate and this piece surely reflects some of that.

  23. I’m just confused about why you aren’t floored that the booze ban didn’t net a candidate. It seems you were of the opinion (and probably right) that opposition to the booze ban far outnumbered opposition to the Sessom Creek rezoning.

    Personally, I opposed both, but I never saw the Sessom Creek petition. I probably would not have signed it, if I had. My opposition was based on what I see as a lack of expertise on the dias, required to understand what would and would not be compatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.

    My name is on a petition against the booze ban, although I can’t recall that petition ever making it to the city. Maybe I just missed that report.

    I’m not interested in running, because of all the BS that comes with it – accusations of conspiracies, corruption and incompetence, along with haircut analysis and all the petty BS.

    I doubt I am the only one. Hell, I know too many people who won’t even VOTE because of the BS. If one wants to know why more people aren’t interested in serving their communities, one does not have to look much further than the coverage for most elections, and the comments from the community one is offering to serve?

    How many people want to sacrifice that kind of time, for no real pay, in the first place? Of those, how many are interested in being dragged through the mud, for the opportunity?


  24. Guess what Brad/ Ryan, turns out you both underestimated the situation. As I write this note to you and others, a great person, soon to be awesome candidate is writing herself in to run against Ryan. Game on boys 🙂 see ya in the pictures…JLB

  25. Oh, that makes two candidates now that will represent the citizens of San Marcos concerns that will be front and center between now and November, that is two, one two, maybe three including Daniels opponent 😉 jlb

  26. The city clerk has confirmed that Melissa Derrick filed to run as a write-in candidate for the Place 6 seat.

  27. That is great news regarding Melissa Derrick, though she, and others have directly insulted us (jumbopop and alias…) wrt our posts on these threads. We’re thankful for job-related/necessitated monikers… and very much dislike the venom implied in hers and others responses….but will write her in nonetheless. Regardless of the online mudslinging / drama of the, we’re mostly in opposition Thomason’s vision of San Marcos. Thank you Ms. Derrick for taking on this task and representing most of what we support. Count on two votes from us.

  28. Mr. Thomason’s right. Your whole group is wacked, and the people you picked to represent your hood are dope smoking hippies. Good luck getting even one in office.

  29. good call “Voter”. Now turn your bedroom light off and go to sleep. You got the response you’ve been waiting for. Way to stereotype =)

  30. Voter, you mean to tell me that Mr. Frank, a Marine who volunteered after 9-11 and spent two tours in Iraq, is nothing more than a dope smoking hippie? I know that’s the first that comes to mind when I think of the Marines. You are a genius.

  31. Brad, maybe for your next blog you can ask that little crew, which purports to be anti Sessom and pro river, why they talked their candidate out of running just before 5:00 PM on the filing deadline. Was it because we were not there to file our packets? Didn’t you know about this Brad? That is a key aspect your blog left out, the behind the scenes shenanigans, which will give a broader picture of the levels of manipulation we are dealing with here in San Marcos.

    FOR SHAME when it is people who purport to be for protecting our river TALKING CANDIDATES OUT OF FILING AT THE STRIKE OF 5:00 SO THOMASON HAS NO OPPONENT ON THE BALLOT. And if we had filed you would have had your tin foil southside/river/student candidate.

    Write a story about that Brad, I’ll even give you the people’s names to interview.
    GO MELISSA DERRICK!!! (that’s TWO r’s) as in won’t rail road the people!

    MELISSA HAS GUTS AND HAS MY VOTE!!! Slackers post mean things on newstreamz behind false identities, REAL San Martians get involved and work to make a difference. My hat is off to you Melissa UR not a pawn!!!

    ( PS Thank you Mr. Frank for your service to our great nation.)

  32. I would hate to think we live in a town where someone couldn’t privately grapple with such a difficult decision and then decline at the last minute because of her family (struggling income and school-aged children perhaps?) without being thrown under the bus by a fellow citizen as a push-over tool at the mercy of others’ whims. It sure isn’t encouraging to someone even considering running, I’d think. EVERYONE who has ever been a candidate for council or mayor is BRAVE for even running. My hat’s off to you ALL, and I thank you. May we all be inspired by your courage!

  33. Everything happens in its time and place. All honor goes to those that even consider entering the gauntlet,for only those people know why they can or can’t subject themselves to the race and have my upmost respect for even considering it! Gotta love the last minute adjustment though, all is good in San Martianville! That’s politics, see ya in the pictures:-) jlb

  34. FTP ??? Surely this is not an acronym for ” For the people” ???? The people are about to speak in November, and Ryans name will probably not be the name that they speak, bet ya a dollar:-) jlb

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