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And They're Off!

City Council May ballot set

By Michael King, 4:44PM, Tue. Mar. 6, 2012

And They're Off!
Photo by John Anderson

The ballot is officially finalized for the May 12 municipal election – that's the one that's actually happening when originally scheduled – and the early news is: Place 5 is very popular.

The field for the Mayoral and City Council election – including the mayor and Places 2, 5, and 6 in the city's three-year staggered terms – is slightly smaller than originally anticipated, and only hefty in Place 5, where incumbent Council Member Bill Spelman will face six (count 'em, 6) challengers. The ballot application filing deadline was at 5pm Monday, and Tuesday morning the City Clerk's office set the ballot with a random drawing for order of names.

As expected, Mayor Lee Leffingwell is being challenged by former council member Brigid Shea (who lists her occupation as "environmental advisor") as well as by persistent council critic Richard "Clay" Dafoe, whose paperwork reveals he makes his living as a "tax preparer" (isn't that consorting with the enemy?). A couple of other early declarers (Ryan Lucier, Daniel Krawisz) apparently didn't file final ballot applications.

In Place 2, also as anticipated, incumbent Mike Martinez will face rainwater entrepreneur, chemist, and anti-fluoride activist Laura Pressley. (Bill Worsham had earlier appointed a campaign treasurer, but didn't file at deadline.)

Place 6 incumbent Sheryl Cole faces a late-filing challenger in Shaun (Dylan) Ireland, who may well lock up the shamrock vote. Ireland appointed a campaign treasurer in mid-February, but only selected a Place to run in on March 1. He lists his occupation as "entrepreneur."

Which reminds NewsDesk to remind you – "Places" on the City Council dais are not geographic, only numerical. All council members, along with the mayor, are currently elected at-large by all city voters. That may change with proposed charter changes to be considered for the November election.

It's Place 5 where the real action – or most excruciating forum evenings – will occur this time around, with incumbent Spelman having collected six opponents (in ballot order and with listed occupations): John Duffy ("activist"); John A. Rubine ("hospitality proffesional"[sic]); R.A. "Bo" Prudente ("safety professional Capital Metro"); Audrey "Tina" Cannon ("entrepreneur"); Spelman; Dominic "Dom" Chavez ("government affairs"); and David Y. Conley ("art director").

Of that group, apparently only Chavez has run for office before, he was among a group of people who last year sued the city over the historic zoning tax exemption program, and his campaign treasurer is Ed Wendler, Jr. – who just happens to be CM Martinez's brother-in-law.* Cannon, who has founded several start-ups, is "Entrepreneur in Residence" at Texas State University. Duffy is an Occupy activist. NewsDesk will report more on the others as time goes by.

Finally, former candidate and libertarian activist Kris Bailey, who appointed Jenn Studebaker as his campaign treasurer in December, apparently never chose a contest nor filed a ballot application.

*Corrected – originally read, in error, "father-in-law."

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