Politics & Personalities
2005 Readers Poll
2005 Critics Picks

Roxanne Jo Mitchell

Best Activist

Bettie Naylor is a dynamo, a 5-foot firecracker, and the best friend Austin, Texas, has ever had. Co-founder of HRC Human Rights Commission and with a long and deeply held Christian belief that we are put on earth to help one another, Ms. Naylor truly strives for human rights across the board: Brown, white, black, gay, straight, poor, rich, liberal, or conservative. Bettie is a model for mediation and mutual understanding, a shining example of all that can be achieved with determination and the power of love.

122 Colorado #307
472-3000, 472-3333

Best Citizen

He used to be mayor. An excellent public speaker, Watson emphasizes balance and compromise in the political spectrum, a welcome Switzerland among the reddest of states. These days he's a mediator and public-affairs consultant. Positive change, regionalism, and economic development - it's all his bag. He has been called the driving force between the convergence of technology, talent, and tolerance. We like to think of him as the Yoda of Austin's urban planning. Our readers like to call him "Best Citizen."

Sen. Kirk Watson
Capitol Extension Room E1.804
512/463-0114
www.kirkwatson.com

Best Effort to Improve Austin

The intentions at the heart of both the smoking ordinance and SOS are to improve the environment in Austin. Both were voted in by the people of Austin. And since so many of our readers divide time between the Springs during the day and bars and live music venues at night, it makes sense that these two initiatives would tie. SOS has been in place since 1992 in the hopes that the springs will still be around for our grandchildren to enjoy. The smoking ordinance passed this year to alieviate the effects of secondhand smoke in clubs in the hopes that we'll be able to make grandchildren to enjoy those springs.

Save Our Springs Alliance
221 E. Ninth #300
512/477-2320
www.sosalliance.org

Keep Austin Free
219 W. 4th Street
www.keepaustinfree.com

Best Elected Official

Two years ago, Joby Fortson, a staff member of Ennis Republican Rep. Joe Barton wrote a glib memo regarding the effects Texas redistricting would have on Democrat incumbents. In respect to Doggett, the analysis began "ha ha ha" and concluded with the belief that Fortson's own friend Brian Walters would be entering in Doggett's place. We searched for Walters online, but all we found was a talented British watercolorist by the same name. Ha ha ha.

2307 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC
202/225-4865

Best GLBTQ Community Leader

Oh, what a friend we have in Glen! For more than three decades, this sage organizer of many talents has been there for us, fighting for sound HIV/AIDS policy, leading the state's Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby, and representin' us in the Texas Legislature for 12 whole years (1991-2003). Now he's taking on our biggest fight ever – No Nonsense in November – to derail the morality brigade's constitutional crusade against us and marriage equality. The good news is, Glen's political intuition tells him we can win this battle. So here's the deal: Let’s show Glen how much we love him (and ourselves) by putting the screws to Proposition 2 on Nov. 8. Send e-mails, make phone calls, write a check, talk the talk, block walk, come out, pull a guilt trip on a bigot, whatever it takes to get the job done. (But be careful out there!) Then raise a glass of bubbly to Glen, and treat yourself to a pedicure.

No Nonsense in November
1210 Rosewood
512/443-2019
www.nononsenseinnovember.com

Best Grassroots Group

It started as a lark. A local poster on Craigslist, a woman named Kitty sent out a notice on the list's Women Seek Women personals board inviting local women to meet at a restaurant for cuisine and camarderie. The rest is history. Foodies was born. What began a casual dinner for a handful has bloomed into an e-mail list of more than 1,000 and weekly events that range from casual meet-ups at coffeehouses to elaborate exclusives coordinated with restaurants way in advance. For a town so gay-friendly and ripe with women who love women, the lack of a consistent social spot where lesbians can call home is a mystery. Finally: Foodies. Finally, a place for women who love women who love food!

Foodies
www.foodiesaustin.com

Roxanne Jo Mitchell

Best Job

To the first grade teacher who taught us how to read and add ... to the sixth grade teacher who brought in Peace Corps volunteers and inspired us to change the world ... to the high school teachers who cared enough to call our parents when we skipped class ... to all the overworked, underpaid teachers in this city: thank you. We don't have to look far to see what teachers have done; we're living proof. Despite not being paid, respected, or protected enough, teachers work through long days, agonize through required standardized test-prep, give up much higher paying positions to work in Austin schools, and show us the most effective way to improve a community and make an indelible impact. We agree with the readers of The Austin Chronicle: You are our heroes. We hope the school districts and state agencies pay attention to this poll and start singing the praises teachers deserve.

Best Local Political Blog

It's time to polish the Dome. Thanks to their staff of writers – their eponymous head, Bluebonnet, and Rawhide – PinkDome has, in short time, become one of Central Texas' most popular political blogs, taking the Republican piss with their salacious, slanderific prose. And don't get us started on their clothing line and "Adios, Mofo" gear. The Dome, and for that matter, all her stellar runners-up (Burnt Orange Report, In the Pink, Grits for Breakfast), makes us recall a quote from that lone star populist Molly Ivins – "Good thing we've still got politics in Texas – finest form of free entertainment ever invented."

PinkDome
www.pinkdome.com

Best Neighborhood

Hyde Park's beauty doesn't just lie in its location or the splendor offered by the tree-lined streets. It isn't simply her ties between the diverse community, nor unique treasures like the Avenue B Grocery and the Elisabet Ney Museum. What makes Hyde Park special might just be applicable to all of Austin; so many factors are contained in one, small(er) community that is as proud of its heritage as it is inclined to improve upon it.

Hyde Park Neighborhood Association
PO Box 49427
www.austinhydepark.org

Best News Story

If you weren't paying attention to the school finance drama spilling forth from the great pink dome of the Capitol all year, here's what happened: a whole lot of nothing. Well, a lot of blood was spilled and a lot of time and money went to waste, but in the end, lawmakers had nothing to show for their, er, work. By the time the third session ended in August, House Speaker Tom Craddick and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, pachyderms both, were in a full-on bitchfest over who should pay more taxes to fund education – the true crux of the stalemate. Dewhurst wanted businesses to shoulder the load; Craddick favored sticking it to consumers. Meanwhile, the Texas Supreme Court is scheduled to rule any day on whether the existing school-finance system is constitutional. Sadly, no matter how the court rules, the Lege will still have to take another stab at school finance. In other words, they'll be back.

Roxanne Jo Mitchell

Best Nonprofit Group

While we can't trust our current state government to do anything about schools, at least we can count on Texas Freedom Network, a white knight in these dark and dangerous times for education in the state. At the same time the state has been wasting time failing to solve school funding, it has managed to find the time to censor textbooks and push ludicrous anti-seductive cheerleading bills. If it weren't for TFN's careful monitering and voice of sanity, we would all be at home trying to teach our kids about evolution and contraceptives.

Texas Freedom Network
PO Box 1624
512/322-0545
www.tfn.org

Best Scandal

"Best" attached to anything implies an endorsement, but let's be clear that our readers don't applaud the gerrymandering, the arm twisting, the money funneling, the felonious friends, etc., etc. They simply recognize that the exterminator's antics are in a scandalous class by themselves.

Best Scenester/Mover & Shaker

Clad in a yellow (or Pepto-pink ... or lime green ...) G-string, Leslie and his patented high-heeled saunter bring Rod Stewart's "Hot Legs" to mind. But not only does Leslie make the scene, his unflinching mayoral campaign attempts and frequent police protests make everybody's favorite wo/man on the street our town's main mover and shaker – sometimes quite literally. We just wonder how he can do it all day in a pair of heels.

Best State Legislator

We knew politics could get hot, but we never knew it could be this hot. Mark Strama: HOT (wink, wink). Yes, we know there is more to consider, such as: his unseating of Republican incumbent Jack Stick; his involvements with initiatives "Rock the Vote" and KidsVoting USA; not to mention his founding the first company to register online voters. He is so much more than a pretty face. We heart you, Mark (tee hee)!

P.O. Box 270263
512/463-0821
markstrama.com

John Anderson

Best Unsung Community Hero(es)

To the first grade teacher who taught us how to read and add ... to the sixth grade teacher who brought in Peace Corps volunteers and inspired us to change the world ... to the high school teachers who cared enough to call our parents when we skipped class ... to all the overworked, underpaid teachers in this city: thank you. We don't have to look far to see what teachers have done; we're living proof. Despite not being paid, respected, or protected enough, teachers work through long days, agonize through required standardized test-prep, give up much higher paying positions to work in Austin schools, and show us the most effective way to improve a community and make an indelible impact. We agree with the readers of The Austin Chronicle: You are our heroes. We hope the school districts and state agencies pay attention to this poll and start singing the praises teachers deserve.

Best Visionary

Kinky Friedman wears many hats – but they all seem to be black Stetsons. A humorist, novelist, and columnist, the Kinkster kicked off his campaign (or anti-campaign) for Lone Star State governor this spring, running on platforms such as decent public education and the “de-wussification” of Texas. Considering that California and Minnesota elected the Governator and Jesse “the Body” Ventura, the Kinky slogan “How hard can it be?” might not be too far off-target.

Kinky Friedman for Governor
5010 Burleson Rd.
512/326-5465
www.kinkyfriedman.com

Roxanne Jo Mitchell

 
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