Page Two

Page Two
Our coverage of the elections is snapshot style, reporting on the actual election night. Headed by editor Amy Smith and assistant editor Lisa Tozzi, the politics staff spread out, hitting victory parties and stunned wakes all over Austin. Their job was to catch the news, listen to the talk, and report the scene.

There were bright spots around the nation, but few in the state. Given the make-up of the new state government, expect the Chronicle to cover the state a little more closely than it has in the past. Here are a few, very few, of my thoughts on the election.

Under the heading of "How Do Liberals Form a Firing Squad," look at the Todd Baxter and Nan Clayton County Commissioner Place 3 race. When the Chronicle editorial board interviewed Nan Clayton and Ann Graham for the Democratic primary, we ended up offering no endorsement, because we thought they were both strong candidates, with very little difference in their ideas. They both made a strong impression and seemed like they would each make a good commissioner. Yet, we heard from some sources that Clayton was suspect because she had been wrong on S.O.S. We were not the only ones hearing this. The night of the primary, Kirk Mitchell announced that he was going to run as an independent, implying that Clayton wasn't environmentally pure enough. Although Mitchell later withdrew, in an election that ended up as close as this one, it's impossible to tell what all the important factors were. Our vision, as Austin citizens, has to be big enough to include the environment and social responsibilities, planning for growth, and city services. A one-issue litmus test, such as support or lack of support of S.O.S., is a recipe for disaster...

On a more optimistic note, the passage of the bonds again demonstrates that voters are committed to the council's big vision for this city, a vision that, without exactly embracing growth, at least plans for it to minimize the impact. The future is going to cost us; in the long run those costs, no matter how gigantic, will be smaller if they come from long-range planning and not from short-term crisis. There are a lot of tough decisions to be made over the next years, and no easy answers. The more comprehensive a view the city has of itself as a complex, multi-dimensional organism, the better it will be for all of us. One-issue politics -- be it pro-environment or anti-environment -- is deadly for Austin...

In the "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" dreaming space, I'm asking myself what Carole Keeton Rylander must be thinking this morning. I'm betting she's depressed because there's no apparent job which she can resign from her new office to pursue. But, wow, Robert Bryce reminds me that if Bush resigns to run for president, guess who will throw her hat in the ring to run for lieutenant governor? Clearly, Rylander likes running more than governing, and I bet she can't wait until the year 2000. Depressed, hell! I bet she's already thinking of backers who will help her run. Rylander lost Travis County, of course, but that's because we know her here...

Bush's coattails were impressive, but short. They may have helped sweep a full slate of Republicans into power, but some of those margins were a tad small. Rylander and Rick Perry in particular should gaze rather lovingly at the governor. Think how many people split tickets to vote for their opponents ...

The hottest issue in Texas politics is whether or not Bush should run for president in 2000 (this shouldn't be the case; we have a lot more pressing concerns). The Daily Texan had a very funny editorial that said they would have supported Bush for president if Sharp had won but, because Perry did, they think the governor needs to stay in Texas for the good of the state...

Finally, I imagine a day a couple of years hence, when you or I or Nick load the family in the car and head up the interstate to Round Rock to catch a minor-league team game. After spending money on gas, food, and baseball in Round Rock, maybe the stadium Austin voters turned thumbs-down on just a couple of years ago won't seem like such a boondoggle.

KUT is one of those institutions that helps define Austin -- a public radio station that is not only very good, but also very popular. On our cover this week are four of the deejays who define the station's idiosyncratic personality. They also play some terrific music. Paul Ray, John Aielli, Larry Monroe, and Jay Trachtenberg (who also writes for this paper) -- these four have been on our radios for many years, and we felt it was finally time to put them on the cover.

This issue also features our annual Restaurant Poll results, where readers and the critics alike weigh in with their thoughts. Overall, this is a terrific list of local restaurants. (If there were any great ones that were overlooked, let us know.) Thanks to Kate Messer and the intern gang for handling the poll, and to food editor Virginia Wood for shepherding the critics.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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