The Austin Chronicle

Did Martinez Really Diss Ott?

By Katherine Gregor, March 23, 2009, 3:27pm, Newsdesk

"It's no secret that [Mike] Martinez is not [Marc] Ott's strongest supporter," stated a Sunday editorial in the Statesman, in a classic bit of damning-by-unsubstantiated-innuendo. The Statesman editorial went on to say that "Martinez, running for re-election, is courting votes by criticizing Ott." Since I'd never heard the always-expressive council member snub the city manager, I called Martinez up to ask if this was true.

"It's absolutely news to me!" said Martinez, expressing exasperation at the lame "it's no secret" journalistic gambit. "I dare them to quote me criticizing Marc Ott on the campaign trail. I have never once criticized him!"

The editorial implied that the city manager's job was somehow at risk – which Martinez said is not true. "They're the ones playing politics," he said of the Statesman, by writing a trumped-up editorial tying the city manager's annual review to current council-race politics. While the article implies that "fallout from the meeting with Hispanic leaders" led Martinez to diss Ott, the council member said he has "no lingering concerns" about that incident – and that editorial writer Alberta Phillips never asked him about the meeting when she called.

"Think about the absurdity, and how belittling and insulting it is, for them to oversimplify the performance of our city manager - the CEO of the city - down to a letter grade!" said Martinez. He, Lee Leffingwell, and Laura Morrison refused to play the daily's grade-the-manager game. Frosh council member Randi Shade fell for the gambit, and gave Ott an honest if unbecoming "B." Brewster McCracken, Sheryl Cole, and Mayor Will Wynn all gave a safe "A."

Anyone want to go back to elementary school?

Copyright © 2024 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.