Brewster and Carole, Together at Last?

The opposed pols find common ground against city website proposal

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together … mass hysteria!" (Photos by John Anderson)

Politics certainly makes for strange bedfellows. While Brewster McCracken and Carole Keeton Strayhorn aren't in agreement on much – if anything – they're both up in arms about a proposal before City Council tomorrow potentially outsourcing redesign of the City of Austin website to a California tech firm, which has set off quite the fire in the Twitterverse.

McCracken, who's made local tech growth a tentpole of his campaign, says "Investing taxpayer funds for web operations only makes sense if the investment dramatically improves government efficiency and stimulates the local economy. I am not satisfied that the website redesign proposal before Council meets either objective. Therefore, I cannot support the current proposal to spend over $700,000 on a website redesign."

And just now, Strayhorn has come out against the item, albeit more cryptically: "It is outrageous to even be considering sending hundreds of thousands of our hard-earned tax dollars and jobs to an outside, California consultant when Austin families and businesses are hurting. I am adamantly opposed to this."

Does this agreement mark the end of the world as we know it? Or has Strayhorn found another fleeting issue to tack her budget-scrubbing high dudgeon on to? Full statement from Brewster below the fold.

Statement from Brewster McCracken:

"Investing taxpayer funds for web operations only makes sense if the investment dramatically improves government efficiency and stimulates the local economy. I am not satisfied that the website redesign proposal before Council meets either objective. Therefore, I cannot support the current proposal to spend over $700,000 on a website redesign.

"My specific concerns include:

• a new website must make it possible for citizens to pay their bills online, including by credit card

• a new website must make it possible for citizens to obtain any service online for which they currently have to drive to a government office or conduct by telephone

• any new website proposal must be part of a comprehensive government efficiency improvement effort

• given Austin's significant local talent pool in website architecture and software, any new website solicitation must include aggressive outreach to local companies. If at all possible and financially feasible, we should tap local talent and support the local economy."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Elections, City Council, Election 2009, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Mayor, Brewster McCracken, city website, redesign

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