The Daily Hustle: 1/24/11

Riley kick-off, endorsements, elections and so much trash

Playa, playa!
Playa, playa! (Photo by John Anderson, treatment by Shelley Hiam)

The incumbent kick-off trifecta's complete, as Chris Riley hosts a re-election party at Threadgill's tonight. That, plus the first endorsements of the season, rumblings of a 2012 election, fun with Solid Waste and more.

Place 1 incumbent Riley is hosting his shindig tonight at Threadgill's World Headquarters, 301 W. Riverside, 5:30-7:30pm, which means the string of incumbent campaign launch parties has been bad for the Hustle's resolution-necessitated calorie counting. Riley's currently opposed only by former mayoral candidate Josiah Ingalls, but as you can tell from the picture, Chris is taking re-election seriously, and don't want no small bills. Don't make him put his rings on.

Even though it's unlikely every candidate's declared just yet, we see, by the Hustle's estimation, the first endorsements of the election: the Austin-area Central Labor Council endorsed all three incumbents, Riley, Laura Morrison, and Randi Shade. “These councilmembers have been good to work with and deserve re-election,” said Central Labor Council president David Bintliff in a release announcing the endorsement.“They have maintained an open door policy and are always willing to listen actively to issues regarding the working men and women of Austin.”

News from the Statesman today, announcing … a bunch of stuff we learned back in June. As Lee Leffingwell's office announced this summer, in a press release calling to delay an urban rail vote to 2012:

Leffingwell and Martinez said they expect the Austin City Council to subsequently propose or consider a number of additional city charter amendment proposals for November 2012, potentially including a change from the City Council's current at-large representation system to a form of district representation, and campaign finance reform. Leffingwell said another possible charter amendment he would like to consider for November 2012 could move City Council elections from May to November.

"Our next charter amendment election clearly has the potential to create dramatic change for Austin city government," said Leffingwell.  "The proposals likely to be advanced could re-invent our system of representation, engage significantly more people in our electoral process, and meaningfully change the Council's authority and role. As with the urban rail vote and comprehensive bond election, I think it's appropriate to hold our next charter amendment election when we can expect to see the highest turnout rate among Austin voters.  That will be during the November 2012 general election.

Still, it's unsurprising – not to mention good – that the discussion's getting underway now, as San Antonio Sen. Jeff Wentworth has filed legislation that would force the single-member districts issue on Austin, again.

… Solid Waste is so last century. The city says so, at least, in a call to rename the Solid Waste Services Department:

The new name should better reflect services the Department provides including recycling, garbage collection, yard trimmings pickup, street sweeping, litter abatement and littler control, household hazardous waste disposal, storm debris cleanup, Zero Waste initiatives, and community outreach and education. Additionally, the new name should reflect the Department’s Zero Waste goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfills by 2040.

“We are at an important fork in the road. Do we keep a name that focuses on landfilling and disposal, or do we choose a name that really represents what we do and where we are going?” said Solid Waste Services Director Bob Gedert. “Our mission has changed, and with that changed mission, we need to present a different message to the public. Our department name can present a new image.”

So far, candidates include Austin Resource Collection & Recovery Utility, Austin Recycling & Waste Reduction Department (or RWRD, nee "Reward") and Austin Resource Recovery Utility. But I'm sure the Hustle's readers can do better. Leave your suggestions below.

What the hell else is happening?

On the city calendar: The Design Commission meets at in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall, 5:45pm

The Electric Utility Commission meets at in Town Lake Center, 721 Barton Springs, 6pm.

The Historic Landmark Commission meets in Council Chambers at City Hall, 7pm.

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