Mayoral Maneuvers: Shea Names Campaign Treasurer

Challenge looks likely; Phone polls start; and a fluoride candidate

Brigid Shea is thinking things over
Brigid Shea is thinking things over

We may have spoke too soon in predicting little election action before the holiday slump: Yesterday, former City Council member Brigid Shea named a campaign treasurer for her potential bid. We’ve got that, plus a provocative telephone poll, and a new council challenger.

As we reported last week, Shea, who road the environmental zeitgeist onto the "green council" of the 1990s says she’s mulling a mayoral run, saying “A number of people have urged me to think about it, and what I've said is I'm willing to think about it. I'm definitely at the inquiry stage."

That potential increased yesterday, as Shea filed paperwork naming Danette Chimenti her campaign treasurer. Chimenti’s a current Planning Commission member and active in neighborhood association politics. Her selection by Shea definitely raises the prospect of a challenge this spring – although the filing doesn't specify the office sought … Stay tuned … 

… On a possibly related note: Chronicle News editor Michael King’s dinner hour was interrupted yesterday by a telephone poll inquiring about Austin politics, Shea included. He notes he can't recite the questions verbatim, but offers a rough summary; the quotes below, he says, “are close but still approximate:”

[Paraphrased] Is your opinion Very unfavorable, unfavorable, neutral, favorable, very favorable of the following people: Brigid Shea, Lee Leffingwell, Bill Spelman, Sheryl Cole?

[Paraphrased] The City Council has supported new development. Do you believe current residents should subsidize new development or should it pay for itself? [Gives a range of strong to weak support or opposition]

[Paraphrased] The Council has spent many millions on Water Treatment Plant No. 4, but neglected water conservation even though WTP4 will only increase treatment capacity, not increase available water supply. Knowing these facts, do you think the plant should be postponed and the money spent on reducing leaks and conservation? [Gives a range]

[Paraphrased] Similar questions on southern connection of MoPac, roads vs. mass transit, water policy, energy policy; plans for either toll lane or high-occupancy lane on MoPac

[Paraphrased] Will you vote for "light rail" bond package [This one at least gave option, "It depends"]

"Do you think the City of Austin is on the right track or the wrong track for the future?"

"Do you think the City Council is more interested in big development/economic deals than in the quality of life for Austin residents?"

King inquired as to who was behind the survey, and was informed the caller had been employed by local firm Opinion Analysts, “a research firm specializing in public opinion survey research for business, legal, public policy and political applications.” The local firm is helmed by Jeff Smith, but as of yet, we don’t know who employed Smith to run the survey.

… And also in the treasurer filings on the City Clerk’s website, we see a one Laura Pressley, PhD. Her form, filed Nov. 2, states “Austin City Council” as position sought, yet doesn’t name a specific place.

Pressley’s on the steering committee of two groups familiar to Citizen Communications fans: Texans for Accountable Government, and Fluoride Free Austin. Her involvement in the latter org dovetails nicely with her day job as co-founder and principal at Pure Rain Bottled Rain Water. In the clip below, she can be seen promulgating fluoride’s health threats on Alex Jones’ InfoWars program:

HEY! Sign up for the Hustle's weekly e-mail newsletter, recapping news, politics and more every Friday. Don't worry, we'll never spam or sell your address. Visit here, enter your info, and click 'City Hall Hustle.'

Got something you wanna show the Hustle? Email it to wells [at], tweet it @CityHallHustle, drop by the Hustle's Facebook or Tumblr page, or leave a comment in the section below.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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.

Support the Chronicle  

More City Council
Council Recap: Taking It (For) the Streets
Council Recap: Taking It (For) the Streets
New impact fee plan makes its first trip to the dais

Austin Sanders, Nov. 13, 2020

Council Recap: Not Many Tools in the Toolbox
Council Recap: Not Many Tools in the Toolbox
City Hall tries to stretch its funds for music, housing

Austin Sanders, Oct. 16, 2020

More Elections
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Find your nearest polling location and know what to bring with you

Oct. 14, 2019

Here's What's on the Nov. 5 Ballot in Austin
Here's What's on the Nov. 5 Ballot in Austin
A quick guide to the propositions you'll be yea-ing or nay-ing

Sarah Marloff, Oct. 11, 2019

More by Wells Dunbar
Top 10 City Council Stories
Top 10 City Council Stories
Dais and months

Jan. 6, 2012

City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
To the beating hearts of a great city

Dec. 30, 2011


The Daily Hustle, City Council, Elections, Brigid Shea, Laura Pressley, fluoride

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle