The Austin Chronicle

Mayoral Maneuvers: Shea Names Campaign Treasurer

By Wells Dunbar, December 6, 2011, 2:13pm, Newsdesk

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:

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