Former Opponent of Martinez Doesn't Like Him

RECEIVED Wed., May 10, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Once again Mike Martinez has used his skill of self-promotion to win your endorsement for City Council Place 2 [Endorsements,” May 5]. Over the highly qualified and distinguished public service career of Eliza May. As a 19-year Austin firefighter and former executive, PAC and relief and outreach board member of the Austin Association of Professional Firefighters, I have watched Martinez spend his energy only on things that would win him political favors and financially put him in this position to run for council.
    Your endorsement states that his major success as president was wining collective bargaining for firefighters. Winning was a group effort that started more than 10 years ago under different presidents, but it became apparent that this would be something to hang his hat on for his further political aspirations. No one mentions the fact that he mortgaged our future pay raises with a loan from the IAFF that would have to be paid regardless if we won or lost. This $150,000 was at least 10 times what it would taken to accomplish to win at the polls and that the members, not him, would have to pay back. But that amount would not cover the services to the usual political-guru suspects that are now reaping the rewards with the coordinated Wynn, Martinez, and Cole campaigns. Nor was anyone aware that instead of motivating the rank and file to support this issue, Martinez paid civilians to get the signatures so he would be guaranteed that it would be on the ballot.
    I believe it's time for the public to wake up and realize that during negotiations that dragged out signing a contract, which we would have had in place for almost two years now if we had negotiated under meet and confer. The hard feelings and the budget cuts that now affect all of AFD are the result of his arrogance and the city's quiet payback for playing hardball with the person that has all the marbles.
Don A. Williamson
   [Editor's note: Don Williamson unsuccessfully ran against Martinez for president of the firefighters union in 2003.]
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