He Didn't Start BATPAC

RECEIVED Mon., April 7, 2008

Mr. Black and Mr. King,
    I didn't start the Better Austin Today Political Action Committee, and I'd like to add a missing piece to the BATPAC naming/logo issue [“Point Austin,” News, March 21].
    I can understand how that assumption could be made without full knowledge of the facts. So please consider the timeline of when the things I did do for the group happened, which was well before I ever became a candidate.
    Occasionally, I name things for a living, so I sent a "names ideas" e-mail to Hope Morrison after she told me the names they were thinking about, which I thought needed improvement.
    For precision, I went back into my e-mail database to see what involvement I did have with the naming and the logo. I sent my "names ideas" on Monday, July 30, 2007, at 6:02pm.
    Hope also knows I know designers, so later on, she asked me to recommend someone, since they needed a logo. I suggested a designer to her on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007, at 9:56am.
    As you know, I launched my run for City Council on Feb. 6. (I filed my paperwork the week before.)
    Other than that, I've never attended a BATPAC meeting and wasn't included with the formation of the group. I did attend their press conference in my capacity as Responsible Growth for Northcross spokesman when they officially launched, as did many others whom did not start the group but were proud that it had formed. I also attended their kickoff party at the Moose Lodge, which I am told Lee Leffingwell also briefly attended.
    Endorsements are tricky things and should be taken with a grain of salt. I've been critical of some endorsements my opponent, Lee Leffingwell, has received, such as his endorsement from the public safety unions, which curiously came well before the filing deadline for candidates had passed.
    In fact, it would be useful to Austin Chronicle readers to scrutinize that endorsement at least to the level that the Austin American-Statesman did on their editorial page on Jan. 23. Especially since at least 65% of the city's $593 million general-fund budget is devoted to public safety and growing. Little details like that make taxpayers wonder why those unions picked Lee and Randi Shade and Cid Galindo so early, so fast, and with such unity.
    So, did I found the BATPAC group? No.
    Did I suggest a name? Sure.
    Was I running for office when I did it? Nope.
    Am I proud to have their endorsement? Absolutely.
    I ask you to reconsider your assumption that my endorsement was a shoo-in. I wish it had been, but it was not. I had to earn it, and I ask you to reconsider your assertion that I helped found the group now that I have provided the timeline and details of what I did.
Jason Meeker
   [News Editor Michael King responds: As I've written before in “Postmarks,” readers are free to draw their own conclusions about Jason Meeker's relationship with BATPAC, based on his letter here and his posted responses to the group's questionnaire. The entire discussion strikes me as much ado about very little – more precisely, about a two-word parenthetical summation ("helped found") in a column on the dubious reliability of political endorsements. However, in light of Meeker's latest attempt at clarification, I would only point out that he in fact effectively announced his candidacy in the fall – I reported it in October, when he told me, "I intend to put Leffingwell through the rigors of a campaign." BATPAC didn't publicly exist until January. If Meeker now wishes to engage in dueling timelines, he needs to back up quite a bit.]
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