Dear Editor, I attended a City Council candidate forum where Place 3 challenger Randi Shade said that she had not been recruited by toll road lobbyists and developers to run. Regardless of whether she was recruited by them, her list of supporters and fundraisers should be cause for concern. Her supporters and fundraisers include a who’s who of Real Estate Council of Austin bigwigs, developers, contractors, and toll road interests. Included are: Paul Bury, former president of RECA and development engineer; Brian Cassidy, who represents toll road authority Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is a RECA officer; Gary Farmer of Take on Traffic, a big toll road lobbyist; Don Martin, also of Take on Traffic and a developer; Kirk Rudy, of Endeavor Real Estate Group and former RECA president; Pete Winstead, formerly of the Texas Turnpike Authority and former RECA president; and Mike Weaver, RECA board member and contractor. At the candidate forum I attended, Shade arrived late because she had been attending a fundraiser hosted by the folks mentioned above. It is obvious that toll road and development interests are backing Shade and would rather have a council member that listens to them rather than neighborhoods and citizens' groups.
[Katherine Gregor replies: Jennifer Kim’s 2005 campaign finance reports show that she accepted campaign contributions in that race from a majority of those Mr. Thayer cites: Paul Bury, Brian Cassidy, Gary Farmer, Don Martin, and Pete Winstead, as well as Kirk Rudy's Endeavor partners. Based on available information, Kim did not refuse their contributions in her re-election campaign; rather, their support was not offered. Pete Winstead is listed as a supporter but not a contributor to Randi Shade's campaign. Mr. Thayer is listed as a contributor to Kim's re-election campaign.]