Off the Desk
Council aides never die, they just move on to the private sector. Unless, of course, the aide is policy-oriented John Gilvar, who's moving up the City Hall ladder to a management post in the newly created Primary Care Division. The name may have a private-sector ring to it, but it's still the community health clinics system. Gilvar leaves Council Member Beverly Griffith's office with the charge of taking public health care to a new level, with emphasis on improving customer service and relations between the clinics and the community -- marketing, if you will. "It means I'll get a chance to focus on one issue for more than 15 minutes," Gilvar said half-jokingly, which is about par for the course, given the breakneck speed with which this City Council steams toward the big 7-0 every week. Meanwhile, Griffith is looking in earnest for someone to fill the Gilvar void.
And there's more aide news to pass along. Paul Saldaña is leaving, too, and it's not just because his boss, Gus Garcia, is retiring from the City Council. An 11-year City Hall employee, Saldaña says he's ready to make a break for the new economy, most likely in the red-hot telecommunications industry. He said he would have left sooner if not for the pile of work that still needs tackling before Garcia leaves office in June. And finally, Jill George, who has filled in as the mayor's aide since Larry Warshaw left to help start GetHeard.org, a local news source for the "wired" set, is also bailing, but with plans to do consulting. So let's see, that leaves the aide count down to Ramona Perrault, Kristen Vassallo, Adana Barry, and Richard Arellano. Who's next?
You'd have thought Alan Sager was running for something really big by the amount of money he spent -- over a couple hundred grand at least -- on the chairman's race for the multi-splintered Travis County Republican Party. The cold cash paid off, in the end, thanks to those three glossy mailers Sager sent out in the week before Tuesday's runoff. Sager took 72% of the vote against Becky Motal, the incumbent chair who was held back with an embarrassing 28%. Sager wasted no time setting his priorities, with the most significant being the hiring of a real, live executive director, which will be a first for the Party. Where did Motal go wrong? "She didn't reach out," said one GOP regular, who surmised that Motal alienated even her own base and, as a result, "the conservatives who did show up for the runoff, and there were many who didn't, split their votes when Becky needed them all to turn out and go her way to make it close." But it wasn't ...
The long, rocky relations between the police and the people may see resolution yet -- at least on paper. The Police Oversight Focus Group, made up of police, professionals, civic do-gooders and community activists, are scheduled to sign the historic agreement at 10am Friday at City Hall, Rm. 304. The settlement, reached after a long, agonizing process, will open the door a bit to the internal workings of the police department. The document moves from the focus group to the City Council for final approval, unless council opts to hold off until after the May 6 election.
Barbecue and the Blues Specialists. Throw in a City Council candidate, and you've got yourself a political fundraiser. In this case the candidate is Willie Lewis, and the hosts are Lewis' supporters in the African-American community. Lewis' campaign manager, David Terrell, is anxious to dispel charges that Lewis, an African-American, doesn't have black support. "Lots of people with dark skin are going to be there," Terrell said. The event is at 6:30pm Saturday, in the Family Lodge Center at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1010 E. 10th.