Down to the Wire
With Katz You Get Egg Roll
Max Nofziger mostly stayed out of harm's way this week as the other three mayoral leaders -- Will Wynn, Marc Katz, and Brad Meltzer -- mixed it up. For the record: After a surprisingly incoherent performance in front of club owners last week, Wynn announced this week that he, too, opposes the no-smoking ordinance. That means the only mayoral candidate who supports it is Jennifer Gale. Gus better hurry.
Meltzer's message of the week was a showy announcement that he had "found" the $25 million the city needs to finish the Waller Creek Tunnel. Like Austin leaders for a generation, he found it at Capital Metro -- though rather than simply calling a raid, Meltzer said he'd been told by Capital Metro CEO Fred Gilliam that federal funds for transit-oriented development could be available for Waller Creek. Problem solved! Hooray for Brad! That is, if those funds are reauthorized by Congress and if Austin is awarded competitive grants and if the funds appropriated by the feds are anything close to $25 million, which they haven't ever been before. (A proposed casino would make funds available for Waller Creek, too, but Meltzer didn't claim credit for discovering that fact.) But Meltzer has lined up with Wynn -- who wants to create a tax-increment financing district to cover Waller costs -- and against Katz, who tried briefly to turn Waller Creek into a conflict-of-interest issue for Wynn, who owns a property on Sixth Street near the creek.
Speaking of ethics, Katz indulged in good old-fashioned retail politicking -- vote early, vote often -- this weekend, casting his own vote at UT as an incentive to the students who vote ... well, about as often as Katz did before he ran, which is to say never. Students with their "I Voted" stickers could, courtesy of Katz, enjoy free snacks from the West Mall egg-roll stand. Presumably, they got to eat even if they voted for Will Wynn, thus allowing Katz to pass the smell test -- but not without complaints from students and mockery from the Wynn campaign.