The Making of an Endorsement

Simon Makes Fools of Austin

10/17/2008 2:44 PM

Brian Rodgers:

Hi Nick, Michael,

Simon is fighting tax subsidies for a mall in El Paso using the exact same arguments as Prop 2. In light of this damaging new information, I respectfully ask the Chronicle to reconsider their endorsement. Thanks.

Brian Rodgers


10/17/2008 3:21 PM

Michael King:


While it's extremely unlikely that we'll reconsider our endorsement -- it's difficult enough for us to come to a consensus once -- we will certainly attempt to report this background. But for the record, our endorsement is not for or against Simon Properties, and (speaking now only for myself) I'm not terribly interested in SP's opinions on political matters, which are irrelevant to my position on the proposition. Indeed, this situation reinforces my own feeling that the "all-subsidies-are-bad" argument is an empty position, when such decisions need to be argued and decided on a case-by-case basis, if we're to have any public influence on development at all. Otherwise, the urban landscape becomes a developer-dictated, laissez-faire sprawl nightmare -- and I've already lived in Houston.

But the other folks are receiving your entreaty, and are free to weigh in as they will.

10/17/2008 4:16 PM

Nick Barbaro:

Sorry, Brian, I don't see us doing that.

Juicy as that item is, I don't think any of us needed any more inspiration to dislike Simon Properties. (Personally, I've disliked and boycotted them for over a quarter-century now.)

Nor are any of us likely to be swayed by the argument that because Simon says something, we ought to agree with them.

We endorsed against Prop 2 because -- to be blunt -- we think it's bad law, and we think the city charter is the wrong place for this sort of ordinance anyway.

Personally, I'm going to vote For Prop 2 -- even though I think there are potentially serious flaws in the amendment language, that could cause more ill effects than good, and even though I'm skeptical how much good it would do, and even though I seriously hate putting this sort of stuff, almost completely unamendable, into the friggin City Charter, of all places! -- because I think City Hall's current climate regarding development issues and attitudes is so bad, that we probably need this, and because if it fails, City Hall takes that as a validation that things are okay.

So I see this amendment as sort of like grabbing City Hall by the lapels, and screaming incoherently into its face for a long time. And I think things are so bad down there that that may just be our best course of action. But I'm also perfectly comfortable not endorsing it as sound public policy.

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