It's Your City Council!

Sheryl Cole vs. Shaun Ireland

Sheryl Cole
Sheryl Cole (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Place 6: Novice vs. Veteran

The quietest of the four races pits two-term incumbent and Mayor Pro Tem Cole against newcomer Ireland, running as a reformer with a strong emphasis on geographic districts and "fiscal responsibility." First elected in 2006, Cole has emphasized the city's financial and comprehensive planning during her tenure. She's taken the leadership position on the Waller Creek Project, and voters' judgment to an extent will depend on whether they're convinced that it's a progressive infrastructure and development venture or a sacrifice of the Red River district for an upscale private boondoggle. Holding the de facto African-American seat, she's been a strong advocate on minority issues and has hesitated to fully support single-member districts if SMDs cannot be shown to improve African-American influence – and like all four of the incumbents running, has declined to declare a position until the discussion arrives at council. Like Spelman, she was one of the four council members who opposed moving elections to November, citing the city charter and a desire to leave the question to voters.

A political novice who considers himself a Democrat but who lately supported both Debra Medina and Ron Paul, Ireland has a bachelor's of fine arts degree in film and TV production, and he says his experience "in a creative field" would be a welcome addition to council. He's strongly in favor of the 10-1 geographic district proposal (collecting petition signatures for the November ballot) and particularly laments the absence of substantial South Austin representation. He accuses the council of fiscal mismanagement (e.g., the Formula One waterline infrastructure), and calls "affordability" the city's main issue. He wants the city and county to "set aside large tracts of undeveloped public lands to be used for community gardens" under lease to community organizations, saying, "This is truly the only way to prevent what could be horrific food riots." He also advocates the largest possible November bond package, and an elevated train to address traffic congestion.

Sheryl Cole*

Basic Profile Twenty-five-year Austin resident; two-term council member; first African-American woman council member; formerly CPA and attorney

Major Issues Improving Austin schools; resolving Austin Energy rates; continuing economic growth

Shaun Ireland
Shaun Ireland

Major Endorsements Central Labor Council, Austin Firefighters Assn., League of Bicycling Voters, Clean Water Action, Austin Neighborhoods Council, Central Austin Democrats, Capital Area Asian American Dems, Capital Area Progressive Dems, Stonewall Dems, Austin Environmental Dems, Austin Tejano Dems, West Austin Dems, South Austin Dems, Black Austin Democrats

Quote "I'm running for re-election to the Austin City Council because I'm proud of the things we've achieved together over the past six years."

Shaun Ireland

Basic Profile Native Texan educated in public schools; Eagle Scout; bachelor's of fine arts in film and TV production; South Austin resident

Major Issues Maintaining affordability and food security; geographic districts (10-1); AE rate case; solar energy; supports large bond package for infrastructure

Major Endorsements Texans for Accountable Government

Quote "I have lead a good and clean life, and my singular goal is to be the best public servant that I can be and one that Austin demands and deserves."

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City Council election, Sheryl Cole, Shaun Ireland

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