The Austin Chronicle

Enviro Goodman Loses Seat on Aquifer Board

By Elizabeth Pagano, November 23, 2012, News

One of the biggest political changes to come out of one of the smallest local races was the defeat of environmental stalwart Jack Goodman, who, for the first time in 22 years, will not serve on the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District board of directors after this year.

Last October, the district cemented redistricting plans, putting the wheels into motion for Goodman's demise. For years, Goodman has served one of the two Central Austin precincts represented by the board. These two precincts had previously split South Austin fairly evenly. But redistricting saw the traditionally liberal South Austin Precinct 4 absorb some very conservative territory. It also pitted Goodman against fellow board member Bob Larsen, who ultimately won the seat with 47% of the vote to Goodman's 41%. Larson has been a board member since 2003, serving a region that was farther south, more rural, and more conservative.

Goodman attributes his loss to the boundary shift. "I don't think [Precinct 4] really serves South Austin so much as it does far, far South Austin which is a much more conservative, Republican area," said Goodman, who is married to former Council Member Jackie Goodman. "It made my district considerably more susceptible to the influences from the far, far south of Austin, like Onion Creek and Circle C."

For the past 25 years, BSEACD has overseen protection and management of groundwater for the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer. Though the aquifer itself is pretty well divvied up in terms of allocated well permits, the district is now facing increased drought conditions and looking toward alternative water supplies as the region contends with less water and larger populations.

Goodman is taking a measured stance in evaluating the changes to the board's makeup, despite rumors that newcomer Blake Dorsett (a write-in candidate who won the largely rural Precinct 3 with 63 votes) is already threatening to cut staff. "If they remain true to the original charge, then I think very little will change on the board," said Goodman. As for himself, Goodman says he has no particular plans. "Except that there will be no aquifer district in my future. That's over for me."

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