10-1 Ticker ... Election updates!
It's campaign video season
Move over, Richard Linklater, a new wave of Austin cinema has arrived: the self-consciously silly 10-1 campaign video. The Mike vs. Steve series of ads continues, positioning Mike Martinez as the pro-ACL candidate, while Steve Adler's avatar professes to prefer the ballet.
Adler released an ad the same day (Oct. 9), reminding voters at the end that he would maintain Austin's "no-kill" animal shelter policy, which Martinez helped implement. Never underestimate the power of the dog lobby...
Matt Stillwell made his own contribution to the genre, critiquing what he referred to as his opponents' "ridiculous and low-budget campaign videos" by making his own "ridiculous and low-budget campaign video" (meta!). In it, Stillwell supporters throw a hood over notorious local car commercial star Scott Elder while Stillwell beats him with a baseball bat. On Facebook, Stillwell wrote, "if you've ever wanted to beat Scott Elder with a baseball bat for his annoying commercials, please share." Can't say that we have, but perhaps District 6 voters will feel differently... We hesitate to call it before the race is over, but Mackenzie Kelly may have just taken the prize for the campaign video most likely to haunt our dreams. The clip features the six D6 candidates' heads cut out and pasted over the dancers in Pharrell's "Happy" music video, and has to be seen to be believed. We're still not sure what the ad's trying to tell us; maybe we need to play it backwards?... This week mayoral also-running Todd Phelps endorsed teacher-led prayer-in-schools – he may not know the limits of City Council authority, but he knows what his campaign needs... Although Halloween is still a few weeks away, Change Austin has begun running a print ad featuring the truly disturbing image of Chris Riley's head on a rubber stamp, calling him "a rubber stamp for special interests"... Want an easy way to distinguish the ideological Republicans hiding in plain sight on the "nonpartisan" Council campaign trail? See who signed the "Citizens for Tax Relief NOW" pledge circulated by Cindy Mallette, a former* [see correction below] operative of the Koch Brothers front group, Americans for Prosperity. The "pledge" is a local version of Grover Norquist's "Americans for Tax Reform" no-tax pledge; it would immediately impose a 20% homestead property tax exemption (favoring the wealthiest homeowners) and freeze property taxes at the "effective rate" (last year's income) – meaning no tax increases whatsoever, despite Austin's exploding growth, rising property values, and growing need for services. As of Wednesday, signers of the "pledge" include: Laura Pressley (D4); Jason Denny and Mike Rodriguez (D5); Jay Wiley (D6); Ed English and Pete Salazar Jr. (D7); Ellen Troxclair (D8); Erin McGann (D9); Margie Burciaga, Matt Lamon and Bill Worsham (D10). Expect more GOP-self-outings in the days ahead... The Statesman endorsed Alex Jones enthusiast Pressley this week, dismissing her anti-fluoride etc. obsessions as old news but noting her support for their candidate litmus test, an immediate homestead exemption, which they called a "flat 20% exemption" – an oxymoron, since a "flat" exemption would give the same deduction to all homeowners, while a percentage exemption inflates with home value... On a lighter note, country music star and legendary Texas native Willie Nelson has tipped his hat to mayoral contender Mike Martinez, offering up his endorsement earlier this week. Martinez said he was "honored" to receive the political approval of one of his "hero[es]."
*Correction: Cindy Mallette was originally described as a current operative of Americans for Prosperity; she last worked for AFP in 2011.