The Austin Chronicle

Election Notes: After the Fall

By Michael King, Annamarya Scaccia, and Nina Hernandez, November 18, 2016, News

Hold That Decimal Point: The City Clerk's late campaign finance postings briefly suggested a mystery concerning the spending of anti-bond political action committee Honest Transportation Solutions: The PAC reported paying consultants KC Strategies a staggering lump sum of $761,167.83. Not only was that a big payday for one vendor – it represented more than four times what the PAC had reported in contributions. Asked about that, PAC treasurer Kathy Pillmore was at first flabbergasted, then realized she had inadvertently reported about 10 times what KC Strategies had received: $76,117.83. That made more sense, since the PAC reported raising just shy of $170,000 – and somebody had to buy all those 4x8 "Dishonest. Deceptive. Destructive." signs. As it happens, KC Strategies is the same GOP firm that created the "Please Re-Elect My Husband" ad that went viral nationally, making Charlyn Daugherty (Travis Co. Commissioner Gerald's wife) an online star. – Michael King

Rickrolled: District 10 challenger Rob Walker thought he was headed to a run-off when voting results showed him in second place at one point on election night. That excitement proved short-lived; turns out his standing was the result of a voting glitch, which eventually corrected, dropping Walker to third and bumping opponent Alison Alter up to second. "It was fun to taste victory, even if for two hours," said Walker. – Annamarya Scaccia

Waiting for Gauldin: Multiple outlets, including the Chronicle, attempted and failed to contact losing District 7 City Council candidate Natalie Gauldin on election night. The density activist worked hard on a "throw the bums out" campaign, attacking incumbent Leslie Pool for preserving the status quo, a sentiment district voters staunchly rejected.

Last Thursday, Gauldin broke her silence via a Medium post titled, "So what happens next?" Gauldin blamed the loss on Pool's fundraising advantage and called for more policies aimed toward helping renters in the district. Perhaps in response to the Pool campaign's "olive branch," Gauldin expressed a willingness to work with "neighborhood advocacy groups," though the thought came with some constructive criticism: "I believe Leslie Pool will listen to us. I know she loves this city and wants to be a popular and well-loved councilwoman. I hope she will adjust her community engagement strategy to take a more proactive approach to understanding the issues of the over 90% of us that are unable to attend meetings and follow the minutia of the code process." – Nina Hernandez

A run-off for City Council District 10 and two ACC Board seats is set for Dec. 13. Early voting runs Dec. 1-9.

Unclear on the Concept: Anti-Mobility Bond campaigner Roger Falk – a spokesman for the Honest Transportation Solutions PAC and "analyst" for the Travis County Taxpayers Union – objected to being characterized by the Chronicle as a "climate change denier." "I've never denied climate change," said Falk. "I believe that the climate is always changing." ("The Odds on Mayor Adler's $720 Million Mobility Bond," Oct. 28) Directed to his own website writings on the United Nations' Agenda 21, in which he denounces the U.N.'s alleged "war on the automobile," Falk insisted his objection to the U.N.'s sustainability program is based on its "command and control" and "forced density" aspects, not its attempts to reduce global warming. "I don't deny climate change," Falk said. "I just haven't seen anything that convinces me it's mostly man-made, or that human action can have much effect on the climate." Since that position is in fact in direct opposition to the overwhelming scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming, it's a textbook definition of "climate change denial" – in other words, if we pretend it's not happening, we won't have to do anything about it. – M.K.

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