District 8 City Council Pool Filling Up

Two new candidates file campaign treasurer appointments

Staff photographer David Brendan Hall didn't catch Laura Morrison, Kathie Tovo, and Bobby Levinski polar bear plunging together on New Year's Day, but he did snap a lot of the fun. See a full photo gallery online at "Snapshot: A New Year's Day Journey." (Photo by David Brendan Hall)

The new year is here, and in Austin that means five members of City Council – as well as the mayor – are up for re-election in November. Two new candidates have filed campaign treasurer appointments, the first official indication that they plan to challenge Ellen Troxclair for her seat in District 8: environmental marketing specialist Paige Ellis (who does not have any campaign materials online but said on Wednesday that she's in the "exploratory" stage of candidacy) and Bobby Levinski, a progressive, "pro-Austin" attorney who plans to run on a platform of local control – actual local control, he says, the kind that grants the "right of voters to govern themselves."

They join Concordia University Police Chief Shane Sexton in challenging an incumbent who, even in our most favorable assessment, could be said to have spent much of her first four-year term lamenting the liberal positions of her colleagues. (Rich DePalma, a consultant and veteran of the city's school and Parks and Rec boards, has also hinted at a run.) Levinski in particular has been a public advocate for gay rights for some time, and since August has worked as a staff attorney for Save Our Springs. Past experience includes city work as a zoning aid for Council Member Jennifer Kim, and as a policy adviser for Laura Morrison and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo. The three gallivanted around Barton Springs together on New Year's Day, taking part in the polar bear plunge, and could form an interesting bloc on Council (if not a swimming team), should Tovo go through with plans to file for re-election in District 9 and Morrison mount a run at mayor.

Also filing a CTA over the holiday was District 5 CM Ann Kitchen, back for a bit more fun.

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