First off, other than the endorsement post and the Fun with Logos post, we’ve mostly stayed away from Randi Shade and place three. Many of us like Randi as a person, but can’t stand her on Council. We honestly thought she’d back away from the runoff or at the very least spend time reconnecting with voters rather than attacking Kathie Tovo with lies and hate.
I know, we keep stupidly expecting the best from politicians and rarely get it. What. A. Shock.
So Wednesday, she sends out an email with her reasons for staying in the race, which basically amount to
1) Not enough people voted
2) I didn’t like the outcome of the election
Obviously, had #2 been different I’m sure her concern about the number of people who voted would evaporate about as fast as the rain we had on Thursday. She also took some space in the email to explain that Kathie Tovo was exploiting ‘a loophole’ in the election finance ordinance. Which is code for ‘Kathie was smarter than me and took advantage of the money available to her. But I’m mad about that because it puts her in a strong position for the runoff’.
On Thursday, Shade had a press conference which has been summarized at Austin Post, then she sent out an email to supporters detailing some of the things she discussed in the press conference. Except her theft of property which we’ll come back to later on. Among the highlights…
She made it crystal clear during the conference that she has received an overwhelming amount of support from voters telling her to stay in the race. Shade finished at 33 percent with Tovo at 46 percent in the May 14 general election. “We can’t let just 7 percent speak for the rest of us,” she said. (Only 7 percent of the eligible Austin voters turned out to vote).
As to what may have gone wrong with her campaign as to only receive 33 percent? “I didn’t do a good enough job distinguishing myself from my opponent(s),” Shade said. She said she was also looking forward to only running against one opponent this time in the runoff, as opposed to three in the general.
Yes, I’m sure there was an overwhelming number of the 33% who voted for you who called and said to stay in the fight. They’re still a minority. I was one of the other 67% who decided you didn’t deserve a second term. There are more of us. We’re thinking about maybe chipping in for a condo at the coast for a 4th of July party. At the very least, we’re probably going to make t-shirts that say ‘I’m part of the majority who didn’t vote for Randi Shade’.
As for not distinguishing herself from your opponent, TRUST ME, no one confused Shade with Kathie. Or Max. Or Chris Bailey. We knew you and we knew we didn’t want to vote for you. Sorry. We still like you, we’d still go to brunch with you, but we don’t want you on Council. We think you made some poor decisions so we voted for someone else. Get over it.
Shade then mischaracterized Tovo’s position on Water Treatment Plant 4, which Tovo has said, repeatedly, she would not walk back since Council has already voted for it and it would cost the city more to abandon the plans. However, Tovo did point out that she would not have voted for it originally. That’s not prevarication, that’s pretty clear and to be honest, the fact that Shade can’t admit the case for WTP4 was a little weak is rather irritating. But, like with not asking for something from the companies relocating here and receiving tax incentives, Shade decided to gloss over all that. Shade, I guess, feels like she should be exempted from having to actually explain and defend her decision making but feels nothing but free to speculate and lie about Tovo’s position. Without even saying a word, Tovo wins round one.
The other significant point of contention appears to be public safety…
Shade also pointed to her strong stance on public safety stating “Public safety is my top priority.” Shade was endorsed by the Austin Police Association. Shade tried to paint the picture that Tovo was not for public safety and said, “I’m for more cops…my opponent is for fewer cops…”
No, Tovo has only said that she’d like to see APD consume a little less of the city budget than the almost 40% it now takes. As for having MORE police officers, we’re already in line with the rest of the state at 2.03 officers per 1000 citizens. Our crime rates are among the lowest of cities over 250,000 people, 7th out of 76. In fact, in Texas only Arlington has lower crime rates than Austin and it’s much smaller. Our police pay rates are also very generous, allowing us to recruit extremely good police officers. Tovo would just like to slow that growth during a recession. Meanwhile, Shade apparently wants to expand it and increase taxes.
APD does a fantastic job, despite their propensity for giving me speeding tickets which is a funny story in itself because every single time the officer has been professional and courteous so I can’t even get mad about getting a ticket, and it shows in the stats. However, I dislike ANY politician using them as campaign device. It’s reminiscent of President Bush’s bluster with regard to the military and just as offensive. If Shade wants to wrap herself in police blue, then she should expect a fusillade of opposition and derision and she will have earned every bit of it.
That pretty much wrapped the policy section of Shades presser, with the exception of touting her ‘environmental’ credentials without mentioning that she was apparently OK with turning Lake Lady Bird into an overbuilt, urbanized mess not unlike the coast of Dubai. Then there was this…
My second question for Shade was about the Shady the Clown and Shady the Tyrant signs. Shade referred to these signs as “litter on a stick.” She said that they are mean and that people are very offended by them. She admitted to taking some them from election locations and encouraged others to take them as well, stating that these are in fact “trash.”
There was also a question from the media to Shade about an alleged robo call problem, where Shade’s campaign was accused of not following the proper procedure when they sent a robo call out.
Yes, Randi stole some signs election day and was caught doing it by one of the candidates, Chris Bailey, for place three. The sign creator has filed a complaint, which will, ironically, contribute to the crime stats for Austin. Using my Randi Shade decoder, the people who were offended by the signs consist of her, her wife and I’m sure many of the 33% who voted for her. The rest of us thought the signs were pretty funny. Here’s a photo of one of them.
Finally, there were two things that have been left out of all this, the supporters of Shade who were with her at the presser…
Yep, that’s Councilmember Skeletor and Mayor Leffingwell. It’s always a great idea to support an incumbent whom 67% of the voters decided shouldn’t be in office. I’m sure Kathie Tovo, should she win, won’t have any problem with that. The funnier thing about this is that Skeletor and Shade both ran on a single member districts platform in 2008. I guess he was there supporting her in not following through on that particular promise. Ironically, if they’d followed through, this runoff would be a lot less expensive for the taxpayers.
As for the Mayor’s presence, who the hell can guess. Maybe there was nothing else to do.
So, yeah, I guess we’re in this great big mess mostly because someone (Randi) decided to come out of the gate all kinds of nasty. Bullies suck.