Randi Shade Donor History Vastly More Democratic Than Kathie Tovo

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In last week's post outlining Randi Shade's runoff campaign message, what I assume was a supporter of Kathie Tovo left the following comment.

How Republican of Shade

…Shade has been outed as a republican in this campaign, and these desperation tactics, which we can expect to see more of, come straight from the GOP/Rove playbook.

Normally this sort of statement would just slide by in the comments but the author took special note to call out the University Democrats and Central Austin Democrats for their endorsement of Shade, organizations of which I have been a member and served as an officer in since I moved to Austin in 2003. So unluckily for them, it made me do a little research, the results of which highlight how Democratic Randi Shade's roots are and help explain why she has won more Democratic club endorsements than Kathie Tovo.

There are many ways to measure someone “Democraticness” including volunteer hours and policy positions but one of the least subjective is one's personal donor history. The following table compiles the contribution history of Randi Shade and Kathie Tovo from available public sources for contributions large enough to trigger public reporting.

Randi Shade Donor History, 2000-Present Kathie Tovo Donor History, 2000-Present
Q3 2000 $500.00 Lloyd Doggett Q1 2005 $60.00 South Austin Democrats PAC
Q2 2002 $250.00 Ron Kirk Q2 2009 $100.00 Annie's List
Q3 2002 $100.00 Sherry Boyles
Q4 2002 $100.00 Sherry Boyles
Q4 2002 $100.00 Elliott Naishtat
Q1 2004 $500.00 DNC
Q2 2004 $250.00 Mark Strama
Q3 2004 $250.00 Mark Strama
Q4 2004 $100.00 Elliott Naishtat
Q4 2004 $100.00 Kelly White
Q4 2004 $100.00 Mark Strama
Q4 2004 $1,000.00 America Coming Together
Q3 2005 $50.00 No Nonsense in November
Q3 2005 $20.00 No Nonsense in November
Q4 2005 $100.00 Andy Brown
Q1 2006 $150.00 Kirk Watson
Q1 2006 $100.00 Donna Howard
Q3 2006 $250.00 Mark Strama
Q3 2007 $250.00 Kirk Watson
Q4 2007 $100.00 Elliott Naishtat
Q1 2008 $28.00 Capital Area Democratic Women
Q1 2008 $250.00 Martin J. Siegel
Q1 2008 $200.00 Annie's List
Q2 2008 $13.00 Capital Area Democratic Women
Q4 2008 $500.00 Woodfin J. Jones
Q4 2008 $100.00 Elliott Naishtat
Q4 2008 $200.00 Travis County Democratic Party
Q4 2008 $10.00 Travis County Democratic Party
Q1 2009 $100.00 ActBlue Texas
Q1 2009 $100.00 Tex Blog PAC
Q1 2009 $63.00 Capital Area Democratic Women
Q1 2009 $250.00 Bill White for Texas
Q2 2009 $120.00 ActBlue Texas
Q2 2009 $120.00 Travis County Democratic Party
Q3 2009 $50.00 South Austin Democrats PAC
Q4 2009 $500.00 Jack McDonald for Congress
Q4 2009 $360.00 Citizens for Alan Khazai
Q4 2009 $250.00 Act Blue Texas
Q4 2009 $250.00 Travis County Democratic Party
Q2 2010 $100.00 Annie's List
Q3 2010 $250.00 Travis County Democratic Party
Q4 2010 $250.00 Travis County Democratic Party
Q4 2010 $100.00 Amy Clark Meachum
Q2 2011 $1,200.00 DNC/Barack Obama
Sources: OpenSecrets, Fundrace, Texas Ethics Commission.

Beyond donations, Randi Shade hosted a LGBT fundraiser for Bill White's Democratic Gubernatorial nomination and worked in Ann Richard's campaign and administration in the 90s.

Money shouldn't be used as the sole consideration for determining an individual's politics, but for those who have the capacity to give, the frequency, amount, and recipient of those dollars serves as an instructive guide to measure one's “Democraticness”. Kathie Tovo certainly has the capacity to contribute to candidates and organizations, after all, she's afforded giving herself over $53,000 in loans to her own campaign.

So if you exclude counting money that you give yourself as a political contribution, Randi Shade's Democratic giving is 60 times as great as Kathie Tovo's.

The only thing Randi Shade has been 'outed' as in this campaign is as an openly gay committed mother of two who's donated more to Democrats in one day than her opponent has in a decade.  


About Author

Former Publisher & Owner of the Burnt Orange Report. Political Thinker, Digital Explorer, and Time Traveler.


  1. wow
    paints an interesting picture.

    I never had any doubt that either of these two were Democrats. I didn't know their apparent levels of commitment might look so different, though.

    • No wonder I had never met Tovo…
      Been doing Demo stuff here in Austin over thirty years.   Just me Tovo for the first time during this campaign season at an endorsement meeting.

      I'm a big proponent for fresh faces in politics, but there is a level of “dues paying” before being promoted.

  2. This is insane!
    I can't understand how you can be involved in politics for over ten years in any serious way and not give more than $200 to candidates.

    Hell, I've only been involved for about three years, and I've given that much. And I get paid a lot less.

    So that begs the question: is Tovo not paying attention? Or does she just not care about the issues?

  3. Voltaire Cortez on

    Randi also Sponsored Team TCDP
    Disclaimer: I am a current Intern on the Randi Shade Campaign

    Randi sponsored Team TCDP (Travis County Democratic Party) at Sarah Eckhardt's bowling fundraiser last summer. She also paid for the “Randi Shade <3's Team TCDP” shirts; a shirt I still wear fondly.  

  4. and??
    i've never been involved in a campaign where one's contribution history made any difference.

    as an outside observer, is appears that Shade ran on a certain platform…abandoned much of it…and is within a few days of losing (by a lot).

    furthermore, I'm more inclined to condemn an incumbent “Democrat” that gives so little during a critical cycle. $700???? that is a joke.

    you can't claim your candidate is the world's best Dem when they effectively sat out the 10 cycle.

  5. cindyflint99 on

    Thank you Randi Shade
    Thank you for your consistent support of Democratic candidates and the issues and values that they stand for.

    • The developers thank you too.
      They are pouring money into your campaign because they know they can count on you.

  6. Dave Shapiro on

    Shade vs. Tovo; form vs. substantance

     Please, come off of it. You know better. With all due respect, your consistent role playing the identity politics game is once again in full view for all to see. Ditto for your failure to come to grips with the essential fact – first proclaimed by James Madison in Number 10 of The Federalist Papers in 1787 – that the main activity taking place in government and politics is the conflict between the public interest and the special interests. That's what WTP4 is all about.

    In Austin, the neighborhoods are a metaphor for the public interest and the Austin Board of Realtors (listed on Shade's Website as one of the organizations endorsing her), the developers, the banks which loan them money  and the big vendors who do business at City Hall are the special interests, as are the clients of the Armbrust and Brown law firm/lobby shop.  

     You obfuscate with all of your numbers about Shade's contributions to Democratic candidates and by saying that she had more Democratic club endorsements than Tovo. The most salient numbers stare everyone in the face when they  look at the map of how the precincts voted in the Place 3 race. Take that same map and overlay it with one showing the vote by precinct in the '08 general election between Obama and McCain. Everyone who does that will immediately acknowledge that Kathie Tovo ran best in the precincts where Barack Obama piled up his best percentages. Likewise, the farther west one goes on the map the better Shade ran. She ran best in the conservative and Republican precincts that were either carried by McCain or where he ran  much better that elsewhere. KT, those conservative, affluent and Republican voters must know something that you don't. How else do you account for their support of Shade? While you are at it, please explain why your candidate ran so poorly in the Central Austin boxes that traditionally turn in the best percentages for Democrats.  

      The precinct breakdown also tells the world that the Central Austin Democrats, the Central Labor Council and the other groups that all-too-often endorse Establishment Democrats like Shade  are out of sync with the voters in the heavy Democratic precincts. They made their bed once again with the Establishment's candidate, as they have done numerous times in the past. It's a helluva note when the Sierra Club and the Austin Neighborhoods Council endorses one candidate who carries the largest number of traditional Democratic precincts while the candidate endorsed by the  the Austin Board of Realtors, the Central Labor Council and a bunch (but not all) of the Democratic Clubs ran best in the Republican precincts.

      We owe each other duty of candor so let's cut out the nonsense and confront the indisputable fact that Tovo shellacked Shade in the bulk of the heavy Democratic precincts. Shade ran best in the affluent precincts where Establishment candidates always run best in city elections and where Republicans run best in general elections. The few exceptions merely prove the rule.

      Dave Shapiro  

    • “public interest” versus “landed gentry”
      “In Austin, the neighborhoods are a metaphor for the public interest ”

      Not even remotely true. The 'neighborhoods', as expressed by the ANC (i.e. Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo) are a fundamentally conservative power bloc whose only interest is preventing all change – the most relevant change of which is the development of additional housing in central Austin.

      If you like keeping central Austin exactly how it is, and as a result, making the air and water and traffic far worse than it otherwise would be; making housing in our entire metro area far less affordable; and keeping central Austin nothing but a playground for the wealthy folks like Laura Morrison, go ahead and maintain the fiction that the ANC is the 'little guy'. But they're not; they're, as Wells Dunbar once put it, the 'landed gentry'.

      The fact that the ANC has fooled so many people who ostensibly want sustainability and progressivity into thinking they're allies is depressing. Doesn't make it right.

      • Dave Shapiro on

        “public interest” versus “landed gentry”? Nope, Sierra Club vs Austin Board of Realtors
        Once again, a look at the map of the precinct results will convince anyone  that the people who vote in the strong Democratic precincts of Central Austin thoroughly disagree with your position and with the views of Wells Dunbar. It was your candidate, Kathie Tovo, who overwhelmingly ran better in the precincts where the rich folks and the landed gentry live. If you lay a map of how the precincts voted over the census tract data showing income, that fact hits you in the face and totally destroys your argument. You and Wells Dunbar and Randi Shade can take your lessons on air and water and traffic from the Austin Board of Realtors, which endorsed Shade. The voters in the Central Austin precincts take their environmentalism from the Sierra Club, which endorsed Tovo and which consistently opposes the perverse reasoning of those who side with developers and oppose homeowners in the neighborhoods. It is Orwellian to label the position of the Sierra Club and the Austin Neighborhoods Council as special interests, while claiming that the Real Estate Council of Austin and city hall lobbyists for developers like David Armbrust and Richard Suttle somehow speak for an enlightened public interest. George Orwell is turning over in his grave. The voters showed that they overwhelmingly reject that palpable nonsense.

          Dave Shapiro  

        • Ridiculous
          Dave, read my last paragraph. The ANC has fooled a ton of people into thinking they're the little guy – when the little guy is actually best served by the other side in cases like these.

          For instance, if the 1970s-1980s version of the ANC had won more of their battles, my condo in Clarksville would never have been built, and I'd never have been able to afford my first toehold in Central Austin. Those developers were more the friend of the little guy than Kathie Tovo or Laura Morrison, who want to keep central Austin a gated community where only the rich can live.

          The ANC is dominated by central neighborhoods; whose leadership are themselves dominated by the wealthier homeowners (since they have less competition from actual productive day jobs). To somehow paint these people as the “little guy” is ridiculous. Morrison is stinking rich; Tovo is quite well-off; hell, I'm far above the median just to be able to afford one of the cheapest houses in NUNA – but unlike them, I'm not trying to pull the wool over your eyes and claim otherwise.

          Morrison fought the Spring condos – new units, downtown, as low as the $200Ks – to protect her view from her million dollar mansion. Tovo fought the Park PUD – providing employment opportunities between two pre-existing large buildings on a major transit corridor – to protect the view from one of her central properties. They're not looking out for the little guy when they do this; they're trying to keep the little guy out in Round Rock or Cedar Park.

          • Dave Shapiro on

            You alone have the keys to the kingdom
            Oh, now I see it. You and the voters in the affluent precincts that vote Republican and which voted for Shade have the keys to the kingdom and truly understand the situation. But the voters in the heavily Democratic precincts of Central Austin which Tovo carried – like Precinct 250, the Mathews School box where most of Clarksville votes – they have the wool pulled over their eyes by the Sierra Club and have been fooled by the Austin Neighborhoods Council. That smacks of arrogance and a know-it-all attitude. Oh, if those poor ignorant Democratic slobs in Central Austin only knew the true facts as you and the Real Estate Council of Austin, David Armbrust and Richards Suttle, and the more affluent and Republican voters in precincts like the Casis School box (Pct. 256) know them, then they would have voted for Shade.    

             Your Clarksville condo was made possible when the real estate development interests that pushed for building MoPac were successful in removing the black families that inhabited that area since the slaves were freed. I remember when they still lived there because I grew up at 1404 West 12th Street, went to Mathews Elementary and walked down the hill to the old Austin High at 12th and Rio Grande. There were no condos in Clarksville at that time, only African-Americans.

            Dave Shapiro  

          • Circular logic
            As pointed out downstream, you're arguing that because she got the most votes voters should vote for her.

            She and the rest of the ANC have pulled the biggest con-job on Austin ever seen – getting people who care about sustainability to vote in favor of candidates whose policies lead to less sustainability.

            And nice try with the race card. Had absolutely nothing to do with it, but I'm sure you feel real proud. The condos/apartment boom in the 1980s was an economic phenomenon all over the city – not just in Clarksville – and resulted in most of what housing remains affordable in the center city (the bungalows surely aren't).

          • Touch√©, Sir.
            I appreciate your mention of this.  Questions of race, growth, and regional equity continue to be short-shrifted by new urbanist evangelists and “rise of the creative class” adherents, not just in Austin but elsewhere.

            Disentangling the complicated histories of race, class and gender in Austin requires some historical understanding.  On June 11, 2011 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. I'll be delivering a Juneteenth lecture at the Austin History Center about the life of E.M. Pease and his role in Austin and Texas history.  The founders of Clarksville were Pease's Freedmen and they established the neighborhood where their slave cabins were located.  Pease himself of course lived in the “big house” at his mansion.

            Here is the Facebook page for the event where you can RSVP:



            (Past president of Black Austin Democrats and long time Kathie Tovo supporter)

          • ann in austin on

            so how many affordable housing units wld the Spring Condos or the Park PUD generate?

          • Tons
            Every additional housing unit is new supply – and as the Austin Contrarian put it recently here:

            But — and this is the key point — limiting the supply of housing that singles like  will cause them to bid more for the housing that both families with children and singles like.  The family at the margin then will choose the suburb for the reason given above.

            So, yes, it does act as a factor slowing the growth in prices of even single-family houses that remain close to downtown. Not much of one, since the ANC has successfully stopped MOST apartments from ever getting built, but it's certainly better than doing nothing.

          • There are plenty of tracts of land zoned for Multi-family use
            No one is stopping the owner or a developer from building on those. Tovo isn't stopping them. ANC isn't stopping them. The owner/developer are waiting for the market to return so they can maximize their profit building $500 condos. That is their choice. But if you want more expensive uints there are acres upon acres ripe for the taking. If the demand is there, the supply can be there. Apparently, the demand isn't there.

          • Load of nonsense
            There are practically zero available tracts zoned for MF use in the urban core – the ANC has very effectively forced all MF development to either the far suburbs in the “3 story buildings around large parking lots” model or to the downtown area itself.

            The ANC fought VMU effectively; they destroyed garage apartments most places; and McMansion took care of most of the rest of the places where small-scale infill was possible. They fought MF projects even on arterials (like the Villas on Guadalupe); they fought MF projects even downtown (like Spring).

          • There are acres and acres of VMU zoned tracts available for
            multi-family housing. This is not in dispute. Apparently you have never read or don't understand the McMansion ordinance.  

          • Apparently
            you have no idea who I am. I spoke before the Planning Commission and was one of the reasons they recommended raising the FAR to 0.5 when duplexes and/or garage apartments were present. Try again.

          • Supply and Demand
            Every new housing unit, regardless of cost, adds to the housing supply and gives people more housing choices.  New housing also makes it harder for a landlord to slap on a fresh coat of paint and put up a new sign before raising the rent or converting apartments to condos.  Something we've seen way too much of.  Which would you prefer, new housing in a high rise or the potential residents for a high rise bidding up housing prices in the close in neighborhoods or buying ranchettes over the acquifer?

            As for the Park PUD, all of the housing was removed from that project in an attempt to address the neighbors concerns about the height of the project.

      • Yes
        Because they are exclusively to blame, not the type of units being built, right? funny how the reality of additional units is actually leading to price increases and less affordability.

        • Stupid
          The overall housing affordability of the city has, indeed, improved even with the construction of expensive new units in the core – it's just that the number of units in the core is insufficient to affect affordability in the core to the degree we would like because so many prospective units never get built thanks to the ANC.

          One link for starters:


          (Densifying West Campus by adding units means overall affordability improved – even if West Campus got more expensive)

          • You have to be kidding
            The number of units downtown and in West Campus has exploded.

            Explain how the affordability has improved with the construction of units.

            If you want density downtown that is reasonable. But don't argue it on the basis of affordability and don't bash the neighborhoods, much less Tovo, because they are unnaffordable.

            No one is holding a gun to any developer's head forcing them to build the most expensive unit the market can support.

    • Looking at things backwards
      Let me get this straight.  You're saying that because Tovo ran better in the more liberal neighborhoods, then Tovo must be the true liberal, and so liberals should vote for Tovo.  That's circular reasoning if I ever heard it.

      This sort of reasoning — it's bad to get support from affluent or conservative people — has caused a lot of harm in Austin politics. City politics, done right, isn't us against them. It's one city, with all of us pulling together.

      Remember Kirk Watson? You know, the mayor who talked about building consensus, who liked to work with business interests and who at one point headed the Chamber of Commerce? By your reasoning, no Democrat in his right mind would have voted for Kirk, when in fact he was a superb mayor.

      WTP4 isn't about business versus little guys.  It's about long-term planning for the whole city vs. short term objections, mostly from the people closest to the site. You might even call it the public interest versus the special interest, with Randi firmly on the side of the public.

      I haven't said anything bad about Kathie Tovo in this campaign, and I'm not about to start. She's smart, hard-working, and dedicated to improving the city. But Randi Shade is far superior in terms of working for everybody, in seeing both sides of each argument and seeking win-win solutions, and in thinking about the long term.  

  7. LSadun dead wrong on WTP4
    Suggesting that opposition to WTP4 comes from “special interests” is absurd. It is similarly absurd to say that building the plant is about good “planning.”  Quite the opposite.  

    Building the plant now is opposed by the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Hill Country Alliance, Clean Water Action, SOS Alliance, PODER, Austin Neighborhoods Council, and Environment Texas.  It is supported by the contractors who get the hundreds of millions of our money and the Chamber of Commerce.  

    Good planning does not flow from sticking ratepayers with $1.2 billion in costs (half of that interest payments) when we don't need additional treatment capacity for at least another 15 years.  When our rates are already higher than any other major city in texas.  The plant does not put water in our lakes or make it rain.  

    Good planning would keep most of the dollars in ratepayer pockets and invest the rest in conservation, reuse, and replacing our old, failing pipes that leak and break, losing billions of gallons of water into the ground every year and causing damaging to streets, homes, and businesses.  

  8. How about Geographic Representation as an issue?
    I voted for Max last time because he was the only qualified candidate in Place 3 that lives in South Austin. After this runoff election, all of South Austin and suburban North Austin will still have no representation on the Austin City Council. I have become a single issue voter over this issue and will not vote for any candidate  that supports keeping the current At-Large election system.

    We have elections to vet public issues, so my question of the runoff candidates is as follows:  Are you for a 6-2-1, 8-2-1, 10-2-1 mixed district plan or for the status quo? If you are really against having geographic representation for the city council, just say so and be done with it. The voters will respond accordingly

    • I support SMD
      As far as I am aware both candidates support adding single member districts to our electoral mix. I suspect that we might see a 6-4-1 map or else a 6-2-1 or 8-2-1. I've had conversations with various members and staffs about the charter election elements next year.  

      • DOJ will shoot down 6-anything. 150,000 people ago, we had 8-2-1 on the ballot.
        We have to increase it from 8-2-1 or DOJ likely will say no. Leffingwell knows this. He's trying to have it both ways…”I tried!” he'll say after the 7th loss.

        • Why would DOJ reject 6-2-1?
          Personally, I could live with 6-2-1, but I'd have serious doubts about 8-2-1 and I would definitely vote against 10-2-1.  OK, maybe we have outgrown an all-at-large council, but having a third of the council representing the whole city should be a minimum, not a maximum.  

          • I will make you a deal Lorenzo on Mixed District Plan Maps
            Later this summer, I will be working on draft mixed district maps. We will draw draft lines for 6-2-1, 8-2-1, and 10-2-1 plans. Additionally, we will provide minority population statistics.

            All we ask for is a chance to give a presentation to the West Austin Democrats of both the draft maps and supporting population statistics. Rather than argue about it in the abstract, you and yours can be shown on paper why 6-2-1 will not fly and is not the best solution for fair minority representation. As VP of WAD you should be able to get us on the agenda.

            In the meantime, if you support at-large elections vote for Shade on Saturday. If you support possible mixed district plans larger than 6-2-1 and care about both fair geographic and minority representation then vote for Tovo.  It's just that simple on this issue based on both candidates' responses to the Black Austin Democrats city council candidate questionnaire. BTW, Shade's rambling none answer on this issue for this questionnaire is posted on her website if anyone cares to read it.

            Sorry I did not get a chance to talk to you at the House Redistricting Committee's alleged public hearing on congressional redistricting a couple of weeks ago. Busted up my left knee in May. I could not catch up with you in my wheel chair to get your attention.

  9. polling question redux

    I understand the shade campaign polled on this very issue. it's very interesting that KT's “research” is straight from this poll.

  10. Hyperbole
    “The only thing Randi Shade has been 'outed' as in this campaign is as an openly gay committed mother of two who's donated more to Democrats in one day than her opponent has in a decade.”

    Shade and Tovo have both had to cope with with many diverse constituencies over the years on many tough City of Austin issues. They've both done a good job of it. None of it had anything to do with sexual orientation. I'm very familiar with both their records. With your reference to Randi being “outed,” you insinuate that sexual orientation is the defining factor in a City Council race. Do you want Place 3 to become the guaranteed GLBT seat under The Gentlements' Agreement? If so, saddle up and ride. But don't be passive/aggressive and trash Tovo.

  11. Disgusted
    I'm disgusted with the implication that one's giving history is a reliable measure of one's support for an issue.  What about advocacy, public service, voting and volunteering as measures, KT?  By your stats above, I am a Tea Party member since I've only ever donated $25 to a political campaign (Obama '08), irrespective of my non-financial contributions to the progressive movement in this country.

    I am publicly neutral in this race and this post does not imply support for either candidate.  It's only meant to call into serious question the metrics that you are using.

    • Still disgusted
      And as a friend just reminded me, your metric also leaves out financial and volunteer support for non-profit agencies aligned with the progressive causes.  

      How does my support for Planned Parenthood Capital Area, SafePlace, Nature Conservancy, Solar Electric Light Fund, Capital Area Food Bank, Keep Austin Beautiful, Austin Parks Foundation, Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, United Way Capital Area, EmanciPet, Goodwill and others score on your “is Barksdale democratic enough” poll?

      Boy, I haven't been this mad in a long time…. And you wonder why people hate politics.

      • I mentioned this in the post
        m1ek already got to this but to highlight the point, I only wrote this because of the initial comment on the prior posts from some Tovo supporter saying that Randi Shade had been outed as a Republican and was using the GOP/Rove playbook.

        As I wrote in this post… There are many ways to measure someone “Democraticness” including volunteer hours and policy positions but one of the least subjective is one's personal donor history.

        Non-profit giving isn't required to be publicly disclosed in the same way that pure political contributions are. I'm not going to bother the campaigns or expect them to have a complete record of their volunteer hours. It also wouldn't be relevant to answering the attack on Shade's Democratic values. The only thing being put in question or measured here is “Democraticness” which is not the same as one's non-political non-profit work. The two are not interchangeable; there are plenty of non-profit volunteers who feel very strongly about separating that from their politics. And I know plenty of hardcore Republicans that are involved with Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Food Banks, United Ways, etc.

        As I said…

        Money shouldn't be used as the sole consideration for determining an individual's politics, but for those who have the capacity to give, the frequency, amount, and recipient of those dollars serves as an instructive guide to measure one's “Democraticness”. Kathie Tovo certainly has the capacity to contribute to candidates and organizations, after all, she's afforded giving herself over $53,000 in loans to her own campaign.

        Not everyone is required to give money, though I admit, I'm biased towards encouraging more people to give having worked for ActBlue and made the democratization of fundraising a big part of my political life. Over the last few years, I've given over $2,500 through my ActBlue account alone. It's not the be-all measure, but it's the least subjective measure for the purposes of this post. Maybe that helps explain things.

        • Money alone does not a Democrat make
          I believe that rating someone's “Democraticness” (shouldn't that be “Democratness”?) based upon how much money they give to strictly political candidates and organizations could be a red herring. Many elected officials change policies with the prevailing breeze (Lee Leffingwell comes to mind). Because of this, some people would rather give more to organizations that support causes, rather than to the candidates themselves. After all, an organization like SOS has always looked out for Austin's water, regardless of the political deals that politicians may have made.

          I think that a better indication of character is how one spends one's time. I, for one, value my time over my money. By this reckoning, Kathie Tovo rates as highly as anyone I have seen as a Democrat. She has spent tremendous energy volunteering her time in community organizations that display the true spirit of the Democratic Party in an effort to make Austin a better place.

          Trying to say that one of these candidates is “for” development and one is “against” it is also a ridiculous oversimplification. This false dichotomy has been used for years as a political argument in Austin. Regardless of who has been elected, Austin has grown faster than almost any other metropolitan area in America.

          It is really about how we develop, not whether we will develop – will we sacrifice the things that make Austin special in an effort to maximize profits for private industry, or will we grow in a way that does not destroy that which makes Austin unique?

          This difference can be seen in the very different approaches of each candidate to WTP4. One big issue is in affordability. Building WTP4 will make Austin water rates go up dramatically, or either Austin will HAVE to sell a LOT more water. Since WTP4 does not add more water to Lake Travis (it takes more water OUT of Lake Travis), and since scientific projections (and observable reality) show that Lake Travis will have less water in the future, not more, building WTP4 BEFORE we maximize water conservation efforts will make water conservation LESS AFFORDABLE. This fact is clearly demonstrated by the proposed “water conservation fee” that the Austin Water Utility has proposed to be added to everyone's water bill in the very near future. Promoting the use of more water will also REDUCE SUSTAINABILITY. So whom will this really benefit? The only people that I see benefitting are those who are pushing development for short-term profit, and not supporting development for a better future for the City of Austin.

          This doesn't even begin to address the wisdom of drilling an 8-foot diameter tunnel 10 miles through porous limestone under the habitat of a candidate for the endangered species list that depends on groundwater for its very existence. But then, I am one of those Austinites who believes that golden-cheeked warblers, black-capped vireos, Barton Springs and Jollyville salamanders, Iva corbinii, and a whole mess of Mexican free-tail bats (to name just a few of our neighbors) are some of the things that make Austin unique, and I will defend them (along with affordable water) with my VOTE and my MONEY. Kathie Tovo gets both in this election, despite the opinion of the author of this article.

          • Fooled again
            The Tovo/ANC crowd wants no change in central Austin, ever, meaning that far more housing units are built in areas and ways that will far more greatly affect those creatures you and I both want to protect.

    • No but the discussion of issues has been a good thing
      There has been posted a wide range of discussions of past, present, and future civic political battles. Very good and informative attempts have been made by several individuals to define the current “public interest” in municipal politics. These are very good discussions for our community to have.

      My multiple choice question still to be answered by either of the runoff candidates and/or their representatives is as follows:

      To ensure fair geographic representation, do you support a mixed district plan with the following council members elected by districts with two members still elected at-large along with the Mayor with a council size of?

      (a)  6-2-1

      (b)  8-2-1

      (c) 10-2-1

      (d) Would consider supporting one of the above plans if elected

      (e)  None of the above

      • Dave Shapiro on

        Yes, but only for the benefit of the Shade supporters


        You Shade supporters needn't feel overwhelmed because the big bad Neighborhood Associations and the Sierra Club have endorsed Kathie Tovo. You know how out-of-touch they are with the average voter.  As you can see from the link above, Harry Savio's outfit, the Austin Homebuilders trade association, is behind your candidate. Be sure and click on their flier once you've opened the link. Also, check-out the campaign filings to see that Savio has also given money to your candidate.  

        My, there's a group that represents the grass roots of the Democratic Party, isn't it? Yeah, the Harry Savio crowd and the poor folks at the Real Estate Council of Austin and the the Austin Board of Realtors. They look just like the masses you see at any Travis County Democratic convention, don't they? Are you still wondering why your candidate ran so well in the upscale Republican precincts and got smashed in the Democratic bastions of Central, South and East Austin? Have no fear, Harry Savio will come to the rescue of your candidate.

          Dave Shapiro  

        • Cut this crap out
          Dave, there AREN'T any truly Republican precincts in Austin proper. GMAFB.

          And without developers, you don't get new housing units, which is the only way we get cheaper housing down the road. So the vast masses of people outside the priviliged few currently living in those core “Democratic precincts” (according to you) can't GET here unless somebody builds them some new supply into which to move.

          • Dave Shapiro on

            Define “truly Republican precincts”
            How about the precincts that went for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and either went for McCain in '08 or were carried by Obama with a margin significantly below his average? What do you call them, “Not truly Republican”?  Then, take those same precincts and do the overlay with the census data on income. If you still cannot identify any boxes that fit in your category of “truly Republican precincts” – well, that says more about you than it does about the facts on the ground. After you've done this little exercise, check-out how those precincts which have historically gone more heavily Republican than the rest of Austin voted in the Place 3 race. Then please post your findings and please be specific and precise. If you are saying that all of the precincts within the City of Austin tend to be more heavily Democratic than all of those in West Lake Hills, Lakeway, Lago Vista, etc., nobody will disagree. But if you are contending that it is not possible to identify the Austin precincts that historically produce a much larger vote for Republican candidates, then you are back to playing the same game always relied upon by those who support Establishment candidates in a Democratic town, obfuscation, distraction, diversion of attention, the pretense that technocratic values trump the public interest in its ongoing conflict with the special interests, the elevation of personality over voting records, and the refusal to acknowledge undeniable truths -like where the public interest is in a contest between a candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club/Austin Neighborhoods County  and by the real estate interests and the local business elite. Ah, but the voters in the Democratic precincts understand, even if you don't..

              Dave Shapiro


          • How about this
            I refuse to take homework assignments from anyone, but if I did, you'd be one of the last ones I'd take one from.

            You sure expect people to tolerate a lot of your generalizations without any proof, but don't like it when others make far more supportable ones in return.

          • Dave Shapiro on

            What in the world are you talking about?
             No need for any homework, just take one look at the maps of the election results that were published in both the Austin Chronicle and the American-Statesman. Both are available online.  You can find the election results by precinct  posted at the Travis County Clerk's Website. I'm making no generalizations but pointing to specifics, the published maps and the published precinct results, and if you care to go that far, the census tract data showing income at http://www.census.gov. The generalizations – and the obfuscations – on this thread are all coming from the Shade supporters.

              Dave Shapiro  

  12. Shade is using dirty tactics running her run-off campaign
    I've been getting streams of push-polls, almost two a night, from a company called TTO Research (or that's at least what the pollster had said). I know they're push-polls because as soon as I ask what kind of poll this is, the pollster was frazzled and only completed 2 questions: who I'm voting for and if I might change my mind, after I called him out. Plus, the number was blocked (000)000-0000, and when I was polled last time from the company, they were pushing me towards voting for Shade with “Would you change your mind if…” questions regarding Tovo. No legitimate polling company I've ever heard from runs their business like this. I'm sorry, but I won't vote for a candidate that uses push-polls. Period. Democrat or Republican, I don't think the tactic is a good one and it's borderline harassment. You can bet your ass I'll be voting against her in the election. I'm slightly concerned about Tovo, mainly on music issues in Austin, but I really want a change now.

    • Not push polls
      TTO is aka Tyson Organization.  I have used them extensively in the past and can promise you that they do not do push polls.

      Any meaningful scientific poll includes contrast/comparison information on BOTH candidates. (The theory is that you play out the campaign…Candidate A will tell about all of their own benefits while Candidate B tells about A's faults, and vice versa).

      Even a half-decent telephone ID program will test undecided voters to identify what issues cause them to move in order to enhance targeting and communications.

      Every election I have worked in the past 15 years featured one side or the other cry “push poll”…but I've never seen one.

      And nearly every time I commission a poll in any district we get calls from supporters saying that a push poll was being run against us (in reference to our own poll).

      In fact, the reality is that campaigns should use polls to go beyond the snapshot of where the race stands and try to ascertain where the race will be headed based on the theory I explained above.

      The simplest way to find out who is running the calls is to check C&E's. Whomever retained Tyson is running the calls. But there is no way–not ever–that Tyson Organization is doing push polls. They don't do that. They are a highly reputable, award-winning company of the highest ethical standards.

      In regards to the caller ID readout, that is a decision made by the soliciting campaign. Sometimes we have the campaign name and HQ number on the readout…sometimes not. If you want to conduct a true blind ID, you don't identify yourself as the campaign.

      But rest assured, under state law the origin of a call MUST be identified truly and accurately (remember the illegal Jennifer Kim robos from the last election vs Shade???).

  13. ann in austin on

    Republicans backing Shade
    So I go to Randi's list.  While she's a big donor to the democratic party she has a lot of registered republican support. (start with Keith Donahoe…I can name many more on Randi's supporter list.)   Does that mean Randi gets bipartisan support or does that mean she's a republican.  You can paint it either way guys…The people writing here have already made up their mind and are not convincing anyone.  The people I talk to think the council is too development oriented. Downtown looks great but is this where we should be heading right now???  We're getting more bike lanes but how are we relieving congestion?  Stacy Suits is right.  Let's focus on the issues, please.

    • Do nothing and Austin will only get less affordable
      Randi has plenty of Dem supporters.

      Let's focus on the issues.  I think it is clear which candidate is serious about working on affordability and our quality of life and which candidate is backed by the we've-got-ours-and-let-everyone-else-commute-in-from-Caldwell-County folks.

  14. At 102 comments this Discussion Post is now too long
    Would someone from either the Shade or Tovo campaign please post some more red meat issues out on new subjects for us to examine?

  15. Nothing to do with party – everything to do with constituency
    Let's get this straight.  City Council Elections are nonpartisan, right? So even though I may be a staunch Democrat, I am not going to decide my vote by who donates more to the Democratic party. I am going to decide by the candidate's stand on the issues I care about and the likelihood of the candidate to support my neighborhood and other grassroots groups as we fight for an even better and more sustainable Austin.

    Do real estate and development interests really rule Austin? I think Shade believes they do, based on the heavy backing from RECA and individual developers. She has and will vote with the money groups. And seeing that the owners of the West Park PUD, the site of the recent fire in Oak Hill, have all donated the maximum to Shade's campaign confirms my belief that a vote for Shade is a vote for irresponsible development in Southwest Austin.

  16. Interesting and Thought Provoking and Pedantic
    By far the most interesting discussion on BOR in a good long time.

    As our family will soon be moving to a central Austin neighborhood, I found Lorenzo Sadun's post about development along 35th St. to be very interesting. The issues affecting my current NxNW neighborhood are thoroughly pedestrian in comparison.

    Much to think about as we get ready to move. Much to observe once we get settled in.  

  17. paper over it all you like
    but in the end, character counts, and you can't fake it. randi lied repeatedly about kathie's positions, and this was clear to austin voters.

    randi finally showed her true colors when she hired michael baselice and lucas sheffield to replace local talent in her campaign. and it hasn't gone unnoticed that her staff is currently at netroots in the cool climes of minnesota – how do you run a campaign from minnesota??

    not much of a vote of confidence for your own people: a campaign that trusts its fundamentals doesn't jettison its staff when the going gets tough.

    a campaign is about the candidate and shade lost. she lost in may, then she ran up a HUGE bill for austin taxpayers by staying and forcing the run-off. and then she lost a second time, today. I want my money back.

    • This Runoff Election may have saved taxpayers 36 Million Dollars
      In the final days before this runoff election, the proposal that F1 pay the first four million and that Austin pay four million every year for the following nine years to a state trust fund got dropped. If this “new deal” for Formula One Racing happens, then the 1/2 million dollars in city expenditures to have this election was well worth it.

      The next council vote on this is on June 23rd. Too bad it cannot be delayed for a week back to June 30th. Tovo is sworn into office on June 28th. It's time to move forward, after both the general and runoff elections, our city council has a better understanding of what's on the voters minds.

      • Dave Shapiro on

        Shade once again runs best in Republican precincts


         Since the County Clerk has posted the election results by precincts, I invite – nay, I defy – you Shade

        supporters to list the precincts that refute the earlier contention on this thread that this election followed the usual pattern: the candidate backed by RICA and the other cluster of special interests comprising the local Establishment, ran best in those precincts which traditionally give Republican candidates, especially down-ballot Republicans, more votes than the Austin neighborhoods which always vote more heavily Democratic. Even casual observers of local politics will want to compare the November 2010 general election results for statewide Democratic candidates, especially Lt. Gov., with the Tovo-Shade results from the June 18 runoff. Please, none of that specious stuff about how low turnout distorts the results. That was refuted in a posting earlier in this thread, and one look at the numbers from the precincts which always give all statewide Democratic candidates the most votes and which also went heavily for Tovo flatly contradicts that argument. The Zilker School box is but one of many examples. In both the May 14 general election and the June 18 runoff, their turnout percentage was larger than for the entire city.  

         Oh, and did I mention that the pattern in Austin is for the usual alliance behind the Establishment's candidates to be led by RICA and the Armbrust & Brown lobby shop and to be endorsed by editorial page of the Statesman and accompanied by he inevitable letters and emails from Michael Levy warning that a crime wave and massive fires will result unless the candidate backed by real estate development interests and the contractors and vendors at city hall defeats the candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Austin Neighborhoods Council. It also needs to be pointed out that joining this crowd about 95% of the time is the Central Labor Council. You can also nearly always expect to find in the same corner the well-recognized political consultants, operatives, hangers-on, careerists and weak sisters who go along with the local power structure. They are the he Establishment Democrats, the conflict-averse, who make excuses for WTP4, the F1 track, and every other Establishment project that comes down the pike. That very familiar pattern includes the police, fire and EMS unions and those Democratic organizations endorsing Shade that KT reminded us of. My, what great influence they have demonstrated in the Democratic strongholds of Austin. The same goes for the vast power demonstrated by the Central Austin Democrats, of which I am an insurgent and dissenting member, and its current president, a Leffingwell appointee to the solid waste board, and his two immediate predecessors as president of CAD, one of whom works for Leffingwell and the other for Shade, Guys, your co-optation program didn't go over very well with Democrats this time, did it? Please continue to peddle the line that the neighborhoods of Central Austin are dominated by fat cats who oppose progressive goals while RICA is dominated by

        enlightened supporters of the proletarian masses lined-up in large numbers behind demonstrably beneficial projects like WTP4 and the F1 track. I hope that you continue to make these same points in the future. The above-linked election results show how well they resonate.

          Have a great weekend. I will.

                       Dave Shapiro  

        • Nobody likes a sore loser,
          but a sore winner is worse.  Give it a rest.

          Kathie Tovo won the election fair and square, and by a solid margin.  She deserves all of our congratulations and best wishes, regardless of who we supported. Now that the election is over, I'm happy to join her cheering section. As I said all along, Tovo is a good woman who will do her best to improve our city.

          Was she the best choice? Only time (and not an analysis of voting patterns, or a rehash of campaign arguments) will tell. While I hope that Tovo's actions on the council will lead all of us to say “damn, she's a LOT better than Shade”, I also fear that her choices will be very different from what I want.

          Will my hopes or fears be right? Again, only time will tell. Until then, let's give Kathie Tovo the benefit of the doubt, treat her as a potentially great council member, and encourage her to live up to that billing.

          • Dave Shapiro on

            Re: “I also fear that her choices will be very different from what I want”

            Her choices should indeed be very different from what you want because her values and her frame of reference are polar opposite from those of Randi Shade. Everyone who supported a candidate backed by RICA and Michael Levy and opposed by the Sierra Club and ANC, ,who ran ads in support of WTP4, emailed the city manager about the influence of environmentalists, and hired Michael Baselice to get out Republican votes has every reason to fear that Kathie Tovo's choices will be “different from what they want.”  Unlike you, my hope is that her choices are in sync with those of the 56% of the people who voted for her. And I might add, they came overwhelmingly from the strongest Democratic precincts.

              Dave Shapiro  

          • Rahm McDaniel on

            Respectfully, Dave
            The election was 3 days ago.

            I echo Lorenzo Sadun's thoughts: Kathie Tovo deserves our congratulations and support. I wish her the best, and I look forward to serving her on the council.

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