Burnt Orange Report does not issue an endorsement in Place 6. While we expect Sheryl Cole to defeat her sole challenger, Shaun Ireland, there ultimately was not enough support on our staff to issue an endorsement in this race. Our reader poll saw a double digit drop off in participation from other races, a reflection of the lack of energy and interest we have noticed in person during the campaign season.
Cole has focused her work in the past three years on what she would describe as her biggest accomplishment — the Waller Creek Redevelopment project. While currently under construction, it is not without its critics, though the end result will ultimately speak for itself. A member of Mayor Leffingwell's coalition for most of her past term, Cole has taken a more mixed approach in the past year, including some rather tortured legal reasoning as the basis for opposing moving Austin's municipal elections to November.
If this election were simply about Cole's total voting record, we could see ourselves supporting her. After all, her opponent Shaun Ireland has ties to the same libertarian sources backing Laura Pressley, which in Austin elections does not a majority make. But an important theme this election cycle is about where the candidates stand about the future of our local democracy and on that front, Cole has been uneven and uninspiring. We find it difficult to believe (and a reflection of our broken system) that there were no other more qualified candidates who could have run for Place 6 this year, African-American or otherwise. We cannot in good conscience endorse Cole when the best candidate in the race is likely one who never filed.
Endorsements are made based on a weighted consensus of the staff, which guides the type and tone of endorsement. Members of the Burnt Orange Report staff employed by campaigns abstain from voting on those races.