Thursday, November 8, 2012

Electing a Mayor

[Life] is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Source: William Shakespeare, Macbeth.
One election down. Next up: a mayoral election in May, 2013, because voters in Richardson chose overwhelmingly to amend the City Charter to have a direct election of the mayor. No surprise there. Now the handicapping of the May mayoral race begins. After the jump, my early, wild speculation, unsupported by any evidence, just because I'm addicted to the horses.

Expect Mayor Bob Townsend to retire, having capped his long service to the City of Richardson with a term as mayor.

What will Mayor Pro Tem Laura Maczka do? She inherited long-time mayor Gary Slagel's seat in 2011 and was a mildly surprising pick of the council for the mayor pro tem position. Assuming she wants the mayor's job (and why wouldn't she?) and assuming she can get the backing of the Richardson Coalition PAC (and why wouldn't she?), she has to be considered the favorite for the mayor's race in 2013.

Council member Amir Omar, currently holding the Place 7 seat that disappears under the new charter, has to find a new chair before the music stops in May. Expect him to want the mayor's chair. He has wide name recognition (he is literally everywhere -- and I know the meaning of the word literally), he has drawn establishment backing in his two previous runs for the council (as measured by endorsements by the Richardson Coalition PAC), and he might also draw support from the malcontents who got direct election of the mayor passed (he is the only council member to vote for direct election before the referendum forced the council's hand). Omar would be a formidable candidate. But will Omar run against Maczka, especially if she draws the Richardson Coalition PAC's endorsement? Omar has a safer option. If Mayor Townsend retires, Omar can run for the Place 1 seat that Townsend would be vacating. Just to make this imagined scenario play out the way I want, let's assume Omar prefers a safe council seat to a more iffy mayoral run.

Any dark horse candidates? None that my admittedly dim vision can discern.

So, if my speculation by some crazy chance would come true, the 2013 council will look very much like the 2011 council. The mayor will retire. Maczka will slide into the mayor's chair. Omar will slide into Townsend's Place 1. And the Richardson Coalition PAC will draft another candidate to take Maczka's Place 4.

All of this will have been decided long before the voters ever get a 2013 Voters Guide. Even the choice of mayor will have been determined, not by the voters, but by the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of politicians examining the political landscape and arranging themselves in a manner that leads to a predictable outcome. It turns out that city charter amendment elections are sometimes like Shakespeare's view of life, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Or I could be all wrong.


Sassy Texan said...

If you have been around City Hall at all, there is no real speculation in your comments. That's the plan, so to speak. Only other thing I would add is Kendall so wanted the Place 4 seat to begin with that I think he will run there and leave the at large seat for whom ever the Coalitionists have groomed next.

And then there will be whatever surprises come out of the woodwork.

Will the City Council in Richardson return to the Republic roots or continue to migrate toward the Obama initiatives of Agenda 21? That's the big question. California learned the hard way on that one.

Cheri Duncan-Hubert

dc-tm said...

Mark says "... the malcontents who got direct election of the mayor passed..."

75% of the voters who voted were in favor of direct election. 24,118out of a total of almost 50,000 registered voters favored direct election.

The "malcontents" as you call them had very little to do with the swaying of the voters to approve direct election.

What you seem to fail to grasp, Mark, is that almost 1/2 of all registered voters definately want to elect their mayor and the city council along with the Richardson Coalition and their buddies did not want the people to have a say in who should be Richardson's mayor. They did not want this going to the voters.

The question you might consider asking is WHY the city council, the Richardson Coalition and their freinds did not want to let the voters decide.

The malcontents did nothing more than get it put before the voters for the voters to decide on the issue. Nothing more than that.

David Chenoweth

Mark Steger said...

David Chenoweth: "The malcontents did nothing more than get it put before the voters for the voters to decide on the issue. Nothing more than that."

That is exactly what I meant.

dc-tm said...

My mistake Mark. "Getting it passed" and "getting it before the voters" seemed to be two different things.

David Chenoweth

Mark Steger said...

On November 14, Amir Omar announced his candidacy for mayor. So my imagined scenario didn't come true. Let's see if Omar's early action scares off other candidates. Earlier, in a DMN story, Laura Maczka reportedly expressed an interest in running for mayor herself.