There were far less people in attendance than in previous races which makes sense since there are now only two candidates and it is the only thing on the ballot.
The run-off election is between Al Weisenberger and Peter Svarzbein for the seat currently held by Ann Morgan Lily.
One thing is for sure about this race - it features the candidates with the most-difficult spellings of their last names. Although the fact that their first names make up for it shouldn't go unmentioned.
So from here on out, sense I have met both gentlemen a few times, there are now going to just be Al and Peter.
I know I'm going to bother a few people here but the reality is that this particular election doesn't really impact city council much. Neither candidate is going to impact the current majority on city council. The other races had the potential to change the face of city council but this race really doesn't do that to the degree that the races involving the incumbents does.
There was a much sharper tone in this debate than in previous debates between the two candidates, or maybe its been like this since the run-off but this was the first time I saw the two side-by-side. I have to say, its pretty clear they don't like each other. They might not admit that, but spend one minute listening to the two side-by-side and you'll spot it right away.
It really wasn't what they said as much as how they said it.
I thought it was interesting that the first time I heard Al speak was at the West El Paso Democrats event and Al mentioned that he was from Hope, Arkansas and that so was Bill Clinton. Obviously a smart thing to say in a room full of Democrats.
At the WEPRW event he changed the line to say he was from Hope, Arkansas like two other people - Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee and that is political views are somewhere in the middle. Well there's a lot of middle between those two so I'm not sure what exactly that meant but Al is by far the funnier of the two candidates. He was also the crowd favorite at the debate.
Maybe it was the food poisoning he was getting over but Peter seemed to be in a bad mood and snarky.
Al scored the best line of the debate when they were discussing membership in the Downtown Rotary. Before I go further, in the fog of campaigns there are frequently non-issues that become personally important to the candidates for whatever reason. 99% of the time they are silly and irrelevant but because the candidates are so emotionally invested in them they think its a big deal.
Please read this slowly. No one gives a shit about which of you is a better, badder, better Rotarian!
Sorry, let me continue. They are both really overly-fixated on being Rotarians. Anywho Al has apparently been a big wig in the Rotarians since Jesus was a Private as we say in the military. For some dumb ass reason Peter wanted to whip out their rotaries and measure.
Al nailed him for only being a member for three weeks. It got a good laugh.
Peter completely missed an opportunity to whack Al. At one point during the debate they were asked who their top three contributors were. Peter said his dad and two other people who's names I didn't recognize.
Al said his top three were Paul Foster, Woody Hunt, and Stanley Jobe. A couple questions later Al answered another question by stating that he was beholden to no one. The same guy who said that his top there contributors were Foster, Hunt, and Jobe said he's beholden to no one? And Peter didn't whack him? Totally missed the pitch.
It wasn't all bad for Peter. I think he had far better substance to his answers. Al has a tendency to speak in generalities, idioms, and platitudes.
I think the most significant question asked during the debate was about the Chief of Police saying he needed another 300 hundred officers. Al responded by saying "...we need to give the Chief a raise and get more offiers..."
There were other questions but there wasn't a lot of contrast between the two except for a question about community meetings. Al says that "I think having weekly meetings is over-kill" and Peter's answer was leveraging social media and text messaging to get information out to the community.
Both candidates at the end of the debate spoke about the San Jacinto Plaza and indicated that they think the city needs to have harsher penalties than $1000 a day for projects that aren't completed on time.
They mentioned the art project controversy but I honestly don't recall what they said. I'm kind of tired of fabricated nontroversies Bogarting campaigns about real issues.