Three Strikes and . . .
Hector Uribe ended
his city council campaign last week when he decided not to file to run for the Place 2 seat currently held by Raul Alvarez. Uribe and his political consultant Alfred Stanley published an op-ed in the Statesman saying that he pulled out of the race due to a lack of financial support and due to the difficulty in having to raise money in $100 increments for a city-wide election.
The interesting angle here is the implications of the failure of Uribe's preliminary campaign for the Central City political coalition that has been the dominate influence in local elections for the last fifteen years. The Central City generally being the area south and east of US 183, north of Ben White, and east of Mesa Drive north of the river and Mopac south of the river. Uribe, a central, west Austin resident, was running with the endorsement of several prominent neighborhood leaders. Specifically, Uribe was aligned with a sub-set of the Central City coalition that has been hostile to much of the Central City redevelopment and proposals for neighborhood in-fill. A coalition that generally opposes the objectives of Envision Central Texas
Uribe's withdrawal from the race is the third time that this sub-set has lost in recent Council races. The previous two races being Jennifer Kim's victory over Margot Clarke last year and Betty Dunkerley's win over Beverly Griffith. Recently, this sub-set suffered stunning defeats when their opposition to the Spring
and Gables-Sand Beach
projects found little support at Council.
The setbacks suffered by this sub-set, however, hardly spell the end of the Central City coalition. Other Central City leaders have been working successfully to build alliances and in support of candidates, most notably Donna Howard, Sarah Eckhardt, and Mark Strama. Those races illustrate the changing nature of Austin politics as Eckhardt is the only one elected to represent a significant portion of the Central City. As the city has grown, our politics have had to shift, particularly to reach out to voters and residents in the northwest and southwest. The Austin Chronicle
featured an analysis of voting in the March primary that showed the growing influence of the northwest, in particular. While many Central City leaders have recognized the need to build broader coalitions, the sub-set that backed Uribe hasn't.