Posted on August 4, 2009 at 12:40 am Newstreamz.com
Councilmember Pam Couch, left, said she will not run for re-election this year, while Councilmember John Thomaides, right, filed for re-election Monday, the first day of filing. Photo by Andy Sevilla.By ANDY SEVILLA
Election season is gearing up in San Marcos, where two candidates threw their hats in the ring for city council positions Monday, while an incumbent stepped away.
As expected, Place 6 council incumbent John Thomaides filed Monday, the first day of filings for city offices. Thomaides will seek his third term on the council. As yet, no opponent has emerged.
Lisa Marie Coppoletta, defeated in a council race by Chris Jones in 2008, announced in the spring that she would run for the Place 5 city council seat presently held by Pam Couch. Coppoletta did, indeed, file Monday. But Couch did not.
Couch said she will not run for office in 2009. Thus, two open city council seats are, to this point, uncontested. But prospective candidates have until Sept. 2 to change that.
“This has been a hard decision to make because it has been an honor and privilege to serve on the city council for three years,” Couch said Monday.
Couch, who won the seat without an opponent in 2006, did not give a reason for declining to seek re-election. Coppoletta moved quickly to be sure Couch would have an opponent this year, announcing her run for council in late January.
After campaigning without a treasurer and signing a state ethics agreement to neither raise nor spend $500 in the 2008 election, Coppoletta has taken a different approach in 2009, hiring Griffin Spell as her treasurer and saying in January that she planned several fundraisers.
“My work production as a candidate has been consistent: gather the data, make sense of the root cause and effects of the problem and offer workable solutions,” Coppoletta said. ” I will continue to campaign on the issues of protection of natural resources, neighborhood integrity, veterans initiatives, affordable housing, green collar jobs, transition to no kill shelter, programs for at-risk-youth and online availability of data for citizens via the city website.”
Thomaides said he has enjoyed his years on the council, despite quite often being on the minority end of split votes opposite Mayor Susan Narvaiz. He added that there’s much work to be done.
“I have the passion, the desire, and the commitment to serve the people of San Marcos,” Thomaides said. “That’s the driving force behind my decision.”
Thomaides said he will push to work with regional partners on freight relocation and commuter rail, build on the city’s success with the state and federal levels of government, work for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, protect the San Marcos River, help attract business, revitalize downtown, and learn from the council’s shortcomings.
“It’s wonderful to look back and see some of the successes while on council,” Thomaides said, “to really make great improvements and really make a difference in the long-run.”
While Thomaides has wrestled with the mayor about water conservation and economic development policies from the dais, Coppoletta has made herself visible protesting policies considered by the city council, ranging from mandatory microchipping of pet dogs and cats, to a proposed subsidy for a Springtown Center re-development, to asking for an ethics policy much like that recently enacted by Hays County.
“(I) recently spoke in opposition to Springtown abatements and submitted models of green industry in which a small business paradigm is fostered,” Coppoletta said. “I discussed this philosophy in a variety of forums, and after all, this makes sound economic dollars and sense to allow the downtown dollar to circulate via small businesses, thereby enhancing perceptions of tourists travelling the IH-35 corridor.”
Thomaides said his campaign is fundraising and will officially kick-off with fundraiser on Sept. 14 at the Root Cellar by the Courthouse Square. Thomaides said he wants to make the square “into a first class downtown and core of the city.”
Said Thomaides, “I will accomplish things on council. I will accomplish things (San Marcos residents) want to occur. And I have the experience to get them done.”
Coppoletta’s campaign is mobilizing through new and innovative social measures, much like those used by President Barak Obama during his 2008 presidential bid. Coppoletta said she is a host of two radio talk shows on the Internet.
“Throughout 2009, I have focused the campaign’s energy via online communication, Myspace, Twitter, Blogging, Website, Youtube, Skype, Facebook, Blogtalk Radio, Meebo, LinkedIn,” Coppoletta said. “More importantly, our campaign has been walking door to door and has over 2,000 leaflets out and posted online via Google map of speaking directly with residents.”