Dec 2 2009 - 1:08am | DJ Nutter
Early voters began casting their ballots Monday as the people of San Marcos head to the polls for the second time to elect a candidate to City Council Place 5.
The only candidates on the ballot this time are Ryan Thomason and Lisa Marie Coppoletta — who got 49.9 percent and 26.2 percent of the votes Election Day Nov. 3, respectively, sending them to a runoff.
Candidates said economic issues are proving to be the No. 1 priority for voters who have been going door-to-door around the city.
“We have a $146 million budget for economic development,” Thomason said. “The most important thing either of us is going to work on is the budget, and well, Lisa has not been a part of that.”
Thomason said his experience as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and as a finance major make him the more experienced candidate regarding economic issues.
Coppoletta, disagrees, saying her 20-year experience working on grassroots issues in San Marcos make her the more experienced candidate. Coppoletta said she has focused much attention to issues facing veterans.
“(My proposals) are getting the ears of city officials,” Coppoletta said. “I’m also an activist in preserving the San Marcos River, and in making sure that graduating college students get good paying jobs in our community.”
Candidates said they want to set the record straight regarding any factually inaccurate information causing negative opinions among voters.
“I’ve heard people say that I want to fill the river with concrete just because I’m involved with economic development,” Thomason said. “Nothing has been too derogatory, and I’m surprised because five or six years ago we had a different kind of politics in San Marcos.”
Coppoletta said being thrown into the political realm of name-calling was expected. She said putting debate videos on her campaign Web site is an effective way to dispel the legitimacy of any mudslinging.
“People know that I’m the first person to speak up, but I’m also the first one to compliment,” Coppoletta said. “I know what’s in my heart, but I’m still sensitive.”
Coppoletta said she has been receiving donations since November, but still considers herself a grassroots organizer.
Thomason said he spent less money on the runoff election because more than $20,000 was spent on November’s election for less than 2,000 votes. He said the consistent trickle of new people donating to his campaign have helped pay for writers and signage.
“Six different people used money in six different ways last election, and only 7.09 percent of registered voters went to the polls,” Thomason said. “Signs can’t vote, money can’t vote. Only people can vote.”
Early voters can cast their ballots at Hays County Elections Office until Dec. 11 or at LBJ Student Center Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5p.m.
Election Day will be held Dec. 15, with the polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.