What's wrong with me? I grew up as a conservative and I have religiously supported Republican candidates (except for the ones who were idiots or corrupt) ever since I got my first voter's registration card. Then I start poking around in local government and start doubting my faith.
If you live in Tyler City Council District 5, please pull your head out of the sand and pay attention. Some young, starry-eyed guy--obviously a liberal--is challenging the Establishment and running against the Good Ol' Boy favorite, Bob Westbrook. And I find myself favoring the liberal, Alan Lizarraga. Not so much because I think we need to build more sidewalks or sit around fretting about how "diverse" every local institution is--but because I have just come to oppose so much of what the local establishment stands for.
What really causes me heartburn is looking at a list of some of Westbrook's supporters--the same damn people you've seen supporting such paragons of virtue as Matt Bingham and Joel Baker. I've already talked about that. But in yesterday's Telegraph something caught my eye: One of Westbrook's supporters is this consulting firm that stands to gain from this proposed $17.6 million plan to tear down and rebuild Harvey Hall and give the Rose Garden a major makeover. (I'll rant about that in my next post.)
As an aside here, it's interesting to think about the fact that the police union is behind Westbrook. I mean, liberals are not really known for wanting to skimp on public safety spending. Now don't get me wrong when I say what I'm about to say. I love the police and I back the blue and such. But, typically my conservative brethren have not really had a stellar record when it comes to demanding accountability when it comes to misconduct by law enforcement officers. To our shame, it's often local Democrats and liberals who scream bloody murder when there is a questionable police shooting or other evidence of brutality. Then again, maybe it's not that at all. Maybe it's just the knee-jerk we're gonna support the conservative candidate who makes a big show about being "tough on crime," etcetera.
Okay, but back to this campaign. Does this Lizarraga guy have a chance? My initial thought was no. As expected, Westbrook has raised more money than his opponent, much of it from the deep-pockets crowd. Lizarraga is working on a shoestring budget and depending on small donations from individuals. But what is interesting is that Westbrook hasn't spent much money in the past month. He's spent some on signs, but his biggest expenditure was for a ad in...B-Scene Magazine? What the hell? How many votes is he going to get from that? The kind of people who read that crap were going to vote for him anyway. In contrast, this Lizarraga guy is using social media pretty well and pounding the pavement--even doing the old urban Democrat thing by getting people together and taking them all down to the polls to vote. So, if you understand that these kinds of elections often hinge on a few hundred--or sometimes even less--votes, it gets interesting.