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College Station council elections

biobioprof
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Contemplating who to vote for in the local races is what's holding me up from doing early voting. Hope we can do this without the need for staff warnings!

Place 4
Joe Guerra Jr. vs. Elianor Vessali

Place 6
Elizabeth R. Cunha vs. Craig Hall vs. Dennis Maloney

Eagle recommends Vessali and Maloney
https://www.theeagle.com/opinion/editorials/eagle-recommendations-in-college-station-city-and-school-elections/article_b02bf150-d4c8-11e8-a51d-9b085ea7da20.html

but I found the recommendation for Maloney to be amusing in hoping a leopard can change his spots
Quote:

Maloney's previous experience on the council would serve the residents of the city well. We urge him to moderate his temperament and be as willing to listen as he is to speak up.
Personally, I won't vote for Maloney based on his previous stints on the Council. I voted for him the first time based on neighborhood integrity issues (extending Welch to G Bush, which would have really affected the current plans wrt Bush and 2818). I thought that in addition to the frustrations expressed by those who worked with him on the Council, he took his election as a mandate to do more to the neighborhood than the residents wanted.

This is partly because I still think the "historic" streetlights he pushed for are an abomination.

Other than that, I'd like to know more about the others.
Love Gun
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I voted for Vessali because I noticed that a lot of yards with Beto signs also had Guera signs. That's a show stopper for me.

Without being so shallow, Vessali was in the Corps of Cadets, was a schoolteacher, is big on law enforcement and is endorsed by the Firefighters Association.
Expert Analysis
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AG
anyone got more info on place 6. I listened to the kbtx short interviews and was not impressed with any.
Does city council get paid anything?
Oogway
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I looked at their financials (Vessali & Guerra) and something that concerns me is just how much developer and real estate dollars are flowing into the Vessali campaign. The city has been taking on a lot of debt without putting it before the voters (through certificates of obligation) and that is troubling IMO. I want a candidate who says if we want something then we will hold an election and see if the citizens agree. I don't know Guerra, but he was involved with city planning before and most of his dollars looked to be from regular business people. That maybe neither here nor there, but I would like a candidate whose agenda is to save tax dollars and if necessary, spend them on things that improve safe interconnectivity on our roadways and in our neighborhoods. (The hot mess that is Greens Prairie I'm looking at you). Or police and fire and those needs.

I want to ensure Vessali (or Guerra) isn't just going to be another spend and tax, or spend and take on debt council member because you and I get stuck with those decisions for years. I'm leaning Guerra but haven't made up my mind. (In local elections, I pay less attention to party affiliations because it is a little easier to suss out what someone has done, what their agenda is, and who they may or may not be beholden to (other than Joe Citizen).
UmustBKidding
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On place 6 I eliminated Maloney just based on his previous dealings. I have known Elizabeth Cunah and all her family for a Looong time. She is well aware of the Tax & spend members and is the exact opposite. Knows personally how to stretch a budget, and hopefully would be able to impart some discipline on the council. Also to me the Eagle endorsement is good reason to vote elsewhere.
Don't know if she has a chance but absolutely would be someone to listen to everyone and represent your feelings to the group.

doubledog
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Quote:

Eagle recommends Vessali and Maloney
Enough said.
Scruffy
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AG
threecatcorner
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Somebody a few posts above asked if city council members get paid. They don't.
RafterAg223
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AG
When I get a mailer from the College Station Association of Neighborhoods (College Station Progressives under a different name) supporting Guerra, that's a non starter for me. We don't need activists on council that have spent the last 5 years showing up to every council meeting to spout inaccurate traffic statistics to gin up fear and rile up uninformed citizens. I'll take Vessali in that race.
momlaw
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AG
Maybe the Eagle is bipolar?
momlaw
RafterAg223
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momlaw said:

Maybe the Eagle is bipolar?
Maybe so, because Maloney is a lot more in line with Guerra than Vessali. That said, I'd take Maloney over Guerra if they were running against each other. Guerra completely lost any chance at my vote when he basically dismissed the concept of individual property rights during the candidate forum when ran a couple years ago.
Koko Chingo
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AG
After reading everyone's post I started going to each persons website. Can you use A&M logos in campaign ads?

https://www.votevessali.com/

She is standing in front of the arches on the quad with the Corps logo visible in the background. It says she was in the Corps so I can see the appeal. Yet, when you scroll to the bottom of the page it clearly states it is an ad, in bold and all caps:

"POLITICAL AD PAID FOR BY THE ELIANOR VESSALI CAMPAIGN; TAP BENTZ, TREASURER"

Also here is a link to all of the campaign filings including financials for the College Station Candidates. http://cstx.gov/index.aspx?page=2791
Bunk Moreland
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Vessali is a key figure on the zoning and planning commission and appears to be in the pocket of Oldham/Goodwin and other big influencers that simply don't care what local neighborhoods and communities think regarding the commercial and multi residential expansion all over areas that don't have roads or plans to support the growth.

From what I can tell, Guerra understands that much more. I'm all for growth but it can't be at the detriment of established communities. Too much of the growth seems forced through the good ol boy system that has reigned over B/CS for far too long.

This community is no longer a small pond. It's a growing lake and we need to be responsible in how we inherit and manage that growth.

Vessali is a no for me.
biobioprof
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RafterAg223 said:

momlaw said:

Maybe the Eagle is bipolar?
Maybe so, because Maloney is a lot more in line with Guerra than Vessali. That said, I'd take Maloney over Guerra if they were running against each other. Guerra completely lost any chance at my vote when he basically dismissed the concept of individual property rights during the candidate forum when ran a couple years ago.
Whoa. Context or a link would be appreciated.
runawaytrain
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Vessali is in the back pockets of every major developer in town. All you have to do is look at her voting record on the P&Z, and then look at who has given money on her campaign.

I think it is also interesting to see what other council members have given her money, I wonder if she could be unbiased given the donations she has received from all the developers and other people on council when she votes?

Something to think about if your voting. How much is Vessali really representing the people of College Station or the special interest of builders and developers?
biobioprof
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Q&A's with local media

Place 4
https://www.theeagle.com/news/local/candidate-q-a-college-station-city-council-place/article_2a6fb583-120b-561f-b51f-8f74cdece411.html

Place 6
https://www.theeagle.com/news/local/candidate-q-a-college-station-city-council-place/article_e292c563-ebcd-531a-94b3-406ec7a9711b.html

KAMU meet the candidate forum https://www.pbs.org/video/meet-the-candidates-fall-2018-gwsvkb/
This is about 2 hours long, as it covers many races. CS City Council starts just after 1:07:45 in.
southerner
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Vessali v Guerra - Vessali understands that the growth we've been experiencing in B/CS is not slowing down, regardless of how we feel about it. She will be a conservative voice ala Benham. She will be more open to hearing the needs of our local businesses. Guerra has been endorsed by the Old Mayor's Club and a small but loud group of neighborhood activists. He will talk about traffic a lot (his professional background) and generally side with the NIMBY crowd. If we could build a wall and get Navasota to pay for it, he'd support it!

Hall v Cunha v Maloney - Watch the candidates forum on KBTX to see that Maloney hasn't changed. He is still a very angry individual who yells a lot. Cunha actually asked him if he had anything positive to say about C.S. in the forum and he responded by taking another shot at students. He's endorsed by the Old Mayors and CSAN as well. Cunha seems very thoughtful and nice, that's about all I've gotten from her. Craig Hall has experience on P&Z and ran a business for decades. He will be a middle of the road councilperson (ala Nichols) and will do a good job of listening to all sides of the issues.

It's pretty clear who I'm voting for but please educate yourself and vote.
Stupe
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S
Quote:

In local elections, I pay less attention to party affiliations because it is a little easier to suss out what someone has done, what their agenda is, and who they may or may not be beholden to (other than Joe Citizen).
I do to unless they unabashedly support someone like O'Rourke.

I'm torn between Vessali and Guerra because I don't think that either of them are moderate when it comes to growth and that's what is needed in a town that is experiencing the type of growth that we are. I'm leaning toward Guerra because I do think that people buying homes in non-student areas need to be protected from Ag Shacks popping up in their neighborhoods. Developers sure aren't listening to them.

Then there is Timothy Delasandro running as a Republican. This is the guy that threw a temper tantrum and tried to get a recall because an election didn't turn out the way that he wanted.
Pdice02
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AG
Maloney became a definite no for me when he said at the B/CS candidate forum in response to Scott's question about spending in CS and during Maloney's diatribe on where the money is going, "We haven't had a new park in 25 years for God's sake, what are we doing?" He knows that not to be the case. His own website touts one of his "successes" during previous council terms as adding parks, so I could only take this as his typical hyperbole that he was known for in previous council stints. We all know that College Station has a budget problem along with other growth issues, but hyperbole won't solve it nor will raising voices. We need someone on council that is able to build consensus and listen to ALL residents. Maloney was not that person in his previous council stints and, from his forum appearances, he does not appear to have changed. I'm still trying to decide between Cunha and Hall, but leaning more toward Hall based on his experience.

313-7-12thMan
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Vessali and Hall. Pro responsible development and low tax. They understand growth and how impact fees negatively affect the builders and housing markets. Both endorsed by Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association.
runawaytrain
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Quote:

Both endorsed by Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association.
Exactly, this is the masters they answer too. Developers and builders...
Stupe
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S
Yep. That is not a positive in my opinion.
Oogway
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Me either, Stupe.

The following is some of the debt that I was referring to in an earlier post. While capital improvement projects are an important part of a city's ability to function, it is something that a community needs to work together to approve, and I disagree with the issuing of this many certificates of obligation even if it is to be spaced out over a long term period. I believe our last GO bonds (the kind you vote upon) were in 2008 and were meant to be for around seven years. Certificates of Obligation (CO) go out without your vote. Get out your calculator and start adding (bolds mine):

Quote:

In accordance with the direction provided by Council on August 13, 2015, a number of transportation projects will
be funded with CO debt over a five year period. InFY17, COs were issued for a number of these street and transportation projects. Included was $985,000 for the Francis Drive Rehabilitation Phase I project, $1,000,000 for the Cain/Deacon Union Pacific Railroad Cross Switch project, $2,500,000 for the Rock Prairie Road West Wellborn to City Limits project, $590,000 for the Southside Neighborhood Safety Improvements project, $10,405,000 for Holleman Drive South Widening project, $2,230,000 for the Royder Road Expansion project, $325,000 for the Greens Prairie Road Arrington to City Limits
West of WS Phillips Parkway project, $150,000 for the Greens Prairie Trail City Limits West of Woodlake to Royder Road project, $150,000 for Oversize Participation, $200,000 for Sidewalk projects, $400,000 for the Texas Avenue Planter Box Replacement, $750,000 for Traffic Signal projects and $1,450,000 for the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Master Plan Implementation project.

In addition to the transportation projects, CO debt was issued in FY17 for a number of facility and technology
projects. This includes $25,000,000 that was issued for the construction of a new Police Station. Included in the budget is a 2.5 cent tax increase is needed to support the related debt service. Also issued in FY17 was
$1,385,000 for the Public Safety Radio Replacement project, $1,150,000 for the Public Safety Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Replacement project, $275,000 for the Electronic Storage Upgrade project, $275,000 for theFiber Optic Infrastructure project, $175,000 for the second City Gateway Sign, and $1,025,000 for System-wide Park and Aquatics improvement projects.

Street and transportation projects for which CO debt is scheduled to be issued in FY18 include the Francis Drive
Rehabilitation Phase II project, the Cain/Deacon Union PacificRailroad Cross Switch project, the Design of the
FM 2818 Capacity Improvements project, the Rock Prairie Road West Wellborn to City Limits project, the Capstone and BarronRoad Realignment project, the Southside Neighborhood Safety Improvements project, the
Holleman/FM 2154 Intersection Improvements project, the Lincoln Avenue Rehabilitation project, the Royder
Road Phase II Backwater to FM 2154 project, the Design of SH40/FM 2154 Interchange project, and the
Sidewalk/Neighborhood Plan Improvements project. The debt for most of the transportation projects is issued
over multiple years as the projects progress.

In addition to the aforementioned transportation projects, it is anticipated that CO debt will be used for facility and technology projects. CO debt is also planned in FY18 for the design of a New City Hall. It is anticipated that a tax rate increase will be needed for the future construction of a New City Hall. Other facility and technology projects for which the FY18 debt issue is planned include the Facilities Maintenance Relocation/Public Works Master Plan, the replacement of the City's wireless system, and the first phase of a video surveillance system.

Parks projects for which FY18 debt issue is planned include system-wide park improvements, the Central Park Pavilion/Restroom Rehabilitation project, the Central Park Athletic Field Restroom Rehabilitation project, the Bee Creek Concessions/Restroom project and the Parking Lot Rehabilitation project at Central Park. In addition, it is anticipated that CO debt will be issued for the development of Southeast Community Park. The City currently owns the property on Rock Prairie Road next to the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency (BVSWMA) landfill where this park is approved. This project would develop the park with eight ball fields, parking, lighting, restrooms, picnic pavilion, batting cages, streets and park amenities. It is anticipated that the project will be completed in phases and additional funding will come from Hotel Tax funds.

It is also anticipated that CO's in the amount of $7,740,000 will be issued in FY18 for Water capital projects and that $21,400,000 will be issued for Wastewater projects. CO debt is not projected to be issued for Electric capital projects in FY18.

That starts to add up now doesn't it?


* I had it at around $79,560,000 and that is without the ambiguous 'debt will be issued' statements included. For comparison, the bond voted and approved in 2008 was around 77,000,000 I believe. But you got to vote on it.
runawaytrain
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Just think about this. How have liabilities for the total community continued to grow, as windfalls from taxes from increased? That is how leveraged the community is.
biobioprof
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Stupe said:

Yep. That is not a positive in my opinion.
Got a mailer today for the two of them paid for by the Texas Realtors PAC.

PAC spending in our local election turns me off, although of course I defend their right to do it under the 1A.
dave99ag
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I prefer to drive down Munson and vote the opposite of the signs in their yards.
Stupe
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S
Newbies won't catch that.
happyinBCS
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looks like a runoff
Kitten With A Whip
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dave99ag said:

I prefer to drive down Munson and vote the opposite of the signs in their yards.
I had the same notion.
taxpreparer
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I live on Munson and use that same method.
***It's your money, not theIRS! (At least for a little while longer.)
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