May 05, 2007
Michael Berry interview

Didn't get to this yesterday - Mike McGuff has a nice interview with soon-to-be-former City Council member and new radio mogul Michael Berry. The interesting bit to me is right here:

McGuff: I'm sure a lot of people wonder, "Why leave politics?" I think a lot of people figured maybe that one day you would run for mayor.

Berry: Mayor of the city of Houston is a dream job. But we have a good mayor now, and he is doing a good job. This was an opportunity that presented itself. I get to use my skill set, and I get to work with a company that is looking for a lot of change. That's very exciting. I see myself as a reformer, changer type.

I still think there is a huge upside to radio as you get more into the web-based programming and as you get into some of the different media. So for me it is a great opportunity. It's an opportunity to reach out and develop media partnerships that have never existed. That's one of my primary missions, because I think some of the best talent in the city of Houston is in print and television as well. For too long we have ignored that.

McGuff: Are you going to miss politics, though? It's a big part of your life, obviously.

Berry: It will have been six years coming up soon, and then I spent two years running, so that's eight years. I will miss the public policy. I won't miss the politics. The politics is a brutal contact sport, and it takes a toll on you. I am fortunate to have a supportive wife. I was fortunate to have friends. But you take some knocks. Everybody should pay their dues, and then move on.

We do indeed have a good Mayor now, but Berry's answer seems to imply that his option was to take this job or run for Mayor in 2007. Obviously, that was never going to happen - Mayor White will have approximately the same level of challenge that he did in 2005. The question is what about 2009, when Mayor White gets term-limited. I know I've always considered Berry to be a potential challenger for Mayor at that time, and I'm not sure I'm seeing a real denial of that possibility. Berry could easily serve as Mister Clear Channel for two years, then having sufficiently recharged his batteries, jump into the 2009 Mayoral race.

I'm not saying he will do this, of course - far from it. Among other things, given how crowded the field may be in two years' time, anybody who wants the job is going to have to start rounding up supporters early on. Frankly, he'd probably have one year max with Clear Channel before he'd have to make the run/don't run decision. I'm just saying he could do this, and until I see him say the words "I am not a candidate for Mayor in 2009", I'm going to keep him in mind as a potential entrant.

And since Council Member Berry has the admitted good taste to be a reader of this blog, perhaps he'll leave a comment on the matter. I'll be happy to revise my statement in the event of updated information.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 05, 2007 to Local politics