July 27, 2008
A look ahead to the Council of the future

Carolyn Feibel consults her crystal ball to see what City Council might look like after the 2009 election.

The mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff, Terence Fontaine, has expressed interest in the At-Large 4 seat. That's the seat occupied by Ron Green, who has his eyes on the Controller's office, and is term-limited anyway.

Fontaine is a nuts-and-bolts guy who analyzes city processes, looking for ways to save money. He's analyzed the fleet vehicles and created a plan for replacement. He knows the ins and outs of fuel usage and tire disposal.

"Six years is not enough time to get it all done," Fontaine said, referring to his time on White's team. "I want to continue to find ways of saving taxpayers money."


Also sending out trial balloons: Deputy Fire Chief Fernando Herrera, for At-Large Seat 1, and two lawyers for At-Large 4: Brian P. Cweren and George Hittner.

Cweren and Hittner previously faced off during a race for the District C seat in 2005, but Anne Clutterbuck prevailed in a crowded field.

Cweren circulated an email about his potential interest in At Large #4 a week or so ago. He finished fifth in that crowded 2005 election with 14% of the vote; Clutterbuck led the first go-round with 20%. I don't think he was very well known, almost certainly not as well as some of his opponents, so that wasn't a bad showing. Still, it's a long way to go from 3500 votes in a district race to an At Large position, especially when there's going to be a big-dollar Mayoral race at the top of the ticket. He'll need to do some heavy fundraising, for which I'd give folks like Fontaine and Hittner the early edge. On the other hand, anyone currently thinking about running for At Large #4 had better register all their relevant domain names now, as Clutterbuck can testify.

I don't know much about Fontaine, but anyone from Mayor White's staff is going to be a contender in a citywide race. As for Hittner, he tried to outflank Clutterbuck on the right in the 2005 runoff, and lost by a wide margin. I think it will be difficult for anyone running as a conservative Republican to get elected in an At Large race. Perhaps he'll try a different tack this time around.

Two things I can add to this story: One, since someone in the comments on that post asked about District H, which I hope will be vacant after Adrian Garcia gets elected Sheriff, I am aware of a person who has been making the rounds as a potential candidate for that seat. I don't know if that person is ready to speak about it publicly yet, so I'll leave it at that. If I get any feedback from that person, I'll say so.

Two, on a slightly different note, there have been rumblings for awhile now about a challenge to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in CD18 because of her steadfast support of Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Primary. Vince had reported on a rumor of a write-in opponent for her this year. I doubt that will happen, but apparently District B City Council Member Jarvis Johnson is putting pieces in place for a primary challenge in 2010. I kind of think that any lingering emotion over the Clinto/Obama primary and who supported who will dissipate after the election in the likely event Obama wins. It's not like Rep. Jackson Lee is a puma, after all. With all due respect to CM Johnson, I like the way Rep. Jackson Lee votes and will be happy to vote for her in March of 2010.

So that's what I've been hearing. Anyone else have something to add to this?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 27, 2008 to Election 2009
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