Super lame attack against Kathie Tovo

Urbanist Twitter is not happy about a mailer sent out by the Center for Austin’s Future attacking Kathie Tovo.

Photo is courtesy of urbanist activist Josiah Stevenson.


The irony, of course, is that Skidmore’s urbanist supporters overwhelmingly oppose the homestead exemption. Tovo’s opposition to the exemption increases is one of the few things that they like about the incumbent.

Skidmore tells Caleb that she is unhappy with the mailer and reaffirmed her opposition to increasing the homestead exemption, calling it a “regressive tax.”

The Center for Austin’s Future is a group run by Ward Tisdale, the former head of the Real Estate Council of Austin. It’s backed by a group of community notables who range from center-left to center-right, including former Mayor Lee Leffingwell, former CMs Chris Riley, Randi Shade and Brewster McCracken, along with a handful of Chamber of Commerce types. Their goal is to train and promote candidates who will, among other things, support a more compact/connected land development philosophy. It’s not clear what the group’s goals are on other issues. Its website is filled with bromides about transparency and accountability, along with a line straight out of a GOP brochure: “We must address skyrocketing city property taxes fueled by a budget that grows exponentially more quickly than our population.”

At the risk of being melodramatic, this mailer will take a little something away from Skidmore’s victory if she prevails. Her base of supporters don’t just want her to replace Kathie Tovo, they want to see voters deliver a mandate on behalf of their vision for a more equitable, sustainable Austin. They don’t want to win by scaring people about property taxes.

Another thing: if you’re going to go nuclear on Kathie Tovo, how in the hell do you not talk about her oil money? Isn’t that the most obvious target?

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