Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cedar Park City Council Candidate Eddie Hurst: "Drop the Box"

The Cedar Park Place 6 City Council race continues to be one of the more entertaining contests in Williamson County, but also one with serious partisan implications. Some of the candidates not only seem to lack basic knowledge about the job and the city, but have hard-core leftist policy ideas.

Yesterday KAZI FM 88.7 featured an hour with some of the Cedar Park City Council Place 6 candidates, including Eddie Hurst. During the interview he mentioned something about the city’s “ETJ”. When the interviewer asked him what ETJ meant he said, “Extra-terrestrial” (pause), and fellow candidate Maria Talamo rescued him by stating “Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.” Kinda funny, but it does raise concerns.

Eddie Hurst, Wayne Ruark and Maria Talamo all answered a question about 'train crossing quiet zones' in Cedar Park. The interviewer asked their reaction to citizen complaints. They all listed answers about solving the problem. The only problem with their responses is that every train crossing in Cedar Park already has a quiet zone. According to the Statesman and KEYE, it is Leander residents who are complaining. In fact one resident of Leander said on KEYE, "It’s just not right. I don't understand why we're not getting it [quiet zones] like Cedar Park has it. I think we deserve it the same as they do,” Leander resident Maria Johnson said.

One of the most disturbing moments in the interview however, was Eddie Hurst's response to a caller asking about how to reduce incarceration and promote rehabilitation. Eddie Hurst said,

“I would also encourage the city staff to ‘drop the box’ like they are doing here in Travis County as also in the City of Austin. In ‘dropping the box’ what I mean is unless you have something that is like a child molestation, child felony or child abuse you would not have to mark on your application whether or not you had a criminal history as long as it is not something that is violent or sexually oriented the city should be able to drop that box.”

Williamson County is well known for a strong stance on law and order. I find it hard to believe that the city staff, local law enforcement or the “citizins” of Cedar Park would endorse allowing the city to hire people with criminal backgrounds. According to MSNBC “similar 'ban the box' measures have been adopted in recent years in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., and Norwich, Conn.” But Cedar Park is a long way from San Francisco.

At the end of the interview session Maria Talamo, who supports higher taxes for Cedar Park to fund another hospital, was asked “What makes you different?” Her answer, “If it weren’t for me we would not have a hospital that community today.” I wonder if the team of individuals who all worked hard and long to build the hospital know that their efforts didn't count? A little candidate bluster, I guess.

The clear remedy here is Don Tracy. Don Tracy understands the importance of fiscal responsibility, and will work to carefully manage budgets and debt while promoting economic and community development. In these dire economic times, Cedar Park needs a smart, fiscally disciplined leader like Don Tracy. Visit Don Tracy's website at

Early Voting continues May 1, May 3, and May 4. Election Day is May 8.


Deborah Mathison said...


I just now discovered your post, just days from the run-off election.

Check my voting record in Williamson County back to 1984 -- I'm a died-in-the-wool Republican and Maria and I see eye-to-eye on almost every issue Maria Talamo and I have discussed. She's never mentioned raising taxes for a new hospital; she just wants the one we have to "get its feet." I know she'd like to see Williamson County get a psychiatric hospital, but she's never said anything about such a project coming from Cedar Park taxpayers' pockets.

I'm really disappointed in any fellow Republicans who would rather have someone with no history with our city seated on council than Maria who has given so much in the past nine years. She truly understand what it means to be fiscally conservative. It means planning for the future even if it means some sacrifice today. She's a mom, a scoutmaster a community leader and savvy businesswoman. Her daughter is a Marine.

I remember years ago when Maria said our city needed a hospital, and then I watched her set up meeting after meeting until, finally, a hospital system signed on the dotted line. As a CP Chamber board member, I was at the hospital's groundbreaking and also at the grand opening. Long before she thought about running for office, I knew the hospital was there because of her willingness and ability to spearhead the charge. I remember being so proud of her.

This is my first time to be perched at this vantage of a political campaign, and it turns my stomach to see how our media and politicians twist things to their advantages. Newspapers want people to read their papers. (I worked for the HIll Country News for 12 years -- I know!) They don't check their facts, often because they don't have time or staff, or they use words that incite readers because the editor didn't think about repercussions.

Could it be that our council doesn't want ANY waves? Maria is brilliant and bends when necessary, but I'll guarantee you she'll examine all sides of an issue. Don Tracy is a newbie with NO city track record, and, sadly, repeats what he's told. He has words -- she has a verifiable, fabulous record. I've been there when council has asked her for guidance that her opponent could never offer.

When she asked me to be her campaign manager, I immediately volunteered ... without hesitation. We've worked side-by-side for two months now and have never had a tense moment.

Cedar Park NEEDS Maria Talamo.

Deborah Mathison
A Williamson County Taxpaer since 1980.
2810 Little Elm Trail
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Holly Hansen said...

Thank you for your comments Deborah, but with all due respect, I fail to see how a serious Republican agrees with a candidate who opposes competition that would benefit consumers and drive down healthcare costs. Maria may have never actually said she wanted to "raise taxes;" of course not, what a politically suicidal thing to say. What she has said is that she supports the idea of a 'health district,' that is a new district that would collect taxes to pay for hospitals. Call it what you want, it's still a tax increase.

Finally, Maria Talamo's voting history indicates that she twice voted in the Democrat primaries over the last few cycles, and that she changes parties frequently. Having an epiphany and changing parties is one thing, but bouncing around based on the latest trend is indicative of one who does not make decisions based on a set of solid core values.

Don Tracy has demonstrated a strong set of core beliefs from which he will make decisions. His values are in line with policies that promote a strong economy and fiscally responsible government.