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. http://weareaustin.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=61085
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 http://donforcedarpark.com/about/
Early Voting continues May 1, May 3, and May 4. Election Day is May 8.