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Short mayoral debate a review

Austin's candidates for mayor touched on many past issues during a swift League of Women Voters forum Thursday.

Austin's two mayoral candidates — incumbent Tom Stiehm and challenger Marian Clennon — received about 15 minutes to answer questions, including immigration, a hot-button issue this campaign. Stiehm repeated a statement he's made many times before — local police make arrests of illegal immigrants for crimes all the time, and that activity will continue.

Clennon touched on that, saying Austin police officers "enforce the law", but also said the topic is "one that has been discussed over and over" It's a federal issue, Clennon said, and there's not a whole lot the city can do about it.

Moderator Kris Allas asked Clennon how Clennon could lead the Austin city council when she's voted 'No' on major issues. Clennon replied that she felt voting "No" "was for the good of Austin, and that she feels the council needs to hold more public discussions instead of individual council members getting answers, which are sometimes different, from city department heads before the meetings.

Stiehm replied that he thinks diversity is good for the council, but said he wishes the rest of the council would "get warning" instead of a "big surprise."


On the topic of who in the city is in control of weeds, Stiehm said, "It's a county problem" and Clennon said "the mayor."

The candidates' views on the possibility of a mayoral tie-breaking vote stayed the same; Clennon is against it because she doesn't feel it's necessary and Stiehm thinks ties result in unresolved issues that keep coming back to the council.

In general, Stiehm repeated his point of view on the proposed changes to the city charter; he supports all of them. He added that a total of 26 meetings were held, at which objections could be raised. Clennon said she didn't go to them because they weren't publicized as joint meetings between the council and the Austin Charter Committee.

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