Checking Austin candidates for mayor, city council
About when we completed our fact checks of Austin candidates for city office (or activists), one campaign called us all wet.
Bo Delp, spokesman for Mike Martinez, the Austin City Council member in a runoff with Adler, emailed that by our lousy reasoning, "if a meteor hit Austin tomorrow the Adler campaign could rightly claim that 'While on Council, Mike oversaw the great Austin Meteor Disaster of 2014.'" Delp was objecting to our Mostly True for Adler's statement, in a TV ad, that as a council member, Martinez had voted to raise taxes and utility rates while ending free buses for senior citizens.
City runoffs are Tuesday.
Forsooth, some of our recent city-focused fact checks:
- Activist Jim Skaggs incorrectly said Austin's taxes have gone up faster than taxes in other major U.S. cities.
- Consultant Lynda Rife bandied a too-high figure for the number of people who move to Austin a day.
- Martinez said Adler, a lawyer, "admitted his law firm worked with Koch Industries for nearly a decade." Adler likely got that wrong, we found, but he sure said it.
- Adler said Martinez cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid facing possible jail time, sticking taxpayers with his legal bill. True, though it's worth mentioning every council member investigated for possible open-government violations took the same tack.
- Lawyer Brad Rockwell said Adler opposed an injunction to keep a company from dumping petrochemicals into the Barton Springs aquifer. Half True; Adler sought to keep a project going that appeared to one engineer to be sending runoff with an oily sheen directly underground. However, this legal fight wasn’t rooted in letting the company dump -- or stopping it from dumping -- petrochemicals. The big issue was whether the site should be built out with up to 40 percent impervious cover or the 15 percent allowed under the city's Save Our Springs ordinance.
- Martinez incorrectly said Adler had never been active in anything to do with City Hall. Adler hadn't served on a council-appointed board, but he'd helped lead government-related efforts on two fronts.
Spurred by a KUT News scoop, we also sought to unpack what a council candidate, Laura Pressley, had said about explosives possibly being planted in the World Trade Center prior to 9/11. It's all here.