The Queque 

Poor, poor pobrecitos. The Queque knows you’ve had Bill Withers on heavy rotation for two weeks, because there simply ain’t no sunshine when we’re gone. The thunder clapped and magnificent lightning ripped across the sky. Rain poured down thicker than a Coltrane solo, and at the apotheosis of heaven’s fury the manager of the Cave Without a Name drowned in Deadman’s Cave while trying to clear the drainage.

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The Queque was absent because we were up to our Q-tips in election coverage, but finally, Orphan Annies, those prayers you made while perched on your window sill, soaked with melancholy, have all come true. The sun has come out and the Queque’s back. Give it a couple weeks and you’ll be rain-dancing and hoping we take another sabbatical.

The Queque’s not talking about a Semen Tester ($15/hour), or a Grave Digger ($11.50/hour), or any number of grimy vocations listed in the Idler Book of Crap Jobs — we’re talking about the (part-time) job as city councilperson or mayor in what’s touted as the seventh most populous American city (1.3 million people by 2005 Census estimates): San Antonio. Pay: $20 per meeting and capped at $1,040 annually for our 10-person council and $3,000 (plus the $20/meeting) for the mayor.

The Queque couldn’t imagine the annual salary would suck so bad in city halls across Texas, so we made a few phone calls:

• In Arlington, number 50 most populous city (363,000 people), the mayor gets $3,000: the eight councilmembers get $2,400.

• In El Paso, number 21 (599,000 people), the mayor gets $30,879: the eight councilmembers get $18,232.

• In Fort Worth, number 19 (620,000 people), $29,000 for the mayor: $25,000 for its eight-person council.

• In Austin, number 16 (690,000 people), $67,981 for the mayor: $57,736 for the six-person council.

• In Dallas, number nine (1.2 million people), the mayor gets $60,000: the 14 councilmembers get $37,500.

• In Houston, number four (2 million people), the mayor gets around $160,000: the 14 councilmembers get almost $46,000.

Just in case you were shopping for a city governance job and mindful of the cost of living. Or if Bruce Davidson and the mayor finally talk you into changing the City Charter’s term-limit lock outs, something else to consider.

 

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There are many personal sacrifices the Queque would have been prepared to make in order to see Mayor Phil Hardberger don a pair of JNCO jeans, a tight, white tank-top (will someone please recommend an alternative to “wife-beater”?), and a gilded dragon on a chain, and recite the following adaptation of Sisqó’s “Thong Song”:

 

I like it when the poll goes

Duh dun duh

City, make your debt go

Duh dun duh

City, I know you wanna vote

Duh dun duh

Those bond bond bond bond bonds

 

It would’ve been glorious: string-bikinied bodies dancing all around him, Hardberger’s Dru Hill partners, incumbents Sheila McNeil, Roland Gutierrez, Delicia Herrera, and Kevin Wolff joined by newbies Mary Alice Cisneros, Justin Rodriguez, John Clamp, and Philip Cortez. Yes, Philly Hard B. got exactly what he wanted: all five bonds, his re-election, and a majority of developer-backed councilpeople, plus the Express-News’ front-page hero worship.

Oh, the daily’s ass-kissing made Carson Daly look like a malcontent. The headline ran: “BOND VOTERS SAY A LOUD, CLEAR ‘YES.’” Clear, sure: All but the $79-million park bond passed with 3/4 approval. But loud? According to pathological Queque-flatterer and Bexar County Elections Administrator Jackie Callanen, only 72,011 San Antonio voters of a possible 682,577 turned out. That’s a pathetic 10.5 percent, and confirmation that if the Spurs make the finals next year, sports bars have a civic obligation to double as polling precincts.

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On the voting irregularities front, Callanen said the good news is only one poll judge retired early for the basketball game, and of the 2,317 voting machines in Bexar County, only three were shut down. Callanen hasn’t received any serious complaints, however, we’ve heard that, as usual, some precincts cut out 10 minutes early. We’ve also heard rumors of a mysterious Cadillac that was stealing District-1 candidate kat swift’s signs from outside the polls.

The Queque wonders whether the turnout would’ve increased if votes were counted in yawns as opposed to ballots. In District 7, Justin Rodriguez creamed incumbent Elena Guajardo, as he had to in order to maintain the status-quo on the Northwest Side. Former Mayor Ed Garza and the Castro Twins (Representative Joaquin and almost-mayor Julian) threw their names behind the SAISD boardmember; a Guajardo victory may have resulted in a two-year rift among District 7 democrats. But if the Northwest Bexar County Democrats’ blog (Northwestdemocrats.blogspot.com) is any indication, NWD’s were already giving Elena a thumbs-down (along with our election coverage — boo effin’ hoo).

As it were, our biggest shocker wasn’t who won or lost, but who came close. In District 8, 27-year-old Jacob Dell came in only 23 votes short of beating Zoning Commish/podiatrist Morris Stribling to the runoff with Diane Cibrian. Initially, we suspected his 2,196 votes were the result of a certain local faux-weekly which unofficially endorsed both Dell and 33-year-old District 6’s Herrera in a piece called “Younger candidates hope to rock the vote.”

Political insiders suspect Dell’s success had more to do with courting Christian conservatives than readers taking their cue from a lowest-denominator crapazine. Besides, the faux-weekly overlooked the youngest candidate of all, 21-year-old male model and District-5 candidate David Medina, who despite the snub beat out former Councilman David Garcia’s old chief of staff, Ralph Gomez, by a wafer-thin 11 votes. In the June 12 runoff, Medina will go up against the cinnamon-haired lady Lourdes Galvan, whose election totals outnumbered Medina’s and Gomez’s put together.

What’s especially bizarre about Medina’s success is the seemingly utter lack of self-publicity. As a male model, it was ironic that he was the only candidate not to submit a mugshot for Mysa.com’s voter’s guide.

 

Point to consider: if we had instant-runoff voting, you wouldn’t get another two weeks of election coverage. Sigh.

 

Send news tips to queque@sacurrent.com.


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