We knew Diane Cibrian had delusions of grandeur, but we didn’t know it was this bad. After she just cast a vote to raise taxes December 3 (by tolling a highway we’ve already built and paid for), Cibrian actually thinks 6 months into her FIRST TERM as City Councilwoman (who barely won in an 8-way race)that she can get elected Mayor? It’ll be hard for her to run, much less win after the bruising she’ll take in a recall election! That’s what these politicians don’t seem to get, they’re useful to the highway lobby to cast votes AGAINST THE PEOPLE and then they’re damaged goods. Ever heard of Richard Perez? He’ll never hold elective office again after his rabid pro-toll stint on the MPO. That’s why he got parked at the Greater Chamber among his new highway lobby friends. The same is coming for Cibrian.
Councilwoman Cibrian may run for mayor before term limit hits
By Jaime Castillo
San Antonio Express-News
Since the early 1990s, City Council term limits have acted like a turnstile, churning out potential mayoral candidates every election cycle.
Ambitious council members who survive two, two-year terms unindicted, or at least largely unscathed, almost automatically are placed on the short list of mayoral wannabes.
But 2009 is shaping up as a tradition-breaking and gender-busting surprise.
District 8 City Councilwoman Diane Cibrian said she’s “strongly considering” seeking the mayor’s office after only one term. On Friday, she said she’ll make a formal decision early next year.
The logic goes something like this:
Two years from now, the mayor’s office will be a wide-open race for the seat being vacated by the term-limited Phil Hardberger.
However, by waiting until she could finish a second council term in 2011, Cibrian would likely be entering a much tougher race against an incumbent mayor who could still serve one more term.
The candidates most often mentioned for 2009 are former City Councilman Julián Castro, homebuilder Gordon Hartman and, if he can be convinced, AT&T executive and former state Sen. John Montford.
That list includes a lot of Y-chromosomes. And Cibrian, who doesn’t suffer from even the slightest case of shyness, sees an opportunity.
Recent local political history shows that Hispanic female candidates have been very successful in countywide races.
The trend was punctuated last year, when two incumbent judges, Democrat Oscar Kazen and Republican Mark Luitjen, lost re-election bids against female Hispanic challengers, Laura Salinas and Catherine Torres-Stahl.
“My election was historic as the first Hispanic woman to win a North Side council seat,” Cibrian said. “I think people logically believe I could do well in various parts of the city.”
Cibrian, 42, also is a tireless campaigner, which could help offset Castro’s distinct grass-roots advantage over anybody else. And she’s a pro at attracting attention for herself and her district.
Her candidacy was predicated on a property tax cut, which occurred after fear of a rollback election surfaced, forcing City Manager Sheryl Sculley to incorporate a small cut in the city budget.
And Cibrian recently manufactured a lot of free face time on local TV, during her public crusade against the opening of a “gentlemen’s” establishment, called “Boobie Rock,” in her district.
If someone like Montford doesn’t enter the 2009 mayor’s race as the darling of the business community, Cibrian could stand to benefit from some lingering distrust of Castro in the Anglo establishment.
At the same time, there are those who wonder whether Cibrian’s exuberant personality will come across as charming or off-putting during a long mayoral campaign.
They also wonder whether she’s forgotten that, just a few months ago, she needed a runoff just to get elected to council. And that a mayoral campaign is on a whole different scale than a council district, which can be won by block-walking alone.
“I think there are people who are interested in seeing the continuity of leadership provided by Phil Hardberger,” Cibrian said. “I’ve worked very hard, and anybody who knows me knows that I’m an advocate for my district and this city.”
As one City Hall executive put it, it won’t take until 2011 to find out the answers to those questions.
“She’s so serious about running for mayor, I’ll be more than surprised if she doesn’t do it (in 2009).”
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