Blanco County News
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Know Your Candidates
Early Voting in Progress
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 • Posted May 5, 2011

Find out more about the candidates up for Mayor, City Council, and School Board Trustee positions.

The election will be held at the Blanco Elementary School cafeteria on Saturday, May 14, from 7am to 7pm.  If you can’t make it, early voting continues through May 10 at Blanco City Hall (300 Pecan St.) and Blanco ISD Administration (814 11th St.).

READ MORE – find out what’s in the three bond proposals and more

Chuck Homan – Candidate for Mayor – incumbent

Last year, I ran for mayor with these qualifications: “I was raised in Wisconsin on dairy farms. After high school, I was drafted into the military and was sent to Vietnam. After recovering from war injuries, I went to work for the U.S. Postal Service. In September 1988, I took over a 104-mile mail route in Blanco, which stretched from close to Kendalia, through Blanco on the west side of Highway 281, and as far north as the 290-281 intersection on the way to Johnson City. In 2002, I moved from Canyon Lake to Blanco after the flood destroyed our home there. In 2006, I retired from the postal service after 35 years of service and opened Chuck’s Small Engine Repair in 2007. I have managed mail routes and customers all over Texas for over 35 years. In daily interactions with people, I had to be diplomatic and had to be able to listen, to hear their concerns.” I want to be accessible to people and, if re-elected, will continue the hours I set up at city hall. People can come in any time. I will be there for city staff or citizens.  I want to continue working for the citizens of  Blanco.

The issues regarding our water system, our police department, and crime in Blanco have been addressed during my tenure as mayor.  1) The City has applied for a SECO grant for a new sewer plant and also helped the county with the land for a new communications tower at the church water tank on US 281.  2) The water flow for Cielo Springs is almost complete.  3) A section of sewer line on 2nd and 3rd Street, 250 feet of broken clay, the main and the manhole were replaced, as well as similar repairs along Pecan.  4) I oversaw the new traffic light installation and implemented street lights, crosswalk signs, and soon-to-be installed flashing lights at the high school crosswalks, which will be on continuously.  5)  The police department was restructured and Blanco now has police protection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with new officers being hired and two used police cars as well as a new police department building, which is open and staffed from 8:00am to 5:00pm by the new administrative assistant.  6) A new fire truck was purchased and will be delivered in a few weeks. 

Unrelated to the issues, but still important are the facts that the city now has a website that is up and running. Also, the City of Blanco has had no down quarters (losses) in our sales tax revenue; it has just continued to grow. 

I plan to continue the progress I have made over the last year if I am re-elected and will strive to improve the quality of life every day for ALL the citizens of Blanco.

Rebecca Howerton – Candidate for Mayor – city council member

I am Rebecca Howerton and I am running for Mayor of Blanco because "Blanco is Home."  I was born and raised here and have lived in Blanco most of my adult life.  I am very upset at the direction I see Blanco going and, before I step out of elected public service entirely, I want to do what I can to get us back on track.    

My qualifications to be Mayor of Blanco include serving on the City Council for the last 13 years.  Those years have made me painfully aware of what happens  or more properly, what doesn’t happen  when there is a lack of shared vision on the Council and dissension among its members.  We don’t need bickering.  We need action!  We need to make things happen in a positive way for Blanco.    

My 44 years as a school teacher testify to my planning and organizational skills as well as my ability to exercise time management to get things done.  I have been involved in more Blanco community organizations and causes than I can count.  I was President of the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission for 14 years, President of Keep Blanco Beautiful for seven years, and President of the Women of the Church at Trinity Lutheran for seven years. I am a member of all these organizations as well as the Blanco Lions Club and am currently Director of the Blanco Pioneer Museum and a board member of the Blanco Historic Cemetery Association.  I served as President and Vice President of Twin Sisters Hermanns Sons Lodge #138 and received the Humanitarian Award in 2003. Last year, the Blanco Masonic Lodge 216 gave me their Community Builder Award.  Just ask around town. I don’t just talk, and plan, and talk some more, on and on and on.  I get things done!    

In short, unless we make some serious changes, the Blanco of the future is not going to be the Blanco I have always known. The City needs economic growth, but we want growth on our terms.  We want growth that will bring business with good paying jobs to Blanco, but we want to manage that growth in a way that preserves the Blanco that is Home to so many of us.  There is a desperate need to do something about our antiquated water system.  I am very worried about our sewage system and cringe at the thought of a serious failure out there.  We need to better support the Blanco Police Department, the Volunteer Fire Department, and the EMS.  We need to take immediate action to help the Blanco State Park increase its attendance and keep it off the closure list.  We need more sidewalks, better Safe Routes to School, and more activities for the youth of our community.  We need to slow traffic down through town.  Preservation of our still dark nighttime skies is a must.  And finally, we need to follow our Comprehensive Master Plan and stop granting variances to our UDC willy nilly.  

As Mayor of Blanco, I intend to form a Citizen’s Advisory Panel and actively seek citizen input from across the community before important decisions affecting the community are made.  I will have regular, posted working hours at City Hall and will institute an open door policy.  I will insist that all Council members and I have published email addresses so any citizen with a computer can contact us.  I believe in open government and participatory democracy and, if elected, Blanco will get it.

Finally, while the Mayor can provide leadership, nothing important gets done unless the City Council goes along with it.  I need to have a City Council with whom I can work. That is why I have thrown in with two outstanding young people who are running for Council seats.  Matt Lewis and Maria Guerrero share my concerns about where Blanco is headed. We share a common vision for its future and a commitment to actually work — not just talk, talk, talk — to get there. 

Thank you.

Bobby “Mack” McClung – Candidate for City Council – incumbent

Biographical information.  

I am a native Texan born in Fort Worth.  I moved into the Blanco area from Austin in 1990 after looking for a healthy place to raise my family in a small town environment. My kids grew up here and went to Blanco schools.  I founded and built two successful businesses in Blanco and am proud to be a part of this community.   

Why are you running?  

Blanco is coming to a crossroads and there is work to be done to make sure Blanco remains the family friendly community we have all come to love. During the time I have been involved with the City I am proud to have been a driver in the efforts to protect the rural character of Blanco by controlling growth in a sensible way that will also support Blanco’s local business community.  

I am running for City Council because there is still much work to be done. I will work to complete the safe routes to school program.  Although the plan has been in place for many years this program has had many starts and stops. This project needs to be completed for our children and young families. I would also like to continue the efforts begun by many of us in 2007 to establish more recreational facilities for our kids to make sure they have a safe community environment with healthy activities year round.  

What current issues concern you? 

In my view the most critical issues for Blanco have to do with assuring that Blanco is the community we want it to be in 5 years or 10 years down the road. We want young families feel at home in Blanco with opportunities for success. For that to happen we need to be a vibrant place where those families can grow successful businesses and raise their families in the small community we have grown to love.

Now is the time for forward thinking to create a roadmap for Blanco that moves us in the right direction.  However, I am concerned that there are some that will paint Blanco with the same brush that causes many communities to find themselves struggling to regain their identity and charm. Moving Blanco successfully into the future will take a deliberate approach grounded in common sense in order to balance our desire for a small town feel while still fostering a sustainable business community.  

What accomplishments do you have that would help with the position? 

I bring to the City Council extensive experience in business and in local government administration. As an entrepreneur and a communications industry executive I have worked with many state and local governments to envision and execute ambitious projects on the local level to help keep rural communities moving forward in a new economy. Everyone running in this election has the best intentions for our community. However, I also bring a depth of experience in project administration and the management of budgetary processes that is greatly needed in Blanco today. 

With support of the City Council I am also proud of the improvements the Blanco Police Department has undergone over the last year. We have a new police facility, we have increased the number of officers in the Department, upgraded our vehicles, and for the first time the City has twenty four hour Police protection for our citizens.

Danny Ray – Candidate for City Council – incumbent

Owner: D. Ray Construction. Age: 54. Married with kids.

I’ve decided to use my spot to vent a little. I was originally asked to join the council and was appointed in 2005. I make my decisions with common sense and logic. My wife, Dorothy, who was born, raised, and has lived her life in Blanco said once, “Blanco has never been about how pretty it is, it’s about the people who live here.” Well, now we have a new group of people who say they want to keep Blanco, Blanco. We paid for a study to tell us the obvious. That Blanco has an eclectic style, which basically means it’s a little bit of everything as far as the look of homes and structures here. Now they are pushing for design guidelines to tell us what styles of structures should be built, what colors to paint them, what window shapes to use, etc., etc., etc. What happened to eclectic? What happened to keep Blanco, Blanco? I will vote to pass design guidelines only in the historic district and only as suggestions in the rest of town.

Now we’re on the verge of passing a new sign ordinance, after taking a beating in public and in this newspaper over okaying the variance for the new sign at the new motel. Before it was installed it was called a travesty, a monstrosity... drama. Now that it’s there, it’s just a tastefully done sign that is proportionate to the building. I will vote to pass the sign ordinance that P&Z has written. They have worked hard to write an ordinance that I think we can all live with. Thank you Dana Leblanc and P&Z. In the end there will still be requests for variances, as with all ordinances.

Now, let’s get in to the lighting ordinance. I know we all want to be able to see the stars at night, so shading lights and down lighting are good things. But let’s face the facts – since man discovered fire and invented electricity, we have lit the night. If you opt to live in town, common sense tells you that you’re going to lessen the ability to see the stars, especially if you live by the high school. I will vote for a kinder and gentler lighting ordinance.

Next, after the turmoil created by our previous short-term mayor, our police department has made a strong comeback. Chief Willman, his officers, reserve officers and staff have done an excellent job with increased visibility and coverage of our town. Thank you all.

Finally, our town is destined for growth. Let’s not make our rules and regulations so tough that they chase away good people and businesses that may want to call Blanco home. And please form your opinions of each council member by fact on each individual. I work much better face to face, one on one. If you really want to talk about something, let’s just sit down over tea or a beer and discuss it. Sometimes you may lose a battle on the way to winning the war. 

Danny Ray supports Bobby “Mack” McClung. “He does his homework. He is a great representative of our city. He’s articulate, honest, and just a good guy.”

Courtney Curbow – Candidate for City Council

Courtney Curbow has informed the Blanco County News that she is not actively campaigning for Blanco City Council. She supports council candidates Matt Lewis and Maria Guerrero.

Maria Guerrero – Candidate for City Council

As a thirty-two year resident of Blanco, I am vested in the future of our charming community. I attended Blanco schools K-12. While this is my first attempt to run for elected office, I am no stranger to city operations, budgets and police matters. I worked for the City of Blanco for four years, and for the last 13 years for the City of Boerne as Assistant to the Chief of Police.

I currently serve on Blanco's Planning and Zoning Commission. In this capacity, I have discovered that Blanco needs a comprehensive plan for its growth. While plans have been developed, there has not been a focused and consistent implementation. We are at risk of losing our small town charm, something that is not being protected by our current officials.

If elected, I would like to put more emphasis on better support for our police department and work to create a more open and responsive city government. We need safe routes to schools, better water and wastewater facilities and common sense city ordinances that are uniformly enforced. I will work for all Blanco citizens to help our town grow without losing its small-town feel.

Matt Lewis – Candidate for City Council

I am a small business owner who has lived here in Blanco for three years.  I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in Business.  My professional experience includes e-business, import-export, retail and wholesale sales, finance, manufacturing and critical path analysis. I believe these skills will make me an effective and proactive member of the Blanco City Council.

I understand the importance of having a thriving small town economy that provides small business owners like me the opportunity to succeed and create good paying jobs that can support local families.  To build such an economy requires forward looking leadership and a willingness to work hard to achieve it.  I believe I have both. 

I also want to ensure that our most valuable natural resources, the Blanco River and Blanco State Park, are preserved and supported by our city council to help keep our city’s resources, businesses and citizens healthy and thriving. I am a strong advocate of preserving our night skies and will support sensible initiatives to do that in order to leverage that resource to the benefit of our businesses and our citizens.

My commitment to public service is evidenced by my past activities. In the past I volunteered at the Irving and North Texas Food Banks. I have participated in after school music programs for low income elementary school children.  I also delivered medical supplies to physicians in Indonesia as part of a volunteer outreach program. 

I am recently engaged to Nan Hanus with a wedding date set for October.

I look forward to bringing these skills and experiences to bear in addressing the many important issues facing Blanco in the time ahead and I earnestly seek the support of Blanco’s voters to make this happen. 

Mike Barnes – Candidate for School Board, Place 1

Biographical information

Michael G. Barnes, age: 57. Married:  Andree Barnes. Children:  Zachariah Barnes, junior at Blanco High School. Education:  Master of Public Administration, 1983, Indiana State University; Bachelor of Science, 1975 Indiana State University. Currently owns and serves as the President/CEO of the Mike Barnes Group, Inc. an independent economic development consulting firm that provides services to companies, communities, and organizations.  The firm is approximately 6 years old. Has previously held executive level economic development positions in Texas and other states prior to forming the Mike Barnes Group. 

Why are you running?

I am seeking the office of Blanco Trustee, Place 1 in an effort to enhance the quality of education for our students.  Having spent 30 years in the economic development profession, I fully recognize the relationship between quality education and quality jobs.  I am interested in enhancing the relationships between the Blanco ISD, regional community/technical colleges and universities .  Simultaneously, I see the need to recognize that  not all students are pursuing further education.  Unfortunately, statistics offered by the Texas Association of Business suggest that only 22% of Texas’ graduating seniors are prepared for either the workforce or college.  Blanco ISD is small enough that we should serve as an model of exemplary quality in both these instances.  

What current issues concern you?

A number of issues concern me as a parent/taxpayer.  It is most unfortunate that Blanco ISD has 2/3 of its schools Elementary and High School simply rated as Academically Acceptable by the Texas Education Association.  This, unfortunately, is a full three levels below the highest rating of Exemplary.  This should not be the case.

Process and spending are issues of concern.  Particularly, in a downturned economy, it would seem absolutely incumbent upon decision makers to seek the highest return on investment.  I do not sense this is the case.  Why would we ask teachers to retire early while we simultaneously retain four law firms?  Why would we not seek the most competitive bids that would include cost savings as an incentive?  It seems as if priorities are not well placed. 

What accomplishments do you have that would help with the position?

I have been fortunate in my career to provide leadership to any number of economic development projects that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs.  I currently assist community based clients in their economic development effort and see firsthand the importance of education in securing quality futures for our children.  Our firm recently was awarded a competitively bid project that coupled workforce solutions with economic development in the design of a Workforce Intelligence Tool.  This project is viewed as a national pilot for future innovation.  I have provided assistance to corporations in their site location decisions and recognize the importance of quality education for a continued and stable workforce; capable of not only today’s demands but the future.  I have been honored to have served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Economic Development Council, Southern Economic Development Council, American Economic Development Council and the International Economic Development Council. These are all a reflection of how my professional peers viewed our accomplishments.  

I chose to locate in Blanco, Texas and run my business from a downtown Blanco location.  Our family chose Blanco ISD from among many options available to us.  This community and its school district has the opportunity to be truly among the best in the state and a model for the nation.

Tim Nance – Candidate for School Board, Place 1

Professional Background

I have spent the last 21 years working in the auditing, accounting, management, operations, and customer service fields with the Texas Railroad Commission, the Texas Education Agency, and am currently with Pedernales Electric Cooperative.  After earning a BBA in Accounting from Southwest Texas State University, I accepted positions that allow me to improve the lives of my fellow Texans and enhance the community that I have called home for more than 20 years. I am proficient in financial analysis, financial reporting, regulatory reporting, forecasting, and cost analysis.  I have a record of successfully serving the public including ratepayers, local governments, and business entities.  I am able to lead and manage staff, resources, facilities, and projects. 

Vision for BISD

I am running for Blanco Independent School District (BISD) Trustee, Place l because I believe in the benefits of public education and want to do my part to make sure every child in BISD receives a superior educational foundation.  I believe in leveraging the power of parental and community involvement to maximize the academic potential of each child.  Ultimately, a solid character built on honesty, integrity, and a strong work ethic should be the guiding force behind the actions of BISD’s school board, district employees, and students.

With looming budget shortfalls, BISD’s trustees have the difficult tasks of creatively resolving budget and enrollment growth issues, while continuing to move the district forward in a unified vision.  Another growing concern is preparing the district for the rollout of the new, more challenging State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing system which will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests.  I believe engaging with BISD residents is key to success and will welcome suggestions and seek advice from the community I serve.  I will study, evaluate, and deliberate the issues facing our district and vote in the best interest of all students.   

I am fiscally conservative and understand financial accountability and responsibility.  I will work cooperatively with the other trustees to set both academic and financial performance targets.  I believe the entire board and the superintendent must be held accountable for the successful implementation of these goals and that these goals must be both quantifiable and measurable. 

Community Involvement

I am married to Lisa Weber Nance and have three daughters, Callie (9th grade), Bret (7th grade), and Avery (1st grade).  I am an active member of my church where I serve on various committees. I am a Blanco County Fair and Rodeo Association director and am currently its president.  I am also a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee that studied the current school bond proposal, a member of the BISD School Health Advisory Committee, and am a Little League softball coach.

Troy Immel is running unopposed for Blanco ISD School Board Trustee, Place 2.

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