Mayoral Candidate Vows to do “Nothing”
Post by Peggy Venable
I was traveling from the Tyler school choice townhall meeting on Saturday and had the company of Lauren Pierce, our UT intern, and online TV producer Laurie Bartlett.
We had finished the townhall with Sen. Dan Patrick, Rev. Kyev Tatum, Katrina Pierson and Joann Fleming and faced a four-hour drive back to Austin.
Tired and hungry, we decided to stop at any local establishment that “looked good.”
That would be CJ’s Kountry Cookin in Jewett. The parking lot was filled with pickups and was clearly a Saturday night family favorite restaurant in that small town. We had passed the area on our way to Tyler and saw the vibrant activity of the Jewett monthly Flea Market and had commented that it looked fun.
The menu didn’t disappoint us – and we all ordered something that was sure to clog our veins. A round of chicken fried steak, fried okra and friend onion rings. We decided that calories don’t count if you are working on Saturday – particularly if it is a 14-hour day.
It came time to pay the bill and I went to the cash register in front of the open kitchen. We had been watching a tall man wearing a black felt cowboy hat. He was busy, so I picked up a small flier on the counter “Vote John D. Sitton for Mayor – May 11, 2013 – A Step in the Right Direction”.
“Vote for John,” the man in the black hat said.
I asked if he was John, and he nodded.
“What are you running on?” I asked. He looked puzzled. “What do you want to do when you win?”
He came closer to me and looked me in the eye and said “Nuthin’”.
“No, I am running saying I won’t do anything – I won’t build more roads – I won’t spend any money. We are broke,” he said. “I will work to pay down the town debt.”
Now, that’s my kind of candidate.
“I am sorry I can’t vote for you, but I am cheering for you,” I said.
It was after midnight when I got home, but I was eager to get on the Texas Bond Review Board website to see just how much debt the tiny town of Jewett had racked up.
It was almost $3 million and the total population of Jewett is 1,179. That’s $2,541 per person.
City debt is a growing problem in Texas. Cities owe one-third of the $324 billion in local government debt in the state. And city-held debt outstanding increased by 51.3% between 2003 and 2011. Total debt issuances in fiscal 2011 were 19% higher than in 2001.
John Sitton is a candidate who has identified the problem and is willing to stake his campaign on doing the right thing – “nuthin’”!