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The medium is the message

Hot gossip at last night Arts & Eats party -- and the subject of an E-N post by political editor Scott Stroud and a story by journo Guillermo Garcia -- was the maybe-possibly mayoral candidacy of master marketer Trish DeBerry of Guerra, DeBerry, Coody. That'd be the DeBerry who helped Mayor H and Judge Nelson Wolff sell San Antonio on last spring's venue-tax extension, and is currently working on the campaign to extend term limits.

The first alone might give you pause, but it's the second that's a source of some considerable unhappiness behind the term-limit-campaign scenes. As for-sure mayoral hopeful Diane Cibrian pointed out in an early afternoon phone interview with the Current, a key component of selling the extension to voters was guaranteeing that current elected officials won't benefit from it. Now, a member of the inner circle has announced that she's thinking of running in 09 -- the first year that the new limits (four two-year terms) would apply. To blunt the fallout, DeBerry told the E-N that she would consider pledging to serve only two terms if elected. Noble, perhaps, but also problematic if the reason it's so important to extend term limits is that we're suffering from short-term leadership. One backer of the mayor's proposal worried that it could cost the campaign as much as five percentage points on the remaining day of early voting and at the polls.

What piques my curiosity, in any event, is the background: DeBerry has been part of the hunt to find a candidate for "the business community" -- whomever that might be code for. So far this has produced the short-lived candidacy of Fernando Reyes and a relatively long tease featuring former Bexar County Judge and State Senator Cyndi Krier. Why is it so hard for these captains of industry to find a worthy? What do they have against Julian and Diane? Would it be easier to find a taker if the job paid?

Regardless, DeBerry's move -- reportedly pushed into a premature spotlight by loose lips -- looks like an unsavvy move for a woman who in person and from afar seems to be one of the sharper minds at work in the South Texas political arena. The Current is speaking with Julian Castro, who'll be running against Cibrian and perhaps DeBerry this coming May, and has a call in to DeBerry as well. Look for more analysis in next week's issue.

Posted by Elaine Wolff on 10/31/2008 2:21:06 PM
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