Social networking on the campaign trail
By Gilbert Garcia
Obama changed the electoral game in 2008 by embracing the power of the
Internet, and mayoral hopeful Julián Castro has obviously studied the
On Tuesday, March 10, Castro hosted his first-ever "media/blogger summit" at his Broadway campaign headquarters.
Seated at a small table with a combination of private bloggers and
print reporters, and surrounded by friends and supporters (including
his nine-months pregnant wife, Erica, only a day before her due date),
Castro took questions for an hour, including some from the summit's 30
Castro, whose Facebook campaign page has nearly
600 members, described the event as "an opportunity to bring the power
of social media to bear on a political campaign." He noted that voter
turnout in recent SA elections has languished in the 13-17 percent
range, and said he hoped "to leverage social media" to bring up voter
involvement in local politics.
Castro emphasized the need to
maintain present funding levels for essential City services such as
police and fire, even with the threat of a budget deficit in the coming
fiscal year, and dismissed the possibility of a property-tax hike. He
did, however, voice tentative support for City Manager Sheryl Sculley's
suggestion of a temporary municipal "hiring chill" to keep costs down.
advocated that SA follow the example of Oakland and Philadelphia by
creating a "green-collar job corps," and lauded the emergence of the
city's homeless center, Haven for Hope: "I've visited and toured it
three or four times and it's going to be a fantastic service for this
city," Castro said.
Additionally, he addressed the city's
growing traffic concerns by voicing his support for light-rail and bike
lanes, and said San Antonio should use federal-stimulus money to help
relieve traffic congestion at 281 and 1604. He also declined to take
toll roads off the table for discussion, even while he acknowledged
that they're almost universally disliked. He warned that if the city
doesn't aggressively move on the traffic issue, "we'll have a Round
Rock situation," alluding to the example of businesses avoiding Austin
in favor of its suburbs, because of Austin's traffic problems.
the discussion back to the social-networking theme, Castro said he's
observed the disintegration of neighborhood cohesiveness over his
lifetime and suggested that social networking has brought some of that
interconnectness back to our lives, but without a neighborhood's sense
of physical proximity. With that in mind, he talked about looking into
an experimental city project that would create a neighborhood
social-media network "to use the power of social media to re-link
Afer the Webcast concluded, Castro campaign
manager Christian Archer said the campaign hopes to schedule more
online summits — at least one every couple of weeks — between now and
the May 9 election.
Posted by gilgamesh470 on 3/12/2009 5:57:28 PM
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