Fighting Back Against Big Money Influence With A New Way To Campaign

Austin, Texas   10/08/2014

Representative government is difficult, but still the best system there is.  Some may say we have been sliding toward becoming an oligarchy for some time, perhaps since the Founders were laid to rest.

Checks and balances have been put in place, and worked around.  Foreign governments are toppled by agencies and agents without a public whimper nor a care by the people we put in office.   Weapons are sold at massive events around the globe, and the companies making a profit from war have plenty to spend on political action committees. Timber companies send checks to Political Action Committees and politicians as do oil and gas firms, tech firms, etc.   I am pro business, and pro development, but the people come first.

At home, a green goal of a net zero fossil fuels electric grid seems to be the excuse to close a city-owned natural gas power plant, but land developers are already surveying the lake property on which it sits for a new golf course and high end real estate development.  Any potential Decker Lake real estate deal isn’t even public, and yet surveyors have been seen there and the city still buys power from a coal fired plant in which it owns an interest.  Electric costs for local rate payers will go up exponentially as we make and sell less power.  Rate payers would be better served by Austin Energy operating at peak efficiency, or if we sold off the entire asset and allowed competition.

Similarly, an Urban Rail system is offered by a company whose Vice President sits as the President of the city’s Project Connect – an ad hoc organization spending tax dollars to sell a bond package that benefits his employer, HNTB. There is a transparency gap, and the current city officials know it. Real estate interests are solidly behind the Urban Rail plan which will create opportunities to develop real estate around the rail line.

Local oligarchs loan big money to local political campaigns.  Loans imply payback.  Big loans imply big payback.  In Austin, the city has set spending limits of $350.00 per individual and $700.00 per married couple.  A $90,000.00 third party loan was granted to the incorporated campaign of Mayor Leffingwell and has as yet not been paid back by legal donations.  At what point is a loan really an illegal donation?  Is there a time limit?  And at what point will the public wake up and support a candidate who will seek to change the law to prohibit campaign loans?  Perhaps the public waits for the “right candidate” while the current crop continues “business as usual”.  Politics is business.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  We can and should put the creative talents of our city and state to good work in developing and defining a new way forward we can really believe in.

Let me begin to define and shed light on how we can work together for the great cause of our living American Revolution.  You are welcome to contribute and meet with me in Austin over coffee or perhaps at a conference.

My goal is to be elected to public service without taking a dime from outside my constituency, from any organization, special interest group, or company.  Why?  To prove it can be done, and set a new standard for politics where a candidate can once again stand up on a stump or interactive online soap box and get his or her points across.  The goal includes influencing people to urge their local newspapers to share the ideas of each registered candidate without declaring a front-runner based on funds solicited.  Examination, Investigation and Criticism by the Fourth Estate are paramount to preservation of any Free State.

I have always been a solid citizen and sought leadership roles from the Air Force, to the Airline, to founding my own companies and being a responsible employer here in Texas. I want to win this race not only for myself, but for a better system.  For me the Austin Mayoral campaign is almost as much a market test for (an as-yet unbranded) a new way to promote candidates, and learning experience.  Part testing the water personally, and part exploration of my cause to improve the campaign process and culture; first, by not taking in a lot of money and working with available media and forums.   The Statesman declares “front runners” as with many media outlets, based upon campaign finance reports.  I collected/donated a combined total of $750.00 so far and spent just under that amount.  My intent is to spend less than $1000.00 on the campaign and use internet resources; (adbirds political category), Youtube, this personal blog (AustinBlueDogBlog.com), and my current campaign website (www.StephensForAustinMayor.org).  I’m branding myself as; the Austin Blue Dog, as a fiscally conservative, socially liberal political moderate.

I need help getting the most out of my campaign, and would appreciate your thoughts, ideas and help if you can with specifics.  For one, I need someone who is willing to donate some creative time and video-graphic expertise to help me put up topic related videos on Youtube.  I can use those on adbirds and the campaign website. So can anyone!  We need to change the political culture of big money influence, and work with creative people who can make the ideas hit home with each demographic.

Think about this; – most media companies size up candidates by their campaign finance reports and declare some the “front runners” because they also consider the candidate a potential client. Candidates who will sell out to big money will stand out with glaring ads run during football season and graduations.  Let’s develop new tools to make that a “past practice”.  That’s one reason I created a political category on the adbirds site, so we can help others get around the big money assumptions of other media outlets.

One cannot serve two masters!  As stated in interview with the Austin Bulldog, if I am elected I will donate 100% of adbirds net profit to local charity while in office.  I will serve only the public if elected to public office.

This page may be edited.  Please come back soon for updates.

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Copyright © 2014 Randall Forrest Stephens

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AustinBlueDogBlog (herein referred to as; the Source) is a personal blog by Randall Forrest Stephens of Austin, Texas (herein referred to as the “Author”); and, not affiliated with any political organization.  Articles herein are the opinion of the Author, and intended for public use. Reprinting and online republishing is authorized by the Author provided the Source (AustinBlueDogBlog) is linked and/or cited.  Thank you for sharing my work!  Randall F. Stephens.  The Author may be contacted by phone (512) 796-6339 for comment.

About Around Austin
Randall is an Air Force veteran, business owner, aircraft mechanic and broker, owns an internet service in Austin, TX, and believes in Americans. "We can solve any problem".

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