More Candidates Emerge in District 7 Race: English, Blum

Two more potential District 7 City Council candidates expressed interest in seeking election this evening, at a Town Hall forum organized by the North Austin Community Newsletter. They are Ed English and Alex Blum.

Blum told community leaders that the N Lamar area needs more police on the beat, and not just for “hotspots.” He noted that APD officers are being used as loss-prevention personnel for WalMart, at the same time that the adjacent and unpatrolled John B Connally High School has no crosswalk or sidewalk or lighted intersection.

Blum said Austin is the country’s fastest growing city, he said, and government needs to become more responsive to local communities to manage that growth.

English, a retired sales and marketing professional who lives in Milwood, was active in Austinites for Geographic Representation (AGR), the group responsible for the 10-1 redistricting amendment passed in 2012. During the redistricting process he helped organize the Northwest Austin Coalition to advocate boundaries for a far northwest Austin district (District 6). English says he is a centrist, unaffiliated with any party.

In recent public meetings, English has identified affordability and transportation as key issues. He said Austin Energy heavily subsidizes the City budget, and that this subsidy should be capped and gradually reduced so that Austin Energy can lower rates to consumers. He also favors “targeted employment opportunities”, whereby the City recruits non-tech employers to North Austin. This, English says, would broaden the job base.