GALVESTON — Elizabeth Beeton wants to make Galveston weird.
Asked what vision she had for the city if she were elected mayor on May 10, Beeton said she saw the island becoming a young-persons city, something similar to the state capital.
“Austin is getting crowded. Much of what Austin has to offer is a memory of what Austin used to be,” Beeton said. “I see Galveston as being a destination for young people, for young people to want to live here.”
Beeton laid out her vision during a candidate’s forum hosted by The Daily News at Ball High School on Wednesday evening alongside her opponents in the mayoral race, Don Mafrige, Jim Yarbrough and Raymond Guzman.
The current council woman’s proposal was perhaps the most bold of the visions laid out by the four candidates during the hour-long forum, but was short on specific policies that could help turn the city into a mecca for young professional.
Yarbrough, too, offered a vision of a future Galveston, though his descriptions of a Seawall Boulevard with fewer parking spaces took a more practical tone. Largely, the former county judge spent most of the evening presenting himself as a sea change from the current administration at city hall.
“If you’re happy with the snapshot of where Galveston is today, I’m not your guy,” Yarbrough said, pointing to Beeton and Mafrige’s past and current service as members of the city council and other boards in recent years. “We can do better. We should do better.”
Mafrige, similarly, presented himself as professional voice on the council.
“We need to get our house in order at city hall,” Mafrige said. Part of the way to do that, he said, was to remove ordinances and restrictions that were harming the city, though he too stopped short of specifics.
Candidates had about one minute to answer questions posed to them, along with a longer closing statement.
On individual issues, the candidates said little to separate themselves. All acknowledged that some changes could be made to the seawall parking program, stopped short of taking a clear stance on their feeling on public housing and supported the idea that the city could, possibly, lower the tax rate.
The fourth candidate, Guzman, contributed some unusual moments from the night.
Guzman, a political unknown, began the night by saying he chose to run because he intended to reform the city’s water department. On subsequent questions he referred back to his frustrations about the department and some unspecified complaints about his water pressure.
Guzman also referred to his religious beliefs a number of times and at one point directly asked the audience how many believed in angels.
“There’s certain questions that I’d be a fool and made a mockery of, if I answered,” Guzman said when asked how he would help building funding for a new Pelican Island Bridge. “I don’t have all the answers. I’m looking for answers just like y’all.”