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.”

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson@galvnews.com.

(17) comments

Robert Young

Yarborough was the most informed and rational..

Debra Criss

Clearly it was a good night for Yarbrough.

Ana Draa

Indeed, Yarorough looks like a great choice. After Beeton's attack ongoing attack on all vacation rental properties over 2 bad properties (rather than demand that existing laws be enforced),,,I say anyone but Beeton!

David Collins

From your comments, I take it you weren't there.
Interesting that Yarbrough keeps saying "if you like the way things are, I'm not your guy" while he's holding a fundraiser at Rosen's house and it was Lyda Ann who talked him into moving back here to run and he's getting the endorsements of Jaworski and Crews.
Yarbrough is nothing but the latest pro public housing candidate.

Johann Ramirez

I would highly advocate removing public housing from the list of decision points for picking who you'll vote for as mayor. The State of Texas and the Federal Government have made it abundantly clear Galveston will rebuild public housing. If anything, at this point, any candidate that tries to argue against it is just pandering or exceedingly naive.

Matt Coulson

I'm sure you think it is foolish, but there is a law suit pending that May have some effect on the housing issue. The people who resent outsiders determining our future, will have a hard time voting for a pro public housing candidate no matter how experienced they are or what good people they are. I think this election is about letting money people back to the federal cash that they have been delayed access to. It may be as you say, a done deal but some would like to see the fight for what they believe is right, thru to the end. We know one candidate will do whatever is in his power to remove resistance. David vs Goliath.

Steve Fouga

I wouldn't consider voting for a person who favors public housing in Galveston, because that person couldn't possibly have the City's best interests at heart.

The City's goal should be to avoid rebuilding the housing AND get the recovery money it was promised.

Stephen Maradeo

Here's my predictions:

Yarbrough 41%
Beeton 32%
Mafridge 19%
Guzmon/provisional/misc 8%

Ellen Morrison

I have to wonder who complained about Ms. Beeton's photo being the only one on the rotating lead; there is now a montage of all of the mayoral candidates - in reverse order of dais seating.

Jeff Smith

[“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.] GDN

Why stop short. Isn't the forum the place to show views? Could the GDN please report on what he's talking about, that's a very confusing statement going into an election.

Mike Leahy

“Austin is getting crowded. Much of what Austin has to offer is a memory of what Austin used to be,”

And after Galveston becomes the hip, new Austin...it will just become a memory over time too. This pie-in-the-sky plan for the future has the seeds of its own destruction built in.

I think Ms. Beeton has not followed her own thought to it's inevitable conclusion.

Steve Fouga

I know this isn't what he claims, but isn't Yarbrough just a highly competent old-school good ole boy? A little better than recent mayors maybe, but basically a glossier version of the sort of person that Galveston always elects?

I guess that means he'll be elected.

New city motto: "Come to Galveston -- A place that never changes!"

[cool][cool][cool][cool][cool]

Miss Priss

Yarbrough was the most conceptual thinker in the forum. Beeton and Mafrige were getting too caught up in this committee or that board. Yes we all know that things get done through boards - give some ideas on how to change the areas that need it most.

Guzman was the occasional bright spot. I've never seen a person use two different cliches together with the same meeting quite like he did on the forum.

Sunseri should have popped up after the tumble she took and said..... "Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see I'm willing to do back flips for you." That should have been scrubbed from the video that got posted.

Native Galvestonian

I take exception to the lead saying that Beeton wants Galveston to become "weird". She was not saying that Galveston should adopt Austin's political persuasion. Instead, she was advocating that Galveston become a clean, safe city with a supportable infrastructure, as well as good schools.. A pleasant place to live and to raise a family. Something that Austin used to be and is no longer. Something that would appeal to young professionals.

Native Galvestonian

Anybody but Yarborough. When the county was having trouble making ends meet, he voted himself a $25,000 raise. Anybody but Yarborough.

LJ ODom

Judge Yarbrough is the ONLY rational choice. I just wish he was running for County Judge again. This county has never been so messed up.

Jarvis Buckley

By far the most articulate an informed comments on this forum is made by Jake B. Readers would
Do well to pay attention to his comments. Doesn't appear to have an agenda, seems truly concerned
About Galvestons future.

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