Politics can be a strange game. And observers of the game need look no farther than Mission where a vocal city hall critic for the last four years, Bill Nichols, is now supporting the former mayor for county commissioner.
Nichols is known for his website, SaveMission.net, that has been a focal point for criticism of city government. Often at the point of the criticism was former Mission Mayor Laura McConwell and former city administrator Mike Scanlon. Now, Nichols is not only backing McConwell in her run for the county commission, but he is actively recruiting people to place signs for her.
Nichols, also known for videotaping city council meetings, started the site in 2010. The city’s Transportation Utility Fee (TUF), known as the “driveway tax” to opponents, was the impetus for Nichols to create his site and vocally oppose a number of city initiatives. “The driveway tax: that’s what set me off,” Nichols says. He helped organize a march on city hall over the issue.
Nichols and a core group also were critical of the city on other issues – especially around funding – including the rebuild of the city pool, the Johnson Drive (west of Lamar) and Nall Avenue projects. Nichols says, he was “never against Laura McConwell” but against some of the initiatives she backed as mayor. And, he never questioned her leadership abilities, he says. “She is good at gathering people (around an idea).”
Nichols also wants to see Mission represented on the commission and McConwell, he says, has been the face of Mission for the last decade. When he sent out a recent email to his group announcing his support for McConwell, many of the people in his group couldn’t believe it – and he got some pushback, he says.
In the recent city election, Nichols ran for city council and was beaten by incumbent Suzie Gibbs. He also was a strong supporter of newly-elected Mayor Steve Schowengerdt. No longer videotaping at council meetings, Nichols, 74, is leaving his website up. “But, it’s a whole different ball game,” he says of the city with new council members, administrator and mayor. And the postings have slowed down since the April election, but not stopped.