Michael “Max” Nofziger, who was a former council member from 1987 to 1996 and a well-known flower salesman, will run for the 2011 City Council election. He will have to unseat incumbent Randi Shade, who is running for re-election. Shade is also facing challenges from Kris Bailey and Chris Nielsen.
After falling in love with Austin’s music scene, Nofziger decided to stay permanently in the city and started his career as a flower salesman on South Congress Avenue in 1974. It took him four unsuccessful tries, but in 1987, he finally won a city council seat in Place One. One of Nofziger's chief issues was cleaning up the environment. He served nine years as a council member and chose not to run again in 1996.
Election Day for the City of Austin is coming up in two months. But this time, Nofziger's return to the city council may not be that easy. He would have to win over a three-year incumbent who has long been campaigning, endorsing the construction of a new water treatment plant (WTP4) and light-rail lines in downtown areas.
Since Nofziger left council in 1996, he has been keeping strong ties with Austinites by building his role as an environmentalist and a big supporter of the city’s music industry.
Furthermore, as city officials were recently forced to release their emails in response to Open Records Requests, Nofziger may have ammunition to use against Shade in her re-election campaign. Her disclosed emails, which include some sarcastic comments about local environmentalists, have severely damaged her public image.
Nofziger stands on the opposite side of Shade, arguing that several city projects that Shade is supporting, such as WTF4 and the light-rail line in downtown, are a colossal waste of money.
Nofziger is now supporting the expansion of the electric vehicle industry in Austin, which he says would reap environmental and economic rewards.
The general election for the City of Austin will be held on May 14, 2011.
Here's Nofziger playing guitar and singing at a City Council meeting in 1996.