EDITORIAL: Mayor Murphy was not laughing with us

Ever had that neighbor, classmate or relative who always thought they were just a little bit better than everyone else? Remember those folks who seem one way when they’re with you, but then you catch them making fun of you or trashing you behind your back?

Liberty Hill took another hit in the Austin media last week when Mayor Michele “Mike” Murphy was featured in the Austin American-Statesman’s Kelso column. Austin likes to laugh at the smaller communities that surround them. It makes them feel almost like a real city. Say almost Dallas, Houston or San Antonio. Just a few more million people and just maybe someday they’ll make it. Meanwhile, Austin has another round of chuckles at the expense of Liberty Hill.

The Mayor allowed herself to be photographed outside City Hall with a gavel in one hand and her guitar in the other. What was missing was the visual of a goat tied to a cinder block with a hay rope outside a falling down mobile home and some folks fighting to get on the Jerry Springer Show and the ambiance would have been clearly stated.

Most of us enjoy the Kelso column in which he generally shoots at the high and mighty and makes fun of those who need to be brought down a few notches. But in this particular offering, the writer stood back, got out of the way and let the Mayor serve up her own assessment of Liberty Hill.

To be kind, one would say that she led with her left foot and kept on leading with it until the very end of the article when she finally claimed things were getting better. In a thinly disguised political piece, the Mayor pointed out that when she first arrived in Liberty Hill, folks were burning trash in their front yards. She then stated what has been known for years and “came out” publicly as a lesbian thus implying and labeling Liberty Hill as a community that had not voted her into the office of mayor with full knowledge of facts and rumors.

She revisited a claimed conversation with the late Troy Joseph who used to volunteer his time at the City’s Information Center downtown. The columnist said he could not repeat the alleged verbal insult from Mr. Joseph because it would be offensive. Truthfully, the quote could not be verified because Mr. Joseph passed away last year. Shame, Shame, Shame.

The Mayor publicly aired other dirty laundry when she confirmed  that she, the weekly Leader, and its publishers had been sued because of a column she had written about the Canady family. She admitted it was a “mistake” and said it was because she and the Canadys didn’t get along.

Mayor Murphy didn’t stop there. She had more to say. She said the local youth soccer association President yelled at her when the City billed the club for water usage at City Park.

In fact, the Mayor said she gets yelled at a lot by her general public. But she said she is able to survive all this persecution because she once sang in an all-male country music band and waited tables. So if you can survive sexual harassment and the tawdry environment of a hillbilly juke joint—you can also put up with the voters and taxpayers in Liberty Hill.

Perhaps the shrillest, silliest of all the statements came when the Mayor said she often tells citizens that the reason Liberty Hill has to pay several million dollars to acquire a wastewater treatment plant is because “your grandma didn’t do it.”

Grandmothers are those of three generations ago. Liberty Hill was not even a city. We don’t recall women of three generations ago being in the driver’s seat for making local political decisions.

One has to ask what purpose was served by these statements to the press down in Austin?

Will there be some major multi-national corporation lured to this community to help create a stable tax base? Will some major employer want to hire people who burn their trash in their front yards or yell at the mayor? In fact, will businesses with capital want to invest in a community where the mayor and one of the newspapers have been sued for libel and slander? Will Austin families who are tired of the crime, overcrowding and high taxes want to move here now? Will the parents with kids who love to play soccer want to buy a home from one of our real estate brokers if the mayor is fussing over who is going to pay to water the grass seed at City Park? No, they’ll move to Leander.

The Mayor said the column was intended to be funny. She doesn’t view it as a negative reflection of Liberty Hill.

We disagree. We didn’t laugh.

The Mayor’s statements did not improve this community’s chance to grow and develop. In fact, the attempt to be clever hurt Liberty Hill.  Everyone knows that Mike Murphy  is a smart lady who says she wants to do good things. But, it seems she wants Austin to see her as some kind of persecuted missionary to the barbarians of the Shin Oak Ridge.

Clearly Mayor Murphy wants to be a star in Austin, but the gig is here in Liberty Hill. The future is crying out for direction and leadership. Poking fun at us won’t fix the infrastructure, tax base and the need for jobs and sustained growth.


  1. Jennifer Pollastro says:


  2. eric says:

    It clearly looks like the same speak that come from someone that moves in from a larger city like Austin to a rural area. People here in Liberty Hill have certain ways of doing things and maybe to an outsider they may be strange, but to the people living here it’s the life they have grown accustom to. Maybe someone should visit with the neighbors and see what needs to be changed instead of having them scream at you during meetings that are not posted so the community can sit in and listen.

  3. sara says:

    the independent continues to do a disservice to the community by fueling the fire between different factions. anyone not in step with King Charles is the enemy. it would be nice to focus on facts for a while and see how it plays out

  4. LH Resident says:

    I’m sure other “South Austin lesbians” really got a chuckle out the article. Why doesn’t she just put an ad in the Chronicle if she wants a date?

  5. i understand that because of our MAYOR?, j.kelso now considers liberty hill the g ateway to briggs! way to go MAYOR a real positive spin. and since you want to continue to talk about troy, you have no idea how many lives that man changed, for the good i might add. troy helped many a youth. you might have a knack for music , but troy knew how to change a life!!! look at your greatest accomplishment sinse being in office, you created an ethics policy. but you can’t get your new council members and ONE carry over member to enforce it,GOOD JOB!. MICHELLE, and i say that because mayor is a joke!!! AUSTIN wants to be weird . the people here want to be left out of your B.S. HYPE.

  6. Kay says:

    I wish the mayor would quit using her sexualorientation as a part of her smoke and mirrors tactics. It seems that everytime she does something destructive to our community she always leaves that issue in the background. That way when it gets to hot for whatever mischief or mayhem she created by her misuse of public communications avenues she can play her sexual orientation card. Poor misunderstood critter…instead of bashing Liberty Hill and members of the community – why didn’t she use her Kelso space to talk about gay and lesbian issues if that’s so important to her? I think it’s more important to look at the fact that she cannot seem to have a sustainable relationship male or female.

  7. ann says:

    We have watched city politics from the beginning. We DO burn trash in the yard when allowed to, along side the chicken yard and goat shed. So what! I was not offended by the article because it is just the words of one mayor who will serve her term and move on. She was the one interviewed and spoke freely, at her own perile it seems, as our constitution allows. Get over it, ya’ll. Your mock horror is what truley makes it all seem worse than it is.