Bold and Thoughtful Leadership
Warm, Open Constituent Services:
Leading Boldly and Kindly: The sitting councilman has been involved in a number of problematic interactions with his constituents. (Read about some of these here: https://texasmonitor.org/san-antonio-councilman-uses-facebook-mock-activist-couple/). As your new councilman, I will champion accessibility and respect for the residents of District 8. Regardless of viewpoint or means, citizens should be treated kindly. I am not a politician entitled to this office; I endeavor instead to serve you, the public.
Traffic first starts with city planning and zoning. When properties are considered for re-zoning that will allow for higher occupancy rates, a plan should also be submitted to alleviate the additional traffic that will result.
The use of new technology should also be explored. Many shift workers have opted to use scooters to get to and from work; this not only saves them from having a $500 a month car note, but also reduces the amount of traffic. As we welcome these new solutions, we also need to make sure that these companies are good neighbors - respectful of our neighborhoods and sidewalks.
There is also an opportunity to explore railless trains, autonomous vehicles, and a host of other innovative ideas.
Property Tax Relief:
Property taxes have continued to increase year over year as the Bexar County Appraisal District has increased our home valuations each year. It's time to provide relief by instituting a homestead exemption on the city portion of your property tax. This will provide relief for all homeowners, especially those living in rapidly gentrifying areas where rising property values threaten to tax them out of their longtime homes.
To enhance economic opportunity, I would take the following 3 steps:
1 - Identify fees and/or regulations that can be reduced or eliminated.
2 - Create the Office of Internship Provision: Many of our youth attend UTSA, and they deserve the opportunity to find jobs and remain in San Antonio after graduation. I pledge to push for a new city department that matches local businesses and dynamic corporations with eager young talent from our local colleges.
3 - Develop a small business area in D8 to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of the district and drive business to local establishments.
CPS and SAWS Rates:
The city holds a monopoly on our utilities and their rates. Our City Council should be an advocate for us, the consumers. The quality of service, availability, rates, and capacity need to be thoroughly vetted. I propose that we conduct an annual review of whether or not to divest and deregulate our energy markets such as the majority of Texas has done.
Click here to see how my CPS utility bill compares to rates available in deregulated markets.
San Antonio needs a program like the successful one in Albuquerque: a program where the city meets the homeless where they are, and provides them with daily work opportunities. Albuquerque's "There's A Better Way" project transports the homeless to sites where they can work on day labor projects, such as landscape beautification and garbage collection. We can do the same here in San Antonio, all the while providing the homeless with opportunities to acquire more permanent employment and much-needed social services.
Tired of choosing the lesser of two evils? Our friends in Maine have passed and implemented ranked choice voting, a system of voting meant to allow voters to choose the candidates they actually like. I support approval voting, another system of voting which allows voters to retain their principles. The switch to approval voting will eliminate runoffs, both saving the city money and improving overall voter turnout. Learn more about approval voting here:
Freedom to Pursue Happiness:
We are all free to pursue our own happiness, and one's race, national origin, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity must never be an impediment to this right.
Under no circumstances should government have the power to force the transfer of land from a private entity to another against the will of the owner. Additionally, if a property owner is displaced through eminent domain, they should be compensated 125% of the fair value of their property to compensate for their moving expenses and inconvenience.
I am grateful to work for an organization that starts with the mission of serving our military members and their families in all that they do. We owe our active military/veterans and their families a debt of gratitude. As your councilman, I will advocate on behalf of and fight for our active military and veterans. We must also work with our local non-profits and our business community to partner together to combat veteran homelessness.
Sound mental health for all residents of D8 is a key concern of mine. To that end, we should safeguard mental health during our exploration of solutions to alcoholism, substance abuse and the growing opioid epidemic. I will champion resources for substance abuse education through local non-profits. I will increase mental health resources for law enforcement and detention facilities, so that the needs of relevant populations can be more comprehensively addressed. I will also advocate for increased partnership of the city with children's mental health non-profits. Healthy and happy youth become successful and productive adults.
Redressing the Lack of Transparency:
San Antonio's vote on Propositions A, B, and C were a referendum on our city government's transparency. I took issue with the transparency of the bonus decision process for the city manager, as well as the informal metrics previously used to make these decisions. The sitting councilman said in a January 25th Rivard Report article that "I understand that there are people out there who do not like to see public officials get paid anything". He issued this statement just after taking part in a closed door meeting on the bonus, a meeting closed to the public. I believe that the citizens should be fully aware of how bonuses for government officials get decided. Clearly, our citizens deserve more transparency on financial matters. Our City Council should be fiscally prudent, and respect the wishes of the citizens that elected them.