See, Callie Enlow won't be kicking council members around anymore (or, more honestly, lightly tapping them until they return my phone calls). That doesn't mean they won't get a swift one to the groin from Elaine Wolff or Greg Harman semi-frequently, but I will primarily be annoying bands and maybe a film distributor or two for the Current starting very soon.
So, unless council members John Clamp and Elisa Chan make good on that reggae duo they've been threatening*, I probably won't be writing about them or their colleagues too much. With much heaviness in my heart this morning did I watch our City's deciders struggle to outdo one another in thanking every single city department manager who presented today. How much time would they save if they didn't do this, wondered my colleague in the media box. Shh. The council ways are not for us to understand, but only for us to deeply appreciate. I may even have squeezed a little tear when Mary Alice Cisneros halted council business to tell them about taking her granddaughter to see Ramona and Beezus this weekend and what a fine film it was, fine enough for her to recommend the book version to the San Antonio Library's reading program. Or something. I don't know, I was laughing too hard.
But, council did manage to discuss and effect something particularly important today. They passed (unanimously, duh) an ordinance adopting the FY 2010-2011 Community Development Block Grant that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) doles out annually. The grants are meant to assist local governments in improving low-income housing and communities. This year, San Antonio received $16,191,955.57 total for public service, housing and neighborhood revitalization projects. Many private groups received funding for neighborhood revitalization. The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center received $337,319 for their Rinconcito de Esperanza, in the old Ruben's Ice House and an adjacent building on Colorado Street. Graciela Sanchez, executive director of the center and perpetual mistruster of government appeared at City Council just to make sure there wasn't any last minute reversals. She spoke, calling the “little corner of hope” the gateway to the Westside and promising big plans to improve and expand the fotohistorias del Westside oral history project, create an organic farmer's market for the surrounding community, install solar panels and a water cistern, and build a storefront for the center's Mujerartes pottery collective at their casita on Guadalupe and El Paso streets. Other than the Esperanza, the other big gainer was supposed to be the Eastside Eye Care clinic, operated by the UIW School of Optometry, but District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor told council she learned just yesterday the clinic had been delayed “a year or two.” So the $725,330 earmarked for that project was split between several Eastside needs, including $200,000 for sidewalks in Government Hill, $125,000 for the Myra Davis Resource Center, $150,000 for the Ella Austin Community Center, among other projects. Ten other projects throughout the City received additional funding as well.
Still, as District 3 Councilwoman Jennifer Ramos reiterated, “over $42 million worth of need in San Antonio was applied for.”