Five candidates are vying to fill the seat vacated by term-limited Councilwoman Sheil McNeil, who is running for Mayor.
Forty-six-year-old Bryant Livingston works at the San Antonio State Hospital, and serves as assistant pastor of Temple Missionary Baptist Church.
Livingston is opposed to expanding the South Texas (nuclear) Project, and supports Mission Verde’s initiatives, particularly efficient mass-transit options such as light rail. He believes the Parade Ordinance needs to make cost assessments based on size and location only, and opposes the extension of the digital-billboards pilot program. Healy-Murphy Park, he says, “should not be sold for any price.”
5. The HOT Tax I would continue to use the Hotel Occupancy Tax to support and market tourism It is important to incorporate the use the HOT funds to enhance some of our historical and cultural Jewels that attract people to San Antonio as a vacation or convention location. District 2 is filled historical sites that with the proper attention will spark interest from our visitors. I will review the proposal for a convention center expansion. With the recent swing in our economy, conventions may decrease and we need to do a cost analysis based on projected conventions to determine whether the additional space is needed.
Sixty-nine-year-old retiree Dan Martinez is known locally for his work with the San Antonio Crime Coalition and the Eastern Triangle development plan.
Martinez is against adding two more reactors to the South Texas Project because, he says, they won’t be cost-efficient, and he’s not a fan of the entire Mission Verde plan. He’s in favor of digital billboards, and would lease Healy-Murphy Park to the Salvation Army. SAWS needs more transparency and oversight, says Martinez, and crime control is the responsibility of every councilperson.
6. Economic development Local government plays a large factor in hamstringing and obstructing potential start-up business ventures due to un-necessary regulations and requirements imposed on business investors. A complete review is needed in the process to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from start to finish. We must encourage business start-ups to build our economy and provide more job opportunities.
Fifty-one-year-old Byron Miller operates an insurance brokerage out of a home office in the district. Opponent Ron Wright charged that Miller doesn’t really reside in the district, which caused the Current to notice that his application for the Edwards Aquifer Authority Board listed a thoroughly commercial address as his qualifying residence for that position `See the QueBlog, January 16, 2009: “I hear you knockin’, but you can’t come in”`. Miller maintains he has always worked-lived in District 2.
Miller says he needs to learn more about the alternatives to and real cost of expanding the South Texas Project. The city’s ethics-review process is just as important as the City Auditor position in ensuring transparent and accountable government, he says, and he favors “beefing up” our workforce development programs while expanding our information-technology and green-jobs sectors.
9. SAWS’ water development and conservation As an elected representative to the Edwards Aquifer Authority representing District 2, the Authority is engaged in issues that pertain to the quality and quantity of our water, currently we are focusing on the Recovery Implementation Plan which addresses issues relevant to endangered species, vegetation, and horticultural quality. I agree with the EAA’s initiatives that address conservation plans in which SAWS has done a good job with its conservational campaigns. We want to educate the public on the needs for alternative sources of water. While we have done quite well with our sole source in the aquifer, looking into alternative sources would help us as we endeavor to manage our great natural resource.
Thirty-eight-year-old Ivy Taylor is the Vice President-Director of Resident Services at Merced Housing Texas and a former City of San Antonio employee.
Taylor says she’s not sure light rail is a good idea because “our city’s development pattern over the last 30 years has not provided the dense clusters necessary to make light rail efficient,” but she supports the development of Bus Rapid Transit. She’s skeptical of expanding the Convention Center using HOT funds, but would like to see those monies invested in historical tourist attractions, including those in District 2. Lack of job preparedness is our biggest economic weakness, says Taylor, and as councilperson she would also work to maximize the positive impact of the Fort Sam BRAC expansion on the surrounding neighborhoods.
2. Mission Verde Yes, I do support the Mayor’s Mission Verde initiative in its entirety and when I am elected to City Council will encourage the new council and Mayor to make every effort to implement the recommendations included in the initiative.
In order to implement the specific initiatives in the Mission Verde plan, it is very important that we have a working group that involves relevant city staff and other knowledgeable members of the community to oversee the effort. Ensuring that all the city staff members embrace and understand the overall effort is key so that each of the city departments can contribute toward the effort as well. Continued public education is also important, so that the citizens can support the effort and understand any budget allocations made toward it.
I am particularly excited about the idea of the Green Jobs program. I believe that human development is a critical component of any of our efforts to improve the city and we have many citizens who could benefit from the opportunity to be trained for jobs in the emerging green sector. An example that would fit our needs in District 2 is training residents to perform weatherization and “green retrofits” on many of our existing older homes.
Thirty-eight-year-old self-employed consultant Ron Wright is a veteran of City Hall, where he worked as the transition Chief of Staff for Councilman Joel Williams.
Wright says he would put together a team of neighborhood presidents who would work with him at City Hall to ensure transparency in the bidding and contracting processes. He cites the Carrizo Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project as an example of innovative thinking, and believes that for Mission Verde to succeed, the council must unanimously support it. Like Taylor, he would like to see HOT funds invested in Eastside cultural resources.
4. Budget shortfall I would concern myself with saving the city of San Antonio money by decreasing the crime rate in our part of town. By opening (2) field offices in the districts highest crime areas we will cut the need for more police and can reassign funds that may have went to adding more police.