Six candidates are vying to replace Councilwoman Diane Cibrian, who is vacating her seat for a run at the Mayor’s gavel: 22-year-old BBVA Compass Bank customer-service rep Juan Davila, 29-year-old UTSA Professor Jacob Joseph Dell, 49-year-old accountant and realtor Michael Berlanga, and 28-year-old USAA consumer-lending manager Melissa Martinez-Carrasco. Zoning Commissioner Jody Sherrill and petroleum-field retiree Reed Williams were the only two applicants who returned questionnaires.
Reed Williams, 62, worked in senior management positions in petroleum refining and marketing for 33 years before retiring in 2006.
Williams supports the construction of two additional nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project but, he says, he’s “not in favor of the CPS ratepayer assuming the construction cost risk.” He would advocate for farming out audits to private independent firms, and says that San Antonio’s water security can’t be established without reform of local water rights. Regarding the heated debates over El Mercado and Healy-Murphy Park, Williams says he distinguishes between public amenities such as golf courses that should pay their way, and libraries and parks, which he sees as a community investment.
3. Public transit At this time, I have no idea of what is the right mix of public-transit options for San Antonio. I do know that we have too many organizations and parts of organizations involved in transportation planning. We must consolidate these units before we can develop and obtain general acceptance by the public for a transportation master plan. If we can obtain acceptance for a plan, then the future transportation plan will start channeling development. Today, development is driving transportation which is driving us all crazy with congestion.
The current controversy over toll roads is a result of a failure of public finance for roads in Texas. The failure of public finance of roads in Texas is due to the lack of trust between the citizens of Texas, the financial community and TxDOT. Since the State’s portion of the fuel excise tax fund has been redirected to other State obligations, the State of Texas is collecting insufficient funds to support the construction and maintenance of the roads which Texans need. TxDOT has given up and resorted to tolling roads.
The entire transportation structure in Texas must be reworked. All financing must be removed from TxDOT. TxDOT can still provide design, construction management and maintenance functions. The decisions concerning which roads to build and how to finance them need to move to the local level. Funds from the current or an expanded fuel excise tax fund should be allocated to a consolidated local transportation agency based on definitive criteria such as population, miles traveled, and vehicles registered as equity capital. The local transportation authority is responsible for obtaining voter support for projects utilizing bond elections. First, we must know how we will pay for our roads, and then we can let the citizens decide which roads are to be built.
Zoning Commissioner Jody Sherrill, 59, is a retired officer of the United States Army and a San Antonio resident since 1993.
Sherrill is concerned about transparency and process at City Hall, which includes a concern that Mission Verde has been rushed through without adequate understanding and buy-in on the part of the stakeholders. SAWS remains too reliant on the Edwards Aquifer, he says, but on the energy side, he’s not necessarily opposed to expanding the South Texas (nuclear) Project. Sherrill is anti-digital billboards, and pro the protection of Camp Bullis.
3. Public transit If we can get the density needed to suport alternate public transit options I am for it. Currently, we do not have the needed density and the current subsidy of over 95 percent for VIA tells me that it will be an expensive option that will not eliminate enough auto traffic.
7. The City Auditor and transparency We must have more transparency at City Hall. That is one of the reasons that I am running. Far too many things are getting done behind the scences with little or not imput from other than staff. The city auditor postion is something that needs to do more than casual checks of financials. They also need the authority to audit processes, staffing, and other pertinenet areas. The position should have enough autonomy that it can look into the issues with minimum oversight by city council.