1. Do you support the addition of two new nuclear power plants to the South Texas Project to meet our future energy needs? If not, please describe the alternatives you favor. If so, please explain your position or philosophy on the long-term storage of nuclear-fuel waste.
I do not support the addition of two new nuclear power plants to the South Texas Project, because we can not safely store Nuclear waste. My alternatives are Solar power plants and Wind Farms. These are safe, renewable, and they are effective.
2. Do you support Mayor Hardberger's Mission Verde initiative in its entirety? If so, what do you see as the most critical steps council must take to implement it successfully? If not, do you support any of its provisions, and why (not)?
I support Mayor Hardberger's Mission Verde initiative in its entirety. I think the most critical steps council must take in order to successfully implement it is Accountability and Leadership. We need someone on council who is going to provide the leadership to get it moving forward and we need someone on council who can be accountable for its progress. It will be critical to provide this and I will be someone on council(If elected) who will provide the leadership and accountability necessary in order to get Mission Verde well on its way.
3. What is the right mix of public-transit options for San Antonio’s future, and what do you think is the best method to fund/maintain each element?
I think the right mix of Public-Transit options are Light Rail, HOV Lanes, and Road expansion. I think if we do all of these we will have a smooth flow to the way our traffic flows in San Antonio. I think the best method to fund/maintain each element is through our General Fund.
4. If San Antonio faces a budget shortfall, where would you be willing to make budget cuts?
My priority would certainly be to try to avoid budget cuts and make it a last resort. If we have to make cuts I would look to make cuts in all departments but NOT police and fire departments. I think all our city departments should tighten their belts if the situation arises but I think we need to stay away from our Police, Fire and EMS.
5. What are your top spending priorities for the HOT tax? Would you support a recommendation to use some of those funds to expand the Convention Center?
My top priorities are Public Safety, Infrastructure, Economic Development, and General Services(You, Seniors, Homelessness, Parks, and Libraries). I would only support a recommendation to use some of the funds to expand the Convention Center if it would create jobs and help our economy move forward.
6. Please briefly describe your conception of San Antonio’s economy, its strengths and weaknesses, and what you would do to build on the former and address the latter?
I think San Antonio has been lucky in some respects because we have not been hit like other Major cities. I feel we are now feeling the economic downturn but I think San Antonio's strength is that it has the opportunity to avoid falling back and instead move forward. As far as a weakness, the only weakness I see is that our revenues are down. I would certainly look to build San Antonio's economy by creating green jobs, creating infrastructure jobs, providing help for small businesses, and making sure that we get the most out of every dollar we spend.
7. Keeping in mind the playground scandal, the Healy-Murphy Park sale, and the El Mercado flap, how would you increase accountability and transparency at City Hall? Specifically, would you change the role or method of choosing a City Auditor, and his/her scope of authority?
The next council needs to get together and look at the way we choose a city auditor. My recommendation would be to keep what it states in the City charter in regards to leaving it up to the Council to hire a City Auditor, but we need to change the leverage the auditor has. I think that we need to have more accountability and transparency at City Hall, and we can do that by providing a lot more information to the public, and continue to keep the public informed on major issues.
8. Do you support extending the digital-billboard pilot program? If so, what restrictions, if any, would you recommend on their placement and use?
I am against digital-billboards, because I think they take away from our city. They are a distraction to drivers, and I am against extending the program.
9. Do you support SAWS' current plans to secure San Antonio's water supply? If so, please explain why. If not, please explain what you believe they should be doing differently.
I support SAWS' efforts because it is a well rounded plan to secure our water supply. It provides adequate water supplies, it promotes use of non-Edwards Aquifer supplies, and it has San Antonio's future in mind.
10. Please briefly describe how you financially support yourself. How will you balance your work demands with your council responsibilities? Do you foresee any conflicts of interest between your profession (or former profession, if you're retired) and a position on council? If so, how will you handle these?
I will balance my school with my council responsibilities much like I am now with the campaign. I don't have any conflicts of interest, and I know that I can devote the time and effort to serve our city.
11. What is your opinion regarding the Parade Ordinance that is the subject of the Free Speech Coalition lawsuit? Specifically, what fees, if any, should the city charge for parade permits? Should they distinguish between types of applicants and events, and if so, how and by whom should those decisions be made?
I think that we need to make the fees more reasonable. We certainly can't make it difficult for individuals to gather and use their 1st amendment right. I think we should distinguish between types of applicants and events and those decisions should be made by our City Council.
12. Please briefly describe your philosophy toward the maintenance and funding of publicly owned and/or operated spaces such as golf courses, libraries, parks, and El Mercado. Should these entities break even, make a profit, or be viewed as investments with tangible returns? Please propose a solution for the issues surrounding either Healy-Murphy Park, El Mercado, or La Villita.
My philosophy toward funding would be using our Hotel Occupancy Tax, and General Fund. I feel that the entities should make a profit and bring back into our city. Healy-Murphy Park needs to stay a park and needs to be redone in an effort to keep that community together. Many in that area depend on that park and want to keep it. And as far as El Mercado, and La Villita they are not for sale!
13. If we've failed to raise a question or issue that you feel represents your values and priorities as a candidate, please discuss it here.
I would like to say that I know that I am a young candidate but I know that I can bring accountability and leadership to the table. Many residents support me because of what I bring to the table and do not look at my age as a factor. When I entered this race I thought my biggest hurdle would be convincing voters that it is not about my age but my answers to the problems facing District 7. And it has been shocking to me that there are many folks out there who are not looking at my age but rather what I will look to do for them. I have felt a warm response from the community in District 7 and I am very proud of my District. I encourage everyone who wants to know what I am all about to visit my website www.robertgaribay.com.