The election of Ivy Taylor as mayor was a major upset to the political establishment in San Antonio. Leticia Van de Putte was supported by all the elite politicians, the Democrat machine, and the crony lobby, but she won with the help of churches and evangelical voters who trusted her personal faith and admired her courage in voting against the so-called “non-discrimination ordinance” that created a special favored class for the LGBTQ community.
Enthusiasm for Ivy was further bolstered when she cancelled the streetcar project, something I personally appreciated a great deal. However, one could argue that the streetcar was such a political albatross at that point, that it was a raw political move rather than a data-driven choice for rational planning. Removing that divisive issue from the ballot may have saved the election for Nelson Wolff as County Judge. Indeed, it may have been done for just that purpose.
No stake has been driven through the heart of light rail in San Antonio. We all know that it is simply resting in its casket waiting for the right political moment to reemerge. For this and many other reasons, the mayor’s race is about to get interesting.
As with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the grassroots are rising up to take back their government from crony elitists and progressives who either want to take government to the radical left, fund a growing bureaucracy that doesn’t deliver important core functions, create sanctuary cities, and/or make a personal fortune off the taxpayer. This is no less the case in San Antonio and it has to stop.
Many people want government to return to the core functions that serve everyone, not just the politically connected and the elite new urbanists. The first priority of funding and effort for the city should be public safety and infrastructure. This includes adequate police coverage, adequate fire coverage, smooth streets, added road capacity in congested areas, and aggressive additions to drainage capacity.
Unfortunately, these areas of funding are boring to most elitists, who would prefer the currently planned 6,465 miles of so-called “complete streets” which often remove road capacity in order to add extra-wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and landscaping and which cost a fortune to build and maintain. Bike lanes, sidewalks, and landscaping are nice, but they don’t reduce traffic congestion and our public funds for roads should not be spent on pedestrian amenities that only account for 3% of all trips. Furthermore, these complete streets are all part of the obsession with downtown redevelopment – at the expense of infrastructure needs in the suburbs where the vast majority of people live and work.
A government that held the people in high regard would take public safety seriously, would have no interest in cronyism and massive subsidies for downtown development, and would accommodate the travel desires of the people where they live and commute. Efforts to try changing the way we travel and where we live are doomed to failure (as they have been elsewhere).
This mayor’s race, we are seeking a non-elitist candidate who will buck the establishment and focus on the core functions of government in a transparent manner. There are three Democrats running for mayor, so the question will be – which one is most focused on the needs of the people. Honest liberals and conservatives can agree on a path forward, and on a candidate for mayor. If the two sides come together, they can elect a mayor of the people and for the people, rather than for the political elite.
[Editor’s Note: There are fourteen candidates running for Mayor in the San Antonio Municipal Election on May 6, 2017. Based on past elections, most will receive less than 1% of the vote.]
Mr. Jeff Judson is a lifelong leader in the conservative movement and recent candidate for the Texas House of Representatives. His extensive resume includes leadership roles as the president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation for nine years, Olmos Park City Council member, Director and Senior Fellow for the Heartland Institute.