In Jeff Judson’s article published in the Alamo Torch a couple of weeks ago, he titled his essay, “Let’s Hope You Don’t Get What You Asked For”. He warned that if you live in the San Antonio metro area and you think traffic congestion is bad, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, the “green mayor” has a plan for you. Get out of your cars and, according to his campaign book, get ready to see city streets retrofitted to accommodate bus and bicycle lanes and “future high capacity transit” which is code for, you guessed it, the twice failed big streetcar construction boondoggle to benefit downtown dwellers and tourists. Just like San Francisco, tourists and millennials will enjoy, according to the dreamers in the city planning office and salivating construction companies, the ride around the city and River Walk sans the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, Pier 39 and other popular tourist sites in the city by the bay with the trolley cars.
A sure bet to make would be Ron Nirenberg maintaining a high national profile as the mayor of the 7th largest city. He’s already started to execute on his agenda before taking his new seat in the city council chambers, planning to sign on along with former Houston Mayor Anise Parker to the Mayors National Climate Agenda which commits U.S. mayors to “reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to supporting efforts for binding federal and global-level policymaking”.
How about setting a priority for the new Mayor and City Council members to work on an accelerated plan to offer relief on any given day of the week to commuters stalled to a dead stop or crawling along the city’s main highways on 1604, 410, 35 and 37? We’d like to know. What’s the plan? How about getting back to the negotiating table and resolving the long running contract dispute with the Firefighters who are understaffed, dealing with a shortage of ambulances and fire stations, working without a contract since 2014? How about instead of focusing on symbolic resolutions that don’t mean a thing to the city’s residents or spending taxpayer money to fund a lawsuit against the state’s anti-sanctuary city statute, Mayor Nirenberg starts rolling up his sleeves as his campaign signs depicted around the city to tackle the core functions important to San Antonians – street repairs especially proliferating potholes, traffic lights with faded street signs you can’t read or don’t exist, painted road signs so drivers know where the turn lanes are, drainage, future water planning, managing the exploding growth of newcomers to the city and growing congestion from out of control residential and commercial building construction, rising property tax assessments? Does quality of life for the current residents of San Antonio mean anything to the incoming Mayor and City Council members?
Nirenberg expressed in January that while he voted for the $3.4 billion (before interest costs) Vista Ridge water pipeline project, he remained concerned about the changing terms of the contract, the huge project’s risks and costs. Will Nirenberg do something about his concerns which are shared by many San Antonio residents now that he is mayor?
What about ethics and transparency reforms in the way the city conducts its business on zoning, condemning properties, managing oversight of the SAWS and CPS utilities? Will he openly assess and report on the performance of the Pre-K 4 SA program? What’s the program’s true cost per child and how many children and families are benefitting? According to reports, the cost of educating a pre-kindergarten child through the Pre-K 4 SA program ranges between $13,600 and $30,000 which is an outrageous amount for “glorified” day care services. The program is funded from city sales tax revenues, grants, and state funding. City voters should get an honest, open and independent audit of the true cost and performance of the Pre-K 4 SA problem. Will Mayor Nirenberg lead this audit considering the campaign endorsement he received from the program’s lead cheerleader, former Mayor Julian Castro?
A staff writer for the local paper appeared to gloat in a recent article expressing that the new Mayor is getting a unified council of mostly liberal (my word) council associates. This is apparently true judging by the background of the winning candidates in this past election. But it is hard to swallow the statement about an inclusive mayor endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. If readers don’t know about the Human Rights Campaign, it is the largest national homosexual rights activist organization in the U. S. based in Washington, D.C. Yes, the local homosexual rights group, the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio, endorsed Ron Nirenberg (also Manny Pelaez and John Courage). Candidates endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats, a local homosexual rights organization, are required to agree with the organization’s stated goals. In the contentious 2013 public hearings on the special rights for homosexuals ordinance, many from local San Antonio churches large and small, spoke out (an estimated 7 to 1) against the ordinance before the city council vote in September.
The new Mayor and City Council would do well to keep in mind that San Antonio voters are looking for results. Voters want you to concentrate on THEIR priorities – city infrastructure, lower taxes, quality of life, keeping the city’s residents safe.
The views expressed in this article are those solely of the Alamo Torch Editor, Phil Sevilla. Contact Phil: firstname.lastname@example.org