In an effort to inform our readers for the upcoming May 4 election, we asked all candidates running for the District 5 City Council seat how they feel about some of the West Side’s most pressing issues.
The answers have been edited for punctuation, style and egregious grammatical errors.
As a reminder, early voting begins April 22, Monday, and ends April 30, Tuesday. Visit the city’s election page for more info.
What is your job, or how do you earn a living?
I am a small business owner in District 5. My business is A&A Concepts, LLC.
What is your age?
Where were you born?
In my Council District 5 in San Antonio.
Do you live in the district? If so, what neighborhood?
Yes, Greater Gardendale.
What qualifies you to hold this position?
As a lifelong resident of District 5 and small business owner, I daily live the issues and see the needs of District 5. Due to lack of re-investment and development, I can see District 5 lacking the growth other parts of the city are receiving. I want to work with others to bring investment in our neighborhoods, economic development, and make our neighborhoods a safe environment.
What is your background in politics?
My background in politics is community involvement in my neighborhood. I have never run for office prior to this.
What is the biggest issue facing San Antonio, and how do you plan to address it? What’s one issue you feel San Antonio City Council isn’t paying attention to?
In my opinion, the biggest issue facing San Antonio is a lack of equitable growth throughout the city. For example, several council districts, including my own, lack the growth in economic development, community investment, and growth in jobs that other districts in the city are receiving. One issue I feel San Antonio City Council isn’t paying attention to is the timely execution of our infrastructure plans. I recognize the city takes community involvement and budget constraints into consideration when developing and funding infrastructure plans. However we need to find a way to execute these plans in an appropriate timeframe for our communities.
What do you think of the Alamo master plan that was approved in October 2018? What parts of the plan to you agree with? What parts of the plan to you disagree with?
I need more information and would like to hear community concerns before making a decision about the Alamo master plan. I want to be respectful of the history of the Alamo and its importance in our city. However I also want to be respectful of the current footprint of downtown.
What is your opinion of the Center City Housing Incentive Policy and its impact on the neighborhoods around downtown? What role do you believe San Antonio should play in incentivizing affordable housing?
I think the city needs to approach incentivizing affordable housing with clear, distinct goals and expectations from developers. We don’t want to reach a point where we’ve given away incentives to developers that are only providing low-income housing or high rises that further create economic disparity amongst our community.
What do you think of the City Council’s decision to not bid for the 2020 Republican National Convention?
I believe due to the overwhelming lack of support from our communities, it was the right decision for San Antonio.
What is one thing the city can do to increase transparency in local government or to better engage its citizens?
I think the city can do a better job of getting out into the communities to engage citizens and increase transparency. Too often our working class communities do not have the time or ability to go to City Hall during working hours to engage in the process.
What do you think about UTSA’s plans to expand its downtown campus? Are you worried about potential impact on the near West Side neighborhoods?
I have a lot of questions for the UTSA expansion. I’d like to know what UTSA has planned for the surrounding communities as far as engagement, job training, and overall increase in educational resources for the citizens. As a native West Sider, I’m very interested in the potential benefits but want to ensure we keep UTSA engaged with the community.
What do you think of SAHA’s plans to demolish the Alazan Courts, and replace the community with mixed-income developments like the Alazan Lofts and Tampico Lofts?
I’m concerned about the displacement for the community members. From those I’ve spoken to, they are unaware of the upcoming displacement from their homes and have no current plans for re-location. I’m not against mixed-income developments, but I want to take measures to ensure we maintain tax rates and property valuations that do not diminish the ability of the lower income families to keep their homes.*
* — The San Antonio Housing Authority plans to build mixed-income apartments in the vicinity of the courts, move residents from the courts into the new development, then demolish the courts gradually over time.
Editor’s note: District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, and District 5 candidates Nazirite Ruben F. Perez and Jilma “Jill” Davila did not respond to our questionnaire.