Before you get your Fiesta on (which starts April 18, by the way), and then vote in the municipal election, why not catch up on some of our city’s most pressing issues?
Dorćol Distilling + Brewing Co. and the Heron are teaming up for three community discussions in April that cover government transparency and public engagement; digital inclusion; and property appraisals.
We’re calling the series EngageSA, and all events will be held 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays from April 3-17 at Dorcol, 1902 S. Flores St.
Here are the details.
April 3: Government Transparency & Public Engagement
In January, when the City Council adopted the Public Participation Guiding Principles, it was seen as the city making strides toward a more open and transparent government, and a guidepost for how to give San Antonians more opportunities to participate in the public process. During this panel, we will discuss to what degree will the new guidelines be followed. Are they enough, or are more needed? Is there such a thing as too much public involvement when it comes to crafting citywide policy?
» District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval crafted the set of guiding principles for how San Antonio can increase public participation and transparency in local government that were adopted by City Council in January.
» Cynthia Spielman helped launch the Tier 1 Neighborhood Coalition, which was formed 2½ years ago when downtown area communities felt their neighborhood plans were being altered without their input during the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan process.
» Jeff Coyle, Government and Public Affairs Director, city of San Antonio, serves as the city’s chief lobbyist and spokesperson.
Moderated by Heron Editor Ben Olivo.
April 10: Digital Inclusion
Internet connectivity in San Antonio still has a ways to go. In this panel, members of the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio will expand on the organization’s objectives (public policy, connectivity, devices, sustainability and training) and their efforts to shorten the city’s digital divide—an economic and social inequity that creates a gap between people who have the skills and access to fully embrace broadband, communications technology and services, and those who do not.
» Jordana Barton, Senior Advisor of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, supports the Federal Reserve System’s economic growth objectives by promoting community and economic development—her focus areas include the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), digital inclusion and the digital economy, workforce development, and financial education.
» DeAnne Cuellar, State Director of Older Adults Technology Services, is a digital equity advocate and communications strategist from San Antonio.
» Munirih Jester, Connecthome Coordinator for the San Antonio Housing Authority, is a former Google Fiber / NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellow who now runs the ConnectHome program for the San Antonio Housing Authority.
» Craig Hopkins, Chief Technology Officer, city of San Antonio, spent more than 20 years at USAA leading efforts in customer service, digital transformation, corporate strategy, information technology, procurement and innovation.
Moderated by Maria Luisa Cesar, Greater Good Stories Consulting Firm
April 17: Property Appraisals
Property appraisal season is upon us. The Bexar County Appraisal District is scheduled to mail out property appraisals April 1, and the values of the neighborhoods close to downtown are expected to continue their skyrocketing pace. Why is this happening? How does the property appraisal process work? Will a city-initiated study of the process yield tax relief for property owners?
Michael A. Amezquita, Chief Appraiser of the Bexar Appraisal District since 2003, will have a conversation with Olivo about this topic.