The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

City Council Endorsements

So apparently there's a city election happening just around the corner. Because of this, I thought I'd give you my endorsements. Now we don't have the amount of readership that other blogs like Kuff, Greg, or the Burnt Orange Report have, but if any of you were interested in who I would vote for, here you go.

I won't be endorsing in every race, in Districts 1,4,5, and 9 unless the frontrunner gets caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl (vice-versa for District 5 Councilwoman Patti Radle), they are going to win. I also can't get my head around the District 2 race. Joel Williams seems to be a polarizing figure in the district- even though he doesn't belong to the clique that had a member convicted on bribery charges- and Sheila McNeil seems to have the experience and the institutional support to field a credible campaign. This race may hinge on which candidate does the best job of outreach in the Hispanic and White communities.

I also don't have a set criteria that I apply for endorsements, but I can give you a general framework. As Sam Seaborne once said long ago, "The first think I look for is a mind at work." Hands down, no puppets. Which leads into a second requirement, you can't get my support if you're the business-as-usual candidate at City Hall. City Government needs to be reformed drastically and being another figurehead for developers and firms looking for another plum city contract won't get you anywhere with me. You need to be ethically clean. You must actively engage the electorate and your priorities must be the people's priorities. There's a reason I like the story of Cincinnatus. Finally, you need to do enough to be a serious candidate.

My endorsements are as follows:

District 3- Roland Gutierrez

If I were to live in District 3, Gutierrez would get my vote. Gutierrez is an active, aggressive campaigner who has some very good ideas in his head. Gutierrez led a massive push to put proposition 13 on the ballot and looks to be a sound fiscal steward of the citizen's money. Finally, a major plus for Gutierrez is his opponent. Ron Segovia exemplifies all that is wrong ethically with the most recent councils. His two years (is that all its been?) in office have been rife with abuse charges and police investigations. That's the last thing we need from a public servant in San Antonio right now. Interestingly enough Segovia, the retired 28-year police veteran, did not receive the endorsement of the San Antonio Police Officer's Association. The endorsement went to Gutierrez; that should tell you something right there.

District 6- Larry Romo

Out of the eight candidates in this race, four could be classified as serious. Out of those four, two- Larry Romo and Ray Lopez- have put in the time and extended effort needed to really win this race. What separates Romo from Lopez however is his commitment to grassroots organizing and putting the people first. Romo has actively engaged the electorate, knocking on close to 6,000 doors by himself- not including any doors knocked on by volunteers. Romo has also built a campaign- from contributions, volunteers, and platform- from the people up. Because of his efforts, Romo has been endorsed by the San Antonio Firefighter's Association, the AFL-CIO, the Bexar County Deputy Sheriff's Association, and Sheriff Ralph Lopez.

Ray Lopez on the other hand seems to be the business-as-usual candidate. He is supported by developers and those firms seeking public contracts that rely closely on their ties to City Hall. Lopez has also had some problem following Texas laws and ethics rules. Lopez held a illegal raffle in '04 and seems to have made an accounting error in his last finance report, misappropriating nearly $4,000. In an era at City Hall where City Councilpersons have been regarded as largely unresponsive to community needs, District 6 deserves a Councilman like Larry Romo.

District 7- Elena Guajardo

District 7 is the toughest race to hand an endorsement out in. There are three serious candidates running- Elena Guajardo, Noel Suniga, and Cynthia Test. All three are quality candidates, but one of these three stands out. Elena Guajardo has built a grassroots, progressive campaign based on quality leadership. Her work with the League of Women Voters, Catholic Family and Children's Services, Respite Care of San Antonio, NOW, the San Antonio Affirmative Action Advisory committee, and the Human Rights campaign leaves no doubt in my mind that Guajardo will be a voice for the people. Once again it seems as if District 7 will have more than adequate representation.

District 8- Art A. Hall

This race isn't as competitive as the other four, but I figured since I live in this district and since Hall faces four candidates it wouldn't hurt to say some nice things about him. My flirtation with Hall extends all the way back to his mayoral bid in '01. Torn between voting for Hall or Garza I actually didn't make up my mind until I put marker to paper and filled in the dot next to Garza's name. Hall has done a extremely good job of representing his district. He has built up enough across the board support that Hall can garner the endorsement of the Sierra Club AND still receive max donations from people like William Kauffman and the Zachrys. There's no smarter person on City Council today than Hall and there is no incumbent City Councilman more deserving of re-election than Art A. Hall.

District 10- Chip Haass

Chip Haass is another young, dynamic leader deserving to be re-elected, and in almost any other district his re-election would be relatively assured. But Haass represents one of the two most conservative city council districts in SA and he has an opponent who knows exactly what to say to rile up the conservative base. Haass however, has represented his district extremely well and has all the advantages that incumbency brings with it. Haass also knows how to win tough elections, he was anything but the favorite in '03. Haass has been endorsed by the San Antonio Police Officer's Association and the San Antonio Firefighter's Association, and deserves his 2nd term at City Hall.

Tomorrow I'll give out my Mayor's endorsement.