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Questionnaire by GSACC to Anna María Caballero District 6

 

 

The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce 2009 City Council and Mayoral Candidates

 

Questionnaire

 

Anna Maria Caballero

District 6

 

1. Economic Development, Job Creation and Retention:

According to Forbes Magazine, in April 2008 San Antonio was awarded the

noteworthy title as being the #2 recession proof city in the United States.

Responsible and forward moving economic development is attained by recognizing

that city leaders must support the key existing contributors for jobs which are

healthcare, biotechnology, the military, information security and technology, an

emerging aerospace and engineering segment, finance, tourism and convention

business and the arts. The model that should be implemented is one that recognizes

that acquisition and retention of industry and business, occurs simultaneously. In

addition facilitating the study of future trends in job opportunities that promote highwage

skilled professions such as the “green” industry must be implemented as well.

Creating a solution oriented business model that partners with our local colleges and

universities that would provide the necessary green courses to facilitate the

promotion of this emerging industry is key. Also, this could blend into an incentive

for attracting or sustaining business by assisting with making their facilities green.

Furthermore, small business development programs supported by small business

financing through the South Texas Business Fund, partnering with our small

businesses on how to obtain government contracts, supplying small business startup

information and technical and regulatory assistance can help promote a healthy

balance between large and small business. Also, ensuring that our infrastructure

can support our business’ growth and sustainability model is critical

Our City Manager’s office can assist by creating an economic development strategic

plan that would include a focus on seeking federal funds earmarked for projects and

workforce initiatives that our city can implement. Laser focus on maintaining our

AAA bond rating is another priority. Robust communication centered on economic

development, job creation and retention on a local, state, federal and global level

should also be considered. Generating a communal sense of continuously improving

our plans and processes in order to achieve the highest standard of professionalism

no matter what our job responsibilities are will also foster economic development,

job creation and retention

Finally, I support promoting a healthy balance between organized labor and nonorganized

labor.

2. Emergency Services:

Based on the current budget, our city worked hard to maximize its resources with

providing Police, Fire and Emergency services. The current increases allotted for

Police and Fire protection will help to make our city safer and work towards an

optimal level of protection. It’s important to continue to explore efficiency gains,

however due to the needs of our citizens we must look for additional funding to

continue to build our Police and Fire protection. We should continue with the 2008

initiative to decrease unnecessary spending and earmark those funds toward public

safety.

3. Education

Local government should support early childhood education that includes

parental/primary caregiver involvement from infancy through high school.

Partnering with our schools, early childhood education programs and education

advocates will ensure San Antonio’s future is strong. In addition focus on the middle

school years by fortifying the after school challenge program for this sector should

be considered. Parks and Recreation program designs along with promotion of

public Library programs within our schools could provide avenues for supporting

these efforts. Mentoring should be everyone’s business. A program reaching out to

our business community, our retirees and our very own city employees to help

mentor our youth can be implemented. A volunteer mentoring effort would

generate minimum cost. The potential rewards are exponential.

4. Water

Understanding that water levels can fluctuate up to 20 feet (as has been the case

from 3/08 to 3/09), strategic oversight of SAWS water management plan is

essential. SAWS, whose primary responsibility is to manage and maintain water

resources for San Antonio, must be held accountable to ensure that San Antonio

continues to have the best water in both quantity and quality. SAWS has several

projects, initiatives, and programs in place that include an Aquifer protection and

evaluation plan, the underground storage system, commercial and conservation

programs that include the retrofitting of homes with water saving items in low

income areas, and drought restriction measures are but a few of the strategies

currently in place to protect our water supply.

5. Transportation

I do favor the implementation of increased commuter transportation such as the

rapid transit (BRT) design in place on Fredericksburg road from the Medical Center

to downtown San Antonio. We should also consider a light rail system along the

same corridor. I had the opportunity to witness the use of the light rail system in

the Houston Medical Center. It was greatly utilized, quick, clean and efficient.

We should also explore the option of smaller mass transit buses and the use of biodiesel

fuel to power them. This is similar to what Councilman Rodriguez has

proposed with his recommendation for alternate fuels for fleet vehicles which I am in

support of.

Smarter urban planning and partnering with the county to ensure that new

residential communities are designed with an effective traffic flow system are critical.

The key to funding these projects is to garner targeted federal funds.

The goal of the San Antonio Bexar County Transportation Task Force was to provide

an actionable recommendation for the provision of an integrated transportation

system by January 2009. In order to move forward with their findings,

communication is important in order to garner public support. Finally, based on the

fact that a new federal administration is in place the task force must press forward

with presenting its findings and recommendations at the federal level now in order

to be at the forefront for receiving available funds.

6. Energy

All sources of energy are important and worth cultivating further. CPS Energy is an

industry leader in diversifying its product and must be allowed the flexibility to

continue to do so. An open door policy communicating findings and

recommendations at the district level can prove to be effective in support of our

sustainability plan. The Strategic Energy Plan for supplying power to our city

focuses on four key objectives; increasing energy efficiency and conservation efforts,

expanding renewable energy resources, providing cost competitive electricity, and

having a strong commitment to protecting our environment. CPS currently utilizes

wind, landfill gas, and solar energy that provide 11% of our peak demands. In

addition, CPS has a goal of attaining 20% of peak energy capacity with renewable

energy resources. This will sustain their reputation as a national leader for

renewable resources. It is important that we continue to develop clean, efficient,

environmentally responsible sources of energy while keeping our economy robust

and growing more jobs for San Antonio.

City Budget and Finance

1. Police and Fire Protection

2. Enhance community resources- streets, drainage, and parks

3. Financial oversight and accountability

4. Promoting and retaining workforce, business and economic development,

5..Develop eco-friendly and environmental solutions that will in turn translate into a

green industry in San Antonio.

Increasing revenue streams will result from a careful focus on the aforementioned.

A safe city will attract and retain industry. Careful planning of the maintenance of

our infrastructure will net fewer extensive overtime. Financial oversight and

accountability will help maintain our AAA bond rating and support responsible

budget allocations. A healthy workforce will fortify the needed income stream

necessary to meet our budget. However, the economic downturn is expected to

have an affect on our city. I will be committed to an additional review of our budget

and look for any additional efficiency and economies of scale wherever possible and

use those cost savings as a revenue source.