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Questionnaire by GSACC to Ivy Taylor District 2


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Questionnaire by GSACC to Byron Miller District 2 

 

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

 

 

Questionnaire

 

 

Ivy Taylor

District 2

 

 

1. Economic Development, Job Creation and Retention

As Councilperson, I would support economic development in San Antonio

through a variety of means. While we want to attract large companies and

businesses, we must recognize that a majority of our businesses in San Antonio

are small businesses. As Councilperson, I would support the growth of small

businesses through the following methods:

• Continuing programs that facilitate business enhancement such as the

Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization program.

• Focusing on workforce development issues to ensure that our citizens are

well educated and prepared to work at existing businesses or start new

businesses.

• Addressing quality of life issues in neighborhoods where small businesses are

located (i.e. crime, trash, dilapidated housing)

In addition, it will be imperative to continue addressing the many issues outlined

in this questionnaire: education, water, transportation and reliable, affordable

energy. If we fail in these critical areas, then San Antonio will not be a place

where business can thrive whether they are large or small.

In addition, as Councilperson, I would work with City Staff to develop a

communication mechanism that would ensure that the City is aware of the needs

of our large anchor businesses in town in order to avoid further corporate

relocation. Depending on the economic impact of the business, it may be

necessary to provide a variety of incentives in order to retain a large company in

town. This might take the form of a “client management” system similar to

those used by large companies.

In general, I support organized labor. Unions are largely responsible for the

creation of the middle class over the last several decades. My father was a

member of a union which enabled him to provide a decent quality of living for

our family and which also provided a college scholarship for me. In this new

global economy, however, labor unions must adapt. If union demands make it

economically infeasible for businesses to thrive and make relocation to other

areas a more viable option, then no one will be happy with the outcome.

2. Emergency Services

While I know that the men and women of the SAFD and SAPD work hard to

ensure our safety on a daily basis, I believe that there is room for improvement

in relation to provision of those services.

In relation to SAFD, some of the outer suburban areas of our city can definitely

be better served. There are more than ten extended response areas where fire

and emergency services cannot meet their ideal response time. These factors

should be strongly weighed in making decisions about annexing outlying areas.

Ideally, SAFD would be able to meet the same standard for response time across

the city. In addition, it is not acceptable to cut services in the inner city areas in

order to meet the needs in the outlying areas.

For the SAPD, the current City Council has already identified as a priority hiring

50 additional police officers with the Federal Stimulus funds. Should these funds

become available, I would be in favor of this proposal. If the entire amount of

stimulus funds is not available, then I would work with the City Manager and City

Council to budget for a smaller increase in officers each year. I believe that it is

critical to ensure that while we have enough police and effective police, that our

police force must understand and work with community members.

3. Education

Local government should take an assertive role in education and workforce

issues. San Antonio cannot be a competitive city if a large number of our

citizens are not prepared for jobs. Low literacy and lack of higher education

make it difficult for many of our citizens to compete for jobs. Local government

can serve as the convener for collaborative efforts to help reduce our dropout

rate, increase our literacy rate and make higher education accessible to more of

our citizens.

The City has already been involved in mentoring and dropout prevention

programs. As Councilperson, I would advocate for continued efforts and support

successful programs like the San Antonio Education Partnership and the Reach

Out to Drop Outs initiative. The City can work with organizations like the

Chamber of Commerce to encourage businesspeople to become involved in

mentoring. It is also the City’s responsibility to work with school districts to

make after school and summer learning opportunities available to as many

children as possible.

4. Water

It is important to recognize the great strides our citizens have made in regard to

water conservation. As a member of City Council I would continue to support

education and incentive projects in this regard. Many of the initiatives outlined

in the Mission Verde plan will help in this regard, by implementing new

development codes that will mandate greater water saving measures in new

construction. I would encourage the new City Council and Mayor to move

forward with many elements of the Mission Verde proposal. I would also

consider supporting a decision to lower the trigger level to begin water use

restrictions when the aquifer drops to a certain point. If it became necessary, I

would also support the City purchasing more permit rights to water from farmers

who are willing to sell. If the science proves that it would be successful, cloud

seeding is a remedy that I would support in order to increase rain in the region.

It would be necessary to work closely with SAWS to identify the funds necessary

for purchasing additional rights and to implement cloud seeding.

In relation to water quality, we must limit industrial commercial construction and

development over the recharge zone to protect our water quality. As

councilperson, I would also work to insure that the most advanced water

management practices are followed in regard to detention ponds in recharge

areas.

5. Transportation

I would strongly advocate for a focus on inner city development and

redevelopment as a solution to our traffic congestion issues. While this is not a

transportation project, I believe that it can have an impact on traffic congestion.

As noted in the San Antonio Bexar County Transportation Task Force report to

the Mayor and County Judge, our decisions regarding land use have a huge

impact on transportation issues. I believe that redeveloping existing land in the

inner city is an important step in the right direction that will allow us to efficiently

utilize our existing public transportation provided through VIA.

I believe that the collaborative effort embodied by the San Antonio Bexar County

Transportation Task Force is the type of approach necessary to tackle our

transportation challenges. One of the most important recommendations is for

the development of a comprehensive regional transportation plan and shared

vision. As councilperson, I would work to ensure that such as plan would be

developed with significant public input and opportunities for public education on

transportation options. All of the entities and jurisdictions involved should help

to underwrite the cost of the development of such a plan.

I would also support the continuation of the Transportation Task Force to

continue addressing our transportation challenges.

6. Energy

I believe that we should devote significant effort to renewable sources of energy

such as wind and solar. But, while the move to alternative energy is crucial, we

still have to deal with existing nuclear and fossil fuel sources.

At this point, I am skeptical of investing in nuclear power. However, I recognize

that even if CPS does not become a partner with NRG Energy in the proposed

expansion of the South Texas Project, the expansion will still occur, and CPS may

have to purchase power from that plant in the future, if a shortfall is not met by

other energy sources. But, because there are so many uncertainties, I

acknowledge that it would be unwise to take any options off the table at this

point.

As a member of City Council, I would support and promote the CPS Vision 2020

plan, a blueprint for the transition to sustainable energy, and the Save for

Tomorrow energy conservation effort. Conservation cannot be overlooked as a

critical component of our efforts. For example, we can look at the success that

SAWS has had in convincing our citizenry to conserve water. As councilperson, I

would work to promote that same principle in relation to energy conservation.

7. City Budget and Finance

Over the last several years, the City budget has continued to focus on the

provision of basic city services. During these volatile economic times, it is

difficult to predict what the scenario will be over the next year. San Antonio has

been fortunate in not receiving the full impact of the economic downturn,

specifically in relation to our housing market. In addition, we are fortunate to

have a very high bond rating. Protecting our fiscal stability would be a priority

for me as a councilperson.

With the information that I have today, my top five budget priorities for FY 2009-

2010 include:

1. Continued focus on public safety through police and fire. Increase in number

of officers and firemen to acceptable level for a city of our size.

2. Infrastructure development and maintenance. Focus on street repairs ,

drainage improvements and sidewalks in areas of the city that have been

overlooked.

3. Improved Neighborhood Services. Focus on quality of life issues that may

impede economic development and negatively impact small businesses as

well as residents.

4. Workforce Development and the Green Economy. Finding ways to link green

initiatives and sustainability issues to citizens who are seeking viable

employment.

5. Human Development. Continuing to support efforts that move vulnerable

citizens toward self-sufficiency and family stability.

I believe that the City should continue to creatively and efficiently use the

revenue streams created through certificates of obligation and revenue bonds to

support our continued infrastructure needs. The City was recently very successful

in winning voter approval for the 2007-2012 Revenue Bond program. In

addition, the current Council also approved a 5 year Infrastructure Management

Program and Park Maintenance program which has specifically designated funds

for repair of streets or maintenance of parks. Hopefully, the economic climate

will improve so that we will be able to issue a bond in 2013 to continue to

support the efforts to maintain our infrastructure.