Questionnaire by GSACC to Ivy Taylor District 2
The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce 2009 City Council and Mayoral Candidates
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
• 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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-
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
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
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.