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Questionnaire by GSACC to Julian Castro for Mayor

 

 

Questionnaire by GSACC to Trish DeBerry-Mejia for Mayor

Questionnaire by GSACC to Sheila McNeil for Mayor


 

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

 

 

Questionnaire

 

 

Julian Castro

Mayor

 

 

1. Economic Development, Job Creation and Retention: How would you

encourage job creation and retention? Please describe the model/tools and/or

incentives you would support to boost economic development in San Antonio.

What are your thoughts on additional organized labor entering the San

Antonio region?

Top priority will be to create jobs and keep San Antonio competitive in

today’s global economy. I will work to attract and retain jobs by leveraging

San Antonio’s industry clusters in biosciences and healthcare, military,

information security, automotive manufacturing, and hospitality. I will also

focus the city’s efforts to invest in effective job training initiatives that

prepare San Antonians for jobs in growing industries. In addition, I will push

to establish stronger tax incentives and information resources for locally

owned small businesses.

As Mayor, I will also lead an effort to collaborate with school districts,

colleges and universities to set high achievement goals for academic

excellence. I will do this by supplementing their work through use of the

City’s library system, After School Challenge initiative, the Education

Partnership, and Head Start. San Antonio will aggressively pursue new

business and grow local jobs, and I am committed to keeping our city

business friendly.

2. Emergency Services: Do you believe that the City of San Antonio provides

adequate Police and Fire protection and other emergency services for its

citizens? Please explain. If additional personnel are required, what funds will

be used to pay for service enhancements?

My goal is to make San Antonio the nation’s safest big city by taking several

steps to reduce crime. First, I will work with the City Council and city

manager to add police officers and firefighters to meet the needs of our

growing city. Second, we will provide our first responders with the equipment

and resources they need to fight crime. Third, we will ensure that, no matter

where you live in San Antonio, if you or a family member dials 911 in an

emergency, our city’s first responders will respond promptly. Fourth, we will

invest in neighborhood policing initiatives, including Cellular on Patrol and the

SAFFE officer program, to forge strong relationships between our police

officers and our neighborhoods. Finally, we will invest in our police Crisis

Response Teams and in non-profits with a track record of reducing domestic

violence.

I am proud to be endorsed by the San Antonio Police Officers Association, the

San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, and the Bexar County

Deputy Sheriffs Association, because they understand that I will make San

Antonio a safer place to live.

3. Education: What role should local government have on education and

workforce issues? How can the City be involved in student mentoring and

dropout prevention programs? If additional monetary resources are being

recommended, from where will they come?

A skilled, well-educated workforce is the most essential component to making

San Antonio competitive in today’s global economy. First, the City of San

Antonio will implement the recommendations of Mayor Hardberger’s P-16 Plus

Education Council, to collaborate with local school districts, colleges and

universities on higher student achievement and dropout reduction. Second,

as Mayor I will use our exisiting assets, particularly the library system, to

supplement the work of our school districts. Third, we will focus on early

childhood education to produce a generation of San Antonians who are

kinder-ready, more likely to graduate from high school, to complete a college

or university degree program, and to take on the jobs San Antonio seeks to

attract and retain. Finally, as Mayor I will lobby in Austin for the benefit of

Texas AM San Antonio and to make UTSA a flagship university.

4. Water: What do you think about the status of water with regard to the

current drought? What is your plan to improve the quantity and quality of

water for our City and region? How will your proposal(s) be funded?

A robust, reliable water portfolio is essential to San Antonio’s economic

vitality and the quality of life of its residents. I plan to pursue additional

investment to diverse water options that make sense on a cost per acre foot

basis, including aquifer storage, desalination, recycled water, and

conservation incentives. Securing our city’s water future will require utility

rate adjustments and a Mayor who remains actively engaged in policy making

on the SAWS board. I will do so.

5. Transportation: What transportation projects would you recommend and

support in order to alleviate our traffic congestion issues? How would your

proposed projects be funded? Please share your thoughts on the

recommendations of the San Antonio Bexar County Transportation Task

Force.

I firmly believe that a well-built transportation infrastructure and a superior

mass transit system are fundamental to enhancing San Antonio’s quality of

life and keeping our city competitive in today’s global economy. Traffic

congestion is one of the biggest problems facing our city. As Mayor, I will

strategically address San Antonio’s transportation needs. This means:

improving major thoroughfares; alleviating traffic congestion along the

Highway 281/Loop 1604, IH-10 and Highway 151 corridors; investing in mass

transit; fixing neighborhood streets; building neighborhood sidewalks;

creating a citywide network of bicycle lanes; and synchronizing our city’s

traffic lights

6. Energy: Do you believe our municipally owned electric utility has done a

good job in diversifying our energy mix, including coal, natural gas, nuclear

power, wind and solar? Please share your thoughts on the importance of

each of these sources.

Maintaining a strong, diversified energy portfolio will enhance San Antonio’s

global competitiveness. CPS Energy has done an outstanding job of providing

low-cost energy to ratepayers and serving as an effective economic

development partner by offering competitive utility rates to existing local

employers and to prospective investor companies. Securing San Antonio’s

energy future will require significant investment in additional energy

resources and in energy conservation and renewable energy. I have visited,

along with CPS Energy officials, the South Texas Nuclear Project. All options,

including additional investment in the STNP, must be kept on the table as we

seek to meet our growing city’s energy needs and enhance its

competitiveness in the global economy. I look forward to being actively

engaged on the CPS Energy board of directors as it diversifies and

strengthens the utility’s energy portfolio.

7. City Budget and Finance: What are your top five budget priorities for FY

2009-2010? What is your position on increasing revenue streams for the

City to address basic city services, such as streets, drainage and other

infrastructure improvements?

Given San Antonio’s current economic circumstances, balancing the fiscal

year 2010 budget will require spending restraint and prioritization of core

functions. If elected, my top five priorities will be 1) investing in emergency

services; 2) enhancing and maintaining local infrastructure; 3) solid waste

collection; 4) maintaining parks and recreation; and 5) attracting, retaining

and growing jobs through tax incentives and workforce investment. My first

priority as Mayor will be to work with City Manager Sheryl Sculley and the

City Council to ensure that the basics of City government are well taken care

of and, at the same time, that we create economic opportunity for San

Antonio in the face of the national recession. An increase in the property tax

rate will not be necessary. However, a hiring freeze will be implemented in

non-emergency services departments to cut costs and ensure to two-year

balanced budget.