Questionnaire by GSACC to Mary Alice Cisneros District 1
The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce 2009 City Council and Mayoral Candidates
Mary Alice Cisneros
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?
I support Mayor Hardberger’s program for company retention. I will continue to
emphasize ongoing city relationships with existing businesses in addition to
economic development and industrial attraction. It is important to keep San
Antonio efficient with quality municipal services with as low a tax burden as
possible. The One Stop Business Center should be well funded and well staffed.
Small businesses are the foundation of our business sector. There should be
particular emphasis on the role of small business. San Antonio should continue to
work with the local chambers of commerce in developing small business
strategies. We need to be attentive to the infrastructure that business needs
such as: an efficient road way system, adequate air routes, cargo facilities, and
communication and broadband connections. Cites that are attentive to the
support infrastructure that business needs will find themselves attractive to
retain existing businesses, grow existing businesses and attract new business.
I value worker rights and legitimate labor representation plays a part in securing
adequate wages and enhancing the training of the labor force. There is a
responsible role for labor representatives in San Antonio’s business.
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?
We can always do better in extending fire and police protection. I support the
steady addition of fire and police manpower and regard it the top priority for city
funds. In a city that is growing both in population and geographic extent it is
imperative that we have a systematic schedule for adding fire stations, police sub
stations, and manpower to staff them in every part of the city.
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?
Local government’s role should be directly involved with local education
institutions. Even in a city where municipal officials have no statutory
responsibility for schools, I believe that stewardship of the city’s future requires
engagement with the local schools. In a city with 13 different school districts that
touch the city limits, the elected leaders of the city at large must bring focus to
human capital development, including K through 12 education, magnet schools,
early childhood education, community college initiatives, workforce training, and
quality higher education. These institutions should share resources with local
districts to foster student mentoring to reduce the dropout rate.
These institutions should serve parents and families of local students in a manner
that serves their educational and training needs. Utilizing this approach promotes
the need for job training and makes educational services more accessible to the
residents of the City of San Antonio. Workforce clusters should be used to
address educational and employment opportunities that will ensure youth and
residents at large greater employment opportunities.
Local leaders must pursue every available means of funding including enhanced
state formulas, federal funding, local bond issues, special tax instruments, and
private initiatives such as the San Antonio Education Partnership.
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?
As one of the largest cities in the nation dependant on an underground aquifer
for its water supply, San Antonio must be especially attentive to water resources
in order to sustain its trajectory of growth. A first step is protecting the Edwards
Aquifer against potential threats of pollution or over pumping. It is also
imperative that San Antonio pursue other water sources, including, surface water
development and inter-basin transfers. Even as these measures are taken,
utilizing state of the art reuse technologies, it is important that San Antonians
conserve water, especially in times imminent drought, in order to mitigate the
San Antonio must creatively develop financial resources to meet our water
needs, including state bonding and federal infrastructure funds. We anticipate a
more active state and federal role in addressing Texas’ pressing water challenges
and San Antonio must be part of that equation.
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.
We must keep San Antonio’s freeway and major arterial system functioning. It is
evident from the experience from other cities in Texas and fast growing
communities across the nation that when cities do not build transportation
capacity to support growth the result is greater congestion, higher costs of
travel, more time in transit, and lowered productivity.
Funding for San Antonio’s transportation projects should include systematic bond
programs for the city and county, a fair share of state allocations, federal
transportation funds, and such revenue producing systems such as toll roads
only if approved by the voters.
6) Energy: Do you believe our municipally owned 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.
CPS has done an excellent job of producing adequate energy reserves to support
the City’s growth at competitive prices. San Antonio’s energy availability and
rates are a distinct advantage in attracting industries and new businesses. CPS
provides a mix of energy sources which enhances energy reliability and energy
efficiency. Going forward it will be important to strengthen the diversity of
sources as well as to intensify energy conservation efforts.
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
My top five budget proprieties for FY 2009-2010 are:
1. Enhanced police personnel;
2. Expanded fire department;
3. Ease of traffic flows by effective street maintenance and capacity
improvements including synchronization of the light system and cooperation
4. Cooperate with institutions that enhance workforce training centers;
5. Appropriately staffing the One Stop Business Center and other economic
development services that maintain, grow and attract businesses.
At a time of a national economic slowdown which creates hardships for San Antonio
households and businesses, I do not favor increasing city taxes or fees. This will
require that we manage better and set priorities for the resources we have.