Questionnaire by GSACC to Melissa Martinez-Carrasco District 8
The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce 2009 City Council and Mayoral Candidates
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 addition organized labor entering the San Antonio
San Antonio needs to capitalize on our resilient Housing Market, stimulate the
Green Industry, and also leverage the target sectors of Healthcare, Military,
and Automotive Manufacturing in order to attract, retain and grow local jobs.
We need to make it easy to do business with the city, this will retain existing
businesses. We also need to bring job training programs to the forefront so
that we educate and equip citizens to be a diversified workforce. The city
should welcome organized labor and encourage the promotion of healthy
work environments and protect the rights of every worker.
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 are a large city and will continue to grow. With the addition of more
police officers and firefighters, we are on the right path. I will continue to
support the addition of our emergency services. The city has already
committed 57% if its budget this year to our emergency services.
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 addition monetary resources are being
recommended, from where will they come?
Local government should play a larger role in educating and mentoring our
youth. It is very evident when you have contrasts in dropout rates such as
one school at 61% graduated and another at 99% graduated, right here in
the same city. We should collaborate with Local School Districts and Colleges
to set high achievement standards for Academic Excellence but be innovative
and creative in the approach to attain that. We should promote programs
that allow teachers to use creative methods to teach and help their students
retain knowledge and take school a place they want to be. We also could tap
into our talented Arts community to help the youth of our city.
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?
It’s evident that Water Conservation needs to be part of everyday life here in
San Antonio. Conserving our water and eventually finding a back-up resource
should be a top priority. We also need to balance land-use in order to protect
the quality of our water paying close-attention to the recharge zones. By City
Council working with SAWS to approve new drought restrictions, that is one
way in saving the funds needed as opposed to buying water rights. The City
should also look at businesses to try and change behavior of how they use
water consumption. It also comes down to educating our residents since this
issue affects everyone who uses water here.
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
We need to continue funding citywide traffic light synchronization. If we were
to explore Light- Rail and Mono-Rail as mass-transit options it would have to
be a break-even project and I am not sure I want to burden the constituents
during this recession. That is why we should focus on bus rapid transit and
not have inefficiencies such as a 2 hour transfer to get to a destination. We
should also explore the use of HOV and Reverse-Use lanes to not only help
with congestion of traffic but help with protecting the environment. We also
should implement Citywide Bicycle Lanes that would help promote “Healthy
San Antonio”. I also agree with the recommendations made by the San
Antonio Bexar County Transportation Task Force.
6. Energy: Do you believe our municipally owned electric utility has done a good
job diversifying our energy mix, including coal, natural gas, nuclear power,
wind and solar? Please share your thoughts on the importance of each of
For me to say CPS has not done a good job would be irresponsible of me. We
have to educate the constituents on whether a complete transition of
alternative renewable resources can be implemented and the cost of such
infrastructure. If building the nuclear power plants will have the same cost
because of a nuclear waste charge that will be passed on to residents, than
that of building up Solar Energy Efforts, then we should support our electric
utility company in making the switch. We want our city to be a national
leader in renewable resources such as wind and solar energy but we have to
temper the burden of cost to the taxpayers as well. If we can balance the
cost, educate our residents and have open lines of communication between
residents, local government and environmental agencies, then we can be well
on our way in being an energy-efficient green city.
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
Police, Fire, Public Works, and Parks and Recreation should remain as top
priorities that the budget is comprised of. I would also propose we look at
allocating monies to Education Services. I agree with the increase in revenue
streams to go to basic city services. If you don’t have the basics down, we
won’t have the quality of life our residents deserve, nor would this city attract
the economic growth we are seeking. The point is this, while this city
transitions into alleviating major traffic congestion via mass-transit options,
we might as well drive on smooth streets for now.