Questionnaire by GSACC to Ray Lopez District 6
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?
Encourage and expand the partnerships between the business and education
communities at a city and regional level.
Please describe the model/tools and/or incentives you would support to boost
economic development in San Antonio.
Locally, the City South model is worthy of emulation. These initiatives are
not district issues, but community and regional issues and we need to look at
Port San Antonio in the same way. Its proximity to San Antonio’s west and
southwest quadrant is a unique advantage. Working with organizations like
the Westside Development Corporation can take the area assets and leverage
them to support significant economic development.
What are your thoughts on additional organized labor entering the San
There is no question that the city’s employees deserve the best wage and
benefit package that the city can afford. Employee input and “partnering” is
vital to creating a partner environment. Additional organized labor is not the
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?
I believe we find ourselves accepting our current state of adequate, which is
NOT were we should be positioned. We need to aggressively move to
become the Safest Large City in America. To move toward that goal, there
are two fundamental elements that need to be embraced: Recruiting and
Retaining the best and brightest.
It has been my experience while on the NISD Board (1990-99) that you
recruit with an attractive wage scale and retain with a benefits package. The
city has made a commitment to hire significant numbers of police and fire
personnel and the funding is being driven by the General Budget. I support
the approach to, not only “catch up”, but to “get ahead”. As a member of
the SA Crime Commission, I supported a 1/8 cent sales tax to support the
Crime Control and Prevention District (CCPD) which did not pass. The Crime
Commission recommended that the critical elements of the CCPD plan be
funded in the General Budget because of their criticality.
3) Education: What role should local government have on education and
The education and business community are the catalyst to have a thriving
community. The role of local government is to facilitate programs like Raise
Your Hand San Antonio, PK-16+ and Raising The Bar. While serving on the
board of Region 20 Education Service Center, I have worked to provide that
level of support to the schools and will bring that leadership with the city.
How can the City be involved in student mentoring and dropout prevention
Continuing and improving the programs mentioned above is a good start. For
the long term, we must expand our Early Childhood Programs like Head Start.
The direct relationship between the dropout rates of Head Start vs. non Head
Start students in Title 1 schools is startling and validates the program impact.
If additional monetary resources are being recommended, from where will
Much of the additional funding comes from Federal and State sources in
conjunction with public/private support. Aggressive lobbying of these funds
4) Water: What do you think about the status of water with regard to the current
The drought will end and the water issue will continue. Alternate water
sources must be addressed at a regional level.
What is your plan to improve the quantity and quality of water for our City
With the recent bond package, a significant amount of funding has been
directed to drainage and flood control. The next steps include capture flood
waters, “retain and recycle” and desalination. The approach much be crafted
by subject matter experts and will require multijurisdictional coordination.
How will your proposal(s) be funded?
Federal and State money need to be appropriated, but it will require local
funding to fully deploy, such as bonds.
5) Transportation: What transportation projects would you recommend and
support in order to alleviate our traffic congestion issues?
In the short term, light synchronization is a critical component as well
incentives to businesses who implement carpooling and work-at-home
programs. In the long term, mass transit options must be considered. A
good step forward has been the “accordion” bus route between the Medical
Center and Downtown. This is also a regional problem and must have
The 1604 and 281 issue will be tied up for an extended period of time and
has “other” traffic issues associated to it (i.e., 1604 between SH 16 and SH
151). These projects should be uncoupled and a review of other similar
situations must occur.
How would your proposed projects be funded?
These projects are already funded. Additional funding should be addressed
with the Federal stimulus dollars for “shovel ready” projects.
Please share your thoughts on the recommendations of the San Antonio
Bexar County Transportation Task Force.
Clearly the recommendations address a very vital long and short term
roadmap for our transportation strategy. I support the recommendations and
fully expect to take a leadership role in its evolution. Of particular interest to
me will be the realignment of agencies to insure that the City and County
retain oversight and authority of our future.
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
I am convinced that they are doing an exemplary job, particularly when
considering that many of the decisions that have led to our current situation
were made a couple of decades ago. We must continue that forward thinking
The issue of the day, as it deals with energy will be what is included in the
“mix” and how expensive is the mix that we are considering. We must not
make decision based of fear, uncertainly and doubt but fact based.
Coal is here and it is cheap, but not environmentally or health friendly (could
be cleaner). Natural gas, wind and solar are clearly options, but have issues
of sustainability and availability. The elephant in the room is Nuclear….. and
it is not without issues, many of which could be catastrophic (nuclear waste).
Cost considerations are also a major concern.
In all cases, the advent of technology will play a large part of the ROI for
these approaches. I believe that we must keep our options open to as many
viable alternatives as possible, as we did a few decades ago, based on “what
was known at the time”…… Collaborate and Investigate!
7) City Budget and Finance: What are your top five budget priorities for FY 2009-
I believe that a budget is a value statement: You spend your money on the
things you value most.
EDUCATION: Work to ensure programs like Head Start and Raise Your Hand
San Antonio are adequately funded and given the oversight to be successful.
SAFETY: Work to expand neighborhood policing initiatives like the SAFFE
Officer and Safe Routes To School. I will also support expanding Senior
Services and focus on issues related to Domestic Violence.
JOBS: Work with agencies like the Westside Development Corporation to
ensure small businesses are provided the opportunity to succeed, as well as
engage the business and education community to develop a path from
What is your position on increasing revenue streams for the City to address
basic city services, such as streets, drainage and other infrastructure
Existing financing tools like bonds, block grants and other short and mid term
funding will be required to supplant the Federal Stimulus package.