Questionnaire by GSACC to Reed Williams 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
The City’s role in economic development is to provide a superior environment
for the growth of existing organizations or to attract outside firms to San
Antonio. The critical elements which must be provided by the City are as
(1) an ample and safe supply of water,
(2) an advantage in cost of energy,
(3) deterministic and transparent land and structure development
(4) safe and desirable neighborhoods with excellent response time by
emergency services, and
(5) an efficient transportation system.
By concentrating on these five elements the City will get on the short list of
firms considering a move to San Antonio and make it easier for our existing
firms to grow. We must be very careful offering incentives to attract outside
organizations which might put our current firms at a competitive
Unions are a result of poor management. If San Antonio has well managed
organizations, unions will not enter the local market. I oppose the “card
check” legislation because it allows aggressive employees who want a union
to place extreme pressure on the employees who don’t want to join a union.
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?
The City does not have adequate emergency services as defined by response
times in many areas of the city. Some improvements might be made by
changing policies and procedures in the delivery of the emergency services.
In addition to more efficient use of our current resources, additional police,
fire and EMS personnel are required. Equipment to deliver the services and
facilities to house and maintain the equipment and personnel are also
needed. Emergency services must be the first priority of San Antonio or any
other city. If emergency services are given the proper priority in the budget
process, then lower priority projects or programs must be eliminated. To
select specific projects or programs before working through a budget cycle
would be irresponsible. We must allow all departments the respect of
presenting their case, but in the end the citizens will not tolerate additional
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?
The independent school districts should be responsible for education and the
community college system should be responsible for workforce development.
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?
The most pressing environmental quality of life issue facing San Antonio is
water. We are currently in one of the most severe droughts that San Antonio
has experienced in the last 100 years and it is not getting enough attention.
Water is the limiting factor for sustainable growth in San Antonio, the South
Texas region and Texas.
First, San Antonio must take a regional approach to this pressing problem.
Through SAWS, the city must work with regional organizations and State of
Texas agencies to develop long term and sustainable water plans which work
for the entire region and not just for the benefit individual groups or the
Second, we must diversify our supply of water. For too long, San Antonio has
depended almost exclusively on the Edwards Aquifer. Treatment of water
from other local water zones is a partial solution. The project to treat water
from the Lower Wilcox appears viable if done with an incremental approach.
Third, water reuse and conservation offers a common sense and sustainable
immediate increase in available potable water. SAWS has done an excellent
job educating the public on conservation as we all work to reduce our “water
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
Transportation must be viewed from a short and long term perspective. The
short term perspective is important to alleviate obvious problems such as the
“super street” to reduce congestion on US 281 north of Loop 1604. However,
the real benefits arise from developing an integrated and regional
transportation plan as initiated with the San Antonio/Bexar County
Transportation Task Force. Transportation must be the skeleton around
which we grow and redevelop San Antonio, Bexar County and the
surrounding communities. Such a plan provides leadership and transparency
for how we will progress.
In the past, we have had the luxury and curse of ample land on which to
develop our homes and businesses. Development drove the transportation
system. Today we must develop a transportation plan to drive development.
The recommendation in the January 2009 report of the San Antonio/Bexar
County Transportation Task Force is more of a conclusion that we cannot be
competitive without an integrated and efficient transportation system. The
most valuable parts of the report are the findings and the identification of
gaps which will be studied in the next six months.
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
Coal is currently very economical and provides a very stable and domestic
supply of energy, but the cost could increase with future legislation and more
Natural Gas is more expensive than coal, but will continue to provide an
excellent domestic fuel to provide peek power requirements.
Nuclear Power is our best option to eventually replace the base load supply of
electricity now provided by coal which will be probably be required to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. My only concern with nuclear power is building
new projects on time and within budget.
Wind and Solar will continue to grow as technological advances are made and
will provide a meaningful supply at the margin which can have a very positive
effect on prices and a reduction in foreign oil demand.
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
The top budget priorities in the General Fund are police and fire/EMS. My
primary concern is how we will break our dependence on the increasing
supply of tax dollars over the last ten years. The growth of the General Fund
has been fueled by a compound annual growth rate of 8% for property taxes
and 4% for sales taxes over the last ten years. In addition, the decline in
hydrocarbon prices will reduce the 14% which the City takes out of the CPS
revenues. This large and sustained increase in tax dollars has ended. Now
we must balance the budget without resorting to taking additional taxes from
our citizens. The only solution is to reduce the demand for our tax dollars.