From the murky depths of the mighty Medina River that someday will resemble a necklace of emeralds as it winds its way through City South, a revelation: This is Mayor Ed Garza's legacy as well as his obligation to Houston bankrollers.
Yes, the mayor signed on with a Houston development company to convert the former South Side - then the Southside Initiative, now City South - into a nirvana for overpaid Toyota manufacturing employees, complete with a four-year Texas A&M University, where their kids can become Aggies like Mayor Ed.
Retrace the footprints on the yellow brick dirt road that is now City South, the soon-to-be wealthy neighborhood like the Dominion. First it was Henry G. Cisneros, the Texas A&M graduate that rose from the ashes of the former Good Government League to take the helm at City Hall. He also had a vision for the South Side that included the Applewhite Reservoir, which would have been the City's fluoridated understudy to the Edwards Aquifer.
Stay with the San Antonio mayor and Texas A&M thread here. It's been said before that every mayor since Henry Cisneros, including Nelson Wolff, "Dental" Bill Thornton, Howard Peak, and Garza, have followed the Cisneros blueprint in converting sleepy little San Antonio into a supercharged, hyper-developed metropolis like Houston.
So it's no surprise to learn that Garza, a former Texas A&M Cadet, hasn't forgotten the university's heavy influence among well-heeled Houston-area alumni. Of course this is mere speculation fueled by the hefty number of $500 and $1,000 campaign contributions that Garza has received from Houstonites. Campaign contributions, unlike bribes, are legal means to at least get your foot into the door of the mayor's office at City Hall. A mere $500 seems to be enough for Terramark Communities of Houston to achieve that footstep, as it is the developer that will transform the South Side into City South, the Land of Dreams.
| Campaign contributions, unlike bribes, are legal means to at least get your foot into the door of the mayor's office at City Hall. |
The New Dominion will spread like blooms in the elysian fields of the new City South, from the corner of Roosevelt and Loop 410 all the way to paradise, which is rumored to be located in a Houston bank vault.
Don't believe it? Watch the half-hour video titled "City South" that aired last week on Cable Channel 21. There's Mayor Ed standing in a silhouette of a South Side sunset. He kneels and picks up a handful of the most fertile soil on the South Side and sifts it through his fingers.
"The monumental impact of Toyota is at the heart of the economic engine of City South," says Garza, as the video reels off images of Mitchell Lake, the Medina River, an industrial park that is under construction off Applewhite Road, and beatific cow pastures that stand beside corn fields and new houses.
The serenity turns to energy as Garza speaks of great things happening at Kelly USA and Brooks City Base. Welders weld, and grinders grind as the mayor touts the resplendency of City South on the Rise.
Texas Governor Rick Perry also displays his considerable thespian talents when he says "City South, I like the sound of that ... Viva San Antonio, Viva City South."
Garza and friends speak about City South as an opportunity to responsibly develop the South Side. It's an opportunity to plan, design and invest in a sophisticated network of transportation and land use that includes a carefully orchestrated mix of agricultural, industrial, and residential community.
As somebody says in the video, it's a chance to create an "environment of certainty for developers ... (oops) development."
City South. All it needs is a symbol to represent all of its heady magnificence. Maybe a white flag, with black letters that says "City South, a Land of Dreams." Oh, wait, somebody's already done that, it's in the video.
Now it's time for a commercial break. There's a pitch for recycling, the City's Graffiti Wipeout program, and the community toolshed.
But my favorite is the commercial that shows Fido, happily wagging his tail, and pleading with San Antonians to "Please pick up my poop." •
By Michael Cary