Newsmonger: Uber Rides Again, the Budget Gets Tweaked and Hillary Plays SA

click to enlarge Hillary Clinton speaks as Julian Castro looks on at a rally on Thursday at Sunset Station. - Gabby Mata
Gabby Mata
Hillary Clinton speaks as Julian Castro looks on at a rally on Thursday at Sunset Station.

Yo Hablo, Hillary?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for president, kicked off her Latino outreach campaign in San Antonio during a rally at Sunset Station on Thursday, October 15.

Bolstered by endorsements from the brothers Castro, San Antonio's political wunderkinds, Clinton touted her experience organizing in South Texas for George McGovern's failed presidential bid in 1972.

Clinton did her best to endear herself to the crowd, dropping a little Spanish and walking off stage to Selena's "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom." Stylized prints of Clinton that featured the text "La Hillary" above a line reading "¡estoy contigo!" were placed around the venue. She also called out Texas Republicans for restrictive voter ID laws, which make it harder for some people, particularly minorities and the poor, to vote.

"Latinos and Latinas ... you're our neighbors, our friends, our families. Because you are fellow Americans, you deserve an equal shot and opportunity just like everybody else," Clinton said.

Clinton might want to watch her back though. Fortune hasn't favored the two Republican presidential wannabes who came to town; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of the race after he stumped at the Bill Miller's BBQ on Broadway, and curtains fell on the campaign of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina while she was here.

Uber Up

Like a pair of temperamental teenagers, San Antonio and Uber are back together again —- for at least nine months anyway.

The two parties announced an agreement for a nine-month pilot program on Tuesday, October 13. Uber reactivated its app and re-established service in the city the same day.

Uber ceased operations in San Antonio on April 1 over a disagreement with the city over background checks, but it never fully left the area. Although its drivers couldn't pick up passengers in San Antonio proper, tiny municipalities such as Kirby and Windcrest remained open for business. Rumor has it a loophole let riders request an Uber in those cities but then call the driver for a San Antonio pickup.

Uber hopes to hire at least 2,000 drivers in short order, all of which must pass a background check by the company. Drivers can also undergo a city-approved background check; those who do will receive a special mark on their profile visible to riders.

Uber will pay the city $18,750 to operate in San Antonio, and an additional dollar for every pickup from the airport. Both COSA and Uber can terminate the contract at any time.

Though it's nice to have the Uber transportation network back in San Antonio, the lingering question is what happened to Lyft? The company and agreed on a similar pilot program with the city more than two months ago, but it has yet to resume operations.

Lyft officials did not respond to a request by the Current for comment.

Spending the Cops' Cash

The San Antonio Police Department's $3.7 million loss is a gain for other city agencies.

That big block of cash was originally earmarked for cop bonuses but was redistributed by City Council last week after the San Antonio Police Officers Union halted contract negotiations with the city.

More than two dozen line items benefited from the reallocation. The lion's share of the money went to Project Quest, an education and workforce development program that's faced problems with debt and mismanagement.

The cash will also fund new code enforcement officers, the Mayor's Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and upgrades to "improve the visitor experience" at the San Antonio Missions UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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