They Said It

Sometimes a candidate can shuck’n’jive their way past the media filters (and fact checkers) and connect directly with their audience (mostly through campaign mailers. But with another postal-rate hike jacking up stamps! … OK, that’s not in effect until two days after the May 12 election). Well, we’re feeling generous (or overwhelmed by all the “better streets and drainage” visionaries), so we’ll pass the mic to the City Council hopefuls who responded to our general-election questionnaire (no one in districts 3, 5, 6, or 9) and let them hurl their pitch at’cha — no charge to them, and you can consider their printed promises as a kind of warranty.

— Keli Dailey

District 1 (open seat)

“I believe that there is room for businesses to explore the use of environmentally friendly ideas, such as the use of solar energy … or expanding … our VIA transit system through exploring a free bus zone.”

Mary Alice Cisneros, whose environmental overtures did not secure the Sierra Club’s endorsement. But the eco-group didn’t endorse challenger and Green Party co-chair kat swift (or R. Esmeralda Monreal de Mercado, who did not respond to our survey), either. Feh.


“We need more election reforms like publicly-financed campaigns, pay for City Councilmembers, and Instant Runoff Voting to make it possible for those not backed by large amounts of money to run viable campaigns … ”           

kat swift, who lists herself as “33.875 yrs old” and reported $725 in her 30th-day-before-main-election report, some $73,000 behind the front-runner, Cisneros.


District 2 (defending incumbent Sheila McNeil) 

“Inner-city parents need employment and day care … Let the Northern districts solve their own problems. My focus is East!”

— Fort Sam Houston ISD president Keith Toney, on the best way to retain the inner city’s K-12 students and relieve overpopulation in the Northern ISDs. Councilwoman Sheila McNeil and challenger Ron Wright did not respond to our survey.


District 4 (open seat)

“Absolute power must be self-contained — absolutely.”

— UTSA philosophy graduate Manuel Navarro — who lists as his sole public-service contribution a youth library program called Nietzche’s Hangout — on our fill-in-the blank quote from British historian Lord Acton. (“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”) Navarro also said “Toyota should develop guidelines for recruiting local laborers.”


“In `no` way am I in favor of toll roads. Toll roads act as a tax.”

Philip Cortez, an Air Force reservist who’s been endorsed by outgoing Councilman and Metropolitan Planning Organization chairman Richard Perez (aka “toller-in-chief” in SA Toll Party


District 7 (defending incumbent Elena Guajardo)

“Too often, developers are seeking handouts from the city for their development projects. I can only support a `tax increment reinvestment zone` when it is truly needed ... ”

— Councilwoman Elena Guajardo — a Southwestern Bell (AT&T) retiree (who listed her sexual orientation as “yes”) — on making her District 7 a taxing district. Guajardo fights fat-cat handouts: See her lone council vote against a 10-year, 100-percent tax abatement for Microsoft’s data center in Westover Hills.


“ … Our district missed out on some much-needed projects `in the proposed citywide bond`, particularly neighborhood streets and sidewalks. I also thought that our council representative should have displayed stronger leadership in advocating for the needs of District 7.”

Justin Rodriguez, a lawyer and San Antonio ISD boardmember, hounding the incumbent. The Bond Buyer trade paper says the county wants to put extending the AT&T venue tax on the ballot next year, for River Walk and Convention Center improvements, and Rodriguez is already hip to and in support of this direction, he said. Rodriguez poo-pooed the councilwoman’s vote against Microsoft’s tax break.


District 8 (open seat)

“Make it safe and more beautiful first!”

Gloria Sanchez, a retired teacher who scratched out part of her answer on what she would do to make San Antonio a “world-class city.”


“… Two-year term limits are acceptable for the U.S. House of Representatives, and I believe they are fine for San Antonio.”

Jacob Dell, a Valero accountant who lists his race/ethnicity as “American,” likening a national office without electoral limits to municipal elections that, since 1991, limit the number of years one can serve (two, two-year terms on council and then as mayor).


Deception is the root of all evil.”

Mario Obledo, who claims to be the only District 8 candidate that lives outside 1604, on our fill-in-the blank quote from the Apostle Paul. (“The love of money is … ”) Central Labor Council, Stonewall Democrats, and the Sierra Club endorse him (based on his history working for state Senator Leticia Van de Putte and former Mayor Ed Garza), but the Express-News (and outgoing District 8 Councilman Art Hall) went with former zoning commissioner and foot doctor Morris Stribling, who did not respond to our survey. Neither did consultant Diane Cibrian, who said she was surprised at how personal some of our questions were, nor did constant candidate and dentist Bert Cecconi.


District 10 (open seat)

“We need to enforce present impervious cover rules on land located over the Edwards Aquifer and not allow unchecked grandfathering of such land … enforcement of these rules will naturally spread growth … more evenly … ”

Rey De Los Santos, a lawyer and Air Force reservist whose Edwards stance is admirable, but this was his answer to our question about retaining K-12 kids in the inner city. He expresses slight concern about City Manager Sheryl Sculley: She doesn’t give much advance public notice on City agenda and initiatives, he said. (But she’s no Terry Brechtel.)


“I support the City’s efforts to regulate the sexually oriented businesses in the city. We must do as much as possible to control and minimize these establishments.”

John Clamp, former zoning commissioner and co-owner of Landmark Realty, who is anti-topless bars and pro toll-road moratorium (the proposed TTC-35 runs through his district).


Catch more of the  City Council candidates’ vision! Participants’ completed survey responses are online at Look for the mayoral candidates’ responses in next week’s issue, along with our coverage of the races that resemble contests this election — districts 5, 7, 8, (and sometimes 10). 


Reader's Survey

Some say too many cooks spoil the soup; With an 11-seat council, the City’s kitchen doesn’t leave much elbow room.

What issues, projects, and philosophies do you think your councilperson should jostle, shove, and bodycheck for on your behalf?

Whether they’re brewing a lean consomme or a porky gumbo, San Antonians will have to slurp it up for at least two more years. Place your order now at or don’t complain to the waiter about the flies backstroking in your broth.





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