5. New Councilmembers, Act Like the Mic is on at All Times.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the infamous anti-LGBT words uttered by former councilmember-turned-Texas Senate hopeful, Elisa Chan, captured on a covert recording by one of her aides earlier this year. If you’ve learned anything as an SA public official from Chan-gate, it’s to be careful what you say around anyone because one day you may find your ignorant remarks on blast. (Hmm. On second thought, don’t tread too carefully—the revelation of your innermost thoughts to the voting populous ain’t such a bad thing for us.)
4. Video Unavailable? Increase Transparency, COSA.
In an era where an endless supply of cat videos dominate the internet, we somehow still manage to live in a time when municipal (aka taxpayer-funded) public meetings aren’t recorded. Sure, we can view City Council’s Thursday A session, but we only get the audio from B session—and you can’t catch a telling wink or a grimace on tape. Without seeing emotional expression (not to mention the difficulty of trying to differentiate between voices), some of the most revealing nuggets from your elected representatives go unnoticed. Get a camera in there and get serious about transparency, COSA.
3. We’re Here, Too. Listen to the Public.
On the note of public interest, make 2014 the year no resident can charge the City with not including the community in dialogue, especially when it comes to development deals. Time and again, we’re hearing the public is being left out of the process. Instead of the bare minimum, why not make it a priority to schedule as many meetings as it takes to reach a decent compromise for all the stakeholders? If you still choose to disregard the wishes of some, at the very least, you’ll have proof citizens were, indeed, heard.
2. Keep Testifying and Keep Those Signs Held High Year ‘Round.
We saw a likely unprecedented number of citizens testifying for or against the non-discrimination ordinance this year, with the line into Council chambers extending for more than two blocks. Protest signs, clever chants and rallies abounded—all in all, a truly remarkable display of activism and passion from citizens that should make any San Antonian proud. But let’s not stop there. Council meets nearly every Thursday and takes on big-ticket issues with comparatively scant public testimony. While the fiscal year budget may not be as hotly controversial as the NDO, it does affect your everyday lives. So, SA-ers, get back in line and make that fiery activist passion a habit.
1. Get a Grip on Your Law Enforcement, Man.
From the tragic murder of a UIW college student to the alleged rape of a teenager, police misconduct topped headlines too frequently this year, making it feel as though law enforcement in this city is let loose with little accountability. It’s time to brush off the police disciplinary rulebooks and get local law enforcement on a leash and in check, or else we’ll need to put much more effort into policing the police.