Easy victory in COSA’s District 9 But Runoffs for Alamo Colleges Trustee Positions

Joe Krier sailed into a relatively easy victory on Saturday, May 10, for a permanent seat he once told Council he wasn’t interested in. Krier was appointed by San Antonio’s City Council last November to fill the vacant District 9 council seat left when former council member Elisa Chan decided to run for State Senate in the recent GOP primaries (she lost to incumbent Donna Campbell). Leading up the the appointment, Krier had stated he did not want to run in the general election, yet reversed that decision by January.

Krier, who’s well known at COSA as the two-decade CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, paints himself as a “constructive conservative.” His nearest competition came from Weston Martinez, a self-styled Tea Party favorite, who is perhaps best known for his vehement protest of last year’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance rule change that incorporated LGBT citizens. Martinez garnered about 20 percent of the vote to Krier’s roughly 57 percent.

Those interested in the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees race may have to wait a bit longer for conclusive results. While veteran trustee James Rindfuss won his Northeast SA district handily (full disclosure: He is the father of Associate Editor Bryan Rindfuss), Lorraine Pulido, a Harlandale graduate with advanced degrees from Columbia University (M.S. in journalism) and Our Lady of the Lake University (Ph.D. in business and leadership) and currently the public relations manager for COSA, couldn’t quite overcome Albert Herrera, a South San graduate and former SSISD board member who is currently the business manager for the Lighthouse charter school, to represent District 4 on the Southwest Side. They’ll head to a June 14 runoff election.

The other ACCD runoff election will be for District 8, where status quo critic Clint Kingsbery took a surprising lead over incumbent Gary Beitzel. Kingsbery, a teacher at Northside ISD’s Rudder Middle School, has publicly criticized current chancellor Bruce Leslie’s leadership while Beitzel and Rindfuss have defended Leslie’s controversial attempt to include as a core course a class based on 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While Leslie has calmed concerns over the course (for now) by removing it from the core curriculum, students and faculty remain shaken by his leadership style, and several ACCD trustee candidates have sounded off. However, with 45 percent of the vote to Beitzel’s 32, the District 8 candidates will also face a June runoff.

The May 10 special election results also showed Northside ISD winning its attempt to pass a $648.3 million bond to build six more schools in the ever-expanding district, plus maintain and renovate its older campuses. Small municipalities took to the polls to vote for various leadership positions in Leon Valley, Balcones Heights, Castle Hills, China Grove, Hollywood Park, Kirby, Live Oak, Grey Forest, Olmos Park, Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills. Among these, the two most notable upsets were newcomer Lynda Billa Burke’s decisive victory over Dr. Elliot Weser for a council position in Alamo Heights. Burke previously served on San Antonio’s City Council as a longtime resident of Pecan Valley. Weser, the incumbent, strongly opposes a contentious plan for the Alamo Manhattan Gateway development at Austin highway and Broadway. Another upset came with Jeff Judson being squeezed out of contention for an Olmos Park City Council seat by three votes. Judson was elected to council four times since 2007 (full disclosure: he’s also related to this writer by marriage) and is a vocal social and fiscal conservative who previously ran the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a “free-market think tank” founded by influential state GOP patron James Leininger.