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Summer re-runs 


Queque got an invitation (OK, it was secondhand; we’re not proud) for a fundraising breakfast at the Barn Door for the mayoral candidacy of defense contractor and Dominion homesteader Fernando Reyes. While the Old SA staple is awaiting a recessionary post-Del Frisco’s renaissance, the restaurant’s name certainly invokes Texas, beef, and money — and it’s located reassuringly in a Pretty White part of town, leading the Queque to wonder if those rumors are true. What rumors? That Reyes is backed by a coalition of businessmen who, like cynical boy-band manufacturers, believe there is a recipe for SA mass appeal: one part Latino surname, two parts developer-friendly. Reyes’s political-donation proclivities suggest he’s the sort of fence-sitter who’d relish a cross-border McCain-Richardson ticket. He’s actually being called the Bruce Bugg candidate by certain political watchdogs, who claim the Tobin Endowment trustee and Bexar Performing Arts Foundation chair is itching to play kingmaker. Yes, we’ve an email into Mr. Bugg, fingers crossed.

Even more interestingly, a phone call placed to the “for further information or to RSVP” number was returned by a rep from Guerra Deberry Coody, which most recently appeared in these pages as the architects of the ACT for San Antonio lobbying campaign that successfully sang the praises of the May 10 $415-million Venue-Tax extension.

(Powerful in other words, but not powerful enough to make their client return our call. Or so powerful that they tell him with whom he speaks and when ... maybe not a bad idea since the Ex-News, which purports to find black humor unseemly in an elected official, has been busy spanking our current mayor over his most recent Current appearance. What’s the E-N’s real message? “We’re concerned that our unprogrammed but usually intrepid mayor said some things about the playground-maintenance scandal that seem wildly insensitive when we print them out of context?” Or: “Talk to the Hearst-free print outlet and we’ll do our best to make you regret it?” Just kidding, of course, Queque’s not really a conspiracy theorist. Not during the week, anyway.)

District 8 Councilwoman and candidacy flirt Diane Cibrian was diplomatic about Reyes’s bold leap into the land of per-donation buffets and neighborhood meetings: “I believe that it’s important for San Antonio to have individuals that want to serve, and I appreciate anyone that wants to serve our community,” she said.

And what of her mayoral explorations — official yet, or still confined to innuendo? While a formal announcement will have to wait for the November 4 term-limit election, she says, “At this point I’m strongly inclined to run.”

After a brief discussion of the “economic challenges” facing our city, and Cibrian’s commitment to sustainable-energy development (a new $300,000 grant app is filed with the feds, which would put cash toward a solar demonstration facility at the airport or convention-center expansions), we compared our May 2009 mayoral ballot lists: Reyes? Check. Developer-cum-philanthropist (with the help of some of that Venue-Tax dough) Gordon Hartman? Check. Former Councilman and newly minted
Julian Castro? Check. Cibrian?

“And I bet all four of them stay in, too.”

Arrested development

In the time it has taken the Police Executive Research Forum to return its findings about the SAPD’s use-of-force procedures, a variety of new examples of excessive force by officers have been reported and gone unpunished, community activists tell Queque.

The San Antonio Coalition on Human and Civil Rights folks have even started circulating a poll, the results of which suggest dozens more SA residents have been “treated rudely, beaten, or abused” by SAPD officers, former City Councilman Mario Salas said.

Of course, there is a chasm between perceived derisive comments and a gloved finger up the backside. To ferret out the legitimate grudges, Salas’s group is urging folks to file their complaints with the Coalition at P.O. Box 690231, SATX 78269. Complaints will be handed up the line to SAPD’s Internal Affairs, the FBI, and the U.S. Justice Department.

The Current reported several weeks ago that the PERF summary, originally expected in the Spring, has been sitting on Chief Willy McManus’s desk since May. The chief wanted time to draft his “response” to the report before presenting it to Council, according to the head gatekeeper.

Part of that response apparently includes going door-to-door at council chambers to brief them on the findings. The public, however, won’t catch wind of any details until it is officially presented to Council in open session next month, said Assistant City Manager Erik Walsh.

Trading spaces

San Antonio may become a squatters’ paradise in the coming months. Seems our home-sales rate is dragging behind many other Texas cities, according to Texas A&M’s Real Estate Center.

While May house sales in the Lone Star state have slumped an average of 15 percent since May ’07, San Antonio dropped by a nasty 20 percent.

Then comes our very own Grown Uppity Bell splitting for D-ville and the glut of high-end executive specials expands. (That’s all right; soaring energy costs mean we need to kill the suburbs anyway.)

While we’re not El Paso yet (33-percent drop), it seems a reasonable time to start making use of our budding community gardens `See “Blooming gardens invade concrete jungle,” p. 18`.

Of course, the real danger here is economic oblivion. Each of us knows in our churning innards that the politically disenfranchised attract batons and tasers just as Julia Roberts attracts diehard Bruce Springsteen fans.

So how to save Alamo City’s economy (and ourselves)? A few ideas:

• Keep concrete giant Zachry Construction fat ’n’ sassy with a multi-million-dollar design contract for (and first dibs on construction of) an unnecessary mega-highway that should never (and may never) be built? Done.

• Turn the Alamo and River Walk environs into a corporate-sponsored Hero Shoppers’ MegaMall? In process.

• Import the federal government’s planned bio-terrorism lab now being shopped around to unsuspecting onshore clients? Working on it `See Last Words, p. 91`.

Man, all the good ideas are taken and we’re still Lame.

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