With the ballroom full at the newly expanded Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Mayor Ivy Taylor bolstered her administration’s successes.
Her speech recalled the latest strides by the city to develop technology and business infrastructure, reaffirm the city’s commitment to progressive immigration policies and even addressed ongoing talks with the San Antonio Firefighters Union.
Amid a re-election campaign against Bexar County Democratic Chair Manuel Medina and District 8 City Councilman Ron Nirenberg just to name the frontrunners, the Mayor stayed on message with her political stump that her administration has done more to improve the Alamo City than either of her campaign opponents admit.
“Contrary to some accounts, the evidence shows the state of our city is not only incredibly strong, but our future is blindingly bright. Acting with the courage of our convictions, we got a deal done with the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA),” said Mayor Taylor.
Citing the estimated $120 million secured by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) for a new Federal Courthouse, Mayor Taylor touted the growth of the city’s civic district.
The newly minted Veterans Outreach and Transition Center, backed by USAA and a host of other public and private partners will be situated on the East Side to serve numerous homeless veterans and provide job training and social services.
“This year, we received the coveted Association of Defense Communities Great American Community Award. It takes heart to convert two formerly closed bases into economic generators that we call Port San Antonio,” continued Mayor Taylor.
With an estimated 1 million people expected to relocate to San Antonio by 2040, the current administration is quick to underscore the need to invest in both job and transportation infrastructure. Among the ideas floated in recent years has been the development of both streetcars and light rail lines.
While the Mayor has come out for further studies to see the financial and logistical benefits of either, critics of municipal boondoggles have decried efforts by the city to implement such proposals.
Meanwhile, at the last Mayoral debate held by Texas Public Radio, candidate Manuel Medina has proposed reinvesting funds into VIA, the city’s already-existing bus lines.
“Our $850 million bond will help us implement our SA Tomorrow plan, the first ever comprehensive plan for out city. Our 13 accessible city centers will provide for places for people to live, work and play,” the Mayor continued.
With less than 300 days till the city’s official Tricentennial Celebration, the efforts by both the city and Bexar County Commissioners Court to start and complete key phases of other initiatives like Vision Zero, the city’s goals of no pedestrian or cyclist injuries or fatalities, are well underway.
An additional 260,000 more tourists, 1,300 jobs and an estimated $120 million in economic expansion next year makes San Antonio poised to be what the Mayor has continually termed “a city on the rise.”
“Two thirds of all American cities are shedding jobs and businesses are dying faster than start-ups can replace them. San Antonio is one of the few U.S. cities that are actually adding jobs every year. An example of that is CityFlag, an app that runs 311 in the city,” the Mayor said.
With more resources allocated at the high school level in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum, more students are exposed to early training in jobs for the twenty-first century economy.
Wrapping up her remarks, she pointed out a logical approach to immigration was necessary to include the most talented individuals in the region.
“We must come together to affirm the positive impact of immigrants from the world to San Antonio. We must work with our officials at the state and federal level to ensure we don’t undo the progress we have made with Mexico over hundreds of years,” concluded the Mayor.
With a May 6 Election Day looming, voters will have much on which to deliberate from the new Mayor to the largest and most comprehensive city bond ever proposed.