Amid the shade of the Arneson River Theatre in La Villita, the inauguration ceremony for the newly elected Mayor and City Council highlighted a revitalized San Antonio.
District 1 Councilman Robert Trevino, District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran, District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña and District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales returned for another term. Those entering their first term included: District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw, District 4 Councilman Greg Brockhouse, District 7 Councilwoman Ana E. Sandoval, District 8 Councilman Manny Peláez, District 9 Councilman John Courage and District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg underscored the challenges facing the Alamo City could not be reduced to addressing some and not others. The Mayor also proposed expanding goals, but not necessarily budgets.
“Our Latino community is in San Antonio and we will work with everyone in San Antonio fairly and equitably,” said Mayor Nirenberg. “Everyone in San Antonio deserves a role. We know now that immigrants are under attack by a lot of the new laws and legislation that are being proposed, and that is why we are challenging them.”
By 2040, San Antonio is expected to grow by over 1 million additional people, according to SA Tomorrow. In response to the exponential expansion, the city approved a landmark $850 million dollar bond aimed at addressing infrastructure and recreational space development.
The Mayor, during the campaign, stated his focus on water security via the Vista Ridge Pipeline assuming San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) ratepayers would be protected according to a statement released by then Councilman in March 2016.
Among the numerous issues facing the incoming City Council is the ongoing negotiation with the San Antonio Firefighters Union, which was tabled under former Mayor Taylor to allow adequate time to deal with the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA) Contract. Mayor Nirenberg declined to share specific details that might be negotiated in the contract, but only said he wanted it to be “structurally balanced.”
He won against former Mayor Ivy Taylor on June 10 with 54.59 percent of the votes, while Mayor Taylor finished with 45.41 percent of votes. With runoff election results formally being approved in a morning City Council session, Nirenberg thanked the former Mayor for her service.
“I would like to make a special mention to my predecessor and former Mayor Ivy Taylor,” continued Mayor Nirenberg. “Disagreement is ok, but it is hard work to move our city forward; and I would like to thank her for her service in District 2 and to the City of San Antonio.”
Councilman Saldaña (D4) echoed the sentiment from the new Mayor underscoring that merely being given the chance to serve is just the beginning. As San Antonio takes its place as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation with the economy to match, its proper management is paramount.
“We’re very lucky to be carrying the responsibility to serve the community,” said Councilman Saldaña (D4). “As important as it is to be a Council Member, it’s really not about the people in power but the power of the people. We’re going to make sure your voice is heard.”
First-time Councilman Peláez (D8) addressed the growing diversity in the seventh largest city in the United States. While the state of Texas grapples with controversial legislation concerning immigration and religious and ethnic tolerance, he was quick to note that San Antonio would be a haven for inclusion.
“There are people out there who think that [some] are lesser simply because of their last name, their language, their religion or who they love. That’s not my city and not my San Antonio,” Councilman Peláez (D8) explained.
For more information about the new Mayor and City Council Member of San Antonio, visit http://www.sanantonio.gov.