Joint General, Special, Charter and Bond Election: May 9, 2015

San Antonio Municipal Election Voter Guide

Joint General, Special, Charter and Bond Election

May 9, 2015

Office Texas Leadership Institute for Public Advocacy
CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS
Mayor Cynthia Brehm
Council Districts  
District Place No. 1 Roger Scott
District Place No. 2 No Endorsement
District Place No. 3 No Endorsement
District Place No. 4 No Endorsement
District Place No. 5 No Endorsement
District Place No. 6 No Endorsement
District Place No. 7 Fred Rangel
District Place No. 8 Yvonne Martinez
District Place No. 9 Jeffry Van Slyke (Favor)
District Place No. 10 Mike Gallagher
Ballot Measures  
Proposition No. 1 Edwards Aquifer Protection Venue Project & Sales Tax
Vote YES
Proposition No. 2 Parks Development and Expansion Venue Project & Sales Tax
Vote YES
Charter Amendment No. 1 Initiative Requiring Voter Approval of Streetcar and Light Rail
Vote YES
Charter Amendment No. 2 Council and Mayor Salaries Amendment
Vote NO
Charter Amendment No. 3 Council and Mayor Vacancy Procedure Amendment
Vote YES
Charter Amendment No. 4 Amendment to remove outdated language from the city charter
Vote NO

 

Issues MAYORAL CANDIDATES
Questions & Answers
Leticia Van de Putte Mike Villareal Tommy Adkisson Ivy Taylor Cynthia Brehm Paul Martinez
Marriage Marriage is the union of one man and one woman whose sex is genetically and biologically fixed at birth N
Note
N
Note
Y Y Y Y
Abortion As a public official, will you do everything within your power to limit the expansion of abortion in San Antonio and the state of Texas N
Note
N
Note
Y
Note
Note Y Y
Note
Religious Liberty Religious liberty is our first, most cherished right as Americans, directly linked to our freedom to follow our conscience. This fundamental right should never be infringed upon by government mandates and statutes. Y Y Y Y Y Y
Police/Firefighters Benefits Police officers and firefighters must contribute more to their health care costs. Y Y Y Y N
Note
Y
Sexual Orientation Ordinance Citizens should be allowed to vote to approve or rescind the sexual orientation and gender identification ordinance passed by the City Council on September 2013. N N N Y Y Y
Toll Roads Existing highways/freeways should not be changed to toll roads. Note Y Y Note Y Y
Annex communities Allow unincorporated communities to vote to incorporate as a separate city from San Antonio Y Y Y Y Y Y
Legend: (Y) Yes, (N) No, (C) Comment, Note: See notes below

Leticia Van de Putte:

Abortion:
Van de Putte has a consistent pro-abortion voting record as a state legislator. Her approval rating in 2013 by national abortion rights organization, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, based on her voting record was 100%.
https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/8021/leticia-van-de-putte#.VTK3CTiBGM8
Van de Putte has received political contributions from Planned Parenthood board members.

Marriage:
Van de Putte voted NO for a 2005 bill (HJR 6) proposing a constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman.
http://www.heritagealliance.com/tcr/tcrhome.php?Year=2005&House=Senate&Legislator=Sen. Van de Putte, Leticia (D-26)

Toll Roads:
Van de Putte said reluctance in the state legislature to adequately fund transportation in Texas could make toll roads a necessary evil. “Personally, I don’t like to pay, but I like what they can buy me and that is saving time,” she said. “I believe that we should have them, but only use them after we’ve done an extensive strategy and implementation to get more vehicles off the road.
http://www.ksat.com/content/pns/ksat/news/2015/02/25/mayoral-candidates-talk-traffic–toll-roads–tncs-at-forum.html

Michael Villarreal:

Abortion:
Villarreal has a consistent pro-abortion voting record as a state legislator. His approval rating in 2013 by national abortion rights organization, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, based on his voting record was 100%.
https://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/49416/michael-villarreal#.VScHKjiBGM8
Villarreal has received thousands of dollars in political contributions from Planned Parenthood board members.

Marriage:
Villarreal voted NO for a 2005 bill (HJR 6) proposing a constitutional amendment defining marriage in Texas as the union of one man and one woman. The constitutional amendment supported the family’s importance as the foundation of the nation.
http://www.heritagealliance.com/tcr/tcrhome.php?Year=2005&House=House&Legislator=Rep.%20Villarreal,%20Michael%20(D-123)

Tommy Adkisson:

Abortion:
“There are higher courts like the Supreme Court that have ruled on the issue that is central to all of this (Roe v Wade) and that law has been well settled…” KTSA candidate forum, March 17, 2015.
“I am personally opposed to abortion but people should be free to choose to have an abortion.” Personal interview at Christian Business Chamber of Commerce forum, April 21, 2015. Adkisson regularly attends Planned Parenthood fundraisers.

Adkisson and his campaign staff refused to respond to our TLIPA candidate questionnaire after weeks of repeated requests via email and personal phone calls.

Ivy Taylor:

Abortion:
Taylor’s views on abortion is nuanced and she has expressed on several occasions that regarding the social and civic issue of abortion, her focus is on those who are already born. Taylor visited a crisis pregnancy center on April 17th. She is a board member of Healthy Futures Texas which adopts Planned Parenthood sex education and sterilization programs to confront teen pregnancies. Taylor has received thousands of dollars in political contributions from Planned Parenthood board members.

Toll Roads:
“Taylor expressed support for congestion pricing – where drivers can pay to drive in a certain lane during certain hours of the day. ‘I think we have to be very careful if we’re talking about using toll revenue to expand our capacity, because I don’t think we’ll get to where we want to be, she said.'”

http://www.ksat.com/content/pns/ksat/news/2015/02/25/mayoral-candidates-talk-traffic–toll-roads–tncs-at-forum.html

Sexual Orientation:
While Taylor voted against the special right ordinance (NDO) in September 2013 which added sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class in the city’s non-discrimination statute, she expressed what appeared to be an apology to LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) advisors less than a week after she said at the Cornerstone Church candidate forum on April 19th, “I voted my conscience and I stand behind my vote”. Her statements on this issue do not appear to satisfy many of her Christian supporters or leaders in the national and local homosexual rights movement.

Taylor and her campaign staff refused to respond to our TLIPA questionnaire after weeks of repeated requests via email, personal phone calls, and text messages.

Cynthia Brehm:

Police and Firefighters Benefits:
“San Antonio Police Officers and Firefighters do pay $260 per month towards benefits. They have also forfeited pay raises in lieu of insuring their families. Ms. Scully (City Manager) is not being fair towards them or honest with us.”
Brehm’s response in TLIPA candidate questionnaire.

Paul Martinez:

Abortion:
“I would not support the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I believe that abortion is murder of an innocent child … I have two daughters and if one of them were to get pregnant and choose to consider abortion, my wife and I, would do everything we can to dissuade her however the choice would be left up to her … In the end should they choose to have an abortion I would rather have it conducted in a hospital with a full medical staff available should something happen than a back alley because I would not want to lose a daughter and grandchild at the same time.”
Martinez’ response on abortion in TLIPA candidate questionnaire.

Ballot Measure Explanations:

Proposition No. 1: Edwards Aquifer Protection Venue Project & Sales Tax Proposition

An eighth-of-a-cent sales tax was first approved by San Antonio voters in 2000. It was re-approved twice, in 2005 and 2010.

Proposition No. 1 would authorize the City of San Antonio to protect the quality and quantity of water in the Edwards Aquifer through the protection of land over the aquifer’s sensitive Recharge and Contributing Zones. The sales tax would raise $100 million: $90 million of which would enable the City to continue its existing conservation easement and land purchase program, which has protected more than 133,000 acres; and $10 million to incorporate new recharge protection projects within urbanized areas of Bexar County for additional safeguarding of the City’s primary source of drinking water.

For more information about the proposition, go to: http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Antonio_Edwards_Aquifer_Protection_Venue_Project_%26_Sales_Tax,_Proposition_1_(May_2015)

Proposition No. 2: Parks Development and Expansion Venue Project & Sales Tax Proposition

The eighth-of-a-cent sales tax was first approved by San Antonio voters in 2000. It was re-approved twice, in 2005 and 2010.

Proposition No. 2 would authorize the City of San Antonio to continue building the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail system by expanding the trail system along San Antonio creekways and providing neighborhood connections on tributaries and would include watershed and water quality protection efforts when developing parks improvements. The sales tax would raise $80 million that would enable the City – which has completed 46 miles of trail and is currently developing an additional 40 miles of trail – to acquire open space and design and construct linear parks along the Leon Creek, Salado Creek, Medina River, San Antonio River and tributaries such as the Apache, Alazan, Culebra, Huesta, Huebner, Lorence, Martinez, Olmos and San Pedro creek.

For more information about the proposition, go to: http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Antonio_Parks_Development_and_Expansion_Venue_Project_%26_Sales_Tax,_Proposition_2_(May_2015)

Charter Amendment No. 1: Initiative Requiring Voter Approval of Streetcar and Light Rail Projects

Charter Amendment No. 1 would add language to the City Charter that states that no streetcar or light rail project could be funded or developed without first receiving approval of the voters in an election.

Arguments in Favor:
This amendment was motivated by opposition to a streetcar development project proposed by the VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority and the redirection of certain funds towards the project. Jeff Judson, a member of Streetcar Vote, said, “[VIA Metropolitan Transit] is using $92 million of money that was supposed to be spent on road expansion to build the streetcar. All of the roads that are getting congested out in the suburbs are now going to become more congested.”

Although the streetcar project was ultimately shut down, proponents of the amendment say that it is important to approve this charter amendment in order to allow city voters a say on important transportation development in the future. Proponents argue that the streetcar issue will continue to come up again, and Amendment 1 is a way to allow voters the power to stop future proposals.
Greg Brockhouse, manager of Streetcar Vote, said, “The citizens want a vote on whether or not this is a basic city service and I think the City Council needs to take it one step further and listen and ask a very important question are they going choose VIA over the voters.”

Arguments Against:
Critics of Amendment 1 argue that it would be ineffectual and would not achieve the results desired by proponents. San Antonio City Attorney Robert Greenblum pointed to the following problems with the initiative:

  1. The amendment would be preempted by state law with regard to VIA, its intended target.
  2. The charter amendment language specifically changes a section of the charter entitled “Franchises”, having the following results:
    1. It would not apply to the VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority since VIA does not require a city franchise.
    2. It would have unintended, harmful consequences with regard to other entities seeking to provide city services by requiring the delay and expense of an election for routine easements, leases and other transactions.

Greenblum concluded, “The applicability and unintended consequences of the proposed charter amendment language raises serious concerns.”

Response to Arguments Against:
“The City Charter amendment is absolutely crucial to pass and we are very confident in the language of the amendment. Notwithstanding the specious legal arguments that VIA attorneys and lobbyists may make, often contradicting their previous statements, the amendment is fully enforceable and would require an election on rail no matter where the money is coming from and which agency is pushing it. As it is tied to the use of city streets, which the city must grant access to before anything is constructed, it is a catch-all.

“As we speak, VIA is attempting to pass a bill in the legislature which would supersede the charter amendment and give the power back to VIA to call an election on streetcar according to their terms. HB 527 by Larson and SB 1837 by Menendez.” (Private email from Mr. Jeff Judson, 4/22/2015)

For more information on Charter Amendment 1, go to: http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Antonio_Initiative_Requiring_Voter_Approval_of_Streetcar_and_Light_Rail_Projects,_Amendment_1_(May_2015)

Charter Amendment No. 2: Council and Mayor Salaries Amendment

Charter Amendment No. 2 would allow City Council members to be paid an annual salary of $45,722 – equal to the San Antonio area median household income – and the Mayor to be paid an annual salary of $61,725. City Council members are currently paid $20 per meeting for a total of $1,040 per year, and the Mayor is currently paid up to a total of $4,040 per year. If approved, those individuals elected to the Mayor and City Council at the May 9, 2015 election would be eligible for the salary.

Arguments for Charter Amendment 2:
Supporters of this amendment argue that the lack of compensation for city council members restricts the candidates that can seek office to only those who are financially independent, preventing lots of great candidates from seeking office, inhibiting proper representation for lower economic classes, and creating a lack of low and middle-class perspective in city leadership.

Arguments Against:
The basic argument against the amendment amounts to an explanation of the value of public officials that are not motivated by money. Some argue that great leaders are not motivated by profit, but by the desire to serve.

For more information about Charter Amendment 2, go to: http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Antonio_Council_and_Mayor_Salaries,_Amendment_2_(May_2015)

Charter Amendment No. 3: Council and Mayor Vacancy Procedure Amendment

Charter Amendment No. 3 would amend the Charter so vacancies in the office of the Mayor and City Council would be treated the same. If a vacancy occurs with more than 120 days remaining in the unexpired term of the Mayor or a Council member a special election will be held to fill the vacancy. If less than 120 days remain in the term the City Council appoints an individual to the vacant seat. The proposition would also allow the City Council to appoint a temporary representative until a special election is held.

For more information about Charter Amendment 3, go to: http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Antonio_Council_and_Mayor_Vacancy_Procedure,_Amendment_3_(May_2015)

Charter Amendment No. 4: Amendment to remove outdated language from the city charter

Charter Amendment No. 4 would eliminate outdated language in the City Charter that is no longer relevant or has been superseded by state law. For example this amendment will remove outdated references to City departments that have been renamed or no longer exist, update references to the fiscal year to match current practice, and update the process for publication of ordinances.

For more information about Charter Amendment 4, go to:
http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Antonio_Removal_of_Outdated_Language_in_Charter,_Amendment_4_(May_2015)

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