Commentary: Why You Should Choose San Antonio

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Molly Cox, President & CEO of SA2020. Screenshot from Choose SA Video.

Molly Cox, president and CEO of SA2020, participates in a promotional video for Choose San Antonio's #210Reasons campaign.

Ask your average millennial living elsewhere in the nation what they know about San Antonio and the response may be disappointingly limited. In two recent focus groups I conducted at Trinity University and University of the Incarnate Word, I asked a mix of students from Texas and beyond what they knew about San Antonio before moving here for school.

One international student said he knew nothing about San Antonio other than that it was in Texas. A student from Louisiana knew only about the Spurs. The students from Texas were unanimous: they knew about the River Walk and SeaWorld, and that was about it.

Nearly all of the students remembered feeling anxious about first moving to San Antonio. They were excited about college but found it very hard to imagine being in a city they knew so little about.

To a striking degree, what I learned from my interactions with the students resonated with what I’d heard from some corporate recruiters. When job seekers are faced with similar job offers in different cities, the decision is no longer purely rational or economic. When salary, benefits, and career opportunities are roughly equivalent, applicants will decide which offer to accept based on other considerations. They will gravitate towards cities they already know a lot about; in those cities, they can maintain the lifestyle that they have come to expect for themselves and their families.

Kevin Peckham. Photo by Jessica Giesey.

Kevin Peckham. Photo by Jessica Giesey.

Too often, a job offer in San Antonio is the easy one to cross out of consideration. Not because San Antonio has left a bad impression for that job seeker, but because San Antonio has failed to leave an impression at all.

Simply put, if individuals are not already drawn on an emotional level to live in San Antonio, then every attempt to lure talented individuals here to start a business – or grow a business, or take a job, or enroll in a school program – will be an uphill battle.

Earlier this year I co-founded Choose San Antonio with local business leader, Tech Bloc board member, and Think SA founder Eric Bell. Choose San Antonio is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting San Antonio to the world. Through cultural storytelling, event marketing, advertising, media partnerships, and other modern promotional tactics, we hope to accelerate a national and international awakening to San Antonio. We believe that San Antonio is the best-kept secret in North America as a city of opportunity, diversity, culture, and lifestyle. It is our mission to make sure San Antonio doesn’t stay a secret any longer.

If Fiesta is a celebration of San Antonio at home, then our mission is a celebration of San Antonio to the world. It is a chance to reach hearts and minds with true stories and facts about life in San Antonio and glimpses into what makes living, playing, making art, and doing business here so great.

We begin our outreach work with a massive engagement at South by Southwest Interactive 2016. SXSW Interactive is a world’s fair of creative, technological, and entrepreneurial talent that comes together once a year, just 80 miles away in Austin. The statistics and demographics are impressive. In 2015 the festival drew over 33,000 participants from 85 countries. 23% of attendees were management-level professionals, and 20% listed themselves as the ultimate decision maker for their companies. All of this and the average attendee was only 25-34 years old, according to SXSW.

http://www.sxsw.com/press/images

2015 SXstyle session with Eva Chen and Michelle Phan Credit: Shelley Neuman.

In addition to foundational organization support provided by Group 42 and Lightning Jar, we’ve created a coalition of partners to help us with our activation at SXSW. That coalition includes the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, Bexar County Economic Development, Tech Bloc, Geekdom,  Department for Cultural and Community DevelopmentWhataburger, Trinity University, the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Busted Sandal Brewing Company, Cybersecurity San Antonio, Freeflow Research, Think SA, Grok Interactive, Mobile Om, Smart Barre, and many more.

Our goal is to create the first-ever official presence for the City of San Antonio at SXSW. We want to educate participants at the festival about life in San Antonio, what it is like to work and play here in one of the most unique but under-celebrated cities in the world.

Our presence will include more than just a booth at the SXSW trade show. We’re hosting a San Antonio cultural embassy “Casa San Antonio” at the corner of Trinity and 6th Street in Austin that will be the official home of over 40 events during the festival including networking events, speakers, panels, food tastings, yoga classes and VIP receptions.

A big part of our SXSW activation will be hosting Startup Friday, a series of events celebrating the startup community in San Antonio, and culminating with a Geekdom party on Friday March, 11th. We will also host Cybersecurity Sunday, a program bringing together cybersecurity experts and business leaders from around the world to learn about and celebrate the rise of San Antonio as a leading city for cybersecurity.

We’re also working with our sponsors to organize free shuttles back and forth to Austin during SXSW Interactive to make it easier for the San Antonio community to get involved.

One of our programming goals is to pair San Antonio thought leaders and culture creators with some of the brightest minds from around the country and the world, to demonstrate our message that San Antonio is a world-class city. One example of our programming is the “Tech vs. Craft” panel moderated by Alex Vallis from Food & Wine Magazine which will feature a debate over the impact and value of technology in the fine food and beverage industries. The panelists are San Antonio restaurateur and chef Michael Sohocki, California winemaker Ian Brand, and Darren Case, a former technologist turned craft-spirit-entrepreneur and founder of Round Turn Distilling.

http://schedule.sxsw.com/2016/events/event_PP58072

Diego Galicia, Chef and Restaurateur, Restaurant Mixtli. Photo by Josh Huskin

SXSW is just the first step in a journey that we hope will take our message about San Antonio around the world to technology conferences and culture festivals like CES, World Maker Faire, and Sundance here in the US and IBC, Web Summit, and the Turing Festival overseas.

It will be a lot of work and it will take a sustained commitment of resources and support from our partners, but the good news is this, that we can make a difference and we can influence national and international perceptions of San Antonio.

In October 2015, the Huffington Post listed San Antonio as one of 5 ‘secretly cool’ cities in the US. In 2014, Forbes reported that San Antonio is outpacing other US cities in millennial population growth. Increasingly, our cultural creators are also attracting the national spotlight, as in the recent New York Times Magazine feature “Feast in the Heart of Texas.”

The slight acceleration and change in tone of national media coverage about San Antonio is one of many early signs that what we are trying to do is already starting to happen; the world is beginning to wake up to San Antonio. My dream is that we harness this moment of awakening to accelerate demand for young, creative, entrepreneurial, artistic, and technological talent to live in San Antonio.

I predict a time not too far in the future when young people migrate here not just because of an opportunity that has fallen in their lap and pulled them here, but because they want to move to San Antonio – because this city represents the lifestyle they want to have.

Now, more than any other time in modern history, cities are competing for talent. And talent is the differentiating factor that grows economies and turns cities into centers of industry and flourishing epicenters of artistic and cultural endeavor.

As economist Richard Florida argues the migration of highly educated and ‘creative individuals’ greatly affects the rise and fall of cities. By his calculation, 66% of the total US payroll goes to creative class salaries — those jobs in science and technology, arts, culture and entertainment, healthcare, law and management, and others whose occupations are based on mental or creative labor.

There are many great organizations and talented individuals working incredibly hard right now to improve San Antonio. I applaud each and every one of these people and value their efforts, but I ask us all to remember and celebrate the fact that San Antonio, is already a great place to live, work, and play.

We are not a second-class city, we don’t have to hide our faces and we don’t have to wait for a later time or a later date to tell our story on an international stage, to get people excited about San Antonio, or to begin to take our rightful place on the global map of leading cities.

 

*Top image: Molly Cox, President & CEO of SA2020. Screenshot from Choose SA Video.

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2016 SXSW PanelPicker Lets You Vote for San Antonian Ideas

Visitors, Locals Reflect on Lessons at SXSW

31 thoughts on “Commentary: Why You Should Choose San Antonio

  1. Kevin,

    I am far from being a millennial (in fact, I’m probably only a few years shy of “codger”!). Still, as soon as I have the opportunity to do so, I’ll be leaving.

    I’ve finally reached the point where I can barely stand to venture forth from my home! I absolutely LOATHE autocentrism – and that’s the path San Antonio has consciously chosen.

    Even my hometown, Dallas, is WORLDS ahead of San Antonio when it comes to rail-based transit: streetcars, light-rail services, commuter and regional trains, intercity routes, and a real, live, original, historic downtown terminal building that’s actually open to the public! [I know; shocking!]

    It may take another couple of years, but my departure will eventually occur.

    In summation, if I was a young man just starting out today, there’d be NO WAY I’d want to settle down in a city where the only practical transport alternative in most corridors and to most markets is a private motor vehicle (read: very large pick-up truck)!

    So long. I wish you well.

    Garl Boyd Latham

    • Hi Garl & Kevin

      To share, I chose downtown San Antonio fifteen years ago because at that time it was possible to be young and broke and live near downtown without a car – depending on where you were based and the work you did and, importantly, how you chose to feed yourself and spend your free time.

      Back then I lived along industrial Probandt (pre-restaurant at La Tuna) and walked the pre-Mission Reach River Walk from the Gunther House or biked Alamo Street if not taking the blue trolley to reach downtown (to grocery shop or go to the library, YMCA, or see the Spurs from the nosebleed seats at the Alamodome etc).

      I moved to San Antonio on Greyhound and felt the bustle of tourism mixed with local business (AT&T?) at affordable mom and pop eateries including Blanco Cafe – and enjoyed a city that seemed incredibly walkable and accessible from my particular (broke) vantage point.

      At least, much more so than Austin in 2001, simply based on the location of Greyhound, friendly uniformed city ambassadors (Amigos) giving out paper maps to bus passengers and others, mom and pop cafes, the River Walk, First Fridays and the frequent, clear and affordable multi-line trolley bus system around greater downtown (reaching into Five Points and the east side as well as The Lone Star district before it was) used by locals and visitors.

      However moving to Beacon Hill for a stretch in 2003 showed me just how ‘auto-centric’ or at least isolating life in even historic San Antonio (just a few miles but seemingly a world away from downtown) could be. Sadly, this is still true for Beacon Hill and other historic neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtown today, as public transportation and other connections with downtown have not improved significantly in the past decade.

      There are things that could be done to improve as well as market San Antonio as a Start Up City for young people including transplants – but selling them $8 beers near new housing downtown likely isn’t one of them. Boutique bars and apartments aren’t necessarily the fabric (at least clearly not the fabric alone) that motivates or helps many smart, ambitious young folks chose, stay or grow in San Antonio.

      If aiming for recent graduates or people in their twenties. I hope that Choose SA works to San Antonio’s established strengths as a frugal and creative start up city including:

      – affordable regional and international bus options downtown (Megabus, Greyhound, Omnibus, etc) – including great reach into Mexico

      – affordable AMTRAK options downtown – for journeys to New Orleans & west Texas (Alpine)

      – affordable apartment & live-work options off Martin Street downtown as well as along major bus corridors to downtown within the 410 loop

      – affordable Airbnb clusters and weekly and monthly hotels within the 410 loop (typically west and near northwest of downtown)

      – affordable dining and drinking anchors including mom and pop establishments and ice houses

      – weekly free events for networking and entertainment downtown (Central Library, etc)

      – Start Up national service related work opportunities including AmeriCorps, CityYear Teach for America, Code for America etc.

      – Start Up public service / tourism related work including tour guiding, ambassador work, transport work etc. (I miss Amigos that make eye contact with visitors)

      I hope Choose SA works hard to draw SXSW visitors FROM Austin to San Antonio in March (beyond shuttling San Antonians to Austin) by tapping into local events including Contemporary Art Month (#camsa2016) and SA Flavor – as well as taking advantage of affordable transport options such as Megabus and Greyhound (and improving the arrival experience in San Antonio)

      Locally, too, I hope Choose SA will help improve connections between the affordable Start Up City of San Antonio and the San Antonio being promoted. Thinking about how a financially poor student might stay in San Antonio (or enjoy SXSW) could help.

  2. The thing is that most people rarely leave their comfort zones and see the grass on other side. Several case studies confirm this. Usually, it’s the chamber ( unless I’m mistaken) that coordinates these branding efforts on behalf of the city. Why go through the trouble? What do you get out of this? What is your stake?

    • Thanks David, that’s a great question. Part of my stake is I’m a small business owner in San Antonio doing business with clients in other cities and countries. Raising the profile of San Antonio makes it easier for me to compete for contracts and talent.

      Also I live in San Antonio. I’m proud of our city and what is has to offer, but I’m embarrassed by the questions I still get about San Antonio from friends, colleagues, and people I meet in other parts of the country.

      People often know so very little about San Antonio. Some imagine us all riding horses and carrying guns down dirt streets with tumbleweed blowing by. Others are just surprised to learn we have lifestyle and culture amenities, like museums and botanic gardens, a major airport, yoga, bike share & bike paths, craft breweries, walkable neighborhoods, parks, great restaurants, coffee shops, music venues, a symphony, a thriving economy, a diverse population… things you would never be surprised to learn about other cities.

      These people aren’t dumb, it’s just they haven’t heard much about what life is like in San Antonio. Because we haven’t been making enough of a concerted to get the message out. San Antonio has a lot to offer, but our national and international reputation lags behind the reality.

  3. “We are not a second-class city.” We aren’t? Nothing in this article explains why San Antonio should be considered a first-class city. Parties and yoga classes certainly don’t say anything about SA. San Antonio is considered a second-class city even inside the state of Texas, so saying it’s world class when compared to the entire US and even the entire planet? Riiiight.

    I’m young and work in a creative labor job, yet SA would have to go through major improvements before I would recommend moving here to anyone similar. Please focus on creating an actual city (as opposed to ever-expanding sprawl) before bragging about San Antonio internationally.

  4. I agree with CC. If you are going to market S.A. you need to identify its “selling points.” What are those? I’m not saying they aren’t there, I’m just saying they need to be identified and talked about. I think the city does a good job in getting businesses to hold major conferences and events in San Antonio and the city has done a good job in creating the environment to host those conferences and events. What are the selling points to give to others to entice them to relocate to S.A.?

  5. Kevin, I love what you guys are doing – thank you. However, I think one of the issues we have in SA is we happy talk ourselves out of doing what needs to be done to be a great city.

    The truth is we are not a second class city – we are likely a third class city. 48th in creative class population. 52nd in GDP per capita. A history of shrinking employment in downtown. These are the facts.

    Now all that said our potential is huge. We have amazing assets and anyone who is interested in building a city – realizing greatness from potential – should be attracted to San Antonio right now. We can attract pioneers today. The kinds of people that moved to Portland 25 years ago. Or Brooklyn from Manhattan 15 years ago. The energy is building but there is MUCH work to be done – and our destiny is far from certain. And some big deliberate choices are going to have to be made that look very different from our past. I look forward to working hard with you and many others to get us there!

  6. The trend in political leadership at COSA is evangelical and hard right. The numbers in D9 & D10 tell the story. How are you going to deal with that? The message that sends outside of the state will help determine who moves here and who won’t.

  7. This is a fantastic article! I am so excited that citizens like you are taking charge of our image as a city. San Antonio has, until very recently, always had a very uninteresting and ineffective marketing campaign.
    I am a young professional, native, and artist and I would greatly appreciate a form of light rail or street car in SA, that is one major thing that is holding our city back in terms of attracting more creatives and professionals who want a very walkable, dense, urban core. I was VERY disappointed when Mayor Ivy dismantled that project.

    As for the negative nancies above, instead of complaining we should all do our part to make SA a wonderful place.

    Thank you for doing your part!

  8. You nailed it Art. There are lots of things we can do to improve life in San Antonio — transportation is certainly one them. And we’d be a lot further along if everyone who had passionate opinions about how our city needs to improve got involved with efforts to make those changes happen.

    But I look around at this moment in San Antonio and I do see some people getting involved with efforts to effect positive change. Lew and the folks at Tech Bloc are a great example. (thanks for chiming in Lew, and thank you for your efforts too; I love San Antonio but I agree it is far from perfect, and we need to keep working harder and hared to keep making it better).

    That being said, one of the things that needs to change about San Antonio is our image, and we shouldn’t have to wait for a later date or time to begin actively working on our image. We can celebrate what we love about our city today — what is first class about our city today, and as we make improvements to our city, we can add those to our message too.

    I don’t actually hear a lot of happy talk about San Antonio. I wish I heard more. And I don’t think civic pride is what’s holding us back from effecting change. I believe it’s ok to express love for San Antonio, and civic pride on the one hand, and still see issues and challenges that the city faces in a realistic light on the other.

    Internally, as we fight for change, metrics that show us trailing behind other cities in certain categories such as downtown employment can be a strong motivator and valuable too to help instigate desperately needed change. But I’m not going to travel the world telling the people I meet that San Antonio is a third-class city. I reject that. It might be true in certain categories. But, it’s also an insulting generalization that masks the value of what we do have to outsiders who might be interested in learning more about our city.

    Is our culinary scene third-class? Are our artists third-class? Is our symphony third-class? Are our museums third-class? Is our bike-share program somehow worse than cities that don’t even have one? Is the Tobin center a third-class venue? Is Geekdom a third-class co-working space? Is Hemisfair a third-class park renovation project? Are the Spurs a third-class basketball team? Is the hotel Emma a third-class hotel? Is the Pearl campus a third-class place to live, work, dine, or do business? Are our architects and builders third-class? Are our cybersecurity experts third-class? Are our river-front parks third class? Are we third-class in culture or friendliness, or caring about our neighbors? Are our historic world monuments third-class? Are the entrepreneurs who have already invested in our city third-class?

    No, the answer to all of my questions above is that we have legitimate claim to feel proud of our efforts in those and many other categories. And though one of the traits that makes San Antonio great is a collective personality that is more humble, it doesn’t mean we are bragging when we answer the question “What is life like in San Antonio?” with an an honest answer that hits some of the true highlights about why we like living here.

    To Ken’s point we need to get better at identifying and talking about our selling points. Those selling points are different based on who you ask, and that’s ok too. The list of what I love about San Antonio will be different than yours. But if we both love San Antonio and we choose to tell someone outside of San Antonio, then that person might just remember our passion and enthusiasm and be interested in learning more.

    • So, Kevin:

      What do all these wondrous things have in common?

      Yes, San Antonio offers fabulous culinary scenes, artists galore, a symphony orchestra, myriad museums, the always impressive Tobin Center, Hemisfair Plaza, and the new Hotel Emma – along with everything else you mentioned.

      Now, how will you reach those destinations? More to the point, how COULD you reach them?

      A comprehensive mass transit system would help answer those questions quite nicely.

      Transportation ties everything together. Non-automotive transportation is something many millennials repeatedly search for in any city of consequence. Railway technologies tend to play key roles in viable transportation systems.

      We can avert our eyes and pretend the status quo is good enough, or we can try to take a long, hard look at the San Antonio outsiders see. Let’s ask ourselves why a city with all these things to offer might still be viewed by some as “third-class” (whether that opinion is completely valid or not). What ingredients are we missing? What might be done to make this region even better?

      Why are we having this discussion 33 YEARS after Dallas voted DART into existence?!

      You know, that cute little lisp the child has today will undermine her future tomorrow, if not corrected.

      At one time, San Antonio’s desire to be a big city with a small town mentality may have seemed cute. Now, it only serves to undermine its future.

      Do we have the strength, or even the desire, to correct things?

      Hmmm…

      Garl

      • Millenials don’t ride DART. For the most part they move out of Dallas as soon as they are able. And why are millenials so coveted by writers on this site?

        Poor people and the homeless ride DART. Except maybe at rush hour when office drones fill up the trains.

    • YES!

      We have many attributes that are First Class! Everything you have mentioned is what makes our city an amazing place that is only getting better. I live in Houston now and when I first moved here I hated it. It made me realize there are countless things to be thankful for in SA that I had taken for granted. San Antonio preserves its historic soul, unlike Houston which destroys and builds anew. I am so thankful to have citizens and activists such as yourself who understand that we must be the change to see the change.

      A city is only as strong as its citizens, so we need to do whatever it takes to keep the best talent in SA. If that means creating an effective and beautifully presented marketing campaign, then so be it!

  9. I like all the negative Nancy’s above shaming San Antonio for sprawl and being automobile centric. What don’t you all stop whining and do something about it? Do you all prefer other people do all the work and you sit back and ride their coattail? You just described every major US city! Houston and Dallas have much greater sprawl then San Antonio. Austin has much worse traffic then San Antonio. Downtown Houston and Dallas after 5pm are not anywhere close to as lively as downtown San Antonio. The Riverwalk and it’s extensions make downtown very walkable and pedestrian friendly. You can’t say that about any other Texas city.

    San Antonio does need a mass transit system. The rail in Austin is quite weak and your travel time on the rail is the same as a car sitting in traffic on I35. Go up to Austin and ride it for yourself if you don’t believe me.

    Toodles!

    • Well…

      I’ve continued trying to “do something about it” since moving down here 4 1/2 years ago. I’ll gladly compare notes.

      Yes, the “Riverwalk and…extensions” keep portions of downtown San Antonio quite lively – thanks to the tourism industry. Cash cows have a purpose, eh?

      Many streets are “pedestrian friendly” – once you’re safely downtown. Of course, GETTING downtown can be a problem if you don’t have an automobile and parking can be a problem if you do, but why quibble over facts?

      Indeed, Dallas’ metropolitan region represents sprawl on steroids – and it also represents the heart of an area with almost three TIMES as many people as San Antonio plus New Braunfels plus whatever.

      Austin’s single railway transit service has limitations – one being its distance from the Interstate 35 corridor. If you lived someplace like Leander, you might feel differently.

      Finally, before making blanket claims regarding other Texas cities, you may wish to check your statements for possible bias. Within their respective downtowns, Fort Worth’s Sundance Square and Dallas’ Arts District offer impressive amounts of nighttime activity, while most non-urban-but-savvy people wouldn’t want to be wandering anywhere about the several blocks between the Riverwalk and El Mercado after nightfall.

      Prior to heading south, my family and I cared for my elderly mother. Toward the end, to help facilitate our efforts, we all moved into a suburban house large enough for my wife, our two daughters, my sister (who also gave of her time), our mother and me (and a cat named Bailey).

      Today, a similar distance from downtown San Antonio would place me well outside VIA’s service area. Conversely, from that particular home in Dallas County, I enjoyed a comfortable 2 1/2 block walk to the nearest DART bus stop, where the buses took me on a short ride to Irving’s downtown train station.

      From this depot, I could go directly to downtown Dallas or downtown Fort Worth. Everything from local transit to Amtrak limiteds were available in both places.

      From Dallas’ Union Terminal, convenient, direct, cross-platform connections could be made – using the same ticket – to the downtown business districts of several suburban cities, including Garland, Plano and Carrollton. A short hop to Fair Park? No problem. A 40-mile trip to Denton? Easy as pie. A visit to the Zoo or a picnic at White Rock Lake? Your train awaits! Streetcar service to CityPlace via uptown or across the Trinity River to Oak Cliff? Free of charge.

      Because of DART, we were able to remain a two-car household, even with four licensed drivers living in the midst of the ‘burbs. Buses and myriad rail-based options, along with walking and bicycling, kept us well connected.

      My “thesis statement” (as it were) remains the same: unless and until San Antonio takes rail-based passenger transport options seriously, nothing substantive will change. Without change in this regard, San Antonio will remain mired in mediocrity. It will be forever known as a city which was afraid to achieve its destiny.

      Garl B. Latham

      • As much as I don’t appreciate the delivery of your opinion, I could not agree with you more. The fact that we were so close to creating a lightrail system downtown, only for it to be dismantled by our new mayor is very disheartening. If our city officials want SA to attract more millennials and urban dwellers, they must push forward “radical ideas” such as a streetcar.

          • Ken,

            A proposed light rail starter system lost at the polls in 2000. The “why” is subject to debate, though the antis would probably say the plan cost to much (i.e. required any of MY tax money) and did too little (i.e. did nothing to improve MY commutation time from MY driveway in MY gated community to MY office building’s front door).

            The excuse Ivy Taylor gave in 2014 for killing San Antonio’s streetcar plan was that the project lacked “community consensus” and was becoming divisive.

            http://therivardreport.com/san-antonios-streetcar-dead/

            G.B.L.

      • I hear a lot about the need for “mass transit.” However, I doubt the number of citizens it would serve (like VIA). For those cities with respected mass transit in place, what is the percentage of residents who actually use those transportation systems? I’m not interested in the number of riders because that counts a majority of people many times a year which distorts the use of the mass transit. What percentage of citizens in the Dallas-FT Worth metro area actually use DART?

        • Ken,

          It’s hard to say, even after wading through a pile of data. The figure would likely be in the single digits. I’ve personally seen an independent claim of “<3%", but that specific number was offered up as the proverbial "statistic in a vacuum" on another site by an anonymous source.

          Of course, the source in itself doesn't necessarily make the figure incorrect. It's just that statistical information can be used and abused in so many different ways!

          Several problems which crop up while attempting to quantify a meaningful result include the fact that DART's service area is approximately 700 square miles in size, while the entire Fort Worth/Dallas metropolitan region covers almost 9,000 square miles.

          For the folks living in that remaining 8,300 square mile area, it's awfully difficult to use something which doesn't exist!

          Garl

          • Garl, your raise a great point regarding the “territory” covered by a mass transit system.

            In regards to my lack of faith in politicians, the “political gang” just seems to overwhelm the average citizen. I realize there are some politicians who do their duty in support of the citizens instead of themselves, but I really believe they are a minority. I’m probably just too old and have seen too much to have much faith in our political system. However, theoretically you are right. If enough citizens were provided more information about their governments decisions (not just through a posting of an agenda and an expectation that busy people will attend a meeting that has been scheduled for the convenience of the politicians) by “pushing’ out the information about an impending decision so that the citizens have time to react, then things can get better. Right now the average citizen that pays attention to politics in their city probably gets information about an important decision via the media. I can’t remember the last time one of my councilman/woman, representative, congressman, or senator “pushed” info to me about an important decision and solicited my feedback.

            I have not paid much attention to citizen-groups, but off the top of my head one that seems to resonate with me is LULAC. I remember hearing that name decades ago. I guess they are a good example of a group of citizens who make their voices known and who have had an impact on city decisions. I’m sure there are others.

    • Responsibility for the characteristics of the city are not the responsibility of the citizens but that of the elected official. Even if politicians tell voters they will do something, the likelihood of it getting done is slim to none. It will take a very committed group of city leaders to change the characteristics of the city.

      • I’m sorry, Ken; you’ve lost me.

        If we can’t rely upon our elected officials/politicians to tell us the truth and follow through on their campaign promises (and you’ll certainly get no argument from me on that one!), then upon whom might we depend to serve as our “city leaders”?

        Ultimately, the “responsibility for the characteristics of the city” absolutely rests with the citizens (a.k.a. the “common man”)! From participating in local elections to becoming activists for change, I see no one else who should claim that right!

        People should not receive leadership positions by birth, nor do professional politicians become leaders by osmosis. Everyone who truly cares (including Ken and Garl) MUST become part of that “committed group” if we hope to “change the characteristics of” San Antonio!

        Best,
        G.B.L.

  10. did you really expect teens to know anything about any city besides their hometown?

    When I was a teen in Houston I barely knew anything outside of my part of town. All I knew was Austin had 6th st and the Capitol, Dallas had that ball building, SA had the Alamo and Riverwalk, and Lubbock was dry.

  11. San Antonio is more than downtown and there are a lot of things to love about the city outside of downtown. I just wanted to mention this as I feel this conversation always alienates the rest of the city.

  12. The obsession some here have with mass transit is astounding…Austin has one dinky line. Are the millennialis that we covet in Austin living in Leander? Doubtful

    And DART? We’re going to hold that out as an example of successful mass transit?

    It’s not that this doesn’t matter, it does, but the response here is incredibly out of proportion. It makes no sense for the public to invest in a mass transit infrastructure running downtown until there is a critical mass of people to use it.

    • “It’s not that this doesn’t matter, it does, but…”

      That’s O.K., Ryan; you’ve already told us everything we need to know.

      Regarding DART – and the need for rail-based passenger transport options in San Antonio, I stand by my previous comments.

  13. San Antonio is a large trailer park that rolls up the sidewalks at dusk. Add to that the excessive crime problem and why would people move to SA unless they needed to?

  14. Y’all are nuts. This town is changing for the better by leaps and bounds each year. I love my lifestyle in San Antonio and have several friends who are buying their first homes right now in SA and settling in for the long haul. It’s extremely affordable, has little to no traffic problems, and there are more activities and festivals than I have time to even consider. Most of all, San Antonio has something that many large cities will never have…authenticity rooted in a historical identity of place. That’s why I have no plans to leave any time soon.

    Signed, a native Austinite.

    • That’s great, Frank; I wish you nothing but the best!

      Of course, your “little to no traffic problems” comment speaks volumes; but, that’s okay. It takes all kinds to make a world. Once I’m gone in search of a place where driving is an option, I’ll gladly leave you in a place where driving is required.

      Admittedly, I find the idea that San Antonio may be nearly alone in its “authenticity rooted in a historical identity of place” to be somewhat offensive. Oh, well; perhaps one of the reasons I enjoy our shared history so much is because my family has been part of the Texas experience for so long.

      Take care. I’m confident I’ll be back for a visit.

      Garl

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