Ballot Propositions Would Undo San Antonio’s Work Toward Equity

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Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5)

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) said a proposal submitted to City Council aims to double the funding the City budgets toward programs and initiatives combating domestic violence.

In this election, I’m voting no on Propositions A, B and C, and I’m asking you to do the same. My reason is clear: I will not turn my back on San Antonio, on my community, or on my children.

These propositions, brought by the leadership of the San Antonio firefighters union, do just that. They turn their back on progress, representative government, and our ability to build the best future we can for our children.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Proposition A would undo generations of work toward equity. It was only 40 years ago that San Antonio went from at-large representation on City Council to single-member district representation. The hard work to get equal representation was started by our parents and grandparents, by the generations who fought against poll taxes and political machines. Proposition A would undo all that hard work. It would turn the clock back to a time when the interests of a few held sway over the entire city.

District 5, which I represent, is just now beginning to see progress on equitable funding to meet its long neglected needs. Last year, my Council colleagues and I agreed that equity funding was the best approach to meet the city’s future. We understand that it benefits every council district when all of its citizens enjoy the same quality of streets and sidewalks, parks and libraries, housing, and drainage infrastructure. Proposition A would make it too easy for a disgruntled few to dismantle the work of deliberative, representative, and focused government.

This proposition alone would destabilize good city government and put San Antonio at a high risk for public investment. The pace of progress we’ve come to rely on, especially in places like District 5 where we’ve begun to seed the potential for strong and lasting growth, would come to a crawl, and I will not turn my back on it.

Proposition B turns its back on our future. It would hamstring future City Councils by limiting its options to choose from the top shelf of potential city managers, the level of manager our citizens deserve. The proposition would limit city manager terms to eight years and cap the salary at 10 times that of the lowest-paid City employee. We don’t place that kind of limit on other professionals, not when we want to attract the best. But that’s not what this is about.

This proposition is unquestionably aimed at our current city manager, but it’s off its own target because it would apply to managers to come, not the present one. It’s troublesome to me that the firefighters union leader, Chris Steele, has himself been in elected union office for 14 years and yet would hold the City’s top executive to a limit he doesn’t respect.

Proposition C is a brazen power grab. It would give the firefighters union the unilateral power to walk away from the negotiating table and hand the process to unelected arbitrators. Again, the proposed amendment turns its back on good governance, built on representative deliberation. What Proposition C says is that your voice doesn’t matter, that the firefighters union leaders can bypass your elected representatives – all of whom are term-limited – and appeal to someone you didn’t elect.

We’ve been waiting for the union to come to the negotiating table, but its answer is to turn the table over and walk away. I can’t vote yes to that.

I won’t turn my back on my children’s future, on representative governance, on the work of generations past. I ask that you not turn your back either and vote no this election.

2 thoughts on “Ballot Propositions Would Undo San Antonio’s Work Toward Equity

  1. I can see the reasoning in A and C but for prop B… We should not let the mayor set their own salaries. our taxes pay their checks and their needs to be regulations on how much a city official is paid.

  2. Honestly Prop B is reasonable. They get paid 500,000 a year!! Whyy??? Isn’t the lowest paid city official around 30,000. 10 times that amount is still a ridiculous amount to be paid. Most people could work 20 or even 50 years in a big business and never see that kind of money EVER. Thats just a money hungry person saying I want this much in pay how dare you take it away. Plus this woman wants to keep it that way because she works for the government – Doesn’t at all sound biased.

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