Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report
The vitriolic campaigns of Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) and Mayor Ron Nirenberg in the mayoral runoff election have produced strong words and accusations by both campaigns, and recently, supporters have made their opinions known by defacing signage and property belonging to the campaigns and those who endorse them.
Late Friday night, an unknown person (or persons) arrived at the San Antonio Firefighters Association’s union hall and spray-painted the building with “SAFD in bed” on the building and vandalized several campaign signs promoting Councilman’s Greg Brockhouse (D6) for mayor in the June 8 runoff.
Some signs were removed, Brockhouse supporters told the Rivard Report. Others were blacked-out, one had the word “Crook” emblazoned on it. The spray paint on the union hall had been mostly scrubbed off by the afternoon.
In Southtown, someone defaced a “Keep Calm and Vote Ron” painting on the side of the Blue Star Arts complex with two strange symbols. It seems to be meant to convey an A for anarchy. The Nirenberg campaign obtained a still photograph from a surveillance camera in the area and shared with the Rivard Report. It shows the damage but it’s unclear if the person in the photo was the perpetrator. A Nirenberg supporter recently told campaign staff that their yard sign was set on fire.
The fire union, who has endorsed Brockhouse and is spending money on his behalf, sent out a press release Saturday morning blaming Nirenberg for the violence and posted a video about it.
“This is what happens when someone in a prominent position urges other people to hate certain classes of people or individuals,” union President Chris Steele wrote.
Nirenberg has never urged the public to “hate” the union or firefighters, but he has been critical of Steele’s competency and motives as well as the union’s tactics to get a labor contract deal that preserves their generous health care plans. That includes getting Brockhouse in the mayor’s seat, Nirenberg has said. Brockhouse previously worked for the police and fire unions before he was elected to Council in 2017.
“We are fortunate that this was only property damage and no one was physically assaulted,” Steele wrote, adding that Nirenberg should condemn the vandalism.
Nirenberg declined to comment for this story.
“We’re talking about various antics as opposed to substantive issues, which is exactly where Councilman Brockhouse wants it because he fails on substance and thrives on playing victim,” said Kelton Morgan, Nirenberg’s campaign manager. The Nirenberg campaign did not send out a press release after learning of the incidents involving their campaign materials.
There are surveillance cameras at the union hall, but it’s unclear if they are operational or pointed in directions that would help an investigation.
“Sign wars are kind of just a mark of San Antonio politics – I don’t get it,” Brockhouse said. “If any supporter of mine is tearing down or vandalizing a Ron Nirenberg sign: get out here. I don’t need you supporting me, I don’t want any part of it.”