Brockhouse and His Women Issues: Why It Matters

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Rosey Abuabara holds a sign that reads "We read the report."

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Rosey Abuabara holds a sign that reads "We read the report" at the mayoral runoff forum and town hall at Travis Park Church on May 21.

The Travis Park Church sanctuary felt more like a soccer stadium than a house of worship Wednesday evening as 450 boisterous supporters of Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Councilman Greg Brockhouse filled the pews for a mayoral candidate forum.

Associate Pastor Gavin Rogers addressed the crowd beforehand, urging respect, civility, and tolerance, and an awareness of where people were gathered. A house of worship is not an ice house.

The two candidates appeared separately, never sharing the stage.

Respect for such admonitions was short-lived as the program opened with Rogers and Rivard Report Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick tag-teaming Brockhouse in a conversation that started softly, but eventually turned into a thorough focus on two domestic abuse incidents described in police reports, one involving Brockhouse and his ex-wife and the other with his current wife.

(From left) Iris Dimmick, Gavin Rogers, and Greg Brockhouse

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

(From left) Iris Dimmick, Gavin Rogers, and Greg Brockhouse hold out their hands to quiet the crowd.

Brockhouse grew loud and animated while answering. His supporters followed, shouting, standing, and erupting into screaming matches with Nirenberg supporters in the audience.

Brockhouse supporters will post their usual comments on this column, asserting he was never arrested and citing his current wife’s serial denials that the incident never occurred. Experts know that most women recant charges against abusive husbands or partners. Police often leave the scene of domestic assaults without making an arrest if the situation seems defused.

The clamor inside Travis Park Church was a picture of populist mayhem. While the moment, captured by local television cameras, erased any doubts about the Rivard Report‘s resolve to confront Brockhouse on the domestic abuse charges, I found myself wondering about the broader pattern of his relations with women in general.

Fathering children with four different women is indicative, in and of itself. I also was thinking about the many exchanges that have been reported in City Council chambers in which Brockhouse has targeted strong, smart women in leadership roles.

At the forum, Brockhouse was effusive in his praise of newly appointed City Manager Erik Walsh. A native San Antonian, veteran City employee, and protégé of longtime City Manager Sheryl Sculley, Walsh has been on the job less than three months. He has not overseen any significant policy initiatives or reversed any Sculley-era policies and practices, yet he somehow has earned Brockhouse’s seal of approval.

“Erik Walsh has a done a fantastic job transitioning from Sheryl Sculley to his leadership,” Brockhouse repeated in a Thursday interview with “The Source” host David Martin Davies on Texas Public Radio last week.

Walsh, of course, is a man. Sculley is a woman. Brockhouse vilified Sculley for two years, turning a city manager recognized nationally as best in class into a target. His allies in the police and fire unions oversaw the expenditure of untold sums to hound her out of City Hall.

(From left) Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) and City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

(From left) Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) and City Manager Sheryl Sculley in Nov. 2018.

Sculley wasn’t the only woman executive to find herself in Brockhouse’s crosshairs.

Pre-K4SA CEO Sarah Baray, a nationally-recognized educator, can tell her own tales about tongue-lashings delivered by Brockhouse in public meetings. She made the mistake of touting Pre-K teachers as the best and brightest in San Antonio, which infuriated Brockhouse, whose wife teaches in the Northside Independent School District. He somehow took Baray’s organizational pride as a hit on his wife.

With the preschool program funded by a 1/8-cent sales tax up in 2020 for voter approval for another eight years, Pre-K supporters are understandably worried that Brockhouse as mayor would work to undermine the program and divert the revenue elsewhere.

Brockhouse also zeroed in with a bizarre line of questioning of SAWS board nominee Amy Hardberger, a St. Mary’s law professor and noted water law expert, even as he gave a pass to the men nominated to the SAWS board at the same time. Two city council members, Shirley Gonzales (D5) and Ana Sandoval (D7), protested Brockhouse’s obvious bias against Hardberger, who nonetheless gained appointment to the board, as a woman.

Brockhouse has been equally hostile to Colleen Bridger, the director of Metro Health, who now serves as an interim assistant city manager.

Brockhouse has become increasingly agitated in his responses as the domestic abuse allegations have become a bigger campaign issue, even as he has failed to convince anyone that the 2009 police report unearthed by San Antonio Express-News investigative reporter Brain Chasnoff is not real. It appears quite real, written by a San Antonio police officer who is said to still be active on the force.

Express News Investigative Reporter Brian Chasnoff presents a document to Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6)

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Express-News investigative reporter Brian Chasnoff presents a document to Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6).

“That police report is chocked full of inaccuracies,” Brockhouse said of the report, detailing how he threw his wife to the ground, sat on her and appeared to be assaulting her when their children came into the room, perhaps saving their mother from a beating and allowing her to call the police.

Like so many before them, Brockhouse and his wife deny any such thing ever happened. If so, Davies asked, why did Brockhouse threaten to walk out of an earlier Rivard Report-sponsored mayoral debate if the subject of domestic abuse were raised?

Answer: He didn’t think “Bob Rivard could be fair.” Yet I was standing in the back of the room, a member of the audience. I was not on stage asking questions.

As Davies continued to press Brockhouse on the incident with his wife, the councilman told TPR listeners:

“That did not happen.”

Oddly, Brockhouse shows no interest in investigating what would then be a forged document, a serious crime, and true campaign dirty trick. Interestingly, he previously called on the District Attorney’s office to open a criminal investigation into what he said was an illegal executive council session attended by Sculley, Nirenberg, and other city council members to discuss the pros and cons of a competitive bid for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Brockhouse seems in no hurry now to investigate the perpetrators of damaging, supposedly phony allegations of domestic abuse.

The police report that is now missing from local databases, one local attorney told me, suggests former District Attorney Nico LaHood allowed the report to be expunged under his watch, not an unusual supposition given his cozy relationship with the public safety unions. It happens far more often than citizens realize in instances where there is no arrest or conviction, the attorney said. LaHood himself had a felony drug distribution and firearm charge expunged from his own record.

Brockhouse has a history and a problem. He needs to own that history and voters need to consider his problem with women, both at home and in the public arena.

For Brockhouse supporters critical of my continuing focus: Domestic violence is not some subject box we journalists check and then move on. This goes to the heart of Brockhouse’s unsuitability to serve in a major public leadership role in our city. It’s up to voters now to decide what kind of elected leader we want in San Antonio.

66 thoughts on “Brockhouse and His Women Issues: Why It Matters

  1. Well said RR. Enjoyed reading this. I now have made my decision to vote for Ron. Brockhouse just has to many questionable leadership mishaps and has no real plan for anything except to pay more money to the already over paid fire and police. At least Ron has a vision, let’s hope he can start executing on some of it this next term.

    • Seems that Brockhead’s supporters are like trump supporters, no matter what they have done, or if they play the fool daily, they will still vote for those people! Yes, I see a negative pattern revealed by Ron, will NOT vote for this clown!

      • I think you may be confused in the same way I was with the original comment. But I re-read it: Ron is the first name of Brockhouse’s opponent.

    • Where was The RR’s concern for women during the Trump/Clinton campaign? Why now is The RR the big champion for women. I do not condone any mistreatment of women, but for The RR to say the sky is falling if Brockhouse is elected seems to me to be selective concern for women and politicians who allegedly have assaulted their wife.

  2. Thank you for your courage RR to report on this concern. Yes, Brockhouse has a history and a problem that does not need to part of our city leadership. He has never had my vote.

  3. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. As a woman with a history of assault by men, it is heartening to see that some men choose to be brave and speak up with regard to violence and antipathy towards women. I would never support any person, man or woman, with so many questions about their possible violent relationships with women as well as those concerning the support of his own children.

  4. As the seventh largest city in the country, we need a mayor with vision and integrity. Brockhouse seems to possess neither.

  5. Seems i remember Mr Brockhouse could remember that he too called 911 to report the problem. Can he remember what he can or can’t remember?
    And then, if the SAFD gets what it expects, the SAPD can re-adjust their agreement. Where does the money come from?
    He is not the candidate for our future.

  6. Recommend you explicitly notify your readers that this article is an editorial. I like the news items you cover not so much your articles like this one. You alienate a lot of potential supporters.

      • I meant I agreed with Dirk about liking news articles and not the biased commentaries. The RR should not be used as a mouth piece for the personal feelings of the employees of The RR.

        • You’re right! The owner of this website, who pays for it to exist, shouldn’t be allowed to tell you what he thinks….even if he clearly labels his essays as “commentary”. Rivard your readers like Ken and me are too delicate to read opinions that are contrary to ours. Please agree with us more often if you want Ken and me to continue checking out this free site.

  7. “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Brockhouse’s personal history and professional record set off alarm bells in my mind. A diverse, world-class city like San Antonio needs an ethical, balanced and mature leadership that truly cares about all people— not a mercurial, misogynistic and manipulative hothead. Thank you, Rivard Report, for asking the tough questions, and reminding San Antonians that character and integrity still matter. (At least it should…)

  8. Nice hit piece, with more than one undocumented charge and statements like “Experts know that most women recant charges against abusive husbands”. This is a fact in itself, but it’s obviously asserting that’s what his wife is doing- without offering any proof. Where’s the article laying out the problems with Nirenberg- a mayor whose behavior indicates he governs more like the leader of an oligarchy than a republic? He forces policies through and then lies about the reason (no Chick-fil-a at the airport because they close on Sunday- smirk. No consideration of the Republican Convention because…well because I say so). It’s pieces like this that I think about when considering whether or not to contribute to the Rivard Report. Like me, many Americans are weary of politicians and journalists telling them what they must think, assuming they can’t read straight up facts and decide for themselves.

    • So the only two things you have against our mayor and city council are Chick Fil A and the GOP convention?

      Seriously, why do you give a flying two cents about Chick Fil A at San Antonio’s airport? Seriously I want to know. I just don’t get it. There are 19 Chick Fil A’s in San Antonio. Do we really need another one? Do we as a city favor franchises over Mom&Pop places, because all the business picked were local or texas in orgin.

      As far as the GOP convention goes, how can you host an event in a city that is majority minority city with a huge latino population when the opening speech given by our POTUS as candidate accuses Mexicans/Immigrants of being less than Americans? We are after all a nation of immigrants and as a white man I can see why San Antonio did not want to be the backdrop for a party that nominated a bigot and a xenophobe.

      Thankfully we live in a country that we can both agree to disagree.

  9. I think you nailed it, Mr. Rivard. Mr. Brockhouse has wielded a pattern of power and control in his dealings with women. I have a sneaking suspicion that it isn’t just women he has treated this way but also anyone that has come into conflict with Mr. Brockhouse’s demands.

  10. It is time for more information on Mētú. The Rivard Report has reported on this organization many times, but now it seems like the founder of that organization was accused of domestic violence twice. Does Mr. Nirenberg repudiate that organization, and the support he has received from them?

    • Who better to actively fight domestic violence than a woman who was abused by several men and whose charges were dismissed. This light belongs squarely on the shoulders of a candidate who refuses to discuss even the first incident that was called in. Two wives, two domestic calls. He has an anger management issue and is a mysoginist. No thank you.

  11. When records of criminal cases are expunged, they often forget to also expunge the dispatch records that show the barebones details of the 911 call (date, time, ADDRESS, etc.) seek that information and if it’s still there, he will no longer be able to deny that police were called on him. Funny how the community “business leaders” who are in his corner would never tolerate the presence of a union in their own businesses, but don’t mind using the police/fire union money to advance this narcissist’s career and agenda.

  12. Robert Rivard tends to have a poor understanding of what San Antonio voters actually want. He was vehemently against the propositions, but his arguments never held water with the voters, for example.

    Should people care about domestic violence? Absolutely. But if Rivard thinks this could be the key issue of the race, he is mistaken. People in this city care about living in penury, and the three or four jobs we are all working.

    • No…actually Rivard has a real understanding of what voters want. Being prone to verbal abuse &/or physical violence when settling a dispute goes to character integrity. Brockhouse has PROVEN time & time again, HE DOES NOT HAVE CHARACTER OR INTEGRITY…and he’s a complete misogynist. He’s a deeply flawed man & terrible representative for decency. HARD PASS FOR ME.

  13. Why is there no reporting by Rivard on the background of Jada. If even part of the report is true, she should step down from the campaign. I, too, do not support Robert Rivard’s attacks on Brockhouse or Labor unions. Remember the contracts that the unions have were voted in by the City Council. Robert Rivard is definitely trying to use his paper to influence voters decisions. Some of his re.porters are very good and thorough in their reporting. Jada report in the SAObserver or

  14. It’s a sad commentary on both San Antonio and the US that we treat Greg Brockhouse as an honorable and authentic candidate for any elected office, let alone Mayor. I am hopeful that the strong work of our local media holds the day in June and we are allowed to continue to follow the leadership of Mayor Nirenberg.

  15. I am deeply suspicious of this kind of relentless emotional appeal to voters in order to sway votes based on controversial issues . Concerns of domestic abuse Stirs voters in ways that blinds them to the real concerns of San Antonio politics… economic development. When there is only smoke, someone is hiding a fire. And I do not think it is Brockhouse.
    There is something about Brockhouse’s political motivations that are deeply disturbing to the status quo, that is, the economic stakeholders who are not ACTUALLY concerned with women issues. This is why I am going to vote for him. Like many disenfranchised citizens, I want to see what happens when we have a mayor who thinks on his/her own. Or, even more shockingly, one who considers the basic needs and quality of life for average citizens. I have never see that before.

    • I would disagree vehemently that the biggest issue is economic. There is s a much larger issue that is indeed emotional and that is violence against women and non support of children by parents. Treatment of other human beings as “less than” is always a bigger issue than economics, healthcare—anything. If one exhibits contempt for other human beings based on sex, or inability to exact change, that is NEVER a candidate I will support. The importance of Human Dignity overrides the lust for money all the time.

      • You may disagree, but it is a faith oriented perspective. Once the election is over this issue will drop like the hot potatoe it is. And the status quo will return to its actual concerns. .. which are economic -profit- in priority. Just wait and see.

        Too bad, because the issue of violence to ALL humans , as well as aggression to the environment, is vitally important , critical in fact, and should be the center point of ALL political decision- making. But it has not been, and unless momentarily expedient for political purposes, it will not be.
        I am just the messenger.

        • Treatment of women as worthy of not being abused is a faith oriented perspective? You are part of the problem!

          • Please understand that I am not speaking about the actual reality of domestic violence, only that it is being used here as an emotional lightening rod for political purposes. That is yet more another,more subtle, kind of exploitation of women.

  16. The pattern can also be extended to the financial institutions he worked at. There’s plenty of reasons why he completely omitted having worked at SACU during the town hall.

    • Not surprised. I know there are SACU (now Credit Human) stories but they’re not mine to tell. Those people should speak up.

  17. I was one of six professionals, five women and one man, at a meeting with Brockhouse in his city council office last year. Brockhouse interrupted every single time a woman spoke. The man was allowed to finish every sentence he started. His lack of regard for women was striking.

  18. Truly enjoyed reading your commentary, Mr. Rivard. It was difficult to sit respectfully, when the men supporting Councilman Brockhouse for Mayor kept yelling to have a woman thrown out by the security, and the security taking some action.
    When a person has been a victim of domestic violence, they may have some PTSD, and small cues can elicit out of proportion reactions, which should be very understandable. (In other words, women aren’t just being ‘hysterical’).

  19. Listening to candidate Brockhouse on “The Source” last week, I was struck by his rude aggression toward a woman who called in to discuss the domestic violence issue. Doesn’t he realize that his behavior toward this woman confirmed that he could be a man who abused women? This article brings to light many other instances of his misogyny. San Antonio doesn’t need this man at the helm, and the Firefighters Union doesn’t need his patronage.

  20. After reading the articles on Brockhouse and associated commentaries and responding to them like I have in this article, I will admit, while I disagree with Bob using The RR to publish his opinions (commentaries), all the info has been beneficial to the voters of San Antonio (which I am not). My thanks to The RR and everyone else for their thoughts and information.

    • Ken, why do you find editorial commentary, a mainstay of every media publication, somehow inappropriate on the Rivard Report? Do you also post such negative comments on the Texas Tribune, New York Times, and Washington Post, all of which feature commentary on their home pages? If you cannot provide a compelling argument, please stop posting this comment week after week. RR

  21. “Experts know that most women recant charges against abusive husbands or partners. Police often leave the scene of domestic assaults without making an arrest if the situation seems defused.”

    Experts also know that false reports are filed quite frequently.

    That said, the real issue is that because a report (authenticity being in question) was floated as proof that it occurred, people that don’t like Brockhouse now have something that supports their dislike and beliefs about Brockhouse.

    The scary thing is that you in the media have already found him guilty when there never was a trial. YOU have a higher responsibility given the power of your megaphone. Rivard is one of the few forms of media that I actually trust, but your distaste for Brockhouse is showing in the form of your writing.

    Reporting like this is making our local political scene look like a national. I expect this kind of stuff from SA Express News, but not from Rivard. The media should report and provide all information, not write in a way that influences based on the beliefs of the writer.

  22. Robert Ricard will choose a man that can’t be/won’t be honest enough to admit that his most recent vote on the airport concession contract was driven by his bias against an organization that loves all people (and it shows), but chooses to live by its values in who it provides financial support to (1st amendment rights). As a business owner, Ron Nuremburg might just as easily lead the council to refuse to do business with me because I don’t go to his church and Robert Rivard, you seem to approve of that.

  23. The RN camp can run on this all it wants…it must be all it has! I am interested in transparency, respect for neighborhoods, basic services, fiscal responsibility, fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers and leadership. I also want some new blood running the city. The fact that city politicos have not endorsed GB is a plus. Until those the insiders support are not elected SA will have a shadow govt of insiders…and that is one of SA’s biggest holdbacks to progress. The same people that gave us our current situation are now the ones we should ask for a way out?? Good for them-they get rich and powerful on both ends!! RN shows disrespect to the office w back room decisions, not technically illegal, but absolutely unethical-even according to Rivard Report; not following legal, fair practices w city business contracts (CFA); not including major stakeholders in decisions; creating city non-profits and task forces, working groups,etc that are filled w CC and city insiders—and not accountable to the public…but developers have been given huge tax abatements (school and property) and incentives to build luxury apts and buildings at the Pearl and along the river and in other areas of the city…who do you think will be making up those taxes…And who has been harmed bc of these incentives?

    Domestic violence is a huge problem in this city….but is a convenient political hatchet right now. I hope all of these groups, columnists and RN supporters will be volunteering and donating their personal time and funds to help solve this problem after the election-no matter the outcome. I also think the women on CC are smart, strong and will never put up with disrespect—GB, if elected, would try that to his detriment!

  24. “Fathering children with four different women is indicative, in and of itself.”

    It does not speak for itself. I find this statement to be incredibly sexist and prejudicial. The stereotype of man who fathered children with different women is the same as when someone formulates prejudicial conclusions about a mother who has children from different men.

    • DG
      Actually, I know of no other man or woman who has had four children with four different women? Do you? Please explain to me how this is responsible parenting. Do you actually believe Councilman Brockhouse can provide the same support a father in a more traditional relationship can support? Do you see any connection between his decision making and the need for former partners of his to seek legal orders to collect timely child support? –RR

      • “Do you actually believe Councilman Brockhouse can provide the same support a father in a more traditional relationship can support?”

        What is a traditional relationship, Mr. Rivard? That language is bizarre. I hope no Ron supporter has that antiquated view about what kind of relationship is appropriate.

      • And I would add that my definition of a “traditional relationship” has nothing to do, necessarily, with a man and woman. I believe anyone who fathers or adopts a child has a responsibility to provide that child, from birth to adulthood, the emotional, physical, and financial support a child needs to fulfill his or her own potential. Why don’t you provide me and our readers your definition of responsible parenting? -RR

      • This sounds like fundamental attribution error. We tend to attribute someone’s behavior to an internal, character-driven problem while finding external justifications for our own. In this case, you are attributing Greg Brockhouse’s family structure and child support matters to something that is personally wrong with him without considering or presenting external circumstances.

        To answer your first question, yes I do know families that look similar to Greg Brockhouse’s. I’ve worked in social services. For those families and others like them, multiple children from different people is not a factor in determining if they are responsible parents or not.

        I’m not surprised that he owed child support, but my lack of surprise isn’t because it reflects his character — simply, more kids equal more money. Being requested for child support does not automatically make someone an irresponsible parent either. Surely, there are people who evade child support, but there are many well-intended people who fall behind on child support payments. It doesn’t make them irresponsible.

        The Office of the Attorney General acts as a debt collection agency for child support, so I think it’s fair to compare anyone falling behind on child support to someone in collections for medical debt. There are tons of factors that are at play, so I can’t agree with your assertion that owing child support makes him unsuited.

        To go back to your initial commentary, I was waiting to see the “why it matters” part, and I was disappointed by the overall conclusion. I think it matters because you described a person who might not be ready to work inclusively with the women who hold myriad leadership positions in our local government. I absolutely believe that embracing diversity is an essential value one must possess to be an effective public leader.

        • It is not “fair” to compare “falling behind on child support to someone in collections for medical debt.”

          I did not choose to get stage 4 cancer and fall out of the workforce for years at a time. I did, however, choose to not have children.

          • How judgmental. Without knowing anything about her you make judgment on her character and capabilities of being a mayor based solely on how many fathers she was associated with She lost husband 1 to a car wreck. Husband 2 she lost to cancer. Husband 3 she lost to war. Husband 4 she lost to alcohol stemming from his service in Vietnam.

            Not everyone has the story book life that would be ideal for position of mayor. Everyone has poor judgment, mistakes, and skeletons in their closet. Thank you so much for making his kids feel wonderful because you are judging him based on their existence.

          • And I am not making any judgment about your family member or any hypothetical situation you pose, and you should stop trying to demonstrate otherwise. My commentaries have been clear and speak for themselves: taken all together, I do not believe Councilman Brockhouse is fit to lead this city. You are free to conclude otherwise and, if you live in San Antonio, to cast your vote in favor of him.

  25. glad to finally see something about Brockhouse’s issues with women. I’m sure there are plenty stories…just ask anyone who’s worked with or for him and I’m 100% they’ll have stories to share.

  26. So from here to June 8th this is what you will continue to comment on? How sad of you as a so called journalist!! Why not comment on how RN has failed as a Mayor in the 2 years he’s been in office? With how he handled the Confederate statue, moving the Christmas tree from in front of the Alamo, approving the redesign of the Alamo, not bringing the RNC to San Antonio, backing out of the Amazon deal, Chic-fil-a, not bringing to a public vote on improvements to City Hall? Where is your commentary on these issues RR? Why can’t you bring yourself to comment on the issues that many citizens of San Antonio are asking about? Good thing there is KTSA to keep me well informed, and not only focusing on one candidate. At least they are reporting on ALL issues not just DV.

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