Brockhouse, Nirenberg Collide on San Antonio’s Growth – But Swap Compliments

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Mayoral candidates (from left) Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) and Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Mayoral candidates (from left) Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) and Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

The two frontrunners in San Antonio’s mayoral race further illuminated their political differences Monday night during a candidate forum, including their stances on infrastructure and population growth planning.

Despite their differences, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) managed to compliment each other when prompted by a leader of the Highland Hills Neighborhood Association who served as the event’s moderator. But even those answers came with barbs.

“He’s always got great boots,” Nirenberg quipped. “I respect Councilman Brockhouse’s ambition and drive to achieve a personal goal. To have that kind of passion for a personal goal is something that should be lauded, and I do.”

“It’s not a personal goal,” Brockhouse responded, referring to his race for the mayor’s office. “It’s a city goal.. … This I will tell you about Mr. Nirenberg: He’s one heck of a father and … he’s one heck of a husband.”

The councilman turned to face Nirenberg directly. They both gave answers similar to those given in a recent Rivard Report Q&A, but on Monday they had a chance to double down on their positions.

“We may disagree heavily, but I know the kind of person you are and I will never attack you personally over anything,” said Brockhouse, who has recently refuted allegations of physical aggression that took place more than 10 years ago.

Nirenberg and Brockhouse have the typical markings of an incumbent and challenger; the former paints a picture of a City making progress, the latter paints a City headed in the wrong direction. They rehashed their talking points on crime, jobs, and infrastructure priorities.

One of the questions posed to the candidates touched on both sides of that coin: “How can SA [be] a world-class city while having such an enormous socio-economic divide?”

“We cannot be a world class city if we don’t address the issues of generational poverty and socioeconomic inequity,” Nirenberg said, “which is why I worked with City Council to be the first big city in the nation to use equity as a frame for budgeting – meaning that we don’t just simply cut everything up arbitrarily by 10 because we have 10 single-member Council districts. We focus the resources of this community in the areas that [they are] needed the most.”

The South Side, for instance, is getting more funding for infrastructure “that it’s been waiting on for a decade,” he said, and it will take more than one budget cycle to correct. “The only council member that protested and didn’t want us to do it that way is Councilman Brockhouse.”

Brockhouse said he looked out for the interests of his district. “District 6 got zero dollars of equity budgeting … as your mayor I’m going to bring that energy and attitude toward everything we’re doing,” he said.

“… I’m not worried about the million people coming here,” Brockhouse said, referencing Nirenberg’s comprehensive transportation and housing plans. “My number one concern is the million-and-a-half that are here now. Those [new] jobs have to be for the residents.”

Nirenberg used his campaign slogan, “The City You Deserve,” to illustrate progress made in crime rates and progressive momentum. Brockhouse fired back: “It’s not about creating the city you deserve because we already have the city we want … what you want to do is make it a better version of itself.”

The candidate forum, which took place on the South Side at Highland Hills Elementary School, also featured incumbent Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3), who is seeking her fourth and final term, and Liz Campos, her sole competitor.

(From left) D3 candidates for city council Elizabeth Campos and Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3).

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

(From left) District 3 City Council candidate Liz Campos and three-term incumbent Rebecca Viagran.

Campos emphasized the need for a more responsive Council representative. If elected, she would have an “open door policy” and “not responding [to constituents] is not going to be acceptable.”

Viagran, who has served for nearly six years, highlighted her office’s weekly email updates, regular office hours, monthly community meetings, code enforcement-focused events, and quarterly physical newsletters as ways she has responded to residents’  need for more communication.

She has been a “strong voice” for the South Side, Viagran said, and is dedicated to being “responsive and collaborative.”

10 thoughts on “Brockhouse, Nirenberg Collide on San Antonio’s Growth – But Swap Compliments

  1. We are voting for Greg Brockhouse and Elizabeth Campos .

    The time for change is now!

    I have been in the taxicab industry 39 years. A couple of years ago Ron Nirenberg, and many on the city council supported and approved Uber/Lyft drivers working in our city WITHOUT fingerprint criminal background checks. This after they were told women all over the world were being sexually assaulted and raped by their unvetted drivers.

    Ron Nirenberg compromised public safety for our citizens to accommodate two multi billion dollar corporations.


    • I am voting for Ron Nirenberg. I trust Ron and believe he has all of the city in his planning. His opponent is being backed by special interests because they don’t care about the city’s future, only their specific immediate desires.

      The majority of the council votes as the city manager and mayor see our best interests. When one person continues to vote alone, it doesn’t lead me to believe his election would be in San Antonio’s best interests.

  2. After the Chil fil A debacle I won’t vote for anyone who showed their politically motivated knee jerk intolerance with a vote to keep CFA out of the airport —after it had been vetted per the RFP and without doing any research/due diligence on their actual policies to anyone they hire or serve. It was an embarrassment to see SA depicted as intolerant in national news. Walking the decision back by claiming it was bc they are closed on Sunday was political cowardice.

  3. The Airport should provide food services seven days a week. Contractors/franchisees who can’t provide that should not be considered.
    The LGBTQ question should not be a question at all, though Chick Fil A seems to want to inject it into the discussion.

    • The point was that city council did not reject CFA bc of Sunday closure but bc CC was intolerant…actually Treviño needs to shore up his image in D1 w the LGBT community and the other sheep on CC went along for political reasons—not what was in the best interest of the city. Btw CFA is a bigger income producer for airports w CFA than other franchises…Lose/lose for the city.

    • Did you know that CFA is rated #1 across the country and made more profits than 3 top restaurants combined even if not open on Sunday. Please stop with the excused that CFA not open on Sunday, I believe city council 1 and Mayor Ron N. are Anti-Christians. Please vote for either Matt or Greg because it is time to bring the city back by lower the property taxes.

  4. I’m voting for Ron but not because he’s a great leader….he isn’t. However Brockhouse scares me to death. He’s another Manny Medina or Nico LaHood. How can anyone vote for someone who roughs up his wives? How can anyone vote for someone who has four children with four different women and only married two of them? He might as well wear a t-shirt that says “I’m Irresponsible”. Brockhouse can talk all he wants but I think reasonable people can see right through him. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

  5. I’m voting for Nirenberg. Last thing I need is to worry about another politician who avoids social progress, thinks only of his inner circle, and has issues with personal responsibility and truth. Why would anyone have an issue with an equity budget? And btw I see the frequent reference to religious conversion as more a rebranding than a spiritual revelation. Too young to have so many skeletons and then to be so comfortable with lying about them.

  6. Intolerance is not social progress. “Affordable housing” tax abatements for $300,000 condos is not progress. Policies that push people out of their homes is not progress. A 54/55 % at/near poverty rate is not progress. Allowing overdevelopment and clear cutting our tree canopy is not progress.

    You can dress it up with anything you want-we missed the Austin tech boom and we are going backwards in many ways….especially education and skills for the 54/55% at/near poverty. Until you fix that there will be no progress and we will continue to be known as a low wage/low skill city that is intolerant-w a beautiful river walk…

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