Ivy and Leticia: Small Sparks at First Runoff Forum

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The conversation in KLRN-TV’s studio Thursday afternoon was relatively polite, with minimal interruptions during the taping of KLRN’s Texas Week with Rick Casey. But Mayor Ivy Taylor and former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte exchanged jabs about the City’s handling of the police union contract negotiations and Van de Putte’s endorsement from the San Antonio Police Officers Association.

The two runoff candidates have mere weeks to make their case to voters before early voting June 1-9 and Election Day, June 13.

“It lacks that leadership quality when you can’t get something done,” Van de Putte said. “It’s ridiculous that this (negotiation) has gone on for so long.”

“Well it takes two to tango,” Casey interjected.

“And leaving the state when you don’t get your way, doesn’t really demonstrate leadership,” Taylor said, referring to Van de Putte who joined 10 other legislators (the Texas 11) in 2003 and left Texas for Albuquerque, New Mexico for 46 days to prevent the passage of controversial redistricting legislation.**

“We wanna sling? That’s fine, but I thought as mature women we could start to discuss the issues because that’s what the voters deserve,” Van de Putte said, continuing to defend the endorsement, denying that SAPOA would receive a sweeter deal in negotiations because of it.

“Anybody who says that I got this because I promised something; they don’t know Leticia and they weren’t in the room,” Van de Putte said. “I am proud to have the endorsement … it’s based on two decades of working with me. I didn’t make any promises.”

Rick Casey, Leticia Van de Putte, and Ivy Taylor discuss at the KLRN studios. Photo by Scott Ball.

KLRN’s Texas Week host Rick Casey (left) interviews Leticia Van de Putte, and Mayor Ivy Taylor. Photo by Scott Ball.

Van de Putte has said that she opposes the lawsuit brought by the City that challenges the evergreen clause in the police and fire unions’ contracts. The keeps the terms of the contract in place for 10 years until a new agreement is reached or even if the unions refuse to bargain. Van de Putte said she does agree that the 10 year clause needs to be negotiated down to a more “reasonable” time frame.

During the first of five runoff debates between Taylor and Van de Putte, the candidates began to more clearly define their stances on the police union contract negotiations, center city development, and transportation, while also qualifying their very different leadership experiences.

After the forum, Taylor said she’s looking forward to digging into the specifics of governing San Antonio. “There’s a lot of talk about leadership, but let’s see how that translates into actual action on behalf of the citizens of San Antonio.”

Taylor has underscored throughout her campaign that she is not a “career politician,” and that being selected as interim mayor and subsequently running for a full term reflects her dedication as a “city planner and civil servant” rather than a career move.

Van de Putte served in the Texas Legislature for 24 years, first in the House and then 14 years in the Senate, which she says demonstrates her ability to “bring people together and get things done.”

Van de Putte dismissed the notion that being a career politician is a bad thing. “I’m a career mother and a grandmother and a pharmacist for 35 years. But I don’t mind being called a politician because that’s a skill set – that means you get things done.

“Ivy is a great planner,” she added. “There’s a big difference between a planner and a leader.”

During the forum, Taylor touted the fact that since she has worked in city government she’s never had to pull a party line or align herself with a platform – just her constituents.

“It is so erroneous to think that what we do at the capital is partisan, I’m going to tell the majority of the issues that we did were rural versus urban and it’s water – those that have it and those that don’t,” Van de Putte said.

When asked after the forum if Taylor considers Van de Putte as a friend, she hesitated. “I’ve gotten to know her more on the campaign trail than ever before,” she said, eventually saying, “Yes.”

When Van de Putte was asked the same of Taylor: “Absolutely,” she said. “We don’t have the luxury of holding any grudges. It’s really not about us. It’s about the people.”

Leticia won about 30% of the May 9 City Election vote compared to Taylor’s 28%. Former state Rep. Mike Villarreal finished a close third with 26% and former County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson a distant fourth with almost 10%.

The mayoral forum on KLRN’s Texas Week with Rick Casey will air Friday, May 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 17 at 1 p.m. The forum will also be available on line at www.video.klrn.org by Monday.

Upcoming Mayoral Forums:

Wednesday, May 27: KTSA forum will broadcast live at 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, May 28: Time Warner and Express-News forum at 7 p.m. (Open to the public at UTSA’s Downtown Campus, 501 W. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.)

Monday, June 1: Texas Public Radio forum will broadcast live at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, June 3: WOAI forum will broadcast live at 9 a.m.


This story was originally published on Thursday, May 14, 2015.

**CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Taylor was referring to Van de Putte’s departure from the Senate.

*Featured/top image: KLRN’s Texas Week host Rick Casey (left) interviews Leticia Van de Putte, and Mayor Ivy Taylor. Photo by Scott Ball. 

Related Stories:

It’s Official: Leticia and Ivy In a Runoff!

On Election Eve, A Reflection on the Non-Voter

Early Voting Up in San Antonio’s Race for Mayor

Vote Early, Help Make History

16 thoughts on “Ivy and Leticia: Small Sparks at First Runoff Forum

  1. Great coverage. I can’t wait to watch the debate.

    One thought. In Ivy’s quote about leaving the state I think she was actually referring to the Texas 11 when Senator Van De Putte and ten of her colleagues fled the state for 46 days in 2003 in order prevent the passage of a redistricting legislation. It makes more sense in context than Leticia’s mayoral run.

  2. On the one hand, you have a candidate who is signaling her refusal to play hardball with the police/fire unions which could lead to catastrophic budget conditions down the road. On the other hand you have a candidate who killed streetcar and Uber revealing a lack of big picture vision necessary to make this city attractive for modern high paying jobs. Ugh.

    • If uber is required to attract high paying jobs then count me out. Uber is the Walmart of ride services and while I enjoy riding them, I’d rather have my city focus on promoting an even playing field for all ride services rather then cave to uber lobbiests.

      NowCast SA got it right. This is 100% a social justice issue . uber has been known to redline and hike prices during natural disasters. Why do we need them here to promote a healthy progressive city?

      The regulations the city asked them to abide by are no different than what they’ve been asked to abide by in other major cities…the difference is that uber decided to try its luck at the state level because they felt they could get more.

      You do realize that uber wrote the last ordinance, right? Then they decided they no longer liked it.

      Also, while I support a street car, I think a strong investment in via would prove immensely more fruitful in the long run because it would promote better access for low-income individuals to essential areas of town.

      You basically just named two things that only a small number of urbanites and millineals would use.

      I’m much more interested in investing in south-side, west-side, and east-side development. It isn’t fair to discuss improvements for a small number of young adults who want a quicker ride to local coffee before we look at meeting the basic infrastructure needs of the parts of our city where we sometimes have dirt paths and one way lanes instead of actual roads and sidewalks.

    • I do not know how she kill Uber. On the other hand she stop an Uver ordinances that was going into effect March 1. Allowed the new Councilmen Robert Trevino and her staff to hold private meeting with Uber and help them further water down their regulations at the expense of public safety. See story at nowcast sa.com April 19 story

    • Killing the street car was the right thing to do. 300 million for what is essentially a glorified bus without the flexibility to change its route and no connections to park-and-ride would have been a budget disaster for decades to come.

  3. Ivy Taylor showed her true colors when she help waterdown even further the Uber ordinance. In March she stopped and rideshare ordinances that was approved in December 2014. Then she put the NEW Councilmen Robert Trevino to hold backdoor meetings with Uber. ( see story on nowcastsa.com April 19 story ) Taylor thought she had a deal with the ordinance Uber basically wrote and then they slap her and the majority of the Council in the face by leaving. I guess her backdoor deal was not the deal they were looking for.

  4. By the way that’s one of the dumbest things I have ever heard “I’m not a politician.” Turns out when you are on council and the mayor you are a politician. How come you only hear politicians say that? It’s not like you hear a postman or a grocer say he’s not a politician.
    Walks a like a duck, talks like a duck, must be a duck, right? So why don’t you just try to be a good one rather than denying you are one. And why is that even a topic of discussion people who aren’t politicians don’t run for mayor.. Well, except pogo I guess.

  5. Van de Putte claims to be Catholic, but she spits on her Catholicism by backing and voting for positions the Church says are immoral.

  6. Iris,
    I do wish that that you would start properly reporting the terms of the police “evergreen ” clause. For the sake of accuracy in reporting, the evergreen does allow most police contractual issues to continue in place except for one. That one is pay. Police get no pay raises during the duration of the evergreen period. Currently, the city is on track to save almost three million dollars this fiscal year by not having a contract with police. Minus the million plus the city will spend on outside legal counsel and the city is ahead. I can only speak of the things I am familiar with. So far Mayor Taylor has shown no leadership in the coming crisis of police man power shortage. With every passing day officers are leaving the department and they are not being replaced and yet the city moves forward in their campaign to annex more tax base. Is this the work of a good leader? Grow your city before you can properly protect them. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t even make Mayor Taylor a good “planner”.

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