Mike’s Voters Look for a Way Forward

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Former State Rep. Mike Villarreal conceded his defeat in the San Antonio mayoral election on Saturday night. Photo by Lea Thompson.

Former State Rep. Mike Villarreal conceded his defeat in the San Antonio mayoral election on Saturday night. Photo by Lea Thompson.

The 26% of voters who supported Mike Villarreal are torn: How do they stay engaged in the political process and have a positive influence on the city’s future when neither candidate in the mayoral runoff inspires their support?

It’s a conundrum, one underscored by the fact that Villarreal has not endorsed either Mayor Ivy Taylor or former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, and is unlikely to do so. The decision by Tommy Adkisson to move past his campaign criticisms of Taylor and endorse her on the steps of City Hall in a high profile media event last week heightened interest in Mike’s next move – if there is a move.

Adkisson’s endorsement of Taylor, and those of the police and fire union for Van de Putte, are not necessarily game changers.

Leticia Van de Putte speaks to Rick Casey. Photo by Scott Ball.

Leticia Van de Putte answers questions during the KLRN forum. Photo by Scott Ball.

Mike’s voters, on the other hand, could swing the election if they move in a single direction. Yet supporters struggling to identify their best choice shouldn’t expect any overt signals from Villarreal.

Here is why: Van de Putte’s late entry into the race after she said she would not run, nearly six months after Villarreal launched his campaign, ultimately cost him a place in the runoff. A state Senate district covers far more of the San Antonio voting map than a state House seat, and Van De Putte dominated the city’s northwest sectors beyond Villarreal’s urban district. It’s hard to reward your executioner with an endorsement.

Even if Villarreal were able to surmount mortal emotions, he holds very different positions than Van de Putte on key issues, including his view of collective bargaining talks with the police union (and the non-talks with the firefighters union), and his unequivocal position that the city must develop multimodal transportation options regardless of how big a challenge such projects prove to be with voters. Villarreal is driven by policy more than politics. It would be hard if not impossible for Van de Putte to convince him that she lost her lieutenant governor race and then jumped into the mayor’s race because she has a vision for the city.

An endorsement of Mayor Taylor would be just as unlikely. Taylor also said she would not run for office when she was elevated to the interim position last July, and she was the last candidate to jump into the race. On a personal level, Villarreal might be more comfortable with Taylor, who also is less of a politician than she is a public servant and planner. She doesn’t seem to enjoy campaigning, and even after the attacks on her husband she has avoided going negative because it’s not her. Taylor simply doesn’t play to win at all costs.

Mayor Ivy Taylor delivers her victory speech during her election watch party. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Mayor Ivy Taylor delivers her victory speech during her election watch party. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Yet Taylor holds positions that are anathema to Villarreal. How can he endorse someone who feels so differently about the non-discrimination ordinance? How can he support someone who effectively killed the VIA streetcar project less than one month after former Mayor Julían Castro left office?

If Villarreal doesn’t favor either candidate, he undoubtedly would want his supporters to keep voting and to stay engaged because he wants them to have a seat at the table. Villarreal might not come out and say it, but the truth is he finished third because Millennials did not show up and vote. If everyone who claims to want a city with Uber and Lyft, who wants bike lanes, cleaner air, greater downtown residential density, and who wants a more progressive city, if they had put down their craft beers and gone to the polls, Villarreal would be in the runoff.

Instead, Villarreal won his district, won downtown, won the heart of the urban core, but where the majority of voters live, to the north, it was Van de Putte and Taylor. The strength Van de Putte showed in the northwest was nearly matched by Taylor from the east to northeast.

Sophia Parafina, a data journalist with Out in SA magazine, produced some very telling maps showing the voter patterns from the May 9 General Election.

Of course, the same could be said about inner city Latinos. If the inner city council districts 1-7 voted with the same enthusiasm as the three suburban districts of 8, 9, and 10, the runoff would have been Van de Putte and Villarreal. Instead, we have what has to be seen as a truly remarkable outcome: in a city that has never elected an African-American as mayor, suburban voters could deliver a full term in office to Taylor over two Mexican-American candidates in a predominantly Mexican-American city.

If that happens, it will be precisely because Taylor pulled City funding for the streetcar project, because Taylor voted her personal beliefs and opposed the NDO, because Taylor appears to be closer to a Republican than a Democrat. City elections are nonpartisan, but Van de Putte and Villarreal served for years in the Texas Legislature as Democrats. Taylor, of course, holds positions that put her in the Democratic Party, not the least of which are her support for the tens of millions of Promise Zone federal dollars that are helping lift up the city’s long-neglected Eastside. Yet compared to Van de Putte or Villarreal, she is the first choice of substantial numbers of Northsiders.

Where does that leave Villarreal supporters?

The answer might be found at Southerleigh Brewery and the remarkable turnout of people who attended the inaugural Tech Bloc event at the Pearl last week. More than 700 tech workers answered the call from a small but elite group of Rackspace founders, cybersecurity players and other successful entrepreneurs. The group was formed immediately after Villarreal’s loss as a means to activate and organize the tech community to play a more direct role in the city’s future trajectory. Tech investor and former Rackspace President Lew Moorman is the driving force behind Tech Bloc’s formation and he was the lead speaker at the event. Surely its size and intensity exceeded Moorman’s wildest ambitions.

(Read more: @SATech Bloc Draws Huge Launch Crowd to the Pearl.)

Lew Moorman gives the first address. Photo by Scott Ball.

Lew Moorman gives the first address. Photo by Scott Ball.

He wasn’t the only one. The advance social media buzz was intense. That and coverage on the Rivard Report and in other media drew the attention of elected officials. Both Taylor and Van de Putte were there. Several city council members attended. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff was there and was so impressed he redrafted his State of the County address, delivered Friday, to lead off with impressions left by Tech Bloc. Wolff issued a call to action for the city to pursue a more tech-driven agenda.

How do Villarreal voters get Van de Putte and Taylor to pivot the way Wolff demonstrated he still can when something big appears on his political radar?

The answer is for Villarreal supporters to promote their agenda with both candidates in the closing three weeks of the runoff campaign. They also have to vote. Unfortunately for Mike, not every Villarreal supporter was a Villarreal voter. People who vote get a voice. People who sat home get nothing.

The crowd at Southerleigh. Photo by Scott Ball

A crowd convened in the name of technology at Southerleigh. Photo by Scott Ball

In my view, neither Van de Putte nor Taylor are the same candidates they were at the outset of this mayoral campaign. Both have been changed by the process as they have moved through the city, participated in more than 50 public forums, fought for a spot in the runoff, and come to terms with the fact that they cannot win an outright majority without adapting. If there is one trait both candidates share now, it’s a serious conviction that they would make a better mayor than their counterpart. Both are probably more open than ever before to listening and evolving.

Neither one, if elected, will be the same person or the same political leader they were six months ago. Hopefully, both are growing in the process, and one of them deserves your vote in the runoff.

Like Mike, you’ll have to make up our own mind who that is. Voting is your best bet for having a say after the election when the new mayor and City Council get down to the business of governing. The June 13 election will seem like an ending to some, but actually it’s just the beginning.


*Featured/top image: Former State Rep. Mike Villarreal conceded his defeat in the San Antonio mayoral election on Saturday night. Photo by Lea Thompson. 


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69 thoughts on “Mike’s Voters Look for a Way Forward

  1. If they stay home then they are part of the problem. One candidate believes the #LGBTQ community issues are a waste of time. Over all Ivy Taylor record she is not the vision of San Antonio. Apology not accepted #NoIvyTaylor

  2. Vote for Leticia! San Antonio needs progress!
    If we each take 10 people to the polls, we win! I drove over 150 last time and this time I want to double that. Remind people they don’t have to clock out and they can’t be fired to go vote.

    • Susan Oliver Heard, we’re tired of your pandering. None of this garbage about taking people to the polls!!!!!

      Give us a real reason to vote for LVP, not just more campaign garbage. Seriously. I’m voting with my eyes closed, holding my nose and playing eenie-meenie-mynee-moe. That’s how bad it is.

    • Are you a politiquera? Beware because people who are driven to the polls are usually manipulated into voting for the preferred candidate of the auto’s conductor. Unless, of course you’re a uber-lyft operator and not getting paid. Penalties are stiff. Some valley pollies are serving time.

    • Bexar County/COSA has a very accommodating early voting program. You can vote at ANY location during the eight-day early voting period. In these times of voter suppression laws throughout the USA, we are lucky to be able to vote so easily. My 91-year-old Mom has not missed an election since 2007. If she can vote, why can’t younger folks?!?!?! They poll workers can even take a portable computer to your car in the parking lot.
      Another reader has mentioned voting by mail.
      I’m sorry, but other than being hospitalized during the entire election period, there is no excuse for not voting. VOTE as if your life depends on it — because it just might….

      • John, if the voter is out of the country traveling for that two week period (or just out of state), they can’t vote.

        I do agree our early voting system makes it easier to vote, but still not always practical.

      • John I completely agree with you. Just to be clear, I’ve gotten off my butt and voted in every single election since I was of age and have voted via mail on several occasions and have applied to do so this year while I’m traveling outside of the country. You probably aren’t aware that voting by mail isn’t supported for US citizens like it is for military personnel outside the US.

        But let’s put my situation aside. As for people that are in-town and don’t get off their butts and vote there’s no excuse for that. But still, a voting app has the potential to at least double voter turn out and could literally change the outcome of the vote. This possibility is probably scary to some and exciting to others. Anything we can do to make it easier we should do, IMO. Voting should be as easy as sending an email, IMO. I’ll do it regardless but I think looking forward a voting app is a must, in addition to the polls.

  3. Voter turnout is one of the pieces that really discouraged me on this election. Less than 12% of registered voters actually turned out. Only 50,000 people decided on the two candidates now in the run-off. That’s 6% of registered voters in this city. 2,000 votes more and Villareal would have made the run-off. It’s ridiculous.

  4. Robert, lots of conclusions based on assumptions to fit a narrative, but it doesn’t flesh out against the numbers. You try to make the case that Mike lost because Mike voters didn’t vote. Yet Mike won some of the highest turnout districts in the city. You try and make the case that Mike voters are in some odd state of limbo because he differs with Leticia on how to handle Police and Fire unions and differs with Ivy on just about every other topic.

    The fact is there isn’t a lot of real daylight between the policies of Mike and Leticia for a voter who is engaged but still only as far as headlines take them. However there is a lot of daylight between those two and Ivy. This is ultimately how Mike fell short. The Ivy voter was never going to be the Mike voter, and once Leticia entered the race, the decision between the two of them because much more about personalities than policies. For better or worse, Leticia was the more charismatic candidate. It is true Leticia cannibalized Mike’s support – in fact, we may not even need a runoff if Leticia hadn’t entered the race.

    But now by casting this false dichotomy between a Mike voter and everyone else, you are instilling the same voter apathy you rail against. There is a clear choice here for the Mike voter: Put the bitterness of the defeat to Leticia aside and vote for her, knowing that she espouses many of the same progressive policy ideals as Mike. The only alternatives are voting for Ivy, who espouses the OPPOSITE of the policy ideals of Mike, or staying home and letting someone else decide for you.

    • Scott, The column is based on conversations with, literally, hundreds of voters (and non-voters) since the general election, and a fairly good inside understanding of efforts by both campaigns and candidates to woo Mike supporters with mixed success. I applaud your arguments for supporting LVP. That’s the kind of passion I would like to see in the next three weeks from many more people. The main thrust of my article is to reflect the uncertainty of Mike supporters that is easily discerned by anyone spending time in or near Mike’s camp, and to give such supporters reason to stay engaged in the city’s political process. We already have the vast majority of eligible voters opting out of the process. I’d like to see those in the game staying in the game. Thanks for writing. –RR

  5. I wish people would put the good of the city above all else.

    We have been stagnant in the last year with Ivy.
    One thing accomplished: street car, but I don’t think 6% of populous voting for transportation is really an accomplishment..

    We need progress and the police and fire don’t have to come to the table for 2 years if they don’t want to work with Ivy!…

    It is very likely they WILL work with the candidate they endorsed. They endorsed her because she has worked on behalf of them with no agenda for years in the legislature.

    Scott Martin I think you can request a mail in ballot as long as you do it by June 1 if you plan to be gone June 13.

  6. Resa, exactly. The idea of going somewhere in the middle of our busy day to vote is archaic. The process as it is makes sense to our grandparents but is ridiculously inefficient today. How come we can authenticate bank accounts but not our citizens?

    • Early voting sites are open 8am to 8pm on three of the eight early voting days (including a SATURDAY). You don’t need to go in the “middle of [y]our busy day” — you can go on your way to or from the Pearl (Lions Field is a delightful place to vote) for one of those famous craft beers that millenials’ faces are being rubbed in. (Sorry for that low blow, but, come on…this is your VOTE…something to be exercised a couple of times A YEAR at most. If you have time to get a haircut, put gas in your car, stop at Trader Joe’s, etc….then you have time to vote.) No excuses, comrades! This is our democracy at work. Get to work and vote!

    • online voting will be in place soon enough, well before the time you are a grandfather, I’m sure.
      quit making excuses. make voting a personal priority.
      my grandfather sure as hell did and there was no vote by mail or early voting then. he’d close his shop for an hour and take his employees & family members to the polling place. priorities, pal.

  7. Susan – I’ve been out of the country for months. I would have loved to have voted but even by mail is archaic and problematic. How do I send mail from a remote desert in South America? If someone smart and educated doesn’t know how to do it, that’s a problem. A percentage of the population isn’t voting because of significant obstacles that could be removed, and need to be, IMO.

    • Scott Martin – if you are out of the country, you are eligible to vote via FPCA. This program applies to any US citizen outside the US during the early voting period (not only military). You can request a ballot via email and it will be sent to you via email. You can complete and return the ballot via email, but you must mail a hard copy of the ballot postmarked no later than election day. There is no excuse for not voting, even when out of the country. Email Bexar County’s FPCA program manager (aaron.perez@bexar.org) for your ballot.

      • Hey Celeste, thanks for your response. Although I’d signed up to vote by mail and haven’t received a response I wasn’t aware of the FPCA program. I’ve contacted Aaron like you’ve suggested and he clarified the process. FYI, you’re only partially correct – this is still a tedious, snail mail based program. One emails a request and they will get a form that has to be printed and send via snail mail. Once completed, a ballet will be sent via email but that too must be printed and sent via snail mail. The time windows are challenging. So it’s not voting via email and not exactly easy. I’ll do it, (am doing it) but my whole point is that we need an all electronic voting method! It needs to be super easy. Not just for the few like me who are out of the country but for the 88% who don’t get off their butts and vote. The fact that we can order sandwiches and manage our bank accounts from an app but not vote is a bad sign, IMO.

  8. Thanks for this important analysis. Many points brought up — the most crushing is, once again, SA’s deplorable voter turn-on. This is the first time I’ve seen the finger of blame aimed at millenials. Blame should probably be levied at all Democrat-leaning voters for once again not showing up for elections.
    Mike was the only candidate who intentionally left his current position to run for SA mayor. Leticia left the TX senate to run with Wendy. Ivy kept her spot on the city council as mayor — supposedly an interim position but she, like Leticia, changed her tune to benefit her own political aspirations.
    And the conclusion reached in this article that SA — a predominantly hispanic city — may have a non-hispanic mayor who beat two Mexican American candidates and why the voting went as it did is remarkable.

    • And the conclusion reached in this article that SA — a predominantly hispanic city — may have a non-hispanic mayor who beat two Mexican American candidates and why the voting went as it did is remarkable.

  9. Blockwalkers for Taylor knocked my door yesterday. I explained I voted for Mike and would never vote for Taylor because of her opposition to NDO. The blockwalkers knew nothing about the NDO and Taylor’s claim of religious beliefs being responsible for her voting against it. I then asked the blockwalkers (one of whom was a cross-wearing Christian, the other told me she wasn’t a Christian) for an explanation of how a person named Charlie who happens to be male wanting to marry another person named Ralph who also happens to be male interferes with anyone’s freedom of religion. They couldn’t answer that. I’ve asked that question to Christians in various walks of SA life…none have given me an answer. Why is Ivy Taylor and other discriminatory Christians unable to see the difference between their religious beliefs and everyone’s — EVERYONE’s — civil rights? Just because you contend homosexuality is a sin does not give you the right to limit access to a marriage license. Obstructing access to marriage does NOTHING to curtail “the sin” of homosexuality. It just messes up people’s lives (e.g., hospital visitation privileges, property rights, tax benefits, child custody, inheritance, etc. etc. etc.) Where’s the sin in all that?

  10. So, Scott Martin, you and yours will only vote if the system bends over backwards and provides you with an option that allows you to voice your opinion without expending even the slightest modicum of effort. If even email is too much of an effort, I’m am so sorry! Perhaps a telepathic option would suit you? STHU #deployedSoldierproblems

  11. Besides a streetcar and the NDO(which the Mayor didn’t support but did develop an office for, mind you) Ivy and Mike have way more in common than LVP and Mike. Hands down the biggest issue in this race is the union contract. Mike was staunchly against giving into the ridiculous demands of the police union (the fire union has opted to childishly stay out of it) rather than sacrifice the city’s position. Ivy has the same stance. Lvp does not. This election is about whether or not this city will have any money to do anything in the future and unfortunately, if this contract isn’t settled, we will inevitably lose our bond rating and eventually have no money in the budget for anything other than police and fire. The evergreen clause is standing in the way and the city must move forward with its lawsuit. Leticia would ultimately withdraw the lawsuit and leave everyone else out to dry by weakening the city’s ability to negotiate. If you want less money for roads, arts, human services, ect, then vote for Leticia at your own peril.

  12. The voter turnout was pathetic; however, I do not believe making voting easier through technology will make much of a difference. This is not facetious: If free pizza (and craft beer) were available at the polling places, I guarantee voting among millennials would increase ten-fold. They would find a way to get there without complaint.

    Sad to say, but in many voters’ eyes, the politician inhabits a privileged and self-serving role divorced from the day-to-day realities of the common folk. They don’t see it in their interest to show up.

    • I agree with you, scott martin, that for someone, like you, in a remote so american desert for months before the election, that casting a vote is problemmatic, if not nearly impossible.
      but i don’t think that many registered SA voters were in that desert with you during the election period. I think the vast majority were right here in SA going about their usual routine lives but didn’t take civic responsibility to a sufficient level to actually put down their Miller Lites or pool cues or yoga mats tv remote on any of the 8 early voting days or on election day itself. That’s 9 days one can vote. You in your remote desert for months have an excuse, I agree. The other hundreds of thousands don’t. Do public schools impress on students the importance of voting — and that it is free? Or did Republicans in TX lege cut that out of the curriculum during one of their education-budget cutting sprees?
      I don’t know about everybody else, but I sure feel great everytime I vote, even if I don’t like any of the candidates and am voting against one of them. And any who didn’t vote in of the referenda had better not complain about nuthin’ relative to those issues. If you don’t like the outcome and didn’t vote, blame yourself.

  13. He came in 3rd place because he did not get along with his own party in the legislative session. He could not work on bills and good legislation in a team atmosphere. Plus he pissed off too many developers and the tourism and hospitality industry with his early Hemisfair ideas. People and voters are not stupid and they don’t forget. Plus lack of experience. Need to say anything else. We need experience to get more business and more funding from the federal government to improve infrastructure

    • villareal lacks experience? really?
      16 years in TX house of reps? That ain’t a summer internship.
      his degrees in econ and public policy from some rather good schools don’t hurt, either.

  14. 22 countries (including Australia and Mexico) have compulsory voting — yep, citizens are required to vote (or at least show up at a polling place, whether you actually mark the ballot). half of those enforce their compulsory voting laws. (N. Korea’s compulsory voting is to keep track of its citizens, however….).
    there has been talk of offering a financial incentive to increase voter turn-out in the US. I guess money can buy everything after all…..
    i bet if SA dept of elections gave out a lottery ticket when you exited the voting booth, we’d see quite an untick in voter turn-out. disgusting, isn’t it?

  15. So, what I am hearing here is that San Antonio wanted Mike Villarreal to be the next mayor. Well, you all should have gone to a polling place and voted for him! Sitting back now and bitching about the fact that he lost is: (a) your fault, and (b) counter productive. Spite voting for one candidate against another is stupid! How about each of you actually look at each candidates actual record and plans for the issues and VOTE for the BEST candidate for the job. Remember, not voting is a vote in favor of the oppisition!

  16. I knew Ivy when she just started to work for the city. She has no critical thinking and she is not creative. She was voted by council to be mayor because she listens to ‘orders.’ LVP ruined MV chances (she had a leftover war chest originating from monies given by folks statewide and the nation). LVP will take opportunities when they are there ala
    Tammany Hall. She and the ‘political industry in the northwest part of SATX’ and her broad connections can make things happen. ….. she should hire mike to be a key mayoral staff advisor.

  17. I voted for Mike because he was the obvious best candidate. San Antonio…once again…blew an opportunity. This town -over and over again -balks when a door to progress is open. I won’t be voting this time around for Ivy or Leticia. Both have proven themselves to be in the game for the wrong reasons. Eat your cake, San Anto; you deserve it.

  18. I am bitterly disappointed Mike didn’t win……he was in it from the beginning with all best intentions with his All. LVP having lost her election, decided she needs to STILL be in Politics and after seeing Julian being elevated to national heights …. Well guess what…..hidden agendas ?
    Then Taylor was not going to run and even though I was thrilled she had the opportunity to complete the mayors term…..and she did “Ok”, which isn’t what any city needs. Appears she got caught up in the political brujaha ……. As much as I applaud women and minorities to be in office…… This is soo compromising integrity and I am NOT looking forward to the next term!

  19. A good part of Taylor’s vote resulted from Christian ministers in SA who (illegally) told their congregations to vote for Taylor as the anti-LGBT candidate. Those included the same people who tried to get Mayor Castro and 8 pro-NDO councilmembers recalled (but failed) (miserably).
    Any minister who advocated for a candidate from the pulpit or on the church’s website or in the church bulletin should have their church’s nonprofit IRS status revoked for illegally campaigning.
    Hagee, Rev. Flowers, et al…..are your ears burning?

  20. I find the excuse that with nearly two weeks for early voting implemented and not finding the extra 10 to 15 minutes to drive to an early voting site before or after work to be a pretty poor excuse to not vote, regardless of how busy you are or think you are. My time is just as valuable as anybody elses and I almost always vote.

  21. “It would be hard if not impossible for Van de Putte to convince him that she lost her lieutenant governor race and then jumped into the mayor’s race because she has a vision for the city.”

    We know who RR supported initially, but hey, cool snark at the end of that quote.

    • Info on early voting is available in many forms. I found the details I needed by Googling “San Antonio early voting” — first hit gave me what I needed.
      Do you know anyone who voted? Next election, ask them to tell you how they did it.
      Also, you could have called 311 and you would have been told anything you needed about voting.
      And there were announcements with all the early voting location & hours in the Express News.
      I don’t mean to insult you, but I am stunned that a self-proclaimed millenial wasn’t able to figure out how to vote.

  22. Again, this “report” blames everyone under the sun for Mike’s loss. How about starting and ending with the actual candidate; Mike. Mike has consistently not worked well with others, hides behind “policy” as the reason why he supported or didn’t support something, and he just rubs most people the wrong way. Fail to mention his wife is the “genius” behind Pre-K and how maybe there are enough out there who don’t like/vote for the guy. As for bashing Democrats, that sad indictment should be on conservatives who only made up 30% of the already dismal turnout. Mr. Rivard you should invest in some real data crunchers and stop using the “hundreds of conversations” excuse to say how you arrived at your conclusions (15 days since the election x 20 conversations = 300) .

  23. San Antonio is more than the “urban core” and non-voting millennials. Are the MV voters precious flowers that need to be swaddled and coddled for their vote now? Excuse me while I pick up my eyes because they just rolled right out of my head.

  24. It’s a sad choice, but Ivy Taylor is not progressive or visionary at all and we need a progressive mayor.
    LVP is at least a good enough politician to be pushed by the electorate to take some progressive positions, although she’s just an opportunist.
    Mike Villarreal would have been an excellent mayor. We’ve lost a lot since Castro left – Google fiber lost, streetcar lost, etc.

  25. San Antonio does not deserve my vote. The apathy and abysmal turn out for this election has proven to me the truth that most have said about San Antonio, but I was unwilling to acknowledge. Austin is a superior city, with its educational and driving force that has not only permeated it’s urban core but has circumvented its vision of a liberal capitalistic society for all to enjoy and nurture as it’s secretes its energy to replenish it’s dynamic vision for decades to come. As a resident San Antonio for 26 years I believed that we were finally on a course to knock that chip off our shoulder. Unfortunately on the day the Castro announced he will become the vice President of United States, with this smoke and mirrors charade in taking the HUD position that he is holding in the interim, I recognized immediately City councils charter reform of doing what it is about to do, will come too late with it’s closed door selection of Tivy. Her abolishment of streetcars downtown was just the tip of the iceberg in her first week of office. I am a man of my word, and when someone tells me whether it be in the press to my face that they are not going to run for office and then do so, this proves that they are not a strong leader and their words to themselves have little merit. Its just politics. I understand why Mike has not and will not throw his support behind either candidate, because he too is a man of his word. He too has to look at himself in the mirror every day. He knows he would not be proud of the man that he sees if he leads his followers to either camp. I hope and pray that I am wrong. I hope that one of these candidates can continue the vision that my once favorite mayor, now seen as a political opportunist, Castro’s decade of downtown. May God one day blow wind in our sails again, for right now I stand with the urban core believers, not the two options standing in front of us.

    • I admire your passion, but your sentiments are a bit melodramatic, don’t you think? I cannot count the number of times one of my favored candidates lost in an election. Politics involves compromise, allegiances shift, and issues change. “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” the saying goes. Like you, I voted for Villarreal, although with reservations. It is time to move on. Most importantly, it is time to vote period.

    • Stephen, good question. I felt strongly about Mike Villarreal being the right leader at the right time for San Antonio and felt no reluctance to share that view when readers pressed me to show my position. Today I am focused on looking at how each candidate is evolving as the campaign deepens and we head to the runoff. I’m looking for subtle shifts in position and there are still a handful of forums we will cover. Early voting starts June 1, so I have a few days left to decide whether to remain neutral or take a position. Thanks for asking. And it goes without saying that if you’ve made up your mind, we’d welcome you sharing with RR readers who you favor and why. –RR

      • Thank you for the response!! I have not made up my mind, as I am still trying to evaluate the candidates as well. I look forward to reading coverage of the forums. I value your opinion, as I don’t know the candidates as well as you do, so hopefully you will show your position as you did last time.

  26. I think Mike Villareal lost, in part, due to a failure to pay adequate attention to or build stronger alliances with the west and near northwest sections of the City inside the 410 loop. Perhaps a lesson (finally) learned for San Antonio’s current downtown advocates? Noting how the neglect of basic public infrastructure and services including transport within the historic west and near northwest sectors of San Antonio also aided in the recent defeat of the ‘downtown’ streetcar as planned?

    As an interactive Express-News mayoral election map indicates, Villareal won the planned modern streetcar service area (which neglected much of the historic streetcar city), and he also carried a decent percentage of the vote in the west and northwest inside the 410 loop, areas with relatively high voter turnout. However, a ‘bike lanes and clean air’ campaign could have had more resonance for voters in these historically walkable / ‘active transport’ areas if Mike simply would have researched and advocated for public work planned but yet to be built in these areas and serving immediate as well as ‘downtown’ interests.

    For example, Mike could have championed with his campaign the planned and approved (2011) but yet to be built or scheduled ‘phase 1’ of 7.6mi of multi-use trail along Westside Creeks including Alazan, Martinez & Apache Creek and connecting with downtown and the Mission Reach. Work neglected in recent years by the City (delayed and following a less ambitious aim at present of a disconnected 1 mile of trail-work by mid 2016) and further obscured by recent downtown San Pedro Creek advocacy over-emphasizing (and suggesting over-spending on) a secondary (and alone isolated and ineffective) piece of the larger Westside Creeks Restoration Project.

    It appeared easy to mobilize opposition to the $280m+ ‘downtown’ streetcar in the west and northwest of San Antonio and just a few miles from the planned route when many residents in these areas lacked and continue to do without bus stops with seating or shelter or access to sidewalks – let alone acceptable sidewalks (meeting the current ‘downtown’ minimum of 6 feet wide), crossways, or the long-planned Westside creek paved trails and flood mitigation work. As a candidate advocating so strongly for pedestrian-scale public infrastructure improvements and a more walkable and bikeable city, Mike missed easy opportunities to connect with many active voters (including seniors and post-millennials) just west of his geographically small voting core.






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