Scott Ball / Rivard Report
The Texas Organizing Project (TOP), a progressive advocacy group, has endorsed Mayor Ron Nirenberg in his runoff against Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6). The Texas Democratic Party has also endorsed Nirenberg.
The endorsements come just one week before early voting begins May 28. Political observers have said Nirenberg needs to incite his base to vote in the June 8 runoff by painting a clearer picture of what a city under Brockhouse’s leadership would look like. TOP’s endorsement is a sign that strategy is working.
“Mayor Nirenberg has been a champion for building a city that San Antonians need – one that workers can thrive in, one that families can grow in, and one that students can excel in,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa in a news release. “Under his leadership, the economy is booming, quality of life is getting better for working folks, and he’s protecting Pre-k for SA, so that zipcodes no longer determine a child’s destiny.”
Hinojosa likened Brockhouse to President Donald Trump. “Brockhouse is aligned with a Republican Party that has been defined by hate and extremism.”
The party did not endorse Nirenberg two years ago when he ran against then-Mayor Ivy Taylor or ahead of the May 4 election, but the party’s Project LIFT (Local Investment in the Future of Texas) recognized Nirenberg and a host of other local candidates. San Antonio City Council races are nonpartisan.
Nirenberg was thankful for both endorsements.
“I’m grateful, humbled, and proud to once again have the support of TOP and the hard-working people who make up that organization,” Nirenberg said via text. “We share common goals and I look forward to continuing to work with them.”
TOP has clashed with Nirenberg on some issues, such as paid sick leave, but found that his initiatives on affordable housing, building a more equitable City budget, and planning for climate change and future transportation needs were well-aligned with TOP’s mission of social and economic equality, said TOP Executive Director Michelle Tremillo.
“We met with both Mayor Nirenberg and Councilman Brockhouse and feel that overall the mayor more closely aligned with our vision of building a city that’s just, fair, and equitable for all of us who live here,” Tremillo said.
The endorsement vote by the most engaged TOP organizers and volunteers was “decisive” in its selection of Nirenberg, Tremillo said. Tremillo said the group’s membership is predominantly black and Latino from low- and moderate-income families.
“They are the ones who decide who we endorse,” she said.
Brockhouse is largely opposed to the affordable housing policy that Nirenberg led and City Council adopted last year. The councilman cited the high cost of the initiatives and said the City should not interfere with housing markets except to make it easier for developers to build more affordable housing.
TOP lead the citizen petition behind the paid sick-leave ordinance, collecting enough signatures to get it to voters, but City Council opted to approve the petition as-is rather than place the item on the November 2018 ballot.
The state legislature was expected to overrule local paid sick-leave ordinances, but that legislation fizzled out this week. Earlier in the legislative session, TOP organizers urged City Council to oppose the legislation, but it voted to remain neutral on bills related to paid sick leave. Nirenberg and Brockhouse each voted to remain neutral.
But that issue alone did not derail TOP’s support for Nirenberg.
“We’re a multi-issue organization, that’s the reality of where our members live every day,” Tremillo said.
The group also endorsed Keith Toney in District 2 and Melissa Cabello Havrda in District 6. In District 4, TOP endorsed Sami Sanchez in the first round of voting but she did not make the runoff. TOP hasn’t endorsed anyone in that district’s runoff.
“I am very proud to have been endorsed by TOP and I very much look forward to working with them for the betterment of our community.”