Nirenberg Gets Endorsement from Texas Organizing Project, State Democrats in Mayor’s Race

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Mayor Ron Nirenberg sifts through the crowd of SB-4 protesters before speaking against the piece of Texas legislation which he labels 'bad'.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The Texas Organizing Project has endorsed Mayor Ron Nirenberg (center) in his runoff race with Councilman Greg Brockhouse.

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.”

18 thoughts on “Nirenberg Gets Endorsement from Texas Organizing Project, State Democrats in Mayor’s Race

  1. A more “equitable city budget” only has to do with public projects, not with human capital, socioeconomic development. Nothing is said about the city’s adopted “vision”, which has to do with is aggressive growth, metroplex agenda, abiding by its “urban planning” model, which has lead to the city’s national ranking in economic segregation. S.A. remains a poor city.
    Is TOPS seriously interested in delving into these constraints, dealing with structural poverty and the widening socioeconomic divide, which the city has subsidized and facilitated for many years? I don’t see the compatibility of vision between these two camps; in fact, they are going in opposite directions. This serious conversation has yet to begin, to be honest.

  2. TOP endorsed Havrda, who attended and spoke fondly of Pastor Hagee’s hatefest the other day? TOP is hardly progressive, and should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. TOP doesn’t speak for progressives like me. Ron has a terrible record on economic justice. Ron is center-right, and so is TOP.

  4. I am a low-income Latino who once took important time off work and stood with TOP at one of their paid sick leave events. I feel betrayed by this. I reject this endorsement of Nirenberg, and think that TOP has lost its way.

  5. As if most of us really care what TOP stands for. They put illegal immigrants over low-income American families.

  6. Fernando, what city programs do you consider address human capital and socioeconomic issues-affordable housing, job training, education(pre K program), etc?

    What would be the top 5 changes you would make to address the issue if you were mayor?

    It’s good to point out the issue, but coming up with solutions would even be better.

  7. This is interesting. Nirenberg is an independent, Brockhouse a Dem, but the State Dems endorse Nirenberg. Well, OK, it is a “non-partisan” city election, right?

    Check out who’s standing behind Nirenberg. That’s Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a leader in the central Texas growth machine. Austin now has rents doubling every 4-5 years. What’s more, the previously 25% African-American population of Austin is now at 6%.

    Is that what Nirenberg and the San Antonio growth machine — and SAWS — have in mind for you, San Antonio?

    Let’s work together — in a principled way — across party and ideology with the League of Independent Voters of Texas.

    Linda Curtis, outside agitator from Bastrop, a forced donor for Vista Ridge.

    • Brockhouse is a Dem? Odd that he picked up a GOP strategist to run his campaign and an endorsement from the Bexar County GOP. He’s a populist, pure and simple.

      I wonder what Adler might have been able to do to stop the (admittedly out of control) gentrification of Austin? I also wonder what the water system has to do with limiting African-American residency.

  8. Linda, take a look at the planning initiative that Nirenberg is addressing in SA Tomorrow. The plan is to invest in(I think 13) regional Centers to create more robust pedestrian oriented environments(POE) so citizens would access their work, play, live environment by walking & using transit.

    The issue with growth is no city can control land use outside their city limits and by state law-CPS & SAWS- must serve these areas outside the city limits.

    Until cities & counties get the ability from the state to control land use, growth will continue until development covers every piece of land between Austin & San Antonio.

    In addition, cities are being hindered by the more stringent state annexation laws thereby not being help to have that population living in potential annexed areas pay their fair share since the economy & job market has been created by cities historic investments.

  9. More regional robust pedestrian oriented environments? You have to be kidding!! The cozy relationship w developers to create the dream of metroplex totally negates this being a reality. SA is so spread out for employment this will never happen. Plus, you do realize the summer temps here are upwards of 100 degrees?? Maybe they should have listened to urban planners and not developers. I have no idea how SA will fix its transportation problem…but bikes and scooters are not the answer…unless you live/work in the fancy-tax abated-buildings downtown on Broadway or near the Pearl!

  10. Ann, there is no cozy relationship with developers. Yes, there is a lot of city economic incentives to assist developers in the inner city, but the value is getting some affordable housing, increasing the tax base and job creation. This will help inner city school district by increasing the tax base. In addition, it creates more population to use the inner city greenways – river walk, the extension of the river walk to south San Antonio, San Pedro Creek, etc.

    And any developer investing in the suburban pays there own way. They have to pay for parks, streets, curbs and sidewalks, water, sewer, and electricity. In addition, if they develop in an area where a major thoroughfare goes through their development, they have to pay a portion of that construction based on the amount of traffic that would be generated by the development.

    • FK – pls note that I’ve provided a full, thoughtful response to your request but RR has not posted it, perhaps because it was a little lengthy. Wish they would run it.

  11. Fernando, don’t use the $10 words. Ha, Ha. Just kidding.
    Just point out what city programs are addressing the issue and what new programs need to be added to address the issue.
    Also, indicate a website that shows what other cities are doing a good job.

    • I like focusing in doing things which have never been done before. Don’t think in terms of “programs”, or projects, initiatives, innovations, or activities — look at the socioeconomic effects of the adopted “vision” & policy direction. Who is benefitting, at whose expense? Who is addressing our widening socio-economic divide?
      Much more to say about this – pls urge the RR report to post my full, thoughtful comments to FK, or at least to you & FK directly. It is worth the read, worthy of further elaboration for all to see.

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