Nirenberg Says San Antonio Is ‘Stronger Than Ever’

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Mayor Ron Nirenberg addresses attendees at the annual Sage (San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside at Sunset Station.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Mayor Ron Nirenberg

Because of San Antonio’s strides in increasing equity, decreasing crime, and planning efforts surrounding transportation and affordable housing, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Friday during his second annual State of the City address, “If you were to choose any time in our 301 years of history to live in San Antonio, you’d pick right now.”

Nirenberg didn’t make any grand announcements to the hundreds of business and community leaders who gathered at the large ballroom in the Henry B. González Convention Center, but he assured them that the City is “stronger than ever” this year because of comprehensive planning efforts launched under his first term as mayor.

During his address last year, Nirenberg announced the creation of Connect SA, a nonprofit dedicated to formulating a comprehensive multimodal plan that will bring a substantive direction for transportation to voters in 2020.  City Council adopted a first-of-its-kind affordable housing policy last year.

Nirenberg also touted San Antonio’s crime rates, the lowest they’ve been in 30 years, and  doubling of public investment in street maintenance.

But his primary opponent in the May 4 election, Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6), paints a very different picture of the city – one that is on the “wrong path” with costly, overreaching plans. A recurring criticism Brockhouse has is that Nirenberg seems to be all plan and no action.

“We have to be thoughtful. We have to do things wisely,” Nirenberg said when asked by reporters after the event about his planning strategies. “Politics tends to go toward the instant gratification, the short-term solutions that end up being long-term mistakes, and we don’t want to do that. We want to put our city in a position for long-term, sustained success.”

The two candidates have sparred on stages across the city, but Nirenberg stopped short of addressing the election directly onstage. Many people at those debates and business community have asked questions about the 6-4 vote to remove Chick-fil-A from an airport contract and not pursue the 2020 Republican National Convention, but he avoided those topics in his prepared remarks.

He described the business people, civic leaders, and people of San Antonio as members of “Team SA,” which works together. “We’re not flashy or loud, but quietly focused on real results.”

4 thoughts on “Nirenberg Says San Antonio Is ‘Stronger Than Ever’

  1. Because the Mayor – past & present – give their State of the City address to the business community rather than to all citizens who voted in city elections, it confirms the fact that city leadership measure their success primarily in business terms, which is consistent with their long-term adopted plan, SA Tomorrow. However, S.A. has a national ranking in economic segregation, yet nothing is said or done about it, as far as I can see. Not even by having “the best city manager in the country” under Sculley. Business growth & the built environment is all that really matters; all else is secondary.
    Over time, with this urban planning model & mindset, we will continue to see a growing socioeconomic divide. We have other viable alternatives but there is no room for that discussion. It seems acceptable to manage structural poverty & to widen the safety nets, rather than to earnestly tackle this challenge. With another million settling into our community, our most vulnerable will be displaced to make room for a younger, more prosperous population. Current leadership will no longer be around when things go from bad to worse. Hispanic leadership in this regard reveals its lack of focus, seriousness, & competence to fundamental, socioeconomic progress in a city still known as a poor city.

  2. This is an excellent article talking about city challenges nationwide. It would be nice to talk with our mayoral candidates about these issues, in order:

    1. Economic development
    2. Public safety
    3. Budgets
    4. Infrastructure
    5. Education
    6. Housing
    7. Energy
    8. Demographics/Diversity
    9. Technology
    10. Health care

    Perhaps our voter response to Council should be, how about you work to solve these, in order, and as long as there is money left over in the budget and you have fixed #1 to some pre-determined level, then you get to move on to #2 and so forth.

    • TC: from what perspective would you “solve” these issues? Project, program, initiative, innovation, activity, policy, impacts, outcomes? Marginal? Holistic? Structural?
      How would you define “success”? In business terms? In economic policy terms? In socioeconomic terms? To address structural poverty? Upward mobility? To no longer be known as a poor city?
      For parts of S.A. or for those areas where needs are greatest? Using current long-term plan or one which reflects our focus on human capital development?
      Specificity matters, not just generalities, if we’re going to be serious about this effort. Thx.

  3. Yet, there are now local companies involved in bidding city contracts with anxiety that there are unofficial tests and discrimination against religious affiliations. I raised these up to our Mayor and his insistence is for those with concerns to seek personal assurances rather than affirm a truly tolerant, non discrimination, all inclusive business environment in this city. We are about to go down the path of state and federal investigations which harm our national brand while illustrations the very real local peril felt by SMBs of diverse affiliations. How will our mayor lead through this beyond speaking past it?

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