Photo Illustration / Scott Ball
From finding a new job to running a 60-second quarter-mile, San Antonio’s leaders have a wide range of personal and professional goals for 2020. Here’s what prominent figures across the city said when the Rivard Report asked them to share their New Year’s resolutions.
District Attorney Joe Gonzales: My New Year’s resolution for the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office is to continue in our mission to combat crime in our community, especially domestic violence; to continue to improve the overall efficiency of the Criminal District Attorney’s office while being as responsive and transparent as possible; and to continually ensure that we uphold the principle of justice for all.
Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff: Find a new job!
Paula Owen, president of the Southwest School of Art: My main resolution is to tap my sense of humor more! Also, to keep Katie Pell’s admonition to “be kind” front and center.
Mara S. Nathan, senior Rabbi of Temple Beth-El: In the year to come, I resolve to spend less time on my computer, phone, and tablet and more time face-to-face with people in my family and my community.
Suhail Arastu, advancement director for Musical Bridges Around the World, Arts Commission Mayoral appointee: I recently and very suddenly lost my mother. The loss was profound and has shaken my world and given me perspective. At the moment I’m sitting on a flight to Dublin and resolve: To value all perspectives but discern which of them to engage. To find plenitude in insatiable curiosity, never to be truly satiated.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg: I avoid New Year’s resolutions as much as possible because they are set up for failure, but I try to stick to one per year. … This year it’s to write more personal notes to Jonah and Erika.
Professionally, I have several, but there are two goals that are of extreme importance next year. The first is ensuring that our community has a complete count in the 2020 census and the second is that we finally deliver on our pursuit of comprehensive transportation reform. Obviously, the transit initiative on the 2020 ballot is important but it’s one element of a broader vision [ConnectSA].
Councilman Roberto Trevino (D1): My personal resolution this year – actually I’ve already started this – is to run a quarter-mile in under 60 seconds before my 50th birthday [in January 2021]. It has motivated me to get in better shape and eat healthier.
Politically, I want to really buckle down on these issues we’ve started to [tackle]: renters rights, affordable housing homelessness, domestic violence, sidewalks. I’m convinced that the City can do more than 200 miles of sidewalk every single year. Most importantly, more than ever I want to show this community how this Council works. There’s a misunderstanding … despite what people are made to believe, there is no boss up here on Council – the boss is the people. No one man or woman is an island. You’re not going to get anything accomplished by yourself.
Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia (D4): My professional [resolution] is to really do my homework and lay the groundwork for what economic development in the South Side looks like to every stakeholder group. It’ll take working together with the different constituencies to help them realize the untapped potential that we have, and that’s what I plan to focus on professionally/politically. The Mayor just appointed me chair of the Committee of Six. … We have the opportunity to usher in a new era of economic development, which should leverage the partnerships and talent we already have in our great city!
Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5): This year I want to do at least four triathlons … of any distance. I am an Ironman Triathlete, but since I’ve had this job and three children – I haven’t been able to.
On the political and professional side, I’ve scheduled a team meeting to really identify priorities for things I can finish because I am running out of time [on my term]. I want to focus on getting people [connected] to nature, taking care of women and children, and small business development. These resolutions tie into each other. I think having that competitive edge physically will help … because whatever happens next [politically] is going to be really hard.
Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6): My goals for District 6 in 2020 come straight from the residents of the district themselves:
- Growth and development have caused us to lose some of our green space, so one of my goals is to preserve our parks and ensure that growth is responsible.
- Residents of D6 often express that they would like to be able to work or have more opportunities for entertainment closer to home. One way to achieve this is by bringing more employment centers into our community. Making D6 more attractive to businesses, both big and small, will help us achieve this goal.
- I’ve been appointed by the mayor to the Alamo Area Mobility Planning Organization and the City’s Transportation Committee, so I plan to use these platforms to improve the transportation planning in our district and all of San Antonio.
Personally, my goals for the new year are less complicated: MORE YOGA. I love practicing yoga and there is a great yoga studio in D6 called the Yoga Den. For me, yoga has been a great way to both exercise and meditate. I haven’t been able to attend as much as I’d like, but I look forward to more yoga in 2020 so I can better represent my district.
Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8): On the Council side, I’m going to work towards closing sidewalk gaps in District 8. It’s gotten to a point where it’s unacceptable. Driving and walking around neighborhoods, I’ve seen entire areas where if you’re in a wheelchair, you’re not going to get where you want to go. Personally, I want to ride every single mile of linear creekway in San Antonio on my bike.
Councilman John Courage (D9): Take better care of my health [by] exercising more and eating healthier. And about being a councilman, my resolution is to learn more about my constituents and my district and be more thoughtful in my decision-making.
Councilman Clayton Perry (D10): [My] personal resolution is to get back out on the tennis court. Professional: Continue being a common-sense steward of the taxpayer dollar.
Taylor Eighmy, president of the University of Texas at San Antonio: Resolution No. 1 – To build on all the momentum we generated in 2019 in advancing UTSA’s trajectory as a national model for student success, a great research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovation.
Resolution No. 2 – To complete all the final preparations allowing us to break ground on our new School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center, a cornerstone of our Downtown Campus expansion plans.
Resolution No. 3 – To reinforce UTSA’s commitment as a Hispanic-thriving institution where students from all backgrounds can excel and be prepared to make an impact on our city, state, and world.
Resolution No. 4 – To secure a number of transformational major gifts as we enter the leadership giving phase of UTSA’s next capital campaign.
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller: My New Year’s resolution is to think about who I can help with my witness and presence; to think of how God is calling me to give the gift of peace to others in what may be a difficult year. To not be afraid.
Paula Gold-Williams, president and CEO of CPS Energy: My 2020 resolution is to continue enhancing our innovative Flexible Path strategy to further benefit San Antonio, the special community that I was born in and that CPS Energy is privileged to power every day.
Al Arreola, president and CEO of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce: Professionally, this past year much of my focus was on our administrative operations, [and] in 2020 I am setting a goal to spend more time on our membership development and also our creative content. I’m personally hoping to build more of a work-life balance next year, with a goal of spending more time with family and friends.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff: My New Year’s resolution is to work hard to make 2020 the year of enhanced public transit and the restoration of creeks and the San Antonio River.
Tuesdae Knight, president and CEO, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside: More boats on the East Side. We all know the expression, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” … The tides are rising quickly on the East Side; in some places, it feels almost like a tsunami! The economic swell is lifting boats all around us. This is a wonderful thing – if you have a boat, that is. We’ve watched many boats rise. But we also see those who are left behind, standing on the shore without so much as a paddle. Sadly, the ones being left behind are often those Eastsiders who have been here all along, minorities, struggling families, and small businesses – the very people that those rising tides are purported to benefit. SAGE is committed to equitable and sustainable growth on the East Side, which means, we need more boats! In 2020, we will work hard to 1) support small and medium-sized businesses with supportive services 2) address issues that impact all in our community and 3) continue to be an advocate for education and workforce development on the East Side.
Jeff Arndt, CEO and president of VIA Metropolitan Transit: 2020 is a new year, a new decade, and the moniker for perfect vision. My resolution is for VIA to continue connecting people to opportunity for an improved quality of life and to help our community envision a reimagined VIA with all the benefits to mobility, the environment, and equity that it is designed to help achieve. I resolve to accomplish this – without gaining weight!
Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit San Antonio: I aspire to lead Visit San Antonio by exploring new, creative, and unique ways to keep our community in the spotlight as a destination of choice. As a company, we want to continue to work to be a great partner in helping San Antonio realize its potential in every way. It will mean listening, evolving and striving each day with the mission of our organization in mind: bringing the world to San Antonio.
Pedro Martinez, San Antonio Independent School District superintendent: SAISD works to transform the lives of its students, despite the obstacles they may face. … SAISD is the fastest improving school district in the state of Texas. But there is more work to be done, and in 2020, we aim to increase the number of students in high-performing schools, propel more graduates into college, and mobilize the community to expect greatness from our schools and graduates.
Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation: Next year SAEDF will publish and begin to deliver on an evolved regional strategy for economic development, with the ultimate goal of building the best possible place to attract, retain, and grow people. If we do those things well, we’ll have even greater success bringing the right jobs to the region. In the years to come, we’ll double down on our current talent-driven economic development model, grow our target industry clusters, and structure SAEDF to implement the new strategy.
Diane Sanchez, president and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: I am so grateful to have an opportunity of a lifetime in leading our Hispanic business community to help drive economic wealth for the people that have for so many years contributed so much to this city. In 2020, we are going to experience a transformation unlike anything we have ever seen in San Antonio.
Henry Brun, musician and outgoing Arts Commission member: Resolution No. 1 – Continue performing music that makes people happy, and suggest for them to spread the word out; there will be more happy people by next year’s end!
Resolution No. 2 – Continue leading by example, hoping others will follow suit. Be happy while doing it. Happiness is indeed very contagious!
Resolution No. 3 – Love every day like it’s the last one we’ll ever have. That love grows stronger as time goes by.
If that’s too deep, here’s one for you: Have no resolutions – you’ll ignore them anyway!