San Antonio: A City Biding Its Time When It Should be Bidding

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Mayor Ron Nirenberg presents the flags of San Antonio's Sister Cities.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Mayor Ron Nirenberg on stage at the Tricentennial Founder's Gala, a few hours after San Antonio City Council declined to pursue the 2020 Republican National Convention.

San Antonio needs to be a city that bids. The only way to become more competitive, to hone our strengths, and work on our weaknesses, is to show up at the starting line and compete with every other U.S. city in the race.

We should give it all we got, every time. No city can win a race it does not enter. Momentum, that invisible property that combines mass and velocity, is something no city should take for granted. San Antonio has had momentum for nearly 15 years now, but it can vanish quickly.

This year, after a false start and stumble at the starting line, San Antonio recovered its footing nicely in its Tricentennial year. The museum exhibitions, the countless celebrations, Commemorative Week with all its splendor, and now the San Pedro Creek opening – San Antonio knows how to honor its history.

It's the future that now merits attention. Some elected leaders and boosters like to call San Antonio the nation's seventh largest city. Others are more realistic: We are a Top 25 metro market with a corresponding median income. Austin, by contrast, trails us in size, yet it enjoys the sixth highest median income.

The message is clear: If we want to build a smart jobs economy and align with leading edge cities, we must become more competitive. It's hard to see how that happens if we are not competing at every opportunity.

San Antonio fared better than expected in the competition for Tesla's multi-billion battery factory that eventually went to Reno, Nevada. Our economic development team ran the race to the end and finished ahead of most. The winning city in that instance makes the point that not every economic development opportunity goes to the coolest urban destinations.

That's why San Antonio should play to win, and even when we lose, take away something. When we do run, we are scouted by those looking in from the outside. People unfamiliar with 21st-century San Antonio who visit now, like the 70,000 Final Four visitors, return home with a newfound appreciation  of a city on the rise.

A large crowd gathers at the March Madness Music Festival to watch the Chicago Loyola University and Michigan University game during the 2018 NCAA Final Four.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

A crowd gathers at the March Madness Music Festival to watch the Loyola University-Chicago and University of Michigan game during the 2018 NCAA Final Four.

That brings me to the 15,000 media people who would have come to San Antonio to cover a Republican National Convention had we bid, and won, to host it. While politics would be the main dish, served with considerable indigestion, there would be lots of sides offered up nationally about the city: its attractive ethnic diversity, the culinary scene, the San Antonio River and one of the great urban linear parks, World Heritage Missions, the Pearl, Southtown, a resurgent downtown, and our trademark friendliness.

Those stories will never be written. Even if blood-red Texas might never be selected by the RNC – Trump's 2020 Re-election Campaign Manager Brad Parscale and his denigrating Twitter outbursts notwithstanding – San Antonio would have found a place in all the stories leading up to the decision by the bid selection committee. We would have been compared to the competition.

Dallas – Big D – is hosting the National Rifle Association's national convention as I write, a gathering of tens of thousands of NRA members who heard President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on Friday, while thousands of protestors participated outside. The city didn't burn, and the First and Second Amendments were both left standing strong. The economic benefits are undeniable.

San Antonio, like Dallas, has much to offer, and while both cities have critical shortcomings, so do all cities. We show well. We can bid from a position of strength, especially if we stay fit and ready, shaped by constant competition.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg made two mistakes in leading a City Council to decide not to bid for the 2020 Republican convention, in my view. One is being less than transparent in the months-long process, and two, reaching a final decision behind closed doors last week. I can understand the lack of disclosure when the city was first approached in December. After all, cities often keep their interest confidential for as long as possible.

The opportunity to bid was an open secret by April, and that should have led to a robust public conversation. Democracy by open letter to the mayor is not ideal, even when the letter writers are powerful business leaders. Other business leaders undoubtedly do not want the convention here. We will never know because we never publicly debated the opportunity on its merits.

Technically, it appears the mayor and City Council did not vote behind closed doors last Thursday; if so, no laws were broken. The spirit of the law, however, was ignored. The mayor and council did reach a decision, so even if hands and voices were not raised, something happened and the public and the press could not see or hear any of it. No one should feel good about that meeting, regardless of your politics.

Trump is an extraordinarily divisive figure, and what he has said about Mexico, its people, and those of Mexican heritage on this side of the border leaves many in San Antonio shaking their heads. Yet we live in a city known for its open arms. Are we going to put limits on that now and only welcome some people some of the time?

Nearly half the country's voters chose Trump as president, and many who voted for him have made it clear that while they might not admire Trump personally or for the way he comports himself, he does represent their political views on issues. Many of those voters felt voiceless before the election, and if they happen to be San Antonio residents, they probably find themselves feeling voiceless once again.

It will surprise no one who reads this column that I align politically with people who respect and have an affection for Mexico, its history, and its culture. I do not want to see a wall divide us, or an interruption in free trade, and I want to see comprehensive immigration reform. I align with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd's (R-Texas) view that the right mix of manpower and technology promises a more secure border than billions of dollars of steel plates. You can't tunnel under technology.

What happens in Washington during any given administration or what the president sends out on Twitter, of course, does not define San Antonio. It should not stop San Antonio from notching another first by successfully hosting a major political convention.

Hundreds of people gather in front of the John H. Wood Federal Courthouse to protest the Trump administration's decision to end DACA.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Hundreds of people gather in front of the John H. Wood Federal Courthouse in San Antonio to protest the Trump administration's push to end DACA in September 2017.

Everyone who feels deeply wounded by Trump, and there are many in this city who do, would have had ample opportunity to share their feelings up close with the president, his family, and party leaders in town. They would have made their point before a global media audience. A Republican convention staged here would give the most reactionary members of the party a close-up appreciation of the dignity and value of our city's Hispanic majority.

Our chances of winning any political convention have always been slim. We are, unfortunately, not a two-party swing state. Still, we should not limit ourselves to pursuing the sure thing. City leaders need to take risks. Losing is okay. We could have bid for Amazon without offering a ridiculous incentive package. We could have bid for the RNC with the caveat that it had to be financed exclusively with private sector funds.

Instead we are left on the sidelines, a spectator city. San Antonio deserves its spot on the starting line. When the next race comes along, and it will, let's enter and give it all we got.

109 thoughts on “San Antonio: A City Biding Its Time When It Should be Bidding

  1. Judging by the news reports and images, the protestors in Dallas did not number in the thousands but only a couple hundred. The threat of violence cited by Nirenberg, Hardberger, etc. was just a straw man they could use to espouse their extreme left wing agenda. As for the reactionary elements of the Republican Party (I’ve never encountered that so I’m
    not sure to whom you refer, but assuming they exist) do you really believe they will be impressed when the mayor and most of the City Council are indistinguishable from Chavez and Maduro? .

    • Bob, thanks again for a well thought out article and all the feedback your article inspired. The feedback is as good as the article and I have to say that I was slightly swayed by some of the commentary.
      We’ve always been a city of “no”. Ed Garza, the Jimmy Carter of San Antonio, almost lost Toyota until Nelson Wolff saved the day. Ron Nirenberg, and most of our city council, is just a continuation of that. Saying “no” is safe, it’s easy and it requires no work. Drive into our city from the south on 37 and our core skyline looks like a city from the 1950’s. Same old brown brick buildings with tiny windows decade after decade. I think El Paso has more on the ball than San Antonio in terms of advancing their city.
      HOWEVER, and we have to be honest with ourselves, why is keeping up with the Jones’s that important? Not bidding on Amazon or the RNC are merely business decisions. People make decisions, good and bad, all the time but I don’t see San Antonio moving backwards because we didn’t bid. San Antonio IS “life in the slow lane” and have to admit that I like it that way and a lot of people are moving to San Antonio for exactly that reason. Let the free market determine where the city winds up and I think we’ll all be happy in the end.

  2. Mayor Nirenberg and the Council made the right decision. They weighed the costs — fixed and potential — and decided that they were too high. Think about it: a heavily Latino city, one of the most economically segregated in the country, spending its money to attract a party that has just passed a tax “reform” that benefits the rich and is led by a racist? Far better to spend the money putting sidewalks on the West Side, building out our transit system, and adding low-cost housing. Then we’ll get the attention Mr. Rivard wants: for solving our real problems.

    • Thanks Bob.
      If the city council was so concerned about the expense of the Republican Convention in San Antonio, they would be concerned on every expense. Not so, the Cinco de Mayo fireworks should NOT have exhibited 3 different locations of fireworks. One would have been sufficient. Perhaps better communication or coordination is too much too ask. I’d like to know how many thousands was spent on the extensive fireworks display. Repairing sidewalks or streets is not in the best interest of the councilmembers, especially not in the Westside. I can’t wait for the next city elections.

      • Th fireworks were in celebration of the 300 years anniversary of the founding of San Antonio, not Cinco de Mayo. They were also privately funded.
        If you really lived in the Westside, you would know this is the fairest City Council we have had. It will take time to improve sidewalks, but this Council seems focused on improving historically forgotten areas of the City.

    • Hey Jim,
      I sure mean no disrespect but are you really shooting at the lowest target? Don’t allow the liberal media tell you your tax refund didn’t go up. The majority of those who pay no fed income tax actually did see an increase in their refund, go figure. Please look at the facts and drift away from emotion when forming your opinion. I can see you’re a thinking man so don’t continue to aim at the smallest issues. The folks you are referring to will always have money and will always keep you dependent on them. Aim to break free of the dependency on the government in the greatest country in the world!

      • I can understand why you would enjoy that article if you like material that is clearly and demonstrably fiction.

    • San antonio did play. It said no to bidding on financial support of a divisive political party convention. Money not spent by GOP goes to GOP candidates. The GOP can still select San Antonio. The city showed great leadership to focus on other things.

  3. So proud of our City Council for not bidding on the RNC Convention.
    Well done!
    Integrity is rare in politics and our Council optomised INTEGRITY!
    Well done!

    • I’m glad we did not bid too, but integrity? Alongside with Robert here and Rick Casey there (i.e. latest “Just This…” RR.com podcast), this issue should have been debated, with public input, in an open council forum. I believe I would still have disagreed with Parscale and McCombs at City Hall, but I would have been happier to ruminate on their reasoning. Just because something’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right.

    • Yes, I’m sure you’d feel the same way if the DNC had been rejected behind closed doors without a vote. Get real. This isn’t a Dictatorship. Nirenberg rules like Santa Anna and he’s about as obtuse. We are a Tourist city, you can’t alienate half the tourists and the rich half. This was brain dead and petty. The hallmarks of Ron Nirenberg

      • The very first item on the Mayor’s agenda was a vote to declare that San Antonio would work as a city of compassion. It would be one thing if those who look for the financial reward would think about those whose feelings can’t amount to the pride we would gain (not counting all the money). Here is a leader who denounces all who disagree with him – most especially if they are a minority. He comes to a town whose population is mostly minorities, and continues to talk about a wall. How can those headlines from San Antonio during the meeting lead to greater pride in our city, much less any compassionate thoughts?

    • I agree with you! As a retired Army veteran of the United States Army, I am glad the Republican convention is not coming here! We don’t need the circus of evil haters in our city!

        • Hating haters is not more hate. Hating haters brings love. Hate is love turned upside down, so you have to forcibly reject it to set things right again. Thats just the way it is. Haters need the false equivalency to solidify their evil mirage.

          • “, exclaimed Jesus to the people of Jerusalem.

            And those peoples of St Anthony of Padua heard Him for His word was replete with the righteous indignation of the Archangels; and the Anthonians went from their homes and their pyres were assembled within the season of grain.

            The Talbert
            5:10 verses 18-20

  4. Overreach by Rivard. Why has only one other city bid? Because of the hatred towards this president and his policies. Rivard wants this racist president to come to a city which is mostly Hispanic and depends on Mexican visitors for economic gain? And to have the potential of Chicago 68 repeated on a world stage? Bidding would have been a ridiculous idea.

  5. Well written, Bob. Almost swung me. But I believe San Antonio made the right decision. There’s a reason only one city in the entire country bid for this convention, and that Parscale was desperately trying to bully us into hosting: the economics don’t work. Sure, some individuals would make money, so their objections are understandable. But the for broader community, the benefits were dubious. “Keeping their powder dry” is clever phrasing, but it speaks loudly that the Greater Chamber didn’t push for this convention. There’s also a reason the Hispanic Chamber opposed it. We have a unique city with a great reputation and strengths that stand on our history, cross culture, and common values. Even the appearance of pandering to a racist would only diminish our glimmer and paint us more as a Stormy Daniels than a John McCain. Trump and company can have their good time somewhere else. We stood our ground, which is the great San Antonio tradition.

  6. -not all races should be entered
    -I do not recall seeing, reading, or hearing anything about the details of the city that is hosting a DNC or RNC convention by the media-it is all about the politics of the parties and contestants
    -less than transparent reminds me of the SAISD superintendent story-should someone be transparent only when it serves the interests of the people supporting an idea?
    -If it was a good idea to bid we would have heard from the city’s power players

  7. I thought Mr. Rivard’s analysis was right on the money. The decision by city council should have been made in the open – not hidden behind closed doors. Hosting the RNC would in no way have been en endorsement of the current president’s policies. This should have been a business decision only, but it was far from that. As a native of San Antonio who lives on the East Coast at present, I am very disappointed to see my hometown voluntarily sitting on the sidelines just as it did with the Amazon HQ 2 bid. I AM Hispanic and proud of my heritage and I love San Antonio. SA is a city on the rise, but only when it participates in opportunities like this that rarely come along.

    • We will have our shot at another national political party convention, if the projected growth rate to 2040 holds mostly true. In the meantime, let’s focus our local monies on fixing local problems, that will attract better national and international exposure (e.g. BaRT and trackless rail throughout Greater San Antonio-New Braunfels area, heavier investment in 2017-Bond_Prop. 6 type of monies, aggressive outreach to DFW, Greater Houston, and Greater Austin-Round Rock metros for a rapid-state rail transit, reasonable mid-dense infill mixed-use development downtown and surrounding downtown)

      • Proposition 6 was found to be illegal. Who knows what they’re doing with the money or how it even made it on the ballot. Would be great if tax payers could get an official explanation.

        • Prop 6 WAS NOT “found to be illegal”. Don’t be the town idiot. Research before you shout out. In Colonial times the punishment was the public stock.

  8. The Mayor, City Council, The Greater Chamber and the Hispanic Chamber have correctly decided to pass on bidding for this convention and in doing so made a bold statement about our values in the context of our City’s history. People that aren’t from San Antonio just don’t get it.

    • You must belong to La Raza. Hmmm. Would you feel the same way if they rejected the DNC behind closed doors, Farrakhan?

  9. Well said Jim Dalglish. As a native of SA with a deep admiration for its diversity and ability to “get along”, the RNC would have invited turmoil and conflict. In my opinion, our leaders time, and our money are better spent elsewhere.

    • That is so stupid. The Final Four brought in I don’t know how many people, but I was totally unaware of their presence. Unless you are downtown, whatever happens there might as well be on another planet. The fascists who run this place simply can’t abide people who think differently than they do.

        • I used to do it all the time, and still do when not on my iPhone. Most entries, I have seen, however, do not include a surname, so in that I’m not alone. Just because I watched Homeland does not make me a Russian bot. BTW, I thought in the final shot of the season Carrie looked better than ever.

      • Bob S, perhaps those “fascists who run this place” get their playlist from the fascists who are currently running this country. Oh, THOSE fascists are ok in your book, you say?
        BTW, I followed both the RNC and DNC conventions in 2016. Tell me again which cities they were in? (I believe RNC was in Cleveland…but I’m not sure and I don’t care.) BUT I remember all the BS from both conventions, especially Trump accusing Cruz’ father of being involved in the Kennedy administration. And I remember everything the current administration has done since coming into power: every misstep, every scandal, every firing, every resignation. THAT has nuthin’ to do with where the conventions were held.

        • I remember only where three conventions were held. 1960 Dem Los Angeles. (I was a volunteer for Stuart Symington). Was in awe of Stevenson. There seemed to be no security at all. The acceptance speeches were in the Coliseum. Somehow I got onto the field and shook LBJ’s hand as his open car went by.

          1964 Rep SF 1968 Dem Chicago.

          Factoid about 1960. Months after the convention, JFK arrived to give a campaign speech at the Shrine auditorium. A friend and I took a bus to hear him. We could not get in. They said it was full. JFK arrived and spoke to a small gathering outside the auditorium. We waited for perhaps two hours to see him come out. We never saw anyone leave. Whoever was there must have gone out the back, but there was no audience. You can find online the text of the speech he never gave. I presume he hot-footed it to the west side to rendezvous with Marilyn.

          • It will take years to undo the George W Bush disaster, but i see Trump just making it worse.

          • I see only one wrong, an eight year long wrong which is now being corrected.

      • Bob S, “unless you are downtown whatever happens to be there might as well be on another planet”–what a boneheaded statement. Do you know how many people live downtown? All of us here who would have to come face to face with these corrupt racist politicians would be throwing up in our mouths continually, not to mention that this would cause a ton of conflict in our city of majority Hispanic people who are being cruelly targeted by Trump and his racist Nosferatu Steven Miller. The mayor and council made the right decision. Use the money where it’s needed in the city. And Bob Rivard is tone deaf. It ain’t all about money and competition all of the time. This is the problem from the top down at this moment in history–economic development/money (for developers)/competition is constantly held above all else: the needs of the people and the good of the environment for our kids. Greed didn’t win this time. Good.

        • I voted for Nirenberg because he ran as moderate who could bring the city together. He’s a disaster and I know a lot of people who will not support him again. I think you’re going to be surprised at the next mayoral election

      • I do not think you understand the definition of the word Fascist, but here it is for your own aid; “a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

        We have an elected city council, who votes, and most of the time not unanimously. Also, San Antonio like many cities in Texas has very low voter turnout for local offices and elections. Most of the reasons is we are a working class city where most workers do not get time off to votes, some of the other reasons are voting restrictions put in place by the GOP statewide (reduced polling locations, reduced polling hours, increased ID requirements, and reduction in election money for voting machines and workers. All these efforts do a disservice to each and every Texan, but at least those in office chose to fight and committed their efforts in energy to making change.

        • Your definition is only partly correct. You threw in the race crap yourself. As for access to the polls, give me a break. I remember when everyone voted in the one day. Election Day. Now you have extensive early voting and ic that’s not good enough vote by mail. You are so over the top ridiculous.

          • The word race is not used in my comment?

            You remember the day when everyone voted on one day? When was that?

            If voting is so accessible, and clearly based on your response important, then why do we have such low turnout?

        • The word “race” appears in the third line of your post. Early voting is a post 1990 phenomenon, at least in modern times. Don’t know when it started in Texas. When I lived in Houston 1979-85, there was no early voting as I recall.

          Only 22 states have early voting. So it’s not a universal thing.

          Low turnout? Laziness.

          • Just so you know, since I did not differentiate between my actual comments and those from the dictionary. The word race is part of the merriam websters definition of fascist.

            How do you encourage better turnout so that we have a more representative democracy?

  10. Sometimes we must be careful what we ask for…..we might get it. I agree with Mr. Rivard’s thoughtful commentary for the most part, but other, equally important considerations have to be given consideration, as well. I doubt this was easy for our Council, but I agree with their decision.

  11. Sometimes we must be careful what we ask for…..we might get it. I agree with Mr. Rivard’s thoughtful commentary for the most part, but other, equally important factors have to be given consideration, as well. I doubt this was easy for our Council, but I agree with their decision.

  12. Well said. I was convinced you were in the Mayor’s pocket no matter what, you have changed my mind.
    We were an Open city welcoming all until this new Progressive Council forcing their political views on us. Shame on them, they need to get back to basics, fixing pot holes and sidewalk repairs. I will support the Firefighters petitions for an option to vote to control this council.

  13. We vote to give a large amount of decision making to people to act in our mutual best interest. Looks like to me, that is just what they did. If the balance of their decisions differ from mine, change your vote. From my POV, so far so good.

  14. Excellent article, Bob. Thanks. Well reasoned and reasonable. The specter that puts me on the no bid side, though, is Texas as an open carry state and the far from well regulated militia that marched with loaded military assault weapons on the little village of Olmos Park last month. Now imagine that group increased by a factor of 10 around the convention center pledged to protect the NRA POTUS from opposing viewpoints.

    • Gone off the deep end, have we? Did you see the massive protests and counter protests in Dallas when POTUS VPOTUs appeared at the NRA convention. Yeah, 300 people showed up.

  15. Well written article, as usual, but off base on this one. Why invite the vitriol and bigotry to our fair city at the price of insulting a majority of our residents?!

  16. “City leaders need to take risks. Losing is okay.“

    Absolutely. Whether we win or lose, the city should have made a bid for Amazon. Whether we agree or disagree, with the politics of the RNC, San Antonio missed an opportunity to showcase the grace and open-mindedness sorely missing in the national spotlight. Whether we were to win or lose, city leaders lost an opportunity here.

  17. Why can ceretain people not realize that MILLIONS of people voted for Trump in this country. MILLIONS of people who love San Antonio and would like to visit here. What’s wrong with you people? This was about Nirenberg (thinking he has a national political future) not wanting the offend the DNC fat cats by bidding on the GOP convention, this being Castro’s hometown and those idiots thinking Castro has some remote shot at the POTUS. This is typical Democrat self-interest politics. THIS is why the city charter does not allow partisan politics, THIS is why no one really knew if Henry Cisneros was a Democrat or Republican until he went to Washington, because he NEVER let his own interest or those of his party get in FRONT of the interest of our beloved city. Shame on San Antonio for voting in Nirenberg. I can guaranty you Ivy Taylor would never have let this happen. San Antonio deserves better than this, we deserve better than Ron Nirenberg.

  18. This opinion piece is fundamentally wrong, in my professional opinion. The writer is being over zealous. One can’t take on EVERY challenge just for the sake of growth and prosperity. Experienced business owners understand this basic precept. There must be CONTROLLED growth – not too fast, not too slow. That is the key to long term sustainment.

    • What does that have to do with a week-long convention? In your professional opinion, Timothy. Maybe you are a Russian bot.

      • Robert, I had no trouble understanding Timothy’s point. This article suggests that San Antonio should be targeting every means of growth we can get our hands on – which includes the RNC. As far as I can tell, Timothy is simply pointing out that we can’t go after everything. We need to be measured and make decisions based on their merit as opposed to the outcomes.

        • You in san antonio were really lost already when you did not vote for ivy taylor, all she ever do was take care of san antonio citizens, on both sides, the castros only cared for thier political career, now that they are in washington i don’t see them taking care of you, and your new mayor ronny boy is all about himself and his family, he will eventually leave you behind like the castro’s, you lost amazon now the RNC, what other good opportunities, have they let go bye without you knowing,

      • I understood what he was saying, but he claims to be giving his professional opinion. What is his profession or is he just professing. Putting up a week-long convention hardly constitutes a strategic undertaking. It’s not like the Olympics.

  19. City leaders made the correct decision when they opted not to bid on the RNC convention. This President is polarizing at best and hatefully petty at worst. San Antonio should not play host to such awful politics at taxpayer expense. Furthermore, since when is a city’s success measured by media coverage and unneeded corporate subsidies? What about quality of life or culture or education? The writer of this article argues out of both sides of his mouth. Decrying low median incomes in one breath then hand wringing in the next that we need to support more low paying tourist industry jobs – whatevs…

  20. San Antonio opts to be a second-tier city, maybe more like a large village. What’s wrong with parochial thinking? Sure, being mayor of a “podunk” town will not lead to national office, but so what? Keep San Antonio small!

  21. Thanks Mr. Rivard for your thoughts. I support your comments that the decision could have been made more transparently but I have to say I agree with the decision. San Antonio, in my view, has been a backwater for the last few years. There are only so many hours in a day and I support those hours being used to improve our city’s transportation, housing, neighborhoods, etc. Keep your eye on the ball mayor & city council and don’t get distracted by giveaway opportunities.

  22. There are a lot of emotions being riled by this debate, and I don’t want to stir the pot any further. I would just like to make two points:

    1. The “closed door” meeting was held by elected officials. We chose our representatives, and we bear the fruit of our decisions. OUR city council decided that our “first political convention” would not be one that celebrates Trump’s re-election bid, and in my opinion, God bless them for that!

    2. No major city truly bid on this convention for a reason – and to have three very wealthy business-people in San Antonio decide to privately raise the funds – despite the fervor of debate that we are facing – reminds me almost verbatim of the state of our federal politics; A few non-elected people of means making decisions that impact the general population.

    Bob, I know you understand that we can’t talk about the state of our city without acknowledging the communities that have made San Antonio the place it is today. Are those communities adequately represented by a person who verbally condones sexual assault? Are they adequately represented by a person who claims that their families are more than likely composed of rapists and criminals?

    Let’s get a grip on the reality of the RNC’s current state of affairs before we try to glorify the “optics” of a local convention, and worse yet, the financial gain. Our heritage is not for sale. If the RNC wants to hold our values at ransom, let them try to “Come and take it.”

  23. Trump has offended Mexicans and we don’t take kindly to that. We have been demeaned and disrespected without provocation. The idea that money should assuage us is even more offensive.

  24. Well said Bob.
    I ‘am’ from San Antonio and I ‘do get it’ and it was another missed opportunity for my hometown. We talk about being ‘progressive’ but we are being ‘selective progressive.’ We could have been on the world’s stage, BUT instead we continue to perpetuate ourselves as a second rate city.

  25. Thank you Mr. Rivard for the thought-provoking editorial. While I very much enjoy the Report and your input specifically, I have to respectfully disagree with this position. In the first paragraph alone we’re encouraged to “bid”, “become more competitive”, “hone our strengths” “show up at a starting line” and “compete..in the race”. I’m sorry, why do we have to “race”? Like so many, the you immediately compares us to Austin. I lived in Austin for 20 years before coming here. We want to race to exploded, unplanned, stifling and unaffordable growth? Does it hurt Austin that they didn’t “race” to bid on the GOP convention? By leading edge cities, I’m assuming he means places like Austin, San Francisco and Nashville? As a frequent traveller, I have visited and enjoy all of those places. Yet I have no desire to live in any one of them. “Winning” at all costs doesn’t make us a better city. 300 years of being built on tradition, character and diversity is our identity. With all due respect Mr. Rivard, I don’t see how inviting this group to our city enhances that in any way.

  26. On the final four :

    We were right to pursue and get and what a success !

    On amazon , often it takes great leadership to know when to pass up an opportunity …especially when it’s not realistic and a waste of resources.

    On this convention , I don’t think the mayor deserves this much flack to pass on a true long shot convention.

    It does NOT mean the mayor and the council think we are second /rate second tier / or second at all.

    As a long time downtown advocate and a lover of our city, I’d prefer the city focus on making our San Antonio …. great!

    • I’m a Houstonian who has lived in this provincial backwater for 6 years. This city is a big Larado, run by morons. Nirenberg is the worst mayor I’ve ever seen and I grew up under Kathy Whitmire. San Antonio will always be poor and run down and second tier. It’s like the run down San Antonio neighborhood of Beacon Hill. Prosperous in the 1920’s and downhill ever since and now looks like a Mexican Border Town. This city is Juarez. Nobody with an education wants to move here. Brain drain to Houston Dallas and Austin. Keep San Antonio Trashy and Poor

      • As they say if you don’t like it here why don’t you go back to wherever you came from. You’re despise of all things Mexican makes you a bad fit for this great town.

        Oh by the way why don’t learn a little more about Texas-Mexican history and learn the important role of San Antonio in Mexico and Spain.

        Yes, San Antonio is still part of Mexico.

        • Why don’t you tell us about the history. As l understand it, the central government in Mexico City paid little attention to the citizenry in the provinces like Texas and New Mexico, except for edicts that made their lives more miserable. Mismanagement was the order of the day.

      • Shannon, please take your negativity and disgusting attitude somewhere else. I lived in Houston and prefer San Antonio ANY day to that rat race. If you are a miserable person here, (although you’re probably miserable anywhere you go), then leave, instead of offering non-constructive criticism.

      • You all are very entertaining, however have you all maybe thought of giving your opinions to your respective city council members? Have you thought of volunteering your time to the many organizations across town that help benefit the standard of living? The aformentioned cities also have there areas of contention. Matter of fact all cities in the country have there own struggles. Right now our city is going through a phase of transformation. Right now my interpretation of what the city deems valuble right now is transportation, education, fomentation of the fine arts, etc. Regardless of whether the RNC would have been hosted here people like you all would still think that this city is “podunck & trashy.”
        And Learn History, no San Antonio is not a part of Mexico. Seldom do people even form a coherent thought is Spanish. Seldom do people follow up with Mexican politics. Also Mexico never really saw potential in Texas, because it was too far from the comforts present in the Capital & El Bajio.

        • The last time Mexico played a direct role here was in 1842 when it captured the city twice. After their defeat at the Battle of the Salado (near Rittaman and Harry Wurzbach), Mexican forces were pursued by Texas Rangers and militia under the command of John Coffee Hays. The Mexicans took with them as prisoners everyone who happened to be in the courthouse that day. They were held for two years.

          That was not as bad as 1813 when Mexico pretty much destroyed our “fair city.”

          Before Americans moved in Mexicans were terrified of Comanches and hardly strayed from the missions.

      • After being in LA, NYC, and Chicago for 30 years, i had the choice of DFW, Houston, Auston, or San Antonio. I have lived in all of them and visit frequently. My life in San Antonio is the best, and there are more things happening here than in the others to have a sustainable, comfortable, interesting, enjoyable, and equitable community tgat ends up like family.

  27. Thank you Mr. Rivard. We need to celebrate diversity in this city and not fall into a politically correct gutter of leftism. Small thinking and vilifying people because of race and political views like Mr. Calvert did is shocking. He should be shunned in a civilized and just society.

  28. If the convention were to have come here, I could just picture the president speaking to a Latino group, and at the end of the speech, he comes up to the crowd and begins handing out (tossing) bags of tortillas into the crowd. I’m kind of joking, but I can’t say I’d be shocked if he did something like that, by now neither would most of you. Afterwards the media would ask him about such actions, to which he may say, maybe they can make some bean tacos. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear that also. Or a Latino in the crowd interrupts the President, and Trump says “hit ‘em like a piñata, they like piñatas around here, right.” To him, such comments would be just a joke, but not to many people in San Antonio.

    The decision not to bid was a very difficult one, I would have said yes to bid, but I can understand why someone would say no, especially this time around. It isn’t always just about towing the party line. The Mayor stood by his principles. Just because he chose not to bid doesn’t mean that he didn’t give it his all.

    • The decision was not difficult at all. Noatter what the numbers showed Nirenberg and most council members think like Calvert, just a bit less vocal. They’d just as soon have us like Juarez.

      Take away the military what would you have?

  29. “Trump is an extraordinarily divisive figure, and what he has said about Mexico, its people, and those of Mexican heritage on this side of the border leaves many in San Antonio shaking their heads. Yet we live in a city known for its open arms. Are we going to put limits on that now and only welcome some people some of the time?””A Republican convention staged here would give the most reactionary members of the party a close-up appreciation of the dignity and value of our city’s Hispanic majority.””Instead we are left on the sidelines, a spectator city. San Antonio deserves its spot on the starting line. When the next race comes along, and it will, let’s enter and give it all we got.” THANK YOU MR RIVARD!!!

  30. Perfectly balanced analysis, Mr. Rivard. I can only hope everyone responsible for this decision at City Hall reads your commentary and learns from it. Your point that you can’t win if you don’t complete is the essence of this discussion. I wouldn’t expect the city to ever be asked again, at least by the RNC, to bid in the future after this snub.

    Nevertheless, I’m suspicious of the motives behind this decision, however, as it seemed to be settled too quickly to be carefully debated. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it comes out eventually that the Julian Castro camp, as Castro is widely expected to enter the race for 2020, leaned heavily on the City council and staff to reject the idea of bidding for an RNC convention. Many of his supporters are undoubtedly embedded in City Hall. Surely, Castro would be embarrassed to have to answer to why his hometown was bidding for the convention of the rival party during the time when his campaign would be trying to gain credibility. It will be telling, if and when Castro makes his announcement to run, if he is given the use of city facilities (Convention center or Alamodome) for that event.

    • I totally agree with your assessment. Castro pulled strings to make it “go away”. Would be a difficult situation to say the least. Sadly our City leaders have a limited view of their roles. You attract more business so you can pay for the things your city needs for all the citizens you represent! Just like the NBA did, certain the Convention would have helped on multiple levels!

  31. Bob, thanks again for a well thought out article and all the feedback your article inspired. The feedback is as good as the article and I have to say that I was slightly swayed by some of the commentary.
    We’ve always been a city of “no”. Ed Garza, the Jimmy Carter of San Antonio, almost lost Toyota until Nelson Wolff saved the day. Ron Nirenberg, and most of our city council, is just a continuation of that. Saying “no” is safe, it’s easy and it requires no work. Drive into our city from the south on 37 and our core skyline looks like a city from the 1950’s. Same old brown brick buildings with tiny windows decade after decade. I think El Paso has more on the ball than San Antonio in terms of advancing their city.
    HOWEVER, and we have to be honest with ourselves, why is keeping up with the Jones’s that important? Not bidding on Amazon or the RNC are merely business decisions. People make decisions, good and bad, all the time but I don’t see San Antonio moving backwards because we didn’t bid. San Antonio IS “life in the slow lane” and have to admit that I like it that way and a lot of people are moving to San Antonio for exactly that reason. Let the free market determine where the city winds up and I think we’ll all be happy in the end.

  32. Time to move to a new topic, it’s over and it was correct.

    The voters of San Antonio, who ELECTED Mayor Nirenberg, also VOTED to APPROVE a$849 million bond package for NISD.
    People that care about San Antonio want new campuses, renovations to current ones, and upgrades for the rest to include, listed in Rivard, technology,roofing, security, infrastructure and transportation.
    It appears the people of San Antonio are interested in education so that no President gets elected who can’t spell or structure a sentence properly.

  33. This reads like a classic set up article to give the Mayor the opportunity “evolve” and bid on a DNC in the future. Would not be surprised if Bruce Davidson helped write this.

  34. If you want national attention, how about hosting a national bikini contest or a Russian troll convention? Obviously paid for by private money.

  35. Bob,
    Thanks for writing the article. Many of us, in the primary industry that drives the San Antonio economy, were lacking the information behind the story that surprised so many of us Friday. I still haven’t heard much from VSA, who should have been more vocal than others. We don’t have the luxury of choosing our clients or sides in any political debate. We simply need guests who won’t destroy our asset while they are spending their money in our beautiful city.

    I appreciate that you filled in the blanks. Please keep on providing and digging so we can make educated decisions.

    • I’m sorry, but the word will go out that this city is no a friendly place for Republicans. Well, the voters have spoken.

  36. Why should San Antonio want to play host to what has become of the Republican party? For revenue?

    Why should the city sell its soul? What’s next, hosting a KKK convention because it will draw in tourist dollars?

    • We need a big banner at the airport: “Republicans, Go Home. We don’t want you or your dollars.” What to do about the Republicans that live here? I guess we need something like “party cleansing,” like “ethnic cleansing.” Drive them into the gulf? There’s precedent for that, when the Comanches attacked Linnville in 1840.

  37. There is a reason Charlotte is the only place willing to host. Given the hateful insulting tweet by Parscale when they are trying to be nice to get bidders, one can only imagine how horrible it would be if we had “won”. Thanks, but No thanks.

    Probably Parscale is mad because he said he could get SA to bid so that they could leverage Charlotte to increase their bid. Charlotte is perfect for the 2020 GOP convention.

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