Hannah Whisenant / Rivard Report
The City of San Antonio announced its ownership of the registered trademark "Military City USA" on Monday during a press conference on the steps of City Hall.
“For many years many have called San Antonio 'Military City USA,'" said United States Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala. "Today, ladies and gentlemen, we are officially 'Military City USA' ... No other city in the nation can say that, and it's a great honor.”
The name has been associated with the city for some time, but after years of informal recognition City officials filed a request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office in Washington, D.C.
"Other cities including San Diego and Colorado Springs have given themselves that title – 'Military City' – from time to time," City Manager Sheryl Sculley said. "But this March, the City received the official notification for the registered trademark of San Antonio as 'Military City USA.'"
The unveiling of a new logo concluded the release. It represents the city's nearly three century-long history with the military and lets the world know San Antonio is Military City USA, Sculley said.
State Sen. José Menéndez (D-26) and State Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-119) spoke alongside City officials and stayed for a hearing following the celebrations. In their speeches, both stressed the importance of the city's capability to protect its military bases with annexation policy.
"Last session, people did not believe that annexation was a tool that was necessary for the city to protect our bases," Menéndez said. "I need you all, everyone of you who is willing to come to Austin to talk about why we need to protect our military bases, the installations, and the [Spanish-colonial] Missions."
Annexation was a controversial issue in the State Legislature's latest session, and is slated as a topic for consideration in the forthcoming special session. Some Texas legislators fear that encroaching development near San Antonio's military bases will initiate the U.S. federal government process of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
"The encroachment keeps bases like Camp Bullis from doing their nighttime exercises because of noise pollution and light pollution," Menéndez told the Rivard Report. "Randolph Air Force Base needs to have a flight pattern where the planes can come in and have a landing zone in case they have to crash or bail out. They can’t have homes in the way. And so if we start letting homes go in and around their flight pattern, they’re going to leave."
"This hearing is about protecting our bases from encroachment," said Gutierrez, who is the House chair of Defense and Veterans' Affairs. "Encroachment is the number one determining factor in a BRAC."
President Donald Trump has already introduced the possibilities of BRACs in his new budget, Gutierrez said. Losing bases would affect the economic impact that the military presence brings to the city.
"Annually, the military community contributes close to $50 billion to our local economy, and $17 billion in disposable personal income," Sculley said. "The military represents a huge part of our local economy. Nearly 10% of those who live in San Antonio are associated with Joint Base San Antonio in some direct or indirect way."
Mayor-elect Ron Nirenberg further emphasized the importance of protecting military communities and understanding that San Antonio plays a vital role in the nation's security.
"We support 283,000 members of our [military] community," Nirenberg said. "It is the center of gravity for our nation's defense. And it is important, as the representative [Gutierrez] said, for us to recognize that what happens in the chambers of city councils, what happens at the courts of the commissioners, what happens in the halls of our Texas Legislature matters to our nation’s defense."
Menéndez called on locals to make their voice heard at the Capitol. Maintaining the presence of the military is the only way to truly hold on to the city's new namesake, he said.
"We’re going to have a new logo, but remember that it's more than just logos and its more than just words," Menéndez said. "When we talk about protecting and honoring our military, we must do it with our actions."