San Antonio Proposition Fight Moves to the Airwaves, Online

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Citizens both for and against propositions A, B, and C in the upcoming election.

Composite / Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Citizens for and against Propositions A, B, and C in the upcoming election show support for their positions.

Secure San Antonio’s Future has placed a $500,000 ad buy with cable and network television stations, the political action committee’s campaign manager said, and the Go Vote No campaign’s commercials started airing Wednesday.

Secure San Antonio’s Future is the political action committee formed to fight against the passage of three proposed amendments to the City Charter that will be on November’s ballot. Ballot propositions A, B, and C are being spearheaded by the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association.

Two ads, which do not use the word “firefighter” and instead refer to a “special-interest union,” call the three propositions a “con job,” “shell game,” and a “power play.”

The propositions would (A) expand the scope of future ballot referenda and lower the threshold for signatures on future ballot petitions, (B) limit the tenure and pay of future city managers, and (C) force binding arbitration on labor contract negotiations between the City and union.

Officials from the firefighters union could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

While Secure San Antonio’s Future’s Go Vote No campaign has released dozens of video testimonies and other videos on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, the union’s Approved By Citizens campaign has released at least two videos that feature the text of quotes from supporters. SAPFA’s social media accounts, however, are active, with posts of illustrations and memes focusing attention on Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Manager Sheryl Sculley. Sculley’s pay would not be impacted by the charter change, City officials say.

Click here to watch one of the Go Vote No videos and here to view the union’s Facebook page.

Christian Archer, campaign manager for Secure San Antonio’s Future, said he recently saw a television ad paid for by the union’s PAC, San Antonio First, but the Rivard Report was unable to confirm the existence of such an ad.

“Chris Steele spent $510,000 of member dues to get petitions signed, so I imagine that they are going to be placing more television [ads],” Archer said.

The SSAF has filed a lawsuit against the union alleging it illegally used member dues – instead of a unique political action committee – to pay an out-of-town consultant to collect signatures required to put the propositions on the ballot.

The amendments, according to union officials, are aimed at reining in a “corrupt” city government by letting “the people decide” on key financial decisions such as utility rates and ending the labor contract stalemate between the union and the City. But City officials and SSAF campaign material say the amendments would hold the City hostage to special-interest groups that can afford to run petition campaigns and would put municipal finances in danger.

The “special-interest union” referred to in the campaign ad is, of course, the fire union, Archer said, but “I think it’s important that people don’t get confused that it’s the men and women firefighters behind these [propositions]. … There’s a big difference between them and Chris Steele.”

Steele is president of the fire union who launched San Antonio First initiative earlier this year.

Last week, Steele sent a proxy in his place to a recent town hall-style debate with the mayor last week. The meeting’s organizer, the San Antonio Express-Newscanceled the event.

On Wednesday, SSAF announced that Nirenberg has agreed to an hour-long televised debate on Oct. 10. It’s not known whether Steele will participate.

“This is all about trying to create chaos at City Hall,” Archer said, and an “unelected union member [Steele] who won’t even speak in public about why he has done it.”

6 thoughts on “San Antonio Proposition Fight Moves to the Airwaves, Online

  1. Playing nice by not saying Fire Fighter Union in the ads? Anyway, keep the current evergreen clause ( 10 years! Really!!) clock ticking and then start anew; make Public service employees pay their fair share for healthcare costs.
    Oh… thanks to all you petition signers ( this is sarcasm).

    • Sculley has a lengthy evergreen clause in her contract too. Let’s not even talk about all the perks & benefits she gets on top of her salary (car, housing, etc).

      You want the people who run TOWARD danger and who only help you to pay higher insurance costs but Sculley, who never risks her neck for you, gets hers (same ins as fire) essentially free.

      Learn some facts before you rush to judgement. The ones you should be angry about is Sculley and our pandering mayor & city council who give her such rich contracts.

  2. Yeah,San Antonio Leaders and Citizens-Reps (not): in a place that’s fattest, sickest, lowest school records in the US (& some of the world), most uninsured kids, worst traffic…..Oh, right. Our leaders think we need more developers and more expensive disease establishments (vs Health & prevention).

  3. The City is corrupt and must be reigned in NOW. Proposition B should include Sculley’s tenure and pay upon passage of the propositions. She is highly overpaid for a City that offers no new economic growth for an overcrowded city and a city that offers poor public education.

  4. Why is it that when the Mayor and council members as asked questions about Propositions A B and C, and their effect, their answer is if passed city services would be cut, taxes would go up because of costs, bond interest rates would be much higher.

    The main problem is the amount of money being spent, wasted, on useless projects like moving statues for 350,000, painting city hall for 50,000,000, the biggest waste of tax money, the Alamo project at 500,000,000, and who knows how much the city paid Frost for their bank building, probably triple it’s value when you consider that fancy building they’re building currently

    There’s not enough money for services because of the massive debt created by liberals running this city!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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