Sandoval Runs on Record While District 7 Rivals Decry City Inaction

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(left) Councilwoman Ana Sandoval is challenged by Blue Duck Scooters Regional Director for Governmental Affairs Trevor Whitney.

(left) Councilwoman Ana Sandoval is challenged by Blue Duck Scooters Regional Director for Governmental Affairs Trevor Whitney and two other candidates.

In seeking re-election to District 7’s Council seat, Ana Sandoval points to progress in the way the City answers constituents’ concerns, especially about roads, drainage, sidewalks, public safety, and citizen engagement.

“I’ve worked hard to deliver, and have delivered, what the residents have asked for: safer, healthier neighborhoods, better infrastructure, and greater accountability and transparency,” she said at a candidate forum last week at Jefferson United Methodist Church.

Sandoval is seeking her second term after defeating three-term incumbent Cris Medina in 2017. She is facing three challengers, all of whom said they feel City Council is not listening to residents.

“More and more people feel the City Council is doing its own thing, that it has its own agenda,” challenger Trevor Whitney said at the forum.

Whitney is Blue Duck Scooters’ regional director for governmental affairs. The other two candidates challenging Sandoval are Will McLeod, who has worked in the security industry, and Kimberly Grant, who has spent decades volunteering for social service organizations.

McLeod has said the City is overlooking basic needs, such as streets and public safety, in favor of issues such as the paid sick-leave ordinance, anti-smoking initiatives, and the City’s proposed climate action plan.

At last week’s forum, McLeod said he’s running for City Council “because citizens are being ignored, their calls are being ignored.”

Sandoval dismissed critics’ claims of a lack of transparency and accountability. She and her staff have held one-on-one coffees with residents, met with neighborhood leaders, and hosted property tax workshops.

“As a local government, I think we owe it to our residents to be transparent and accountable,” she said.

Sandoval has said the City’s recent increase in infrastructure funding levels will help to address many problems across a Council district that extends northwest from the historic Jefferson, Monticello Park, and Woodlawn Lake neighborhoods to sprawling subdivisions north of Leon Valley.

Sandoval is working with officials from the City of Leon Valley and the state to help nail down a long-term solution for increasing traffic congestion on Bandera Road, the backbone of District 7.

Sandoval said healthier, safer neighborhoods also means “people not speeding down their street,” adding that her office secured extra money to clear several years’ backlog of requests for speed bumps.

She pledged to seek more money to fill gaps in the 200-plus miles of sidewalks across District 7 and to fix existing drainage challenges. Sandoval also promised to keep supporting more funding for fire and police departments, and for more personnel.

“Even though crime has gone down across the city, the truth is any crime is too much crime, so that’s something we’ll always be working on,” she told the Rivard Report after the April 9 forum.

While the City explores possibly offering a homestead exemption to eligible taxpayers, Sandoval said taxpayers can be helped in a more holistic way.

She explained a homestead exemption would help some people but that many San Antonians must pay to several taxing entities in addition to city taxes.
The City is also keeping its eye on the State Legislature’s efforts to cap municipal property tax revenue, and the outcome of contract negotiations with the fire union.

“It would behoove us to look at all of this very carefully before we look at the next (City) budget,” Sandoval added.

Sandoval said she would support the possible expansion of the City’s current property tax exemptions for disabled and elderly property taxpayers. She also encourages taxpayers to learn about the property appraisal process, and her office has hosted workshops to teach homeowners how to protest their tax valuation.

“It’s meant to ensure the process is fair for them and to bring transparency to the appraisal process,” Sandoval said.

One of the main campaign issues for Whitney, who is mounting his first campaign for public office, is property taxes, which he said compound the frustration and disenchantment that community members are feeling.

“We’re pricing people out of their homes,” said Whitney, who proposes decreasing the city’s property tax rate.

Whitney said cutting the city’s rate would not negatively impact the City’s budget, suggesting the City could tap reserves that aren’t part of the annual spending plan. He also supports the City providing a local homestead exemption.

“We can cut property taxes without touching the City budget,” Whitney said, adding that taxpayers deserve a break. “It’s the people’s money.”

A former Marine, Whitney also wants to help homeless veterans. He proposes setting aside several acres to develop a community where homeless vets spend time undergoing rehabilitation, education, training and other services toward becoming self-sufficient.

“There’s a general feeling that San Antonio doesn’t do enough for veterans in spite of our being Military City USA,” he said.

Will McLeod

McLeod, who has twice run for mayor, said the City should prioritize repairing and re-striping roads, and fixing streetlights before adding more bike lanes. He also urged the City to hold VIA Metropolitan Transit and local utilities more accountable regarding their fiscal management.

McLeod said he’s the only Council candidate who regularly rides VIA buses. “I will reform VIA,” he said. “We’re spending tens of millions of dollars on them.”

Grant spent 25 years volunteering to help the homeless and domestic violence survivors in Dallas before moving to San Antonio four years ago, according to her Facebook page. Self-employed, Grant said she hopes to use her volunteer experiences and her finance and accounting skills to benefit the community.

Grant said in an interview that the District 7 residents she has met want a return to basics and a focus on reducing property taxes, improving infrastructure and public safety, and addressing homelessness citywide, especially among military veterans.

Kimberly Grant

“My constituents want to feel that they have an actual voice,” Grant said. “They don’t want someone in that position that has their own agenda, but someone that’s actually going to work in their best interest.”

As is typical for incumbents, Sandoval is well ahead in fundraising. An April 4 campaign finance report shows her with nearly $14,000 cash available.

Whitney’s campaign had nearly $800 cash on hand. Grant’s April 4 report showed that she received $300 in contributions in the previous three-month reporting period, but does not indicate how much money she has left.

McLeod’s lone finance report to the City, filed Jan. 15, did not show any contributions or expenditures.

Sandoval has been endorsed by the San Antonio Police Officers Association, the San Antonio Board of Realtors, the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio, Texas Organizing Project, and Alamo Sierra Club.

The Republican Club of Bexar County and South Texas Merchants Association have endorsed Whitney.

11 thoughts on “Sandoval Runs on Record While District 7 Rivals Decry City Inaction

  1. Sandoval is one of the most brilliant politicians in the city. She leads the entire city on environmental policy. Why on earth would we want a scooter guy to replace her?

    • Why would I run? Because I am qualified and think, as most people in this city do, that we are headed in the wrong direction. We cannot sit on the sidelines anymore as our city ignores serious problems.

      Ms Sandoval, while she is a nice, thoughtful person, is completely disconnected from the realities on the ground when it comes to housing, taxation, and basic community needs. In my opinion, she is more focused on her next step up and not on providing basic services in D7. We need someone committed to serving our neighbors- not someone who left SA for nearly 2 decades, then suddenly moved to SA after being recruited by a political machine and running for office 9 months later. This is very clearly self interest, not wanting to serve ALL of District 7.

      Finally, the 2 votes to apply a religious test to a contracting process re: Chick Fil A were unconstitutional and will lead to our city being sued by both the state and federal government. This alone is disqualifying from public office, as this is a very basic 1st Amendment issue. I support protecting legal opinions of ALL faiths.

      • Blue Duck Scooters is a company that has gone on record as saying they’d rather invade a market first and deal with the legal/government ramifications after the fact instead of making contact with municipal governments before launch to ensure a smooth introduction, little public backlash and limit the impound of their fleet. I don’t think voting in the government affairs director of a company that makes that type of statement is a good pick for an elected government office. Also, is he paying attention to his Bexar County Tax bill? City taxes aren’t killing us citizens. It’s the school district taxes and the continued inflation of property values that is the culprit. I’m not looking at reduced tax rates and homeowner exemptions that save me less than $100 total. Any tax relief needs to be in the several hundred up to a thousand dollars level.

      • I think you are Correct about “next step up”. I am not a CCD7 voter, so, my advice to current CCD7 member is consider the appropriate State legislative seat, preferably State Senate seat.

      • I didn’t ask why you would run, sir, I asked why would we choose you. With all due respect, answering the question asked and not the question you want to answer would be a useful skill to develop, particularly if you’re going to accuse others of ignoring things.

        I notice you don’t mention LGBTQ rights as well. Good to know where you stand there.

    • If she is one of the most brilliant politicians in the city, why can’t she get her signature piece, the CAAP, passed? She can’t even persuade her neighbor Pelaez in D8 to back her. If she were good at her job, she would have led the entire city on this vote. Instead, it has collapsed all around her.

  2. You and the Mayor and the City Council certainly did not allow information from the constituents during the voting on the Short Term Rental Ordinance…… some members of that committee were from Austin representing Airbnb and Gateway…. these people were writing/voting for this ordinance, and making decisions for our neighborhoods when they were not residents here and had no business doing so.,., this Ordinance was accepted by the City Council by exception over looking our neighborhoods zoning laws!!!! and nothing was in the media that these meetings to write and vote on this ordinance to inform the citizens until it was passed!! You all sold out our city!!!! There is no transparency with the Mayor or City Council…. how can you dare say you are all working for the what is good for the City when you do not listen to what citizens are saying????? We spent almost two years attending the meetings to write the Short Term Rental Ordinance…. Our comments were voted off..blown off… there was a definite bias on the committee…and no minutes were taken to record any of the proceedings it was all very , very unethical to say the least!!!!

  3. I hear Whitney tell one of the AM radio shock jocks that Sandoval was laying the Latino thing on too thick because she speaks Spanish sometimes.

    I’m not saying Whitney blows dog whistles. But when he talks like that, one has to wonder if he’s blowing a dog whistle for bigots to come running or if he really means this garbage he’s selling.

    The woman was born in MX, worked in MX, and Spanish is her first language. She learned English later in life and speaks it better than all of her opponents. (Including Whitney)

    Keep running on that platform if you think it’s a winner, Mr. Whitney. I predict that the she’s-too-much-Latino attack will result in a big zero come May 4th.

  4. This is unequivocally true.

    McLeod has said the City is overlooking basic needs, such as streets and public safety, in favor of issues such as the paid sick-leave ordinance, anti-smoking initiatives, and the City’s proposed climate action plan.

  5. The councilwoman says she supports robust discussion on the airport concession contract and then immediately voted to shut discussion down? She’s become a fantastic role model for city council.

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