Anthony Francis for the Rivard Report
Shaw joins former Councilman Keith Toney in challenging incumbent Alan Warrick (D2) in the May 6 City election.
Joined by family, friends, and supporters at Tony G’s Soul Food, Shaw and his backers said Warrick has not done enough to represent all of District 2.
"We have to get back to the basics and have open communication, bring everybody to the table, and not just a small circle of friends and donors," Shaw said to an audience of more than 30 people.
A Houston native and UTSA graduate, Shaw earned a degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 2009 and then went on to work at a small local bankruptcy law firm. One year later, Shaw opened a criminal law practice, expanding that enterprise to include probate, real estate and litigation. He is currently chairman of the San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE).
In 2013, then-District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor appointed Shaw to the City’s Zoning Commission and fellow members later selected him to chair the commission.
Prior to Saturday’s event, Shaw told the Rivard Report that his Council bid is a by-product of political disagreements between him and Warrick.
Warrick called for Shaw’s resignation from the Zoning Commission on June 29, citing ethical concerns over his rumored candidacy. Warrick had referred to part of the City charter that precludes a board or commission appointee from staying in that role after becoming a candidate for a City-elected office. Although Shaw initially ignored the request, he resigned from the commission two weeks later.
In 2015, Warrick proposed changing the route of the City’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. March. The idea sparked controversy across the community. The route, however, did not change.
According to a San Antonio Express-News columnist in July 2016, Warrick had heard rumors that Shaw, prompted by the MLK March dustup, was testing the political waters ahead of a possible candidacy.
Shaw said that over the last year and a half, he had received an increasing amount of support from around District 2 towards a Council campaign, but he was not sure he would or could commit to a run for public office.
“I’ve never had aspirations to be in politics,” Shaw said. “But after news broke, I got overwhelming support,” he added, referring to Warrick’s request that he resign from the Zoning Commission.
Shaw said that his decision to run for Council took several months. He acknowledged that the hubbub over the commission, the MLK March, and Warrick’s decision not to back Taylor in the 2015 mayoral runoff all played a part of that decision.
“I didn’t plan for this,“ he said. “It just came about gradually.”
If elected, Shaw said that his priorities would include encouraging more community involvement in the district and championing "long, thought-out" redevelopment.
"We don't want to just build on empty lots for a quick turnaround buck," he added.
Tony Gradney, owner of Tony G’s, is Shaw’s campaign treasurer. Shaw said he would gather and announce endorsements soon, but that he does not intend to seek an endorsement from Taylor. The mayor's reelection bid so far is getting a major challenge from Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8), and Bexar County Democratic Chairman Manuel Medina has given strong signals that he will enter the race.
Warrick, CEO of World Technical Services, was elected to the D2 post in December 2014, after a runoff against Toney. Toney had served as appointed interim Council member for four months in 2014, following Taylor’s mayoral appointment.
Prior to Shaw’s official announcement, Warrick recalled hearsay in the community, that Shaw was mulling a campaign in 2017.
“That’s why I was in fear and felt he was violating ethics – the City charter,” Warrick said about Shaw, who donated to his 2014 Council campaign.
Warrick said he does not think highly of the rationale – the MLK March, Zoning Commission – behind Shaw’s bid for the Council seat.
“To use that reason is a lack of reason to say I’m not doing my best to represent the citizens of District 2,” he added.
Giving no details, Warrick said he plans to make a formal re-election announcement in January. Endorsements could be revealed then, he added.
Warrick said his campaign would focus on continuing on four themes that have guided his time in office so far: “Zero vacant lots, zero murders, zero unemployment, and zero stray dogs.”
Warrick said he has seen progress with each area.
“We haven’t fixed these issues, but we’ve made impacts,” he said. “It’s how I guide everything I do. The impacts in the district are clear and robust. It’s been an honor serving District 2.”
Toney, a Vietnam veteran who currently works as a school liaison officer for Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, has lost three previous Council bids. The first in a three-way race in May 2007 and the second was the 2014 runoff with Warrick to fill the remainder of Taylor’s Council term. The third loss was again to Warrick in May 2015.
Toney said District 2 residents need a different voice at City Hall. He will officially declare his candidacy in January.
“I believe our community deserves better representation than as of late,” he added. “Based on my experience and leadership, I believe I’m the better candidate.”
Toney said his campaign will focus on fighting against the deeper causes behind crime.
“The crime issue is more symptomatic of the poverty issue, and I don’t think that’s been addressed much,” he said.