The Denominator: 49 Seconds of Fire, Female Candidates, and Failure to Register

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San Antonio Fire Fighter Association President Chris Steele.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

San Antonio Fire Fighter Association President Chris Steele.

The Denominator is a weekly brief of significant numbers underlying our latest news stories.

Leaked Recording 

49 seconds is the length of a recording in which firefighters union President Chris Steele said his goal is to secure a labor contract for the union and make Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) the next mayor of San Antonio.

The recording was made by an unidentified firefighter, according to Secure San Antonio’s Future (SSAF), the political action committee opposed to three propositions to amend the City charter on the Nov. 6 ballot. SSAF on Wednesday shared the clip with the Rivard Report and other media.

The fire union released a statement indicating that the clip is from a much longer presentation about community-driven petitions and how Brockhouse’s political agenda could move him into the mayoral position.

More Women on the Ballot

67 women are running for the Texas House in November. Women currently hold 29 seats in the 150-seat Texas House, and eight seats in the 31-seat Texas Senate, an all-time high according to the Texas Tribune.

Seventy-nine women are vying for seats in the State Legislature, and four are running for statewide offices. Gina Ortiz Jones, a former Air Force intelligence officer who is challenging U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), is one of 24 women running for U.S. Congress.

A 2013 study shows the gender gap between men and women running for office comes from a handful of key factors, including the social cues they receive from their environment. Young women were found less likely to consider themselves qualified to run for office and less likely to receive encouragement to do so than their male counterparts.

Voter Registration Glitch

2,400 is the number of Texans whose voter registrations may be in jeopardy, according to the Secretary of State.

Texas voters who registered to vote through Vote.org, including 450 Bexar County residents, were asked to verify their signature online by submitting a picture. But this form of digital signature on voter registration applications are not acceptable, a spokesperson for the Office of  the Secretary of State said.

The Texas Election Code has specific regulations that authorize digital signatures, the spokesperson said. For example, when the Department of Public Safety renews drivers licenses, it must inform applicants that their digital signature can be used for voter registration in order for it to be applicable. Overseas voters and military personnel also may submit digital signatures under specific circumstances.

Texas is one of 12 states that does not offer online registration, and the feature for applying online through Vote.org was removed from the site Tuesday.

Board Balance 

Women hold 18 percent fewer seats on city boards and committees in San Antonio than men, according to Alejandra Lopez, the City’s chief equity officer. Though 64 percent of the city’s population identifies as Hispanic, only 36 percent of municipal board members identify as such.

Lopez announced the findings of an assessment of diversity on city boards and committees to City Council’s Community Health and Equity Committee Tuesday, in response to a Council Consideration Request Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3) filed in January.

The Office of Equity found women and people of color are appointed to boards and commissions at similar rates to the percentages at which they apply, but women and Hispanics do not apply in proportion to their makeup of San Antonio’s population. Starting in October 2019, Lopez said the Office of Equity will make annual reports to City Council on its recruitment efforts and performance measures.

Sun and Síclovía

67,500 people attended Síclovía last weekend, a biannual event that opens major streets exclusively to pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized transportation.

The event, which spanned 2.7 miles of the downtown portion of Broadway from Mahncke Park to Madison Square Park on the northwestern cusp of downtown, featured food trucks, health and wellness programming, fitness classes, and open spaces for frolicking pups.

Síclovía is organized by the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and has grown in attendance since the first events.

One thought on “The Denominator: 49 Seconds of Fire, Female Candidates, and Failure to Register

  1. The denominator is missing from so many news stories in all media. Thank you for recognizing the need for the denominator to help evaluate the significance and scope of news reports.

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