There is a new and charismatic candidate for mayor of San Antonio making his mark throughout the city with an impressive promise to unite conservatives and liberals alike. Rallying people around a comprehensive blue print for change, he has strong plans to fight crime, tighten fiscal responsibility and increase economic development, including an agenda to create more and better paying jobs.
Manual Medina, who makes it a habit to listen to all areas of the city, walked into a northeast side restaurant in San Antonio, Texas Tuesday morning to enjoy brunch and discuss the issues with this reporter. When his server, Lynda Carpenter (above, pictured with Medina) found out he was running for mayor, she became excited, “My father was the mayor of Columbus, Wisconsin in 1993!”
Those who overheard Medina were impressed with his openness and the details of his plans. One lady approached him about his stance for seniors. He politely stood up to greet her and explained in detail his thoughts and ideas. She left with a smile and an endorsement.
“I will unite Democrats and Republicans and challenge the corrupt culture at City Hall…”
“I will unite Democrats and Republicans and challenge the corrupt political culture at City Hall,” Medina said as he spoke about a coalition of citizens and groups who have united for his cause. “Together, we represent independent leadership. Together, we represent transparent Leadership. Together, we will find solutions to problems that have plagued our City far too long: Generational poverty on the Westside, institutional violence on the Eastside, nightmare traffic on the Northside, and neglected infrastructure on the Southside.”
Three stout examples of the “Left-Right-Middle diversity” in Medina’s movement to rid corruption in local politics are endorsements from three very different, but prominent leaders:
- Former District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules, a conservative Republican, is on Medina’s team.
- George Rodriguez, a prominent Hispanic conservative, syndicated writer, and leader in the Tea Party is on board for Medina. As a Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush appointee, Rodriguez worked with the Department of Justice in community relations and immigration outreach.
- Luis Roberto Vera, Jr., prominent San Antonio attorney and the national general counsel for League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Even the Express and News has difficulty inoculating city government power players…
Medina’s decision to run for mayor is refreshing to citizens disgusted with politics and the waste of taxpayer’s money. At stake on the May 6 ballot (early voting starts April 24) is also the most costly bond election in San Antonio history. Citizens, who have experienced the wasteful results of previous bond elections, are just beginning to learn about the political pork spending planned in this one. Many are not buying the hype Mayor Ivy Taylor and Mayor Candidate Councilman Ron Nirenberg are outlining and enjoying in the local newspaper, the Express and News.
Even the Express and News has had difficulty inoculating city government power players from recent scandal news reaching the public. Ivy has been plagued with controversy. (See a list of some of the more notable concerns below). Nirenberg has been listed by Texas Bureau Watchdog Org as #4 on their list of “Scariest People of 2016.”
“Nirenberg flatly rejects any legislative efforts to slow local property tax increases,” Texas Watchdog observed. “More revenue is needed to fund growth and to counter the cost cutters in Austin, he argues. In Nirenberg’s “forward together” world, overtaxed property owners don’t need a city homestead exemption.”
Texas Watchdog reported that Nirenberg “wants to earmark $25 million of an upcoming municipal bond to fund athletic facilities at UT-San Antonio (located mainly in his district). Stating the obvious – ‘it’s a public university’ – the councilman concluded that the city’s taxpayers should shoulder more debt on the state school’s behalf.”
“Leveraging motorists’ disgust over the awful condition of San Antonio’s roads, Nirenberg pushes new transportation schemes, including a light-rail system. Never mind that rail was rejected twice by local voters…Lest anyone challenge Nirenberg’s tax-and-spend tendencies, the local Express-News newspaper has his back editorially. Deep-pocketed developers are lined up behind him with cash. They’re all in for his ‘local control’ mantra, which translates into more intrusion by government and more public-private deals running through City Hall.”
Citizens can be sure the Express and News will continue to protect Ivy and Nirenberg as they go after Medina to protect the dominant status-quo.
“I will be accountable to the taxpayers, not the city manager, not the paid lobbyists, and not to special interests.”
Throughout the 2 ½ hour conversation, much of the dialogue was about his background. A native of Mexico, the candidate was three-years-old when he came to the United States with his mother. Medina talked about becoming a U.S. citizen in 2009, teaching at a university in Torreón, and a previous marriage. He included specific solutions and actions for all citizens from every district. He emphasized the reason he is in the race is to bring people together and “find the common grounds for all citizens.”
“I’m a family man. I’ve known my wife Janeth for over 20 years. Our daughters are Michelle Marie and Sara Sophia. I am a man of faith. I pray every night. I believe in the people of San Antonio and as mayor I will be accountable to the taxpayers, not the city manager, not the paid lobbyists, and not to special interests. As mayor I will vote on the issues of today and issues that are critical to you and me.”
When asked about his competition, Medina was quick to point out that incumbent Taylor “is a good person, but she has failed to take control of local government and adequately address the issues that matter to us today.”
“I am the only candidate addressing the issues that truly put our citizens first,” Medina said. “When it comes to fiscal responsibility, I will hold the line on taxes. I will challenge every utility rate increase and I will limit the growth of the local government.”
The $850 million dollar bond up for vote in May is full of “Ivy Taylor’s and Ron Nirenberg’s pet projects.”
Medina is the only candidate also in favor of voting no against the bond election in May “to get rid of Ivy Taylor’s and Ron Nirenberg’s pet projects. Citizens who read it and find out what is actually in it will cut it down in May and we can all re-vote in November to make certain we only address the more essential needs of all communities.”
During a recent debate, tried to appeal to voters by listing her top bond issue as “street and drainage products.” But as she continued to justify her choice she immediately turned off moderate and conservative voters with, “we need to keep people safe from flooding especially since the way the weather had been lately and since we’ve had so many out of the ordinary weather events.”
“That sounded more like an appeal to the global warming people, than it did for anyone who has lived in San Antonio any length of time,” one observer remarked. “Flooding and weather is not a recent phenomenon here. If Taylor or Nirenberg are really that concerned, why is so much of the bond money going toward non-essential projects?”
Medina challenges his opponents “definition of essential. To me, and I am sure most citizens agree, essential means things we need, not pet projects of special interests.” This is especially true if one considers the make-up of the Bond Committee. Mayor Taylor’s appointees were Eddie Aldrete, senior vice president of IBC Bank, Carri Baker, chief of operations at law firm Linebarger Blair & Simpson, and Darryl Byrd, co-chair of SA Tomorrow.
Byrd was CEO of the Pearl Brewery development until 2011 and has close ties with his former bosses at Silver Ventures (they own the Pearl).
“What is so ‘essential’ about Broadway Street that it needs to be revitalized for $42 million in this bond,” asks Medina. “Taylor and Byrd and the others campaign about their ‘SA Tomorrow,” but with that kind of waste, I suggest we take care of REAL essentials first. That is exactly why I propose ‘SA Today’.”
It was Nirenberg who appointed his three members to the Bond Committee from the Hardberger Conservancy board. With so many high priority needs, do we really need to build a $13 million bridge to allow deer to cross the street from one side of the Hardberger Park to go to the other?
Embedded in this 2017 bond package is funding for a $26 million overhaul of Hemisfair Park by out of state companies.
“Let’s use bond money for essentials.”
“Let’s use bond money for actual essentials,” Medina said. “Things like streets, drainage, crime fighting, firefighting and the things that benefit all of our citizens.”
Taylor was a housing executive in San Antonio prior to her election to city council in 2009. She replaced Mayor Julian Castro, who resigned to take a cabinet post in the Obama administration.
Today San Antonio has one of the highest crime rates in America, with residents having a one in 15 chance of becoming a victim of violent or property crime, according to Neighborhood Scout.
(This is the first in a series of articles regarding the May 6, 2017 mayoral and bond election of San Antonio. Other candidates in the election include Antonio Diaz, Keven Roles, Gerard Xavier Ponce, John Martin Velasquez, Rhett Smith and Michael Idrogo. Sign up with NEWS LEGIT today to be notified as they are posted).
Partial list of Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Manager Sheryl Sculley controversies
City of San Antonio Controversies and Scandals under Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Manager Sheryl Sculley.
- Multi-million dollar River Walk Barge operations controversy and Taylor’s ties to lobbyist Bill Kaufman.
- Sculley contract with out of country Zoll fire equipment contract vs. local businesses
- Taylor and Sculley’s clash with the San Antonio Police Department Union.
- Vista Ridge water pipeline
- Utility rate increases
- Ethical review policy
- Salaries of public officials
- Taylor’s failure to report income earned through her husband, Rodney Taylor’s licensed bail bonds business.
- Taylor’s clash with the LGBT community by calling a proposed nondiscrimination ordinance “inconvenient political correctness.” Despite being quickly nicknamed ‘Poison Ivy,” on social media, she cast her vote against the ordinance saying, “… if that was the expectation for me as a black woman, you got the wrong sister in this seat.”
- Taylor’s “trade mission” trip to Namibia, Africa.