Mayor, Police Chief, City Manager under fire
Grassroots group #rethinknirenberg plans June 30 event
The Mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg had barely been in office a year, before the outrage occurred. A growing number of citizens became so angry with the “Alamo City Swamp,” that they have planned a public forum entitled “Rethink Mayor Nirenberg!” The event, the idea of JD Ramirez, Matthew Solis and Christian Lee, is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, at 1 pm at the City of San Antonio – Municipal Government, 100 Military Plz, downtown.
This year, the National Council for Home Safety and Security’s 2018 San Antonio as “one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.” According to FBI data, San Antonio was rated highest for “serious crime” among the country’s 15 largest cities in 2016.
Last year, Texas passed Senate Bill 4 banning sanctuary cities and the requirement of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Guess which was one of the first cities in the state to file a law suit against the bill? San Antonio, but the bill was maintained by upper courts.
Guess which police chief was especially critical of Senate Bill 4 before its passage? San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.
Guess which city and police chief in America has a 97 percent “no confidence” vote from the 2,000 member rank-and-file police association? San Antonio and Chief McManus.
Some say “The Swamp” is controlled by City Manager Sheryl Sculley with her $475,000 a year salary (she was awarded a $75,000 bonus for her performance in 2017). In the spring of 2005, then mayor Mayor Ed Garza and his city council selected Sculley as a city manager finalist, offering a $265,000 salary. Garza was the original leader behind the expensive tax funded name change of downtown street Durango to what is now known as Cesar Chavez.
Originally triggered by the troubling politics and disturbing actions of Nirenberg, Sculley and Police Chief McManus, the last straw for the #RethinkNirenberg group was the city council’s early May 2018 decision not to submit a bid to host the Republican National Convention in 2020.
The anti-Nirenberg event will “bring to light our Mayor of San Antonio chose to miss a great business opportunity for our city. This showcases poor leadership and diversity. We must bring to light with what’s occurring in our city and let our voices be heard. Urge friends and family to get involved and know what’s going on in our community.”
But that was just a glazing on their shady cake. Things are so bad, that the Texas Attorney General launched an investigation in January ordered the entire City government to preserve all evidence and present any and all documents, videos, and cellular phone data, regarding a December 23, 2017 incident involving McManus.
According to the Police Association, when Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives arrived to speak with smuggled illegal aliens thatwere found in an 18-wheeler trailer, Chief McManus “then stated that none of the detainees were to be processed through SAPD databases and ordered them released. At this point, SVU Supervisors were so shocked they requested the order be put in writing.”
Do as I say, not as I do
On that night, in possible violation of established procedures and State and Federal law pertaining to suspected human smuggling and trafficking cases, the Chief released twelve undocumented immigrants into the City of San Antonio without properly and thoroughly identifying them. Sculley said McManus did everything right. But as more information comes out, original suspicions about city leadership have merit.
“By not adhering to official policy, the Chief’s telling both his fellow officers and the community, ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ He’s saying the rules don’t apply to him – that there’s one standard for people like him and another for the rest of us,” said Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association (SAPOA). “This is a terrible message to send to officers under his command, but it’s also a particularly bad one to send during a time when people in minority communities sometimes feel that they are treated by a different standard. As police officers work to build bonds of trust with those in minority communities, the Chief’s actions undermine our efforts.”
How does this effect Nirenberg’s credibility?
When the SAPOA called on both Nirenberg and Sculley to reassign or place McManus on temporary leave, as per SAPD policy, there was no action.
“This is about the credibility of the SAPD,” the association blogged, “but it’s also about the credibility of Mayor Nirenberg, who in a March 28, 2018 memo to the City’s Charter Review Commission stated: ‘I have stated many times that the City of San Antonio should be the ‘gold standard’ of ethics in governance…’”
Even after a confirmation letter from the Texas Attorney General’s Office dated May 25, 2018 stated McManus is under investigation for possible violation of state immigration law (SB 4), there continues to be no action, “except for protecting their own interests, that of the Alamo City Swamp.”
“They should investigate the embezzlement of public funds at Centro SA, the Re-Imagine the Alamo project, and investigate if there is collusion between lobbyists and campaign donors to the mayor and city council,” George H. Rodriguez, known as ‘El Conservador’ in political circles. “All of these appear to be ‘pay-for-play’ schemes.”
Tax payer money continues to provide over 270 non-profits the opportunities to take care of San Antonio leader’s favorite projects. In 2018, these organizations are receiving over $115 million.
Nirenberg beat out former Mayor Ivy Taylor in the city election of May 6, 2017. Nirenberg, a big money and local mainstream media favorite, brought his own baggage to the office. He buddied up with special interests, including the Zachary family, tied to $850 million bond coming up at the time. Since 2015, city records show the Zachary’s donated at least $4,500 to Taylor and Nirenberg. Three Zachry corporate entities contributed over $15,000 on a campaign to raise the pay for council members and the mayor.
Nirenberg was courted by OneSA, the powerful campaign group responsible for selling the $850 million bond package to voters. Records show OneSA spent over half-a-million dollars for advertising and other interests with Zachry, Munoz (architects), Pape Dawson (engineering) and consultants like KGB (consultants) on their side.
Although the local mainstream media liberal darling, the Express-News recently announced they were terminating 14 San Antonio journalists, one of their their biased bulldogs, Brian Chasnoff, in the past used Nirenberg as a source of information for some of his published interpretations. He went after previous mayor Taylor on the controversial $3.4 billion Vista Ridge pipeline project intended to deliver 16.3 billion gallons of water annually to San Antonio and Fair Oaks Ranch from Burleson County.
Despite Nirenberg being listed as one of the “Scariest People of 2016” by the Texas Bureau Watchdog Organization, the big money, and The Swamp prevailed. Citizens have had the time now to understand this designation.
Swamp Queen Sculley?
Since Sheryl Sculley became city manager in November 2005, during the days of leadership by Phil Hardberger and Julian Castro, San Antonio has experienced a 47 percent increase with the highest debt per capita rating verified by the State Comptroller according to TexasTransparency.org.
Under Sculley, the city’s debt burden increased 78 percent between fiscal years 2005 and 2017, now reaching $3 billion.
But what is the return on these taxpayer investments? One example was when former Mayor Julian Castro (along with Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff) pushed for a private-public partnership with Centro San Antonio. Sculley and her deputy city manager Pat DiGiovanni were instrumental in the creation of Centro.
Guess who became president and CEO of Centro? DiGiovanni–who later resigned because of ethics scandals tied to accounting and contract negotiation problems. DiGiovanni was given a “letter of admonition” from the city’s Ethics Review Board for “unknowingly” violating San Antonio’s code of ethics. One of the board members was David Zachry, president of Zachry Corp.
Guess who received a $305 million contract for expanding the San Antonio Convention Center? Zachry Corp.
Guess who Sculley assigned as the internal investigator of Centro corruption? Her own hired city attorney, Michael Bernard, the brother of Barack Obama’s White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard.
Guess who became CEO of the city’s Tricentennial 300-Year birthday celebrations that fizzled? Sculley’s ex-chief of staff Edward Benavides, when his salary was $132,804. At Tricentennial his salary went up to $167,763.
Guess who had to resign as CEO? Benavides.
Is Nirenberg’s San Antonio a Sanctuary City despite law?
Since 2006, the U.S. Border Patrol has reported almost 4 million illegal alien apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, including 1,165,545 apprehensions in the Texas sectors. Mexican cartels are becoming increasingly confrontational in encounters with law enforcement officers. Since 2009, there have been 95 incidents in which shots were fired at 125 law enforcement officers in Texas.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) status indicators, over 230,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails since June 1, 2011. During their criminal careers, these illegal aliens were charged with more than 600,000 criminal offenses.
Those Texas arrests include 1,227 homicide charges; 71,374 assault charges; 17,291 burglary charges; 71,790 drug charges; 729 kidnapping charges; 41,814 theft charges; 46,526 obstructing police charges; 3,962 robbery charges; 6,450 sexual assault charges; and 9,016 weapons charges. Of the total criminal aliens arrested in that timeframe, over 150,000 or 66% were identified by DHS status as being in the US illegally at the time of their last arrest. This only includes Texas as those arrested in these figures may have offenses in other states.
What is San Antonio leader’s actions to protect citizens from such criminals?
A July 2017 incident is telling. SAPD officers were called to a local Wal-Mart where they found 10 immigrants dead or dying in the back of a semi-truck.
After arresting the driver of Dec. 23, 2017 case, SAPD failed to notify ICE of the aliens in the back of the truck. Instead they transported them to a local police substation and contacted an immigrant aid organization. There were set free with no charges filed.
One police officer told New Legit that “SUVs, the type used for escorting dignitaries, were brought in to take some of them away. They were protected. The talk around the police department is that some may have been M13 gang members. No wonder our Police Association is up in arms.”
McManus, Sculley, and Nirenberg may be trying to hide things, but it’s not a secret there is bad blood between City officials and most in the police and fire departments.
“If we ever needed more proof that Mayor Nirenberg and City Manager Sculley have no problem spending money on a losing cause, an analysis by the office of Councilman Greg Brockhouse shows just how much the City has spent on a losing lawsuit against San Antonio First Responders,” the San Antonio Police Officers Association released.
“As of April 1st, the total cost of all ‘evergreen clause’ lawsuits against police and fire is $1,173,642.32,” they wrote. “City-employed attorney are also not apparently good enough, so the City Manager has hired an outside legal team made up of high-priced lawyers, many of whom also happen to be old friends and associates. These attorneys representing the City at the Texas Supreme Court may collectively bill San Antonio taxpayers at a rate of $3,010.00 per hour!”
“After already losing in lower courts, the City is now appealing to the Texas Supreme Court alleging evergreen clauses are unconstitutional. This is strange, though, because the City recently signed an eight-year contract with the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association that includes an evergreen clause.”
San Antonio vs. Professional Firefighter’s Assocation
“Nevertheless, the costs of the City’s lawsuit against the San Antonio Professional Firefighter’s Association are overwhelmingly high and out of control. The mayor says he wants to negotiate, but our position has been clear from the beginning: drop the lawsuit and firefighters will be at the table.”
Nirenberg’s continuous closed door sessions of council members smell of the same trickeries and modus operandi used to take down a statue at downtown’s Travis Park last year. At the time, one city employee in the know of the back door meetings told News Legit before it happened, that he and his co-workers knew “the fix is in” as Nirenberg actively worked to remove the statue. City councilmen Roberto Treviño (District 1) and William “Cruz” Shaw (District 2), joined together to submit Council Consideration Request on July 25 to take down, a memorial erected on June 28, 1899 and was dedicated officially on April 28, 1900.
“That statue stands on top of a 40-foot-high monument,” said the city worker who asked not to be identified. “To move it during the night requires special equipment. They already have someone picked out to do it. The cannons in the park will be removed too.”
“This is going to be a big test for the new Mayor (Ron Nirenberg) to determine if he will listen to the citizens or submit to political correctness. Some of us already know. He is going to have them taken down. The contractor will use a crane, special rigging and lighting to take it down. It had to be planned for and they want it removed soon after they vote.”
The city employee and his colleagues were right. Nirenberg actually bypassed the step of taking the measure to a full city council public vote.
Regarding the recent fiasco about the RNC Convention, Nirenberg and teams ignored prominent business leaders when they informed them no San Antonio taxes or budget money would be required to host the international event, they walked out with lame excuses for saying no.
“The city is welcoming the NAACP national convention but they were afraid of the possible violence, disruptions, and politics the GOP national convention would cause,” posted “El Conservador” Rodriguez. “I wonder if the NAACP will embrace all political parties of just the Democrats? I wonder if the “peaceful” Black Lives Matter organization will be present and honored? I wonder if they will be welcoming and diverse, and invite Republicans and conservatives to speak or at least attend? I wonder if they will speak out against all racism, including against whites? I wonder…”
“Behind closed doors, private City Council meetings must end,” wrote City Councilman Greg Brockhouse. “The Mayor calls for a backroom discussion to bid on a political convention. Show some courage and do it on the record. Stand for what you believe in and don’t hide with the Attorney. The public deserves to know where we stand. We should welcome ALL to San Antonio…Democrats, Republicans, NAACP, LULAC, etc…that’s being inclusive and that’s leadership.”