Home North East Metrocom-area races see crowded ballots

Metrocom-area races see crowded ballots

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Garden Ridge City Councilwoman (from left) Lisa Swint, Mayor Larry Thompson and Thompson's challenger, Robb Erickson.

May 1 elections feature mayoral and city council races in Garden Ridge and San Antonio, two Judson Independent School District school board contests, and a new council member pick in Live Oak.

Converse voters also determine three charter amendments, and annexation of two areas.

Selma and Universal City canceled elections.

SAN ANTONIO

Nearly 30 contenders are running either for mayor or three North Side City Council seats.

Two-term incumbent Ron Nirenberg and former District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse, whom Nirenberg beat in a 2019 runoff election, headline a 14-candidate mayoral field.

Ron Nirenberg (left) and Greg Brockhouse

Nirenberg’s priorities include affordable housing and workforce development, plus ensuring the community’s COVID-19 response and recovery is equitable.

“As national leaders call for unity, in San Antonio we’re looking out for one another, lifting each other up, and working together to come back stronger than ever,” he said.

Brockhouse, a mortgage banker, is focusing on job creation, post-pandemic economic recovery, plus strengthening police and other first responders.

“We’re bringing new energy, bold ideas and real urgency to make San Antonio the jobs capital of Texas for all of our families,” he said.

In District 10, Army Reserve officer Gabrien Gregory, Administrative Law Judge Ezra Johnson, grassroots activist Emily Norwood and educator Alexander Svehla oppose Clayton Perry’s bid for a third term.

Clayton Perry

Perry, who beat Johnson in a 2017 runoff, vows to maintain a focus on getting more pandemic-recovery monies to small businesses, property-tax relief, and ensuring basic city services are adequately funded.

“I will always ask you what you need, rather than tell you what I think you need,” he said.

A Madison High School alumna, Norwood advocated for social-justice campaigns while pursuing a political science degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Emily Norwood

Her key issues are improving: infrastructure and transit; affordable and public housing; environmental protections to benefit public health; and investing in preventive public-safety policies.

“It’s time for our city to have leaders that listen to the people instead of silencing their actions,” she said.

San Antonio also proposes two City Charter amendments. One would repeal police officers’ collective bargaining rights, a goal for police reformers.

The second would let the city issue bonds for permanent public improvements, such as developing affordable housing, or others not prohibited by the Texas Constitution.

CONVERSE

Voters will decide the fate of three City Charter amendments.

One calls for expanding lengths of public office from two years to three. If approved, the extension becomes effective after the November 2021 council races.

A second requires any sitting city-elected official to resign upon announcing a candidacy for an election other than his or her current post.

The third measure mandates anyone removed by a council vote must wait at least three years before running again.

In addition, residents in two neighborhoods — Dover/Meadowbrook and the Parc at Escondido/Weichold — choose whether they’ll be annexed. Click here to find out more about these special Converse elections.

GARDEN RIDGE

Former Alderman Robb Erickson opposes Mayor Larry Thompson’s shot at a third term.

A retired Air Force commander, Thompson is currently a National Rifle Association training counselor/instructor who volunteers with local civic groups and initiatives.

Thompson’s priorities are improving city staffing, training and operations, fiscal efficiency, strengthening long- range planning, expanding streaming and posting of all commission meetings and council workshops, and upgrading infrastructure for businesses on FM 2252 (Nacogdoches Road).

“If I am reelected, we will continue to have an efficient, visionary government, responsibly using tax and utility revenues to provide the highest possible value to our citizens,” Thompson added.

Air Force veteran Erickson was an alderman from 2017-2019, when he led the establishment of Garden Ridge Market Days and a local Adopt-A- Highway program.

His top priorities are developing a comprehensive emergency- management plan, creating a director of communications post to help bolster city platforms, and streamlining planning and zoning processes with a director of marketing.

“The budget for the new position(s) will come from within and not cause an increase to our residents,” Erickson added.

Georg Ranch Property Owners Association board member Dave Wright challenges Place 2 Alderwoman Lisa Swint’s second-stint run.

Swint has served with the Parks Committee, and Friends of the Library and Library Teen Advisory boards, plus helped organize several local events and initiatives.

She focuses on better communication with residents and merchants, improved emergency planning and thoughtful 2252 growth.

“Listening to our citizens’ wants and needs is the most important part of good governance,” she added.

Wright was unavailable to provide information or comments about his campaign.

Water Commission Chairman Jesus “Jesse” Valdez, a business consultant and Planning and Zoning commissioner, is unopposed in Place 3. Incumbent Bryan Lantzy declined reelection.

JUDSON ISD

Converse residents Jose Macias Jr. and Evette Livingston both filed for the open District 4 post.

Jose Macias

Macias was a JISD trustee for nine years before being appointed to a vacant District 2 seat with the Alamo Colleges District board. Gloria Ray upset Macias last November, winning a full ACD term.

A volunteer with numerous organizations, boards and commissions, Macias said JISD must be resourced to help students overcome learning barriers, specifically those the pandemic initiated.

He also calls for retaining experienced teachers, intervention and anti-bullying programs, stronger oversight of district spending, and supporting early-college and career-development initiatives.

“Every resource in our arsenal should be used to address student success,” he added.

Evette Livingston

An ex-teacher and Texas House District 120 staffer, Livingston is a regional director for The Rush Fun Park, a children’s entertainment company.

Livingston said her experiences and viewpoints could help students better address their educational, safety, physical and mental health needs in the wake of the pandemic. She also said JISD leadership could benefit from more parental voices, such as hers, to advance educational outcomes.

“I bring a fresh view and perspective on education as an educator, as a parent and as a citizen,” she added.

At-large District 7 incumbent Rafael Diaz Martinez Jr., an educational-software executive, seeks a full four-year term. He faces tech-product manager Emilio Silvas. Both hail from Converse.

Rafael Diaz Martinez Jr.

A former educator, Martinez has served with several community boards. He advocates increasing students’ choices and access, giving teachers more flexibility and creativity to engage learners, addressing pay inequities, keeping taxes lower and making JISD more equitable.

“These aren’t speaking points or lofty ideals, but actually foundational tenets of my authentic self,” he added.

Silvas has been a San Antonio Ethics Review Board member, youth manager and soccer coach. His wife, Kate, is a Converse councilwoman.

Emilio Silvas

He supports improved teacher retention, financial transparency and accountability, plus readying pupils for the workforce.

“When our kids succeed in the classroom, they are prepared for success in life,” Silvas said.

Trustees Shatonya King, Debra Eaton and Jennifer Rodríguez drew no rivals.

LIVE OAK

Place 3 City Councilman Ramon Norris Jr., appointed to replace the late Anthony Brooks, didn’t file for a full term. Either Anthony “Tony” Ruffin or nurse practitioner Erin Perez will succeed him.

Ruffin is a military veteran and retired from the Internal Revenue Service, plus former middle school teacher and Texas peace officer.

Erin Perez

His campaign themes are maintaining low taxes and city fees, boosting business revenues, enhancing first responders and protecting local parks and recreational opportunities, including pursuing a new community center.

“I will work toward ensuring our ‘strength in community’ to include ensuring our city codes are reasonable and enforced, and (keeping) residents informed,” he said.

Perez previously served with the Texas Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Advisory Council. Her key campaign themes are improving quality of life and access to health care resources, ensuring public safety, backing first responders, and enhancing City Hall transparency.

“I know how to unite and get the work done with excellence and integrity,” she added.

Councilmen Mendell Morgan Jr. and Aaron Dahl are unopposed.

Early voting is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 19-23 plus 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 24 and 26-27 at these sites: old Converse City Hall, 405 S. Seguin Road; Semmes Branch Library, 15060 Judson Road in San Antonio; Universal City Library, 100 Northview Drive; and Windcrest Civic Center, 9310 Jim Seal Drive.

eortiz@localcommunitynews.com

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