S.A. District 10 candidate Celeste Montez-Tidwell
OCCUPATION: Work at the YMCA as a child watch coordinator
Bexar county Democratic Party precinct chair
FAMILY: Together with my husband David, we are raising 4 beautiful
children. Our daughters Victoria, 22; Portland, 12; and Zoe, 17; and our son
Boston age 9. We also welcomed our 1st grandchild E.J. who will be one year old
in 3 weeks.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL? I'm running for City Council to present a voice for the citizens of my community that need to be heard. With no hidden agenda, the only thing I profit from this is the gratification of serving my community. I want to let everyone know that no matter how small your voice is, it can be heard and you are not forgotten. If you don't have clout, if you were unable to advance your education, if you are poor, middle class, or vulnerable but, you hold what you own and what you have in your life valuable, then I will listen.
HAVE YOU RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL BEFORE? No
WHAT PREVIOUS LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE? I was elected a precinct chair in 2008. I have held that post unopposed and I was recently re-elected to my seat with over 96% of the vote. These leadership demands helped me to further my desire to be a public servant. When I started by volunteering for local campaigns and then moved on to working on other campaigns at a national level. I taught myself to speak to the public in layman's terms so anyone could understand. I learned about the different ways to run a successful caucus which had previously been new to me. I was also on the board of directors of a huge youth football and cheer organization as the director of public relations. Most recently, I've become involved with the San Antonio Lions club. I'm ready to give more to my city in a bigger way.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IF ELECTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL? Simply put: I want to be the voice that translates and reports to the community what actually goes on in city council. I want to present to the City Council the concerns that have been previously ignored and bring back some of the lost integrity at City Hall.
WHAT ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES FACING THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO? I believe that there are many challenges to the people of San Antonio, however what is important to one district may not be an issue in others. When you lump economic growth, public transportation, and the schools that are so capped out, it appears to make the smallest voice go unnoticed. The basic things that make a city thrive need to be addressed while at the same time keeping the city's face of nostalgic representation.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES FACING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN SAN ANTONIO? WHAT CAN THE CITY COUNCIL DO TO SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH? I would like to bundle these two questions together, if I may. San Antonio is moving towards the 21st century and becoming more modern but, it also scares some people. This city is known for its slow-moving attitude and has always been a big city with small town values. That's what makes San Antonio such a nice place to call home. But, it's time to attract more high-tech companies that will keep some of our educated professionals here in town. When more jobs are available in the fields of computer engineering, computer science, and other technological trades, it will draw young hopefuls and professionals to live and work here because there will be a greater range of opportunity. This would also strengthen our current small businesses that depend on a wide consumer base. When there are more people who work here, settle here, raise a family here, and spend money here the economy will grow. Our small town needs a high-tech edge. The young people are our future.
ARE THERE ANY DECISIONS THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL HAS MADE THAT YOU STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH? PLEASE LIMIT YOUR ANSWER TO 3 ITEMS. The current councilman has neglected some of the most vulnerable parts of the district that he didn't consider important. Some areas didn't even know who he was because he hadn't bothered to address their issues. Ethics reform needs to be addressed and amended and here's a huge example: Mr. Soules rents a property to the city and collects money from our city budget for a senior center. He is so proud of mentioning that senior center as if it shows his care for the community. He is making the money! He profits and yet he pretends that he is giving to the community. Can you say, "Conflict of interest"?
DID YOU VOTE IN FAVOR OF OR AGAINST THE NEW PRE-K 4 S.A. PROGRAM? WHY? In regards to Pre-K for SA, I supported it initially because I thought I understood the idea. Since then, I've learned about the program and it's been more difficult to get behind it. If we can't decide on the basic logistics, such as transporting the children to the different centers, then how can City Council approve an idea without the details of how to implement it? And you have to ask yourself if these changes will really make a difference? Does the city council have the educational expertise to make these kind of decisions? Shouldn't the Board of Education handle these kind of matters? I'm still very torn about my decision and I'm on the fence as to whether I can support it completely. Like everything in life: Knowledge is power!
WHAT MORE SHOULD THE CITY DO TO LOWER GANG ACTIVITY AND CRIME IN SAN ANTONIO? As far as gang violence is concerned, we must educate parents to talk to and work with their young ones at home. Prevention can lessen this problem and be a sustaining deterrent. If there is poor interaction or poor family values at home, it can start a domino effect. Some parents and some single-parents are unable to guide their children because of the work schedule necessary to provide for a whole family. That's when we need to have positive choices for these kids to make through group programs that provide interaction and guidance. Big Brothers/Big Sisters and programs like it are imperative.
ARE THERE ANY INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CITY UNDERTAKE? There are major infrastructure improvements that need our immediate attention in District 10. These issues have been my main focus especially after listening to the people that were pleading with me to help them with some of these problems. There are out-dated sewage systems in more than one neighborhood that CPS only addresses when a breakage occurs. There is a critical lack of sidewalks in certain areas where students and adults must walk on a major street in order to get to school or to the bus stop to get to work. These safety issues should get priority, before trying to expand. The current councilman would rather build an apartment complex to further deplete the already crowded schools and poor sewage systems in an area he continues to ignore.