S.A. District 5 candidate Richard Cardenas
OCCUPATION: President / CEO, Luke Eleven Ventures, Inc.
FAMILY: Wife: Anna
Son: Richard Anthony Cardenas
Daughter: Andrea M. Schneider Son-in-Law: Michael Schneider
Grandchildren: Connor and Riley
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL? Because after careful consideration and being approached by various members of the community, researching the current situation and personal reflection, I strongly feel that I have something to offer and want to contribute to the district that has been my home and community for the last 52 years. This is why I am running.
HAVE YOU RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL BEFORE? No, I have not. This experience has showed me the challenges residents from District 5 have in considering to run for this office. It has also enlighten me as to why it so easy for special interest groups to move a candidate in to the district in order to control this city council seat.
WHAT PREVIOUS LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE? President/CEO, Luke Eleven Ventures Inc.
Owner/Operator, AVIS Car Rental Brooks City Base
Assistant Metro Director, Texas Restaurant Association; San Antonio
Director of Special Events, Avenida Guadalupe Association
Project Manager, Tobin Survey
40 Under 40 Rising Star, San Antonio Business Journal
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IF ELECTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL? Public safety, streets, sidewalks and drainage are important issues to address, I feel like we need to address the social and economic issues that can improve the quality of life for the residents of District 5, through education and job training.
WHAT ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES FACING THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO? The federal sequester budget cuts to: child care programs, senior citizen program, community block grants and community service grants. The city's water needs for the future and enforcing the city ethics code.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES FACING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN SAN ANTONIO? A well educated and trained work force. We have already lost opportunities for companies wanting to move to San Antonio due to a lack of a well-trained work-force. Also San Antonio's continued reliance on the Edwards Aquifer must be addressed by continued to diversify our water sources.
WHAT CAN THE CITY COUNCIL DO TO HELP SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH? The City of San Antonio will only be as strong as it weakness district, currently this is District 5. In order to spur economic growth we need to address the problems that are holding back district 5; Infrastructure, Education and Urban Blight. By planning and building transitional corridors from downtown into the Westside we can bring growth and jobs. These corridors would consist of the following: Health and Human Services anchored by the Robert B Green Clinic, Haven for Hope and Methodist ministries; Downtown UTSA campus with the addition of dormitories and the expansion of the campus would defined an educational corridor; and last a business corridor situated around the old Union Stockyards creating a place where businesses can grow and thrive to include companies associated with the Eagle Ford Shale oil boom.
By improving the economic stats of the district 5 this will raise the city economic numbers and attract more businesses to San Antonio.
ARE THERE ANY DECISIONS THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL HAS MADE THAT YOU STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH? PLEASE LIMIT ANSWERS TO 3 ITEMS. 1. Paying performance bonuses to city employees for the job that they are hired to do.
2. Outsourcing jobs that can be done by city employees at a lower cost.
WHAT ITEMS/PROGRAMS WOULD YOU CUT FROM THE CURRENT CITY BUDGET? I would look for non-critical programs and services that might be deferred until the funding is available or other revenue sources can be found. Also ask department heads for suggestions on how to enhance services while reducing cost.
DID YOU VOTE IN FAVOR OF OR AGAINST THE NEW PRE-K 4 S.A. PROGRAM? WHY? I voted in favor of this new program. I believe that education is the key to the success of future generations. It is also well documented that the early years of any child's education are the most important. Making this program more available to those who do not have access to Pre-K helps build a better educated workforce for San Antonio's future success as a city.
WHAT MORE SHOULD THE CITY DO TO LOWER GANG ACTIVITY AND CRIME IN SAN ANTONIO? This is of special interest to the residents of district 5 given the gang and crime rates of the district. My approach is a two prong approach. The first element is to work with the City, school districts and community organizations in a proactive manner to work with first-time and young offenders in connecting them with existing programs so as to avoid becoming a repeat offender. The second element is working with police and other community organizations to implement more neighborhood watch programs as well as communicate with the residents on how to access 311 to report empty houses and vacant lots which many times contribute to crime.
ARE THERE ANY MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CITY UNDERTAKE? Due to the fact that district 5 is one of the oldest built neighborhoods in the city going back to the late 1800's, major infrastructure is critical to the continued growth and positive development. The needs for streets, sidewalks and drainage are found everywhere in district 5. But also important is the need for green spaces and parks for the residents. With district 5 having some of the fewest master plans, I would advocate for a district wide dialogue on the development of various master plans. These plans would then show where the needs are for major infrastructure improvements.