S.A. Mayoral candidate Raymond Zavala
EDUCATION: 14 years
FAMILY: Married with three children and 9 grandchildren
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL? I am seeking the office of mayor, because I believe that a change is needed in leadership. I am displeased with the manner in which the council has failed in the health, welfare, and safety of the residents of San Antonio. The city council has failed to hold entities accountable for the funds that they receive from the city.
HAVE YOU RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL BEFORE? Yes, I have sought office before as a candidate for district 5.
WHAT PREVIOUS LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE? I have been an officer or a board member on five community organizations.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IF ELECTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL? I intend to have accountability, transparency, and stop unnecessary spending, and awarding of TIFS and abatements to companies that have no intentions of honoring their proposal.
WHAT ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT CHALLENGES FACING THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO? Senior services, economic development, transportation issues, employment, and education.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES FACING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN SAN ANTONIO? The biggest obstacle facing economic growth is that San Antonio does not have enough skilled workers.
WHAT CAN THE CITY COUNCIL DO TO HELP SPUR ECONOMIC GROWTH? The city council should create an open forum, seek input from the citizens, and listen to the ideas for bringing growth to San Antonio. The council should also establish guidelines to prevent giveaways of infrastructure and TIFs to companies wanting to move to San Antonio.
ARE THE ANY DECISIONS THE CURRENT CITY COUNCIL HAS MADE THAT YOU STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH? PLEASE LIMIT ANSWERS TO 3 ITEMS. The 3 items that I strongly disagree with are:
· The approval of the rate increases for CPS energy and SAWS. Theses rate increases were asked for by the entities and approve by the council. However after CPS got the approval it rewarded top employees with bonuses. They (CPS) didn't have a plan to help those in most need (senior citizens, disabled, and persons already in arrearage of their utility account).
· Voting to give the solar panel contract to a company that didn't have resources for infrastructure and selling the property to them at less that property value, all for 400 jobs.
· Approving city funding on the yearly budget for entities (i.e. Haven for Hope) without requiring any accountability. I took a fact finding trip to Rapid City, SD and visited their homeless shelter. That organization does not receive and city funding. It has a large population on campus and there aren't any metal detectors, armed guards or paid cleaning staff. The residents are required to perform 4 hours of community service per day if they want to stay overnight. Private businesses provide assistance. They have volunteer medical staff. The director receives a very small monetary compensation.
WHAT ITEMS/PROGRAMS/WOULD YOU CUT FROM THE CURRENT CITY BUDGET? I would reduce the amount that entities are receiving from the city by one half until the total amount received is zero and they become self sufficient. These include Haven for Hope, Project Quest, and ACS, just to mention a few. For too long a time, entities have been receiving funds and we need to trim the city council welfare rolls. A time limit needs to be set so that other entities, organizations, and groups (i.e. Girls & Boys clubs, Girl & Boy scouts, public libraries and others may receive assistance)
DID YOU VOTE IN FAVOR OF OR AGAINST THE NEW PRE-K 4 S.A. PROGRAM? WHY? I voted against Pre-K 4 S.A. because we already have Project Headstart, and because not every child will be allowed to attend. There isn't any accountability of the parents of the children selected to attend to the program. Another reason that I voted against this project is, because all board members were selected, not elected. Regardless of credentials they should be elected, not selected. Economically this tax has a great impact on our senior citizen population and others, because they are on a fixed income.
WHAT MORE SHOULD THE CITY DO TO LOWER GANG ACTIVITY AND CRIME IN SAN ANTONIO? The city should be more proactive in ensuring that established ordinances be enforced. The curfew ordinance is one example. Gangs depend and strive on overpowering and influencing young citizens, the city should increase the mentoring programs to reduce the amount of gang members.
ARE THERE ANY MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CITY UNDERTAKE? They should undertake the task of improving older neighborhoods in the city. Some inner city neighborhoods do not yet have sidewalks, proper drainage, and lighting. If we can start from the downtown area as they did for the Mission Reach project (city & county), neighborhoods that have lacked these aforementioned items would improve the quality of life.