71ºF

Veteran incumbent, relative newcomer vie to lead Bexar County

Views on focus of city-county partnerships differ

photo

SAN ANTONIO – Incumbent Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and relative newcomer Carlton Soules are vying to lead an urban county where 85 percent of its residents live in San Antonio and pay county taxes.

"You may work in the city but live in the county, so you can't draw a line," Wolff said.

He said as a result, city-county partnerships often are essential.

"We have some 20 different contracts with them," Wolff said.

He said examples include sports parks, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River.

"They're all partnerships, benefiting all of us," Wolff said. "There's a very good return."

Soules, who is out to win his second public office after serving less than two terms on the San Antonio City Council, said he thinks Wolff has focused more on the growth of San Antonio's center city.

"What are the needs in greater San Antonio and the overall county (and) not just a small geographic focus on downtown," Soules said.

He said a broader vision is needed.

Soules said although the county can support initiatives in San Antonio, "I don't believe they should be taking the lead."

Wolff said the county spends a lot of money in both places, pointing to efforts to reduce congestion at Highway 281 and Loop 1604, and the plan to add substations for Bexar County deputies.

With early voting already underway ahead of Election Day Nov. 4, Wolff said having a Republican challenger has made it an interesting year.

"I've loved it! It's probably made me a better officeholder defending my record," Wolff said.

Soules said, "I think we've hit each other rather hard, but we've talked about policies and issues and I think the people will benefit from that."