SAN ANTONIO – He has a lot of similarities to one former mayor of San Antonio, he’s a Stanford University Graduate, young, energetic and he’s an outspoken critic of current Mayor Ivy Taylor. It has been rumored that San Antonio City Councilman Rey Saldana would be a candidate for mayor in the May election, so in an exclusive interview with KSAT 12 News, Saldana set the record straight and said he’s made up his mind.
"Well, I’ve finally made my decision, and if the voters will have me, I will be serving my last term on the City Council," Saldana said.
Saldana will stay on the council and not make a run for the corner office at City Hall. He has taken Mayor Ivy Taylor to task for things, like the city’s police union contract and it's lack of leeway in disciplining troubled officers, but he believes his issues with the mayor can best be addressed by him staying on council in the district where he was born and raised.
"The city benefits from having a strong mayor who has a vision and isn't scared to take on tough issues. So we've clashed over tough issues, whether it was the contract or the recent VIA vote supporting our bus system," Saldana said.
With City Council members Joe Krier and Mike Gallagher not running for re-election, and Council Member Ron Nirenberg running for mayor, Saldana sees a vacuum of experience on the council and as many as five competitive council races in all. It’s the highest turnover in several decades, and even though he's not running this time, he is very clear that someday he wants to be San Antonio's mayor.
"I’ve told a lot of folks that I’m less interested in what's happening in Austin, not as concerned about what’s happening in D.C., because at the end of the day, cities need to work," Saldana said.
Saldana said he will not be endorsing anyone. He wants the city to keep up the pace with a growing population. That means focusing on housing, education and revisiting plans for a light rail.
Saldana said he would like to the city to go back to the drawing board when it comes to commuter rail lines.
“What we decide to do has to be a comprehensive plan planned over several years, but to include all corners of the city. If people are going to get on board … they need to realize this will truly impact their lives,” Saldana said.
Saldana said the city is divided into haves and have-nots geographically, and the city can find ways to change that.