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Mayoral candidates go head-to-head in KSAT runoff debate

SAN ANTONIO – With the runoff election less than a month away, the final two mayoral candidates discussed the important issues in a debate sponsored by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Sparks flared between incumbent Ivy Taylor and District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg when it came to ethics and the growth of San Antonio.

Separated by less than 5,000 votes in May's general election, Nirenberg attacked Taylor's ethics in the hour-long debate held in KSAT's studios.

Nirenberg cited the controversy of the San Antonio Housing Authority paying the mayor's husband rent subsidies for homes owned by the couple.

"She was violating those codes and laws for 15 months, and then her response was not to say sorry. Her response was to ask council to absolve herself," Nirenberg said.

"I have not knowingly broke any rules or laws, and as soon as a challenge was pointed out to me, I acted swiftly to rectify it," Taylor responded.

With Manuel Medina now out of the race, the Bexar County Democratic chairman's votes are up for grabs.

Taylor brought up Nirenberg's recent endorsements by liberal former Mayor Julian Castro.

"So I would question his ability to reach out to every corner of San Antonio and bring people together," Taylor said.

"I will walk with any neighbor in this community, and I was proud to walk with Mayor Castro in his neighborhood," Nirenberg said.

The candidates also differed on the San Antonio Water System’s Vista Ridge Pipe Line. Taylor said her opponent flip-flopped on it, while Nirenberg contended his calling for increased oversight is not the same as a no-vote.

Growth, traffic, even sidewalks, were all debate hot topics.

"The 2017 bond package that was passed as a result of my strong leadership," said Taylor in promoting her track record on infrastructure.

"There is no reason why a community that has been in San Antonio for almost 100 years has crumbling sidewalks," Nirenberg said.

Besides the mayoral race, six of the 10 City Council seats are headed to a runoff on June 10.

Early voting runs from May 30-June 6.

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