Your Questions Answered: San Antonio City Council District 9 candidates

SAN ANTONIO – Saturday, May 4, 2019, is the general election in San Antonio. All 10 city council district seats will be on the ballot.

This page will offer links to results for the City Council District 9 election in the May 4 San Antonio general election. 

Check back for the results. Go ahead and bookmark this page now so you have it ready on May 4 and 5, and beyond. 

Important Election Dates

Monday, April 22, 2019: FIRST day of Early Voting.  

Friday, April 26, 2019: Holiday - Municipal and County Offices Closed.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019: LAST day of Early Voting.

Saturday, May 4, 2019: Election Day

San Antonio City Council District 9 candidates:

  • Nicholas Balderas
  • John Courage
  • Richard Reza Versaće
  • Patrick Von Dohlen

Your Questions Answered!

We asked you to submit your questions for the San Antonio mayoral and city council candidates and you delivered. We received more than 300 questions in the last few weeks. We then asked you to vote on the submitted questions to help us select the top ones in each council race that you would like to have the candidates answer.

We sent those questions to the candidates and asked them to answer them by April 23. 

We are posting the answers we have received. They are posted unedited and as they were sent to us from the candidates. If there are candidates not included in the Q&A, it is because they have not responded.

Here are the top questions chosen by KSAT viewers/ readers followed by the answers from the candidates:

District 9 Candidates Questions:

  • A total of 58 votes were received.
  • Top vote recipients:

  • "A major problem in our district is apartment developers being approved to build, and land being rezoned for them. What will you do to stop the apartment developers?" - Anonymous submission (21 votes)
    • Richard Reza Versaće: "the application process . through out the council and the council is effected by external factors council needs to make the guide line much more difficult, planning code, although as San Antonio grows need to increase for housing, the planning and zoning division manages while protecting the environment and ensuring the availability and adequate instructional and school faculties . ensuring high standards of urban design 
      zoning is the legislative process for dividing land into zone for different zoning laws are the laws that regulate the use of land and structure built upon it.
      zoning approval is required prior to the construction of any new structure or building. and /or the commencement of any new use on a priority zoning approval will be issued by zoning administration or design after ensuring compliance with zoning ordinance and zoning review is meant to ensure the compliance with standard and previsions set by each municipality. while encouraging quality development . it,s intended to encourage the most appropriate use of the land. enhance aesthetic value , and facilitate adequate provision of transportation , schools parks, and other public requirements however, the process takes anywhere from 90-180- day,s if neighboring property owners have any objective to the rezoning of your particular land, they will have the opportunity to offer their comments and concerns before the zoning commission makes it,s decisions,so as city council member i would make the guide line much more difficult for rezoning!"
    • Patrick Von Dohlen: As a community advocate, I have direct experience with similar issues and have fought on the side of established homeowners. As a small business owner, I am pro-development however I support responsible development and believe residents have a right to be adequately informed about potential developments and should have a say in the decision. The lack of transparency, clarity and ease of City processes are the first problems regarding this issue. The City seems to make it extremely difficult for taxpayers to be informed about how to protect their homes and neighborhoods. We need to start with ensuring City codes like the Uniform Development Code (UDC) and processes are standardized and followed consistently to ensure a level playing field. Once the codes are standardized, efforts like mandatory notification, deed restrictions and limits to improper businesses would help protect neighborhoods and residents. 
  • "What would you do to help ensure we see less people begging on the side of the road? They are a hazard both to themselves and to drivers. If people want help, there are organizations to get help. Begging is not an answer, nor is ignoring them." - Anonymous submission (13 votes)
    • Richard Reza Versaće: "the mental health system act of 1980 was united states legislation signed by president jimmy carter which provided grants to community mental health centers, during the following Ronald Reagan administration , the united states congress repealed most of the law, the homeless population of San Antonio city, is notable and visible . beggars are reliably present at many major traffic intersection . national poverty  rates are dipping, the percentage of San Antonio,s population in poverty was second hugest the top 25 largest u.s. metro areas in 2017, new data from the u.s. census bureau shows, as city council member i would propose to increase starvation wages to living wages absolutely, second, i would  create podcast and webinars for psychological issues and depression issues  , inviting master on voluntarily basis that does nor cast the taxpayers any money, and to gave advise and to provide counseling ."
    • Patrick Von Dohlen: As a Christian, I believe it is important to help those who are begging on the side of the road and give them the resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty. I believe the key to doing this is two-fold: _Not funding their addiction. It’s a difficult task to not offer money to a beggar on the side of the street but I do believe it is partly the answer to this question. (Offering them a meal would be a much better solution in the short-term.) If we as citizens stop enabling these beggars to potentially fund their addiction, they will be forced, in many cases, to drop their efforts and hopefully, find the resources they need to change their situation. Beggars are indeed a danger to themselves and drivers. We need better solutions. _Authentic help. We need to help beggars find the resources they need to recover. Faith-based organizations and non-profit organizations whose mission is to feed the hungry should be the primary leaders on this issue. Places like Catholic Charities and Haven for Hope could also be longer-term solutions for those who need help. I believe we need to continue to empower these organizations by supporting their good work with our money and volunteer efforts. They know best how to help and heal their neighbors and friends in the community and I believe that the more we can continue to make connections with these groups, the better off our City will be in regard to this issue.

  • "Specifically, the Stone Oak community continues to see high growth. With that comes increased crime and traffic. How do you plan to address both issues?" - Anonymous submission (12 votes)
    • Richard Reza Versaće: "every thing is a learning behavior. education and conscious awareness is key to preventing crime to stop crime  before happening,  we as community need to do better job at home , home is were love grows, i would work with my neighborhood on these key issues, get to know your neighbors, invite law enforcement into our community, install video surveillance cameras, form a modern day neighborhood watch. learn problem solving skills and proactive ways on how to prevent crime before it happens, and share them with others seek help and develop answers . notify police when you see suspicious activity in neighborhood. promote and increase law  law enforcement improve lighting on streets
       on traffic, to increase safety and efficiency , mange congestion, connect to jobs promote sustainability , integrate mobility networks, enhance access, and provide more transportation choice like japan, the average driver spends 40 minutes a day stuck in traffic provide traffic forecast information to travelers related to bad weather, emergencies and schedule . rebuild intersections to increase capacity, protected right-of ways for bicyclists, build new sidewalks and fill in existing sidewalks create a bullet  train between San Antonio and Austin if we don,t do that San Antonio economy could be threaten. build smaller and electrical car to protect the quality of air that we breath and to protect the environment."
    • Patrick Von Dohlen: There are numerous issues at stake in the Stone Oak area because the growth of the area was underestimated including crime, traffic/congestion problems and more recently, the multiple affordable housing developments planned throughout.

      Crime - We need a sub-station in Stone Oak to more adequately address high response times and ensure the safety of residents
      _Citywide we also need to hire at least 100+ police officers to increase police presence in neighborhoods
      _Residents need to continue to engage one another through events like National Night Out (NNO) and programs like Citizens on Patrol (COPS) to ensure their neighbors know what to do to keep one another safe
      _Residents should put pressure on the City to get better lighting in areas that are subject to crime
      _Residents should encourage City to prosecute criminals
      _Police should enforce the law

      Traffic -The city must make traffic and infrastructure one of its top priorities as providing core services is its main objective:
      _Repeal equity based budgeting which sends District 9 tax revenue to other districts
      _Use this time of growth to pay off city debt
      _Adequately maintain roads
      _Efficiently time traffic lights
      _No toll roads or increased taxes
      _Encourage use of technology to alleviate traffic and congestion

      Affordable Housing - The majority of the City Council including the current councilman of District 9 seem to favor development over the property rights of established neighborhoods which could adversely impact Stone Oak. 

      I recommend the following in response:
      _Vigilant engagement by citizens
      _Contact John Courage’s office to share your opinion about the development
      _Contact the developer
      _Contact the Mayor and other City Council members
      _Get all property owners in area, especially within 200 feet of the development, to sign a petition that they do not want the property
      _Require higher residential standards for affordable housing developments
      _Put pressure on City departments and on developers via social media with short individual video messages with common hashtags
      _Educate City Council and public with facts about the property and issues of area.

  • Here is a list of other questions that were submitted.