City Council District 9 candidates answer your questions ahead of San Antonio’s May 1 election

We took your questions to the candidates for answers, here are their responses

Editor’s note: Find answers for all districts and the mayoral race here. Find news, resources and results from the election on our Vote 2021 page.

Saturday, May 1, 2021, is the municipal election in San Antonio. On the ballot, a rematch for mayor and nearly 80 candidates competing in 10 city council races, along with a proposition aimed at repealing the police department’s collective bargaining rights and a charter change for city bond projects.

We wanted to be sure you had a chance to ask your most important questions to the candidates before making your decision in the election — early voting begins April 17.

We received more than 400 questions from KSAT viewers and readers for the candidates.

We chose three of the most commonly asked questions, sent to each candidate and asked them to respond by April 12.

  1. Are you for or against Prop B and why?
  2. What are your plans to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Antonio?
  3. What is your plan to clean up and improve our city -- specifically when it comes to the condition of our roads, litter (dumping) and graffiti?

Below are the unedited responses we received from the candidates who responded to our questions. The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot.

San Antonio City Council District 9 Candidates

Cory Dennington, Business operations

“I dropped out of the city council race early FEB and endorsed Patrick Von Dohlen for District 9.”

Erika Moe, Attorney

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Moe: “I am against Prop B. If 174 is repealed, it opens pandora’s box for pay reduction for officers. This can come in the form of pay reductions for specialty pay and incentives such as: night differentials, certification pay, education pay, standby and field training. Officers would also be susceptible to a possible switch to civilian healthcare which could effectively increase out of pocket healthcare costs by 20% or more. They could also lose the T-shift, which has actually helped reduce overtime pay for officers and saved taxpayer dollars. While collective bargaining is intertwined into 174 there are other issues laced into the Chapter that could ultimately cause us to partially defund our officers. Defunding the police has proven to be disastrous in other communities costing the taxpayers millions of dollars. We need common sense agreements that hold officers accountable for unlawful actions and still keep good officers on the force to help us protect our cities most vulnerable.”

What are your plans to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Antonio?

Moe: “This is a difficult issue in which we need to marry compassion with pragmatism. As someone who has spent their life doing service work, I am very compassionate towards the most vulnerable in society, particularly those who are unable to care for themselves. We need to address the mental health needs and get to the root of the problem, especially for the homeless veterans. Working through the court system, I saw every day the deficiencies that exist in getting care to those with mental health needs. We need to give them the opportunity to obtain job skills in order to work towards living independently and having the ability to sustain themselves in their own housing. Further, we need to partner with non- profits and religious organizations, many of which are trying to help and have the private funding to do so. City council should be relentlessly tracking down partners to assist in the crisis from surrounding counties and all over the state. There are so many untapped resources and City Council should not rest until we exhaust them all.”

What is your plan to clean up and improve our city – specifically when it comes to the condition of our roads, litter(dumping), and graffiti?

Moe: “We need to invest more in proper road maintenance. The average road should be maintained every seven years and the average maintenance timeline for San Antonio is over ten years costing more time and more taxpayer dollars. We also should find ways to partner with youth organizations, re-entry organizations, juvenile probation programs, and adult probation programs to help neighbors keep their communities free from litter, illegal dumping, and graffiti. There is also a great opportunity to partner with overlapping elected officials to host quarterly area trash clean ups and graffiti clean ups to engage the community, stakeholders, and leaders.”

Patrick Von Dohlen, Self-employed financial planner

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Von Dohlen: “Against Prop B. I fully support all our brave first responders and have been actively campaigning against Prop B. I will vote NO on this issue on the May ballot because I believe police officers have the right to freely associate and collectively bargain in good faith and by state statute. This proposition, if passed, would be a terrible blow to our officers who seek to protect & serve our community. Our goal should be to continue to attract, recruit, train and retain quality officers so they may protect and serve us with the best equipment available. Prop B does not address accountability of officers. Prop B will reduce or defund the police yet Prop A will give a blank check to Council to fund many different types of bonds. Against Prop A as well.”

What are your plans to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Antonio?

Von Dohlen: “We need to do everything we can to lessen the number of people experiencing homelessness in SA. The city council must return to its primary goal of providing core services and making our city a safe place to live and work. It is irresponsible to pursue efforts that result in unnecessary taxation on residents including pet projects like PreK4SA, affordable housing and unproven ideas like CAAP. In addition, I believe we need to work with faith-based community and non-profit organizations to more effectively reach and help our vulnerable residents, including senior citizens and others in need, instead of growing the local government to take on this important social work.”

What is your plan to clean up and improve our city -- specifically when it comes to the condition of our roads, litter (dumping) and graffiti?

Von Dohlen: “A high quality of life in our district and throughout the city is integral. I will be proactive on this issue and will encourage residents to be civically engaged including voter participation, service on city boards and commissions as well as service to faith-based organizations. All are elements of being a good neighbor. I certainly hope to encourage community involvement because it promotes patriotism, solidifies free market privatization and leads all toward being good Samaritans. As councilman, my priorities will be to improve the quality of life in D9 through efforts based on equal-based budgeting between districts (not equity-based), smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom thereby supporting small business as the backbone of our economy and enabling D9 to be the economic engine for San Antonio.”

Antonio Salinas, College student

Did not respond.

John Courage, Incumbent, Former teacher

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Courage: “Prop B was initiated by a citizens petition to change the city charter to eliminate Sec 174 and the Police unions authority to collectively bargain. The city is in the process of negotiating a new police contract at this time. I don’t think it is appropriate for council members to express their support or opposition to prop B as we are obligated to negotiate in good faith with the police union. This issue was initiated by members of the public not the city council therefore I believe the voters need to vote based on their views and understanding and not the opinions of politicians.”

What are your plans to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Antonio?

Courage: “San Antonio City Council has committed $40 million to address homelessness in San Antonio this year. There are about 3,000 identified homeless people in our city.

“Many suffer from mental health issues as well as alcohol and drug addiction. For these people we need to properly allocate services to address these conditions. For many others we need to find them affordable housing and job training assistance.”

What is your plan to clean up and improve our city -- specifically when it comes to the condition of our roads, litter (dumping) and graffiti?

Courage: “I have seen the trash and graffiti in District 9 and across the city.

“I recognize that most of that trash and graffiti is present on our major traffic arteries, specifically along Hwy 281, Loop 1604, Loop 410, Wuzbach Parkway and Blanco Road. All of these roads are TXDOT controlled and managed. It really is the Texas Department of Transportation’s responsibility to keep those roads cleaned and free from graffiti. TXDOT does a very poor job of managing these responsibilities. Many other city streets are not as clean as they should be. The city Department of Public Works does street sweeping and graffiti mitigation on a regular schedule or when notified through 311 calls that identify a street or graffiti conditions warrant immediate service.

“Illegal dumping is still a problem in some parts of the city and we need the public’s help in addressing this by calling 312 snd informing us of illegal dumping. If you see something, say something. Realistically it is the inconsiderate behavior of individuals that must improve to make San Antonio a cleaner city.”

Find out if you are a San Antonio resident and which city council and school district you are in here.

Important Election Dates

  • Monday, April 19, 2021: FIRST day of Early Voting.
  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021: LAST day of Early Voting.
  • Saturday, May 1, 2021: Election Day

Find more information about the election here and visit our elections page for the latest election-related stories.

Click on the races below to read more candidates’ answers to the reader questions:

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.