Mayoral 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.

Jacque L. Miller, Military

Did not provide an email on candidate application and did not respond to phone calls from KSAT.

Justin Macaluso, Director of Quality and Manufacturing

Did not respond.

Gary Allen, Retired Teacher

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Allen: “I am against Prop B because it will weaken the police force and make our city less safe.”

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

Allen: “San Antonio is actually fairing well compared to the other large cities around the country with just under 3,000 unsheltered and 1,500 sheltered homeless people. Other cities have 5 times, 10 times, or even more the rate. There has been a 2% drop in sheltered people and 7% rise in unsheltered people in recent times. The reason for this is many do not like the rules they have to follow at places like Haven for Hope. We need to control the people living by roadways and under bridges before we lose control like happened in Los Angeles or happening in Austin. Affordable housing units can be expanded, but many of these people still will not take advantage. We could expand Haven for Hope. We need to have a rehabilitation mental facility to help those on drugs and those with mental conditions to break the addiction habits and to help them be viable for the job market. Five Hundred people move to San Antonio everyday and some are illegal immigrants. We need to control this surge or the problem will grow in spite of what the media reports.

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?

Allen: “In any large city you have these three problems. It is important to stay ahead of the problem. City crews should be cleaning trash filled areas and not let it get so bad that it is a health hazard. This is a doable solution...just get it done and have crews assigned to do this task. Illegal dumping and graffiti are two problems that the city responds after the fact. The city says call when we see a problem, but by the time officers get there the criminals are gone. Be proactive instead of reactive. This is done by using cameras and drones at problem areas. And when people are caught they need punishment and not a slap on the hand. Fines or jail time should be levied. Too often the offenders are let off. Make parents responsible for their minor children which do a large percentage of the graffiti. We did this in the school system for chronic unexcused non-legitimate absences of children. They were given warning letters and if the parents did not get their kids to school then they would appear before a judge and fines would be given. This stopped a big percentage of kids missing school. Parents need ro be responsible for their children who are roaming the streets and doing the graffiti. Hit the pocketbook or threaten JD for the children. This will not stop graffiti, but it will cut it down. Also, clean-up is very important. Do not allow graffiti to remain long. This promotes more graffiti.”

Frank Adam Muniz, Counselor, attorney

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Muniz: “I am against rescinding the collective bargaining rights. Why? I have always believed, and willingly state, a nation, a state, a county, a city, a village, are only as good as the quality of their police force. Without peace and security, no one can prosper. I for the most part, have seemed very secure in San Antonio. Almost all my interactions with SAPD have been very cordial if not very friendly. Before someone starts to think, “well he grew up well off and never was near the cops”. Far from it. I did not come from a wealthy family and as a teenager, I got to know quite a few officers when I probably wish I didn’t. Yet now, going about my daily life, revamping or “fixing SAPD” never was an issue with me, particularly in regard to rescinding the application of Local Government Code, Title 5, Subtitle C, Chapter 174, to a different system. In this case, Local government Code, Title 5, Subtitle A, Chapter 143. Now a group, (which prior to this I had never heard of, have no idea of its membership, nor its consistency and number of members) called FIX SAPD turns in a petition with 20,0000 signatures to put this on the ballot. It is FIX SAPD’s responsibility to convince me to vote the way they want, not mine to defend why I do not want to support the change. To persuade me, I want facts, not opinions, not beliefs, I want facts. Where are you getting your evidence to support your hypothesis? So far, the overriding fact I have been given is, transparency and “getting rid of bad apples”. Now I know this is the supporters attempt at a metaphor and I could be a bit sarcastic. But I do not want metaphors, I want facts, give me the chapter, subchapter, paragraphs which support your ideas or opinions. A line-by-line comparison with case law if possible. I actually saw where a KSAT reporter listed some items which are considered I guess contentious, and he brought out some points. Unfortunately, I think he was a bit slanted. One item listed by the KSAT reporter was how the officers prior conduct is inadmissible unless within 2 years and are of the same nature. I got a feeling from reading it that the reporter felt this was unfair or a miscarriage of justice. Yet the same rule, actually stronger, exists in criminal law, this is addressed as “Prior bad act or conduct inadmissible”. So why should an officer not be allowed the same rights as those criminally charged? Also, if collective bargaining or Local Government Code, Title 5, Subtitle C, Chapter 174, were so evil, why is the Fire Department being exempted? There are bad Fire Fighters too? Are there not? And if so, common sense would seem to make one think, FIX SAPD, would want to address this at the same time? I, as of this writing have not seen anything of the sort to convince me otherwise. I therefore have to wonder, where is this is all truly coming from? What might the proponents end game be? What is their impetus. Do they want us to be more like Portland, Seattle? Therefore, again I say ‘NO’.” What are your plans to reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Antonio?

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?

Muniz: “I originally had two rather convoluted answers for both of these questions, then I said, no. Do not be like the others. The reality is I do not know what to do. Sure, I have ideas, I think we all do. But I am not going to be making some promise with high expectations that sounds great and then either do nothing or make excuses as none of them ever come to pass. Homelessness, graffiti, litter, roads and a myriad of other concerns, unless something completely new(the Rona) Have been studied, discussed, treated and/or tackled for years. It seems every candidate is either expected to know the answer or have some new potential answer for every problem. Well, I have not actively studied or worked on the homeless problem or litter, etc. etc. So, there I said it, I really am not sure what to do. If the answer were so easy, then why has no one achieved the desired result yet? That I think is the question. Now “I” may not know the answer. I would, however, certainly know where to start looking for the answer. City council obviously has terms, every two years there is a potential for a complete overhaul. That is why our city founders elected to create a weak mayor, strong city manager system. The council may get entirely eliminated by a new council, but the manager(s) remain. This continuity is a necessity to build and learn from years of work and gain experience. It is the councils (and mayors) responsibility to make sure that as their constituents express their concerns to them, the manager is informed and then is doing something about it. I would study the different ideas, confer as to which idea resulted if what kind of outcome. What was effective what not. What tools does the manager need. . I truly believe no one want litter, potholes in the road, graffiti on buildings or a homeless encampment behind their home. I may not have the answers, but I will do what I must to make sure someone is working in the right direction to get them.”

Antonio “Tony” Diaz

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Diaz: “I support Prop B for the lack of Transparency, the lack of Authority to Chief of Police. The willfulness of SAPOA to hide disciplinary files of Bad Cops. The disregard for Public Civil Rights and safety SAPOA embraces by not being willing to write their own language addressing this local and nationwide problem of abusive officers maintained on Police forces.

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

Diaz: “The homeless issue is a many faceted problem. From population with mental health issues that aren’t addressed within our City’s budget due to trickle down theories, the Federal government cut funding for Mental Health and Public Housing, my approach is to take this up to State and Federal Committees . We must revisit Public Welfare programs that existed up to the Clinton presidency and reactivate funding for the programs.”

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?

Diaz: “The issues of street repairs are budgeted for along with TXDOT money if in their perview. Graffiti and dumping already have existing ordinances, simply apply them.”

Ron Nirenberg, Incumbent

Did not respond.

Michael “Commander” Idrogo, Retired military

Did not respond.

John M. Velasquez, Psychologist

Did not respond.

Dan Martinez, Retired

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Martinez: “I support Prop. B, because I have served on the SAPD Internal Affairs Board for 4 years and I know first hand the outcome of the Bad Officers that have been terminated and reinstated based on the current Arbitration System.”

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

Martinez: “There needs to be more facilities beyond the Haven for Hope to be created in several areas of the city. We need to focus on establishing facilities on the East, West and Southside of the city to provide not only shelters, but also Health and Mental services as well and rehabilitating them back into the community.”

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?

Martinez: There is much more problems then those indicated in this question which I address in the attachment. We need to hold the City Manager Accountable for his abuse of his official capacity on the residents who deserve basic city services, that they are paying for in property taxes.”

Denise Gutierrez-Homer, Businesswoman, Advocate

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Gutierrez-Homer: “I am against Prop B

“Collective Bargaining is vital for any recruitment and retention of top notch employees.

“SAPD must provide the best employment incentives and retirement options for the Officers.”

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

Gutierrez-Homer: “Identify the homeless and the need. Provide permanent I.D. Have case manager’s that oversee what services are being used. Make city services a homeless persons trampoline to a stable home rather than a community hammock.

“Use our existing workforce funding for housing, training and expenses for individuals that express interest and achieve preset goals.

“Veterans will be identified and processed to appropriate federal agencies. To expeditiously access medical services and housing.”

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?

Gutierrez-Homer: “A) Do not discourage homeowners by raising their taxes for maintaining the street presence of their homes. This will put a no tax incentive for neighborhoods in general to clean up, beautify and landscape.

“B) Aggressively encourage out of cycle pick up for brush and bulky items or simply circulate crews more often.

“Have solid waste promote paint recycling events throughout the city where graffiti abatement materials could be procured by trained neighborhood volunteers that could supervise public service hours for graffiti removal.

“C) Have an adoption of a PotHole on 311.

“Consider street improvements holistically. Curbs and under roadway improvements scheduled should be completed, first then the road finished. Amazingly this is not done currently.”

Greg Brockhouse, Self-employed, former SA City Councilman

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Brockhouse: “I am opposed to Prop B. Removing the entire police officer contract is not the answer and it will lead to a loss of officers and a decrease in service. I do agree that we need to enhance our discipline and accountability, but the answer is not the elimination of the entire contract, which includes pay, health care benefits, training and educational goals. We should do all we can to fire bad cops, but it should be known that we are talking about 10 bad cops in 10 years, that’s about .002% of police officers. The goals should be to strengthen discipline guidelines and do so doing regular contract negotiations. Under no circumstances should we eliminate the entire contract. The police contract protects our community and has helped us build the best police department in the state and the nation.

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

Brockhouse: “Homelessness is not a crime. I will protect our homeless community and work to ensure every dollar spent is geared towards keeping men and women off the streets. I will revamp the Haven for Hope model and focus on partnerships with the faith based and nonprofit community to execute homeless outreach and care. City Hall needs to let the experts do the work and we need to hold our partners accountable to proper use of taxpayer resources. City Hall can focus on helping with ID’s, shelter locations and funding. We must ensure panhandling laws are enforced and protect neighborhoods. But we must help wherever we can and ensure our homeless community have the tools they need to get off the streets. And finally, it will be important for us to also ensure we address those that are near homeless and help them with utility assistance, rental assistance and employment. We must cut off the pipeline of those who are about to become homeless, so we do not see the problems grow.”

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?

Brockhouse: “Our city is being treated like a dump. We must strengthen and enforce illegal dumping laws and hold these people who dump illegally accountable. I will create more city dump locations that are free of charge and allow for more access and product acceptance. We must also increase bulky waste pick up days and focus on helping residents dump legally and safely. We must perform community cleanups in every council district, every week, until our city is cleaned up. When we drive around San Antonio and see the trash everywhere it is very disappointing and not who we are as a community. We need to clean up, keep it clean and prevent illegal dumping. And as for graffiti, we must hold people accountable with strict laws and fines. Graffiti is damaging public and personal property and cannot be tolerated.”

Ray Basaldua, Roofer

Basaldua: I’m simply not interested But thanks for reaching out”

Joshua James Galvan, Self-employed

Did not respond.

Tim Atwood, Teacher

Are you for or against Prop B and why?

Atwood: “Anyone with an ounce of empathy or compassion running through his veins had to be horrified by the public torture and death of George Floyd last summer. The tragic event galvanized a movement as it triggered a visceral reaction that transcended race, ethnicity, and nationality around the world. Unfortunately, reaction often evolves into overreaction and overcompensation as we scramble to deal with our shock and anger over what transpired. In our zeal to do something to address certain societal ills, we sometimes go too far in our activism, and we adopt extreme, ill-conceived positions, and take up causes that on the surface, seem to be part of the solution, but in fact, will not solve anything. Rather, they will make things worse. I believe that proposition B is one such initiative. It is a round-about attempt to defund the police. When you defund the police, you underfund the police. Among other things, this leads to loss of officers with respect to the hiring process, as well as the resulting accelerated retirement. A shortage of officers leads to longer response times, more overtime, and exacerbated stress and fatigue, just to name a few ramifications that will undoubtedly factor in with public interactions. I will not support Proposition B, and I urge you to do the same.”

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

Atwood: “Homelessness must be addressed with a multi-level, holistic approach. In general, homelessness is preceded by job loss, mental health issues, substance abuse and addiction, a lack of funds, and a myriad of family/domestic issues. One important piece is federal housing assistance, in the form of public housing and Section 8 vouchers that help with rent. A “housing first” model prioritizes getting people into homes first, followed by dealing with the factors that led to being homeless or houseless. Also, it’s important that the city does its part to fund and support well-run shelters that operate with a minimum of eligibility standards, in order to get people off the streets. Access should be easy, but the shelters must be well-regulated. I talked to a couple of men who said that they will not go back to the main shelter in San Antonio. They called it a “zoo” and preferred to remain on the streets. I can neither confirm or deny their characterization, but it does highlight the importance of assessment and accountability. In addition, I would encourage and support the work of nonprofits and faith-based organizations. The reality is, teams must go to the streets to reach and work with the homeless, one person at a time. Nonprofits and faith-based groups often operate with a higher level of motivation and compassion for the unfortunate. The city should capitalize on that spirit of volunteerism, and benefit from what they can offer, particularly with respect to homeless children and veterans.”

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?

Atwood: “I set up a campaign sign this afternoon, after getting the landowner’s permission. To show my appreciation, I committed to coming by twice a week to clean up litter and trash that had accumulated over several years. As mayor, I will encourage residents to organize neighborhood work-days to focus on clean-up and beaitification. The city has taken a stronger stance on graffiti with the Graffiti Abatement Program. Unfortunately, the city sometimes does a poor job of enforcement and follow-up. I will seek to change that. More priority needs to be given to our city-wide drainage system. There are major roads that flood after 10 minutes of moderate rain. I literally timed it one day to document how long it would take before one of the lanes would be impassable due to a poor drainage system. Also, we have a lot of stop-lights that need to be serviced and synchronized. This will help the flow of traffic and reduce some of the rush hour congestion. I’ve encountered lights that went from green to red in 15 seconds, while others took 4 minutes to change. Finally, I talked with a woman some time ago who said that they have been trying for 50 years to get sidewalks in her neighborhood. San Antonio has a Sidewalk Reconstruction Program in place, to repair deteriorated sidewalks. Referring to it in an article in the Express News in January 2018, a council member said “The ordinance was entirely done through the racism of the time. Historically, sidewalks have not been funded properly in San Antonio because areas were redlined and discriminated against. Sounds like we need a Sidewalk “Construction” program.”

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 20 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.