San Antonio – In a public rebuke of one its own members Thursday morning, the San Antonio City Council censured and passed a no-confidence vote on District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo.
“Councilmember Bravo’s behavior has negatively impacted his and the City Council’s ability to conduct its business leading to the City Council to lose confidence in his ability to act as an effective colleague on City Council,” the resolution reads in part.
The resolution easily passed the city council in a 8-0 vote, despite a parade of supporters speaking in his defense, including his parents and girlfriend.
“When you fight for what you truly believe in, you sometimes get emotional. We all have a bad day,” said Bravo’s father, Armando Gutierrez Bravo.
Sandoval was absent from Thursday’s meeting as was District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry, who is facing his own share of scrutiny related to his suspected role in a hit-and-run on Sunday. Bravo recused himself for the vote.
It is largely symbolic, though, and does not affect Bravo’s ability to remain on city council or vote. The City Council does not have the power to remove another member, barring certain criminal convictions.
Voters can petition for a recall election, but since Bravo’s current term only lasts another seven months, that appears unlikely.
The mayor had previously suspended Bravo from his committee assignments. It was not immediately clear if that would remain permanent or if the mayor would reassign him to new committees.
The vote arose from an independent investigation found that Bravo violated city directives on equal employment opportunity/anti-harassment and violence in the workplace during an angry confrontation with District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval ahead of the budget vote on Sep. 15.
An agenda memo about the resolution states Bravo “aggressively approached and berated a fellow City Council member,” but did not delve into the specifics of the encounter or his exact rule violations.
Bravo, who had previously dated Sandoval, was upset with her lack of support on his plan for spending excess CPS Energy revenue on climate-related initiatives. Sources told KSAT that Bravo got personal during the confrontation, which left Sandoval in tears.
Bravo later shouted at Sandoval’s top aide that “she put the knives in my back.”
Sandoval’s abstention from a vote during the meeting that followed meant Bravo’s plan for the money died and the city went forward with a mayor-supported city staff plan to use the money for CPS bill credits instead.
The District 7 Councilwoman had her own climate-related proposal, which passed as part of the final budget.
Bravo did not speak during the discussion, but numerous supporters urged council to vote against the resolution.
“The drip, drip, drip of punishment is...fundamentally unfair to Councilman Bravo, who has apologized, fully cooperated with the city’s investigation and done everything possible to right the wrong,” said District 1 resident William Wendell Hall.
Bravo issued a statement following the vote:
“On the morning of September 15th, I became emotionally overwhelmed and betrayed my own values. I did not handle myself well that day and I stand by my public apology.
“Since that day I have sought spiritual guidance and focused on deep reflection and personal growth. I am ready to take feedback and make amends, and I commit to holding myself to a higher standard.
“I fully intend to uphold my duty to serve the citizens of District 1 and I look forward to continuing to work with my council colleagues.”
Sandoval’s office also released a statement from the councilwoman:
“My hope is that, going forward, City Hall can be a place free of the type of events that occurred on September 15, so that I may continue to represent District 7 to the best of my ability.”
“Thank you to everyone who has contacted me to check on my well-being over the past few weeks. I do not intend to comment further on this matter.”