Members of the Northeast Neighborhood Alliance are in the middle of interviewing the candidates seeking an appointment to the San Antonio City Council District 10 seat that's being vacated by Carlton Soules.
The councilman, who is in his second term, decided to leave and focus his attention on a run for Bexar County Judge.
Their interviews began this weekend and will conclude before the group's meeting next week, where the candidates will participate in a forum to meet people from the community and answer questions about their vision for the district.
Two recommendations will be given to the city council -- one from the Alliance board, and one from neighborhood leaders -- just before the city council considers which person it would like to fill the vacancy.
John Clamp, the new president of the Alliance and a former District 10 councilman, knows a thing or two about the process. In his new position, he's taking the helm of the Alliance from Mike Gallagher, who is seeking the District 10 council appointment. He believes the council will take the recommendations seriously.
"We saw it as a unique opportunity for us because we have a vacancy," Clamp said.
Real estate broker Brian Birdy, graphic designer Danielle Cunningham, Joe Martin, retired Army servicewoman Katherine Scheidel, and attorney Donald Flanary are also seeking the seat.
The Alliance is made up of 85 neighborhoods who want a voice in the process for their representative on the city council, even though the appointment is only for four months.
"Yes we do want a voice. District 10 has many projects going," Clamp said. "We have a history of leadership in our district that is very communicative to the neighborhood leadership and the neighborhood presidents and so we got to keep that continuity going."
But unlike many members of the city council, who prefer the appointee not run in the special election, the Alliance will support a candidate who intends on seeking the seat in the election. Clamp said continuity is important for the Alliance because of the district's ongoing projects and resident's concerns about issues like public safety. Clamp listed safety, street maintenance funding, the District 10 Senior Center, and the revitalization of Perrin Beitel and Nacogdoches to spur growth in neighborhoods as the most important for the district right now.
It is not unique that a neighborhood group would support a candidate for an appointment, but Clamp said the Alliance never endorses or supports a candidate in an election.
"This is an appointed position," Clamp said. "We thought it was incumbent upon the neighborhood alliance to take a leadership role and provide information and support to the council."
The forum will be held Jan. 27. The city council will interview the six candidates at its B session meeting on Jan. 29 and will invite the top candidates to the A session on Jan. 30. That's when an appointee will be named.