San Antonio's South Side has a new councilwoman to represent them at City Hall. Rebecca Viagran clinched 51 percent of the vote, surging far above Leticia Ozuna’s 38 percent.
Ozuna, although not truly an incumbent because she was appointed to the seat a year and a half ago to fill Jennifer Ramos’ unexpired term, was running her first race and expected to win the seat.
She cited experience and her work on technology issues for the city as reasons she should come back for a full term. Mayor Julián Castro also endorsed her.
Tina Guerrero, who is a member of the small grassroots organization Alamo City Democrats, said she knew Viagran would be the best choice for District 3.
Guerrero said Ozuna appeared disconnected to residents and neighborhoods on the South Side, and lost touch with the people.
"Not returning phone calls, making complaints," Guerrero said as she began listing problems she saw with Ozuna.
"Another big issue, and it's going to be an issue for her [Viagran] too, code compliance. Apparently they'd come, make a report, but nothing was ever done, and this had to do with drainage, sidewalks, of course, loose dogs," Guerrero said.
Viagran said her grassroots effort gave her the victory, but she already knows how city hall operates.
Viagran is a former council aide and appointee to the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women in 2011. She had applied for the District 3 seat when Councilwoman Jennifer Ramos left early to run for another office, but was passed over in favor of Ozuna.
She said that didn't discourage her, nor did big endorsements for her opponent.
"Because we always had the community support, the District 3 residents and the community supports behind us," said Viagran. "So that's what mattered to us the most. When we had that, we just kept moving forward, full steam ahead."
Viagran wants to tackle infrastructure, look at the city's new ethics code, and focus on economic progress.
"I think we have a lot of opportunity in the south side, most definitely," she said. "But whatever we come to the south side, we have to make sure that it is going to be in planning with the neighborhoods, and also speak to the essence and the identity of the south side."