San Antonio’s East Side has long been in the spotlight for gun violence and concerns over safety. In late 2011, a series of shootings sparked community meetings, and in response District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor dedicated time for community forums.
Residents like Jessica Evans called for increased police presence.
"I’ve been over here all my life, 60 years now, and you see the changes," she said in early 2012 at a town hall meeting. "And the people who live in that neighborhood are good people. We just need a lot more police support."
Weeks prior to that town hall, Taylor also addressed the issue, and what it would take to solve the problem:
"These issues, they don’t develop overnight, and I don’t think we’ll be able to get out of this situation overnight, but we definitely want to be proactive in doing everything that we can to address the problem," Taylor said.
Running for her third term, Taylor is looking ahead
She said statistics show violence is on the decline, so now she is concentrating on housing and education.
The city received two federal grants to tackle those issues specifically - the Promise and Choice Neighborhood Grants. San Antonio is the only city in the country to receive both.
Taylor’s opponents, who include educator Norris Tyrone Darden, small business owner Hector Medina, and independent contract driver Antonio Diaz, say Taylor has not responded to the needs of the constituents in the district.
"We all want to see good neighborhoods, we want to see our streets re-paved, we want to have parks and libraries and we want to keep the tax burden to a minimum," Taylor said of their shared interests.
Taylor believes apathy is holding them back
"I guess I would agree with any assessment that refers to a certain level of apathy because I think that's not just city-wide, that's nation-wide that there's a lot of folks that don't really get involved unless they feel that something is immediately threatening them," Taylor said.
Taylor said she has high hopes for more people becoming engaged, which will help her focus on new goals if she is re-elected; things like more employment centers, and a place for youth to go. She said the northeast part of town is in particular need.
Recent focus of an ethics complaint
In March, the City of San Antonio Ethics Review Board looked into allegations that Taylor failed to complete campaign finance reports on time.
The review panel found that she was in violation, but that her office had completed the reports and had only failed to submit them.
Taylor was issued a letter noting the violation.
Challengers are united
Challengers Diaz and Medina both agree that Taylor has alienated some of the people of the district.
"I've met with many, many constituents of District 2 that are discarded." said Diaz, "I'd say disenfranchised, but discarded seems to fit better."
Medina admitted voting against the city's new early education measure, Pre-K 4 SA, saying he doesn't feel the program will help students much past the third grade, or help them get into college.
He did say that since it is being implemented, he will fight for the East Side to be represented fairly within the program if elected.