A follow-up on last week’s program about being banned from city hall. First an extended interview with City Attorney Michael Bernard and then the ACLU sounds off on the right to petition the government. Finally, Evita Mendiola, the spokesperson for Haven for Hope talks about how the cold weather affects the homeless in San Antonio.
The controversial San Antonio streetcar project is moving ahead without help from the private sector. On Thursday city council voted to remove money from property owners that would have amounted to about $15 million.
Even though there is tens of millions of dollars coming from the county, $40 million from the city, and newfound money from VIA, Dist. 10 Councilman Carlton Soules said he believes that if people want streetcars, they should be allowed to help fund it.
The public square is the cornerstone of democracy. The concept is that anyone can hop on a metaphorical soapbox and air their grievances about the government.
But what does it take to be banned from the public square in San Antonio?
It’s happening to two local residents who are being shunned by their elected representatives. John Foddrill and Michael Cuellar are two separate cases but with some suspicious common factors. Both men are former city employees who say that while on the job they found evidence of fraud or waste in city government.
In exchange for creating hundreds of jobs, the city has agreed to a business deal with solar manufacturing company Nexolon America.
Nexolon will build a manufacturing plant at Brooks with ordinances to create a reinvestment zone at the base including: A 10-year 100 percent tax abatement, $400,000 in grant money to create 400 jobs, and $12 million for future infrastructure improvements.
Mayor Julián Castro believes the project contributes to the vision of SA2020 to create a highly skilled workforce.
The City of San Antonio has been working on a diversity action plan when concerns arose at previous city council meetings that leaders were not selecting enough African-American or other minority firms for contracting jobs.
The jobs are for upgrades to streets, sidewalks, and other public infrastructure that voters approved in the 2012-2017 city bond program; 140 projects worth $596 million. Members of the community stepped forward to ask why minority candidates seemed to have been passed over, and Mayor Julián Castro has requested an action plan.
As the buildings are beginning to be identified for the Pre-K 4 SA initiative approved by San Antonio voters in November, city council is busy making their selections for the 11-member board of directors.
City staff members are busy putting together the program that will offer full day pre-kindergarten to thousands of four year olds next year.
The building selections are underway that will serve as the model education centers, the finances are being worked out, and perhaps the most important task is assembling the board that will oversee the program.
At Thursday’s city council meeting, Mayor Julián Castro said San Antonio is doing something it has never done before.
San Antonio Water System customers could be facing a rate increase of nearly 10 percent in 2013. An aging infrastructure is one reason, but another is pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency.
SAWS spokesperson Anne Hayden said each year the EPA targets cities to reduce sewage overflows. San Antonio treats more than 250 million gallons of sewage each day. Hayden said 99.9 percent of that sewage never escapes the system, but the EPA wants even better numbers for compliance with the Clean Water Act.