The San Antonio City Council took the oath of office in a swearing in ceremony inside the chambers of City Hall, preparing for what is ahead for the body over the next two years.
Mayor Julián Castro said the mission of the council is a double-edged sword because each member is looking out for the interests of their own district, but he told his colleagues they also have to do what’s best for the city as a whole.
"The challenge that all of us face is to balance the everyday needs of our constituents with a long-term grand vision for our city's future," he said on the dais.
San Antonio is facing a $35 to $50 million shortfall in the 2014 budget and with that in mind, council members set out to define their goals for next year at a day-long goal-setting session at the Central Library on Tuesday.
Included in the budget are what’s known as unfunded requests, which are items the city doesn’t have the money to fund. Delegate agency ChildSafe is requesting $100,000 in 2014, and $500,000 over five years.
The good news hasn’t stopped for newly-elected District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales.
During her runoff election night watch party at her west side campaign headquarters, Gonzales announced she is expecting a baby. By the end of the night, she’d won the election against her opponent, incumbent David Medina. The events mean two big jobs are ahead for Gonzales, who in her free time is also an Ironman competitor.
When it comes to city hiring practices or contracts the council awards, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal believes everyone should be included in protections against discrimination, which is why he’s suggesting an update to San Antonio’s anti-discrimination policies to include gender identity, sexual orientation, and veterans.
The San Antonio City Council could soon take up an anti-discrimination ordinance to include additional groups.
District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal proposed a policy that would also be consolidated with other anti-discrimination regulations that he said are scattered about in a constellation of codes and ordinances.
City staffers are researching how to go about consolidating the policies. The council’s governance committee will meet Tuesday and decide whether to advance the issue to the full city council.
Voters cast their ballots over the weekend and now that the city elections are over - except for two June runoffs in Districts 5 and 8 - the direction of policies in San Antonio will largely continue uninterrupted.
This is mostly to do with the fact that voters chose candidates like Mayor Julián Castro, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal and District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña, who all support progressive issues.