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Get to know your May election candidates: District 1

Voting is a vital part of our democracy and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce encourages all residents to educate themselves and cast ballots for city council and mayoral candidates.

We sent out a questionnaire to all candidates running in municipal elections this year. In the questionnaire, we asked candidates about the city’s relationship with the business community, transportation, and the Climate Action and Adaption Plan.

For the District 1 City Council seat, incumbent Roberto C. Trevino faces challenges from Justin Holley and Oscar Magaña, among others. Here is what they had to say:

Roberto C. Trevino, Incumbent

  1. Please introduce yourself and share why you are seeking a seat on the San Antonio City Council, including why you feel you are the best candidate for the position.

As a representative of District 1 and the City of San Antonio, the issues and
policies that I champion range from civil rights, safety, economic opportunity, mobility and improved infrastructure. From the first day I was appointed to office in 2014, my focus has been on deeds that directly impact the quality of life of our residents, especially our vulnerable populations. I’ve created programs and policies that push to increase equity and inclusion throughout our city. Particularly in district 1, infrastructure and affordable housing are key concerns among our neighbors. I have worked to tackle both issues through public policy
armed with my professional experience as an architect as well as partnerships with private entities and the business community including the local chambers of commerce. If re-elected, my hope is to continue serving our City through deeds, not words. I am a planner at heart, and our growing city is currently in a design phase. I believe we can build stronger, build smarter, and build together.

  1. What steps would you take as a city council member to strengthen the City’s business environment?

We must start by understanding that the business environment is currently on the rise, and it closely follows way our city runs. Firstly, quality of life issues help attract more people, and in turn, new businesses
to San Antonio. Placing a focus on what the city does is important, and we must strive to improve how we handle the daily responsibilities of City Hall. Improved infrastructure, drainage, affordable housing, etc. make San Antonio a prime choice for people to choose to live here, and in turn, work here. Secondly, by making sure I’m accessible to always communicate as the council member for the central business district. Our central business district economy is booming, in part due to projects I am working on such as the adoption of the Alamo plan which will result in 5,000+ new jobs. I have made every effort to balance our economic growth with the preservation of our community and heritage.

  1. What are your thoughts on municipal government adopting policies to regulate employer operations regarding wages, compensation and scheduling?

City government plays a role in fostering sound economic principles while
helping to create protections for workers. We must remember that commerce without morality is not a recipe for responsible growth. Our efforts to support workers will lead to increased productivity over the long-term. I am a supporter of paid sick leave, and believe that we, as a city, should take the lead on protecting local control as well as our population in cases where the State refuses to support us.

  1. How would you encourage the City of San Antonio to develop safe, effective and efficient multi-modal transportation systems that moves people throughout San Antonio and this region?

That is exactly what I have been working on over the past 4 years. I am the only sitting councilmember that has created clear and data-driven infrastructure plans: sidewalk master plan + urban lighting plan. I believe we must step away from looking at transportation as moving cars, but rather look at it as moving people to better connect our city and region.

  1. In January the City of San Antonio unveiled its draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The Chamber is concerned with that the draft plan does not address how we – as a city – are going to pay for the plan. What are your thoughts on CAAP?

The CAAP is ambitious, and we must find a way to make it work with the chamber and all partners through thoughtful discussions and partnerships. We must focus on how to work together to help collaborate on a solution that is viable and works for all parties involved. Our efforts toward climate action today impacts the lives of our children tomorrow. They deserve our immediate attention.

  1. If elected, how will you work to strengthen the relationship between the city council and the business community?

As the council member for the central business district, I’ve had an open-door policy. I visit regularly with all sectors of the business community and chambers of commerce. I have worked hard to build a strong relationship with both the business community and the community at large in order to bridge divides in the name of finding lasting solutions to problems and issues we encounter as a city. We know that district 1 is the centerpiece for growth and momentum in our city which is why I’ve invested my time and resources to understanding and promoting that growth. At the same time, we have to find ways to balance our growth and provide thoughtful and compatible development throughout our city. We must bring our community together with our forward momentum, and utilize our growth as an opportunity to benefit everybody.

Justin Holley

  1. Please introduce yourself and share why you are seeking a seat on the San Antonio City Council, including why you feel you are the best candidate for the position.

I am Justin Holley, a small business owner that understands the importance of having strong neighborhood associations, strong business community and strong associations and non profits to support all.  In recent history I have seen a level of divisiveness with council and the business community.  The City has a tendency to create initiatives first before properly vetting them and then asking for support from the business community.

  1. What steps would you take as a city council member to strengthen the City’s business environment?

City Council should return to being a Board of Directors over the City Managers Office so that they can then focus on economic development. For District 1 I have created a list of all industries and 5 to 7 contacts in each industry to be able to have a resource for when issues pop up I can call for info.

  1. What are your thoughts on municipal government adopting policies to regulate employer operations regarding wages, compensation and scheduling?

I believe our municipality should stick with ensuring that we are safe and secure with infrastructure that works and is maintained.

  1. How would you encourage the City of San Antonio to develop safe, effective and efficient multi-modal transportation systems that moves people throughout San Antonio and this region?

We should not encourage it we should demand it and deliver it.  The system as is stifles our business sector.

  1. In January the City of San Antonio unveiled its draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The Chamber is concerned with that the draft plan does not address how we – as a city – are going to pay for the plan. What are your thoughts on CAAP?

I do believe as a business leader we should put things in place in our business to be more environmentally friendly.  We as a business community should be leading this so that government wouldn’t have to regulate it.  It would be great for the Chambers to help business understand the environmental issues better.

  1. If elected, how will you work to strengthen the relationship between the city council and the business community?

In my opinion the first would be lead by example.  I understand that our city government is not a business but we can use business principles to help it be more transparent and effective.  Using common sense business principles to help guide the city manager to make the right decisions.

Oscar Magaña

  1. Please introduce yourself and share why you are seeking a seat on the San Antonio City Council, including why you feel you are the best candidate for the position.

Oscar Magaña, the youngest of three siblings and the son of immigrants who came to this country seeking a better life, is a successful veteran and businessman. Born in Burbank, CA and raised between Mexico and the United States, Oscar continues to be grateful for his parents sacrifice.

After graduating high school, Oscar enlisted in the U.S. Airforce and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. Oscar’s time in the Airforce was the first time he set foot in San Antonio, where he continues to live (and love!). He was then stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, TX. Putting his training into action, Oscar served in Operation Iraqi Freedom where he and fellow servicemembers were awarded Army combat patches.

After his service, Oscar returned to San Antonio. He is currently an International Trade Specialist who is responsible for export development in Central & South Texas with a particular emphasis in supporting small and medium sized businesses.  Oscar works with businesses that are ready to export and introduces them to potential clients overseas using trade shows, catalog shows, trade missions and several other services that support the local businesses abroad.

In addition to serving the business community of South Texas through his day job, Oscar also volunteered for the Alamo Young Government Leaders.  This organization helps promote professional development within the community to those interested in working for the local, state and federal government. Oscar served as the organization’s Communications Officer; in this role he was responsible for maintaining social media, supervising the development of presentations/graphics, and marketing activities for the chapter. Rising in the ranks, Oscar ultimately became President of the Alamo Young Government Leaders. His leadership provided vision and guidance to the organization’s committees and Board of Directors.

Oscar completed his bachelor’s degree in International Business at ITESO, a Jesuit University in Guadalajara, Mexico and his MBA in International Business at Texas A&M – San Antonio.  Oscar is currently attending San Antonio College.

Having over 10 years of experience as a public servant, Oscar grew frustrated with decisions the City Council made. He felt that some of these decisions would hurt his home, San Antonio. As a veteran, his natural instinct of protecting what he love kicked in, and Oscar decided to run for district one councilman.

Oscar’s common sense, San Antonio first approached is a welcomed change for District One. He believes in the continued success of businesses and supports policies and programs that create a stronger workforce in San Antonio.

  1. What steps would you take as a city council member to strengthen the City’s business environment?

As councilman, I would support policies that promote continued business growth within the city. Further, I understand the role of the Economic Development office and the Economic Development Foundation of San Antonio to be key in recruiting and keeping large businesses within the city. In addition, CASA San Antonio’s role to promote exports of goods and services from our current businesses, along with state and federal agencies that promote our economic prosperity are key to continued and improved success.

I would continue supporting and seek an increase of funds for programs the city is currently using to improve the workforce such as providing abatements to companies willing to allow employees to take courses or trainings that will improve their career options. In addition, I would encourage all chambers to ask members to partner with SAWorks to increase internship opportunities for high school students. I understand that not all students will go on to college, however, it is pertinent for students to be exposed to potential careers. By increasing internship opportunities, we begin to handle two key issues the city is facing: a trained workforce and the 30,000 opportunity youth.

  1. What are your thoughts on municipal government adopting policies to regulate employer operations regarding wages, compensation and scheduling?

These municipal policies are adding an additional burden to the entrepreneur, small and medium sized business owner that will be ultimately paid by the consumer.

  1. How would you encourage the City of San Antonio to develop safe, effective and efficient multi-modal transportation systems that moves people throughout San Antonio and this region?

The first step to develop an efficient multi modal transportation system is to create neighborhoods that have high walkability scores, and an ecosystem that celebrates using public transportation. In order to do this, the city would need to partner with VIA and reach out to our schools and encourage bus usage from our youth. Next, encouraging senior citizens that utilize our senior centers to use buses to satisfy their transportation needs.

From a policy standpoint, I applaud the city’s creation of a vision zero department to attempt to reduce fatalities. I also support the creation of complete streets and encourage more mobility lanes throughout the city, not just the downtown area.

With the ever changing of technology and modes of transportation, I strongly endorse pilot programs for new transportation models that are brought to the city with a cap on permits in order to keep the market from being oversaturated and reducing the novelty effect. As Councilman I would request that TCI and Center City Development work together to create a comprehensive study and understanding of how to deploy new modes of transportation throughout the city.

  1. In January the City of San Antonio unveiled its draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP). The Chamber is concerned with that the draft plan does not address how we – as a city – are going to pay for the plan. What are your thoughts on CAAP?

Everyone should be concerned about protecting our environment, and we should work towards a solution collectively. The CAAP addresses that the main sources which cause GHG’s (Green House Gas) come from stationary and transportation, specifically from Industrial & Commercial buildings and private transportation. Going green can be profitable for business, I would be more than happy to address the business community’s’ concerns regarding the CAAP. The CAAP is currently a draft, let’s make edits that benefit businesses as well as our environment.

  1. If elected, how will you work to strengthen the relationship between the city council and the business community?

Currently, I am part of the chamber’s aerospace sub-committee for business development. The city is in desperate need of someone who not only understands business, but someone that also supports it. I understand the importance of business development for our city and will continue to support policies that will enhance business growth and not hinder them.

 

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