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 6 seat, incumbent Greg Brockhouse has opted to run for Mayor in this election rather than run for re-election in District 6. One of the candidates hoping to succeed him is Melissa Cabello Havrda, among others. Here’s what she had to say:
Mellisa Cabello Havrda
- 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.
My name is Melissa Cabello Havrda and I was born and raised in the beautiful city of San Antonio, specifically in District 6. I believe I’m the best candidate for the position because of my breadth of experience in both the public and private sector. I began my career as a special assistant to former Mayor Ed Garza while working on my bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s. I then went on to work for former Mayor Lila Cockrill at the Parks Foundation where I learned the importance of community investment. I’m now a practicing attorney with an MBA and small business owner who understands how decisions being made at city hall can affect our day to day lives.
- What steps would you take as a city council member to strengthen the City’s business environment?
I plan to have an open-door policy so that I receive information from experts on various issues to ensure that I make sound, well informed decisions. With that said, I think it’s critically important to maintain an everyday dialogue with the business community because they are the economic engine that the keeps our city going. Every decision council makes has the potential to affect the economic climate of our city, not only affecting businesses, but their employees, the citizens who we are responsible for protecting and representing. Therefore, I plan to seek the business community’s input on a range of issues once in office.
- What are your thoughts on municipal government adopting policies to regulate employer operations regarding wages, compensation and scheduling?
I understand and share in the need to help workers in our city; however, it is another issue for our city government to mandate how we should do so. I am a small business owner and I had a situation arise recently where I learned first hand how troublesome this can be. My hourly employee asked to be paid for time that she was not working. She and I went through various options, including the municipal ordinance and decided that we could work something out that benefited us both. Ultimately, we chose not to work within the parameters of the municipal ordinance, but it illustrated the point to me that this is a complex issue.
- 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?
I think it’s important that we begin to anticipate new technologies that will change the way we move around. More people are working from home and hours people spend on the road are changing. I think we need to take a holistic look at not only what transportation systems we’re using but how people’s lifestyles are changing so that we can develop a system to suit those needs.
- 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?
Climate change is real and we need to do everything we can as private individuals to curb the effects; however, I read through the plan myself and had the same concern. Not only will this effect huge companies and employers in our city, it may result in financial difficulties for our average citizens. In reading the plan, I saw no cost projections and wondered how we could move forward without knowing the financial impact it will have on our businesses and our citizens.
- If elected, how will you work to strengthen the relationship between the city council and the business community?
I will work to strengthen this relationship by engaging in regular meetings with the business community so that we can be more proactive about avoiding big issues instead of reacting to problems as they arise. In order to be an effective council member, one must seek the counsel of all stakeholders. Getting input from the business community before taking drastic action will prevent poor decisions from moving forward.