Related topics

Montez offers right outlook for District 5

April 14, 2017 GMT

Richard Montez offers a unique political perspective for voters in City Council District 5.

It goes something like this: Politicians in this West Side district have, for years, represented progress as simply sidewalks and streetlights. Infrastructure is important, he says, and certainly needed in the district. But infrastructure is development, and shouldn’t be confused with progress.

Progress, he says, is found in reducing poverty rates, raising incomes, enticing professionals to return to District 5 and engaging youth. This vision and desire to take on big issues, not just streets and sidewalks, is why we are recommending Montez to represent District 5.


He has a fresh and engaging perspective that would serve his district and this city.

This was not an easy decision. In general, we have been impressed with District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, a graceful and steady presence on council. If voters choose to re-elect her for a third term, they will be well-represented. But Montez could be a dynamic presence on council as well as an emerging voice on some of the city’s biggest issues, particularly poverty and income segregation.

San Antonio is one of the most economically segregated cities in the United States. Roughly 20 percent of our population — about 275,000 residents — lives below the federal poverty line, many of them in District 5. The solutions aren’t just gentrification and displacement, but fixing bad schools is.

Montez, 30, is a District 5 native. He’s a St. Mary’s University graduate and has worked for Workforce Solutions Alamo, Google and FlexTech. He has some interesting ideas to reach out to youth. He said he will create a youth advisory board and coordinate with school officials in the district to further develop professional mentoring, internships and summer jobs. He wants to form a similar advisory board with local businesses and workforce development professionals.

It’s a long way from advisory boards to meaningful change in people’s lives, but the premise reflects bigger thinking about how to launch youth and bring prosperity to a part of the community long mired in poverty.

If elected, Montez would have to fill those potholes and build out sidewalks. But his more holistic approach would be a breath of fresh air.

Gonzales is a quality incumbent, but we like Montez’s potential. Montez for District 5.