Sandoval for a second D7 term
District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, with much expertise on the issue given previous jobs, has used her first term to bring more awareness of climate change to the city. And the city now has a climate action plan on the table.
We see in this a pattern — a good one.
Sandoval is a strong advocate for her district but is also a big-picture council member. And this works out in micro fashion for her district and for the city as a whole because one of the big pictures for San Antonio is how entrenched and endemic poverty is. In pockets, it is a problem for her district as well. She has worked to bring infrastructure improvements to the district and has been a valuable voice on the council for the need for affordable housing — also a citywide issue.
We recommend Sandoval for a second term because she is generally a voice for compassion and attention to some of the negative currents that affect the city.
The complaints from her challengers center on lack of transparency and responsiveness in the city. But, to her credit, Sandoval acknowledges that at least the perception of this is what drove city voters to approve two of the three charter amendments in an election last year.
The problem is that though these amendments can be reasonably attributed to this perception, they were antithetical to good city governance generally. We view votes on these as something of a litmus test because their consequences for the city will be so negative.
Sandoval was on the right side of that issue. The challenger conventionally viewed as her toughest contender — public relations executive and Marine Corps veteran Trevor Whitney— was not on two of the three.
Sandoval voted no on all three. Whitney voted for two of the three — capping the city manager’s pay and tenure though it didn’t affect the target, Sheryl Sculley, and allowing the fire union to unilaterally take contract negotiations into arbitration.
The charter amendment didn’t even affect City Manager Sculley’s salary at the time, which was not, despite the criticism, out of line for a city this size and what the job entailed. Erik Walsh is the new city manager. What if he is a doing a great job at the end of eight years? Should he be forced out anyway?
And allowing the firefighters union to force arbitration turns the collective bargaining process on its head and invests too much power with a public-employee union. This might have dire budget consequences that will actually mean fewer resources for firefighters.
We differ strenuously with Sandoval on her vote to not allow Chick-fil-A into the city’s airport. But she seems to be open to giving the restaurant another chance in any upcoming request for proposals and notes that the restaurant’s name was thrown into the hat with little notice to the council and also the city staff’s role in the process.
Despite this vote, we see her first-term tenure as generally successful and view her as preferable to her challengers.
Her other challengers — Will McLeod, who has run for office unsuccessfully previously, and Kimberly Grant, a relative newcomer to the city — also echo the city’s lack of transparency and responsiveness. Whitney, who also serves as regional director for one of the scooter companies in the city, additionally proposes a focus on homeless veterans. We find that goal admirable.
But in Sandoval, with degrees from MIT, Stanford and Harvard, we see someone who has a successful first term under her belt and is deserving of a second. She is good for her district — and for the city.