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San Antonio City Council District 1 Race 2021

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Note: Names are listed in order of appearance on the ballot according to the city clerks' office. Answers from candidates have not been edited or fact-checked.

For TPR's full Voter Guide, click here.


Mario Bravo

Q: What is your experience with city government? For instance, have you ever served on a city board or commission?

A: Chair of the CPS Energy Environmental Stakeholder Group Member - SA Climate Ready Energy & Buildings Working Group

Q: What is an issue relevant to your specific district that you would like to change or address?

A: I want to give you more of a voice in your government. I want to improve how our city works with the public to gather input and treat the public as a valuable partner in determining how we move forward as a community.

Q: If you are challenging an incumbent, why do you feel there needs to be a change in leadership and why are you the right person for that change?

A: I believe that if you have made no progress on reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness in your last four terms, than you shouldn't be asking for a fifth chance to get it right. I will work with the experienced professionals in our community and make sure that our city is efficiently providing them with the support that they need to more effectively do their jobs. I believe that we should prioritize investing your tax dollars in ways that improve your quality of life in your neighborhood. Our current council member voted to spend only $6 million dollars on sidewalks for the entire city but $39 million to remodel the council members' own offices at city hall. You can count on me to re-prioritize those spending practices. I believe that we need a council member who sees members of the public as their best partner in working together to solve our biggest challenges. I don't think our current council member's statements of "Try to stop me." are the best way to work with our city and citizens in determining the best solutions for our community. I believe that we deserve leadership that has the foresight to see that CPS Energy, the utility that our city owns, should be accountable to our community. CPS Energy left us in the dark during the winter storm and with a $1 billion bill to pay off over the next ten years. Our current District 1 Councilman voted over 140 times in a row to approve every CPS Energy plan in the five years leading up to the storm. It is a bit late to start asking tough questions of CPS Energy leadership after the storm. I chaired a stakeholder group that pushed through reforms at CPS Energy to make them more transparent and accountable to you, and I will continue to do so as your council member. We need to exercise checks and balances over CPS Energy, and you can count on me to do that. I believe that District 1 residents deserve a council member who will meet with them even if they disagree on an issue. Our current councilman skipped neighborhood candidate forums in neighborhoods where residents have expressed displeasure with his policies. I will meet with the District 1 community even when we disagree. I will always hear you out to understand what your challenges and priorities are and how you would prefer for us to move forward as a community. I believe that residents deserve a council member who works with their colleagues at city hall rather than attacking them in attempt to set up a run for mayor. I will be focused on serving District 1 as your council member while Trevino is focused on next steps in his political career. I believe that we need to decrease the influence of money on the decisions made at city hall. Our current District 1 Council Member has tried to increase campaign contribution limits twice - most recently he tried to double them. We don't need to tilt the table against our community by giving more influence to lobbyists and wealthy people with a financial interest in the decisions made at City Hall. I am proud to say that I successfully opposed both of Trevino's attempts to increase campaign contribution limits and you can count on me to continue to do so.

Q: Voters will decide on Proposition B this May — a potential repeal of collective bargaining rights for the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Do you support repealing collective bargaining or do you believe it should remain in place?

A: I am running for City Council to listen to the voters and serve them. By the time that I am elected, Prop B will have been decided and I will respect the will of the voters. Whether Prop B passes or not, I believe that our city needs to reward good police officers and fire bad ones. I am committed to holding our police force to the highest standards and holding all police officers accountable for their actions. There are a variety of ways in which we can accomplish this, and there are many aspects of our current police contract that I am committed to reform to ensure that we have more accountability.

Q: Many residents have called for significant discipline reform for San Antonio Police officers in contract negotiations which are being debated right now between the city and the police union. What changes or reform — if any — would you like to see?

A: Below are aspects of our current police contract which I will not approve in any future contract: 1. Erasing police disciplinary reports after two years 2. Allowing a fired police officer to have their job back because the police chief took over 180 days to prosecute the case (the infractions might not be reported until later). 3. Giving police officers who are being accused of a crime 48 hours notice, providing them with all evidence to be used against them and an opportunity to meet with their lawyers before they can be questioned by investigators. All of the above are in our current police contract that Councilman Trevino voted for.

Q: Voters passed the Ready to Work SA initiative in November which creates funding for job training and support services like childcare for people to seek new trades — especially for those who lost their job in the pandemic — using a sales tax for the next five years. Do you feel this was the right approach to addressing not only job losses but to also grow the talent pool for industries in San Antonio?

A: I believe that workforce development is a good concept, but the Ready to Work SA initiative was rushed without thinking through all the finer points to make it successful. We need to do a better job of including our community (business leaders, nonprofits, residents) in how we implement this initiative to make sure that we are training for jobs that are needed and pay better wages. We need to ensure that we are working with local nonprofit organizations to effectively recruit local residents for these workforce training programs. And we need to make sure that we are working with local residents to make sure they have everything they need to successfully complete the programs.

Q: What changes — if any — do you feel are needed at CPS Energy and the San Antonio Water System following the winter storm?

A: We need to exercise checks and balances over the utilities that we own. Our current District 1 Councilman voted over 140 times in a row to approve every CPS Energy plan in the five years leading up to the storm. Nobody has over 140 slam dunks in a row. This vote record does not represent checks and balances. Our council needs to be more proactive about seeking out the best applicants our community has to offer to serve as members of CPS Energy and SAWS boards. And our council needs to do a better job of vetting those candidates. CPS Energy needs to own up to what they did wrong in not preparing for extreme weather. They also need to make a plan to communicate with their customers when prices are spiking. They now say that storm energy prices were the equivalent of the average person going to a gas station and having to pay $6,000 - $7,000 to fill up their car's gas tank. Why did they not tell us this during the storm? They had that information at that time. CPS Energy needs to insulate their power plants and energy infrastructure. They are currently blaming the state for not forcing all energy utilities to do so. However, nobody prevented CPS Energy from doing the responsible thing. Austin Energy prepared their infrastructure for extreme cold and was able to produce enough electricity to earn $54 million in profits for their city during the five day winter storm. CPS Energy failed to prepare for extreme cold and now plans to stick us with $1 billion in losses from the winter storm. After this election they plan to raise our electricity and gas rates for the next ten years to pay for just five days of only half our city having energy. Over the last few years, I served as chair of a stakeholder group that met with CPS Energy senior leadership. I pushed through a variety of reforms at CPS Energy. These reforms include getting a citizens advisory committee that was meeting in secret to begin publishing meeting agendas and meeting minutes, getting the CPS Energy board to begin video streaming meetings and allowing public comments at every board meeting, and creating the first citizens advisory committee that will meet in public and publicly review and make recommendations on CPS Energy's rate structure. I will continue to work to force CPS Energy and SAWS to be more transparent and accountable to our community.

Q: What is one policy or priority that you would introduce as a council consideration request that has not already been submitted or considered?

A: Citizens need to be able to follow the money in knowing who is influencing decisions made at City Hall. In 2018, a campaign finance task force recommended to our city council that they require all campaign donors to disclose who their employer is and what their occupation is. Councilman Trevino voted in support of this recommendation to pass this new law. However, since then Councilman Trevino has accepted the maximum contribution amount allowed from five city lobbyists without reporting them as lobbyists. Instead Trevino reported their occupation as "partner" or "self-employed" and their employer as "self-employed". This is a complete violation of the intentions of that 2018 ethics law and an attempt to deceive the public. I will pass laws that will require council members to clearly disclose any contributions that come from someone who is registered as a lobbyist with the city.


Roberto C. Treviño

Q: What is an issue relevant to your specific district that you would like to change or address?

A: I would like to address issues of affordable housing - both in terms of how to better preserve our existing affordable housing while adding to our affordable housing inventory.

Q: If you are the incumbent, what are you most proud of during your time in office so far?

A: I am most proud of championing the issues District 1 neighborhoods face: compatible development, zoning and planning, historic preservation, housing-stock preservation, property tax education & support, walkability, and ensuring neighborhoods have agency and a voice in City government.

Q: Voters will decide on Proposition B this May — a potential repeal of collective bargaining rights for the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Do you support repealing collective bargaining or do you believe it should remain in place?

A: I support Proposition B because accountability is non-negotiable. Chapter 174 removes local power when it comes to holding officers accountable. This effort has nothing to do with "defunding the police," and everything to do with taking the steps necessary to ensure our community and police force are safe from bad apples. San Antonio currently has the highest rate of rehiring fired officers in the country - 70%. This is unacceptable.

All the other major cities in Texas already opted out of Chapter 174 and have equal or better pay for their officers and more officers per capita. I am pro-labor and endorsed by the AFL-CIO. I support collective bargaining for workers, but an agent of the state with the authority to take life requires a set of disciplinary standards. I support the vast majority of our SAPD officers which do a great job of protecting our community. We must ensure that misconduct is not tolerated — especially within our police force. And I find it concerning that my opponent helped found the organization to place proposition B on the ballot, but has since claimed neutrality on the issue. Picking sides based on political calculations is a recipe for dishonesty. Just like our police, our elected officials should maintain their integrity above all else.

Q: Many residents have called for significant discipline reform for San Antonio Police officers in contract negotiations which are being debated right now between the city and the police union. What changes or reform — if any — would you like to see?

A: I believe we must look at reforming Chapter 143 to increase the accountability of our police officers. For example, ensuring that officer histories of misconduct are transparently available for future attempts at being hired within the same force or another. There are many other examples of common-sense regulations that must be revisited and modified. I also completely agree with the ten requests made by Fix SAPD that can be seen on their website.

Q: Voters passed the Ready to Work SA initiative in November which creates funding for job training and support services like childcare for people to seek new trades — especially for those who lost their job in the pandemic — using a sales tax for the next five years. Do you feel this was the right approach to addressing not only job losses but to also grow the talent pool for industries in San Antonio?

A: I believe we need to invest in workforce development, but not at this moment given our current pandemic-induced circumstances, we need to first ensure people have stable access to food and housing and are not at risk of eviction. The immediate need, which I do not see changing for the next 6-12 months, is stabilizing families. We are six months into the City's workforce development program and we have yet to see a significant positive impact as a result of the program.

Q: What changes — if any — do you feel are needed at CPS Energy and the San Antonio Water System following the winter storm?

A: Our municipally-owned utilities must be better prepared for catastrophic events - weather or otherwise. This includes the weatherization of our assets and a better emergency preparedness plan. These efforts should not be placed on the backs of rate-payers. I am proud of our efforts to pause disconnects for non-payment during the pandemic and look forward to holding our City and utilities accountable as a partner for the overall safety and recovery of our residents.

Q: What is one policy or priority that you would introduce as a council consideration request that has not already been submitted or considered?

A: Policies introduced via CCR should address systemic shortcomings and incidents where our current policies are insufficient. Given the friction caused by growth in the urban core in relation to existing neighborhoods, my recent policy initiatives have focused on ensuring there is a balance between residential and commercial interests (e.g. the Noise Ordinance Review). There is a need to revisit the rules and regulations that govern food truck operations - specifically how they impact residential areas. This, coupled with the public health component of food trucks - and the fact that they serve as small business incubators - is a seemingly small issue that has many layered impacts in our city and deserves to be updated to meet the needs of today.


Cyndi Dominguez

Did not respond.*


Lauro A. Bustamante

Q: What is your experience with city government? For instance, have you ever served on a city board or commission?

A: In the past I was elected to the Edwards Aquifer board

Q: What is an issue relevant to your specific district that you would like to change or address?

A: Health ( everyone needs to be vaccinated )

Q: If you are challenging an incumbent, why do you feel there needs to be a change in leadership and why are you the right person for that change?

A: More aggressive health procedures to get everyone vaccinated

Q: Voters will decide on Proposition B this May — a potential repeal of collective bargaining rights for the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Do you support repealing collective bargaining or do you believe it should remain in place?

A: support repealing collective bargaining

Q: Many residents have called for significant discipline reform for San Antonio Police officers in contract negotiations which are being debated right now between the city and the police union. What changes or reform — if any — would you like to see?

A: Accountability for abuse, crimes, and civil and human rights by the police

Q: Voters passed the Ready to Work SA initiative in November which creates funding for job training and support services like childcare for people to seek new trades — especially for those who lost their job in the pandemic — using a sales tax for the next five years. Do you feel this was the right approach to addressing not only job losses but to also grow the talent pool for industries in San Antonio?

A: yes

Q: What changes — if any — do you feel are needed at CPS Energy and the San Antonio Water System following the winter storm?

A: Reusable energy solar panels to provide energy independence off the grid.

Q: What is one policy or priority that you would introduce as a council consideration request that has not already been submitted or considered?

A: wide spread of vaccinates to the people, Solar panels for independent energy off the grid, electric buses, cars, planes, and trains.


Raymond Zavala

Q: What is your experience with city government? For instance, have you ever served on a city board or commission?

A: I have been an advocate for the senior citizens, the youth, the disabled and the veterans for over 20 years. I've never been elected or served on any boards, however I've been a leader or board member in non profit organizations.

Q: What is an issue relevant to your specific district that you would like to change or address?

A: The main issue that I would address is public safety. Public safety would include the budget, senior care, housing, homelessness, the economy, and mental illness.

Q: If you are challenging an incumbent, why do you feel there needs to be a change in leadership and why are you the right person for that change?

A: I feel that there needs to be a change in leadership, because of the lack of equal representation. for the past six years only the special interest groups have received representation. The incumbent's voting record has clearly shown that he isn't listening to the residents. Some examples are removing statues, letting homeless take priority over the neighborhood residents, voting for the Reimagine the Alamo plan, not disclosing where the statues are located, cost overruns in their removal. Unnecessary and wasteful spending of the taxpayer's money. No initiative to bring tax relief to the homeowners, even though he serves on the tax board. As a resident, I'd like to know why they get a catered lunch on taxpayer money, since now they have a $48K salary? There needs to be full accountability, complete transparency, and fiscal responsibility{a good steward of the taxpayers money).We need a representative that is charitable, compassionate, and patriotic and that will dedicate themselves full time to the position. I'm fully retired, and would be accessible to the residents. I'm the only candidate that performs nightly drives in the district to learn what areas have the most issues, be it illegal homeless campsites, infrastructure issues, and to note what improvements or where city services are needed.

Q: Voters will decide on Proposition B this May — a potential repeal of collective bargaining rights for the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Do you support repealing collective bargaining or do you believe it should remain in place?

A: No, I do not support repealing Proposition B. It should remain in place as it is. Prior to the former city manager, the city didn't have an issue with this until she became the city manager. Proposition B would cause irreparable harm to welfare, morale, safety, to the SAPD.

Q: Many residents have called for significant discipline reform for San Antonio Police officers in contract negotiations which are being debated right now between the city and the police union. What changes or reform — if any — would you like to see?

A: In reality, the only people that are calling for reform are the criminals and those influenced by the criminals. The first responders do have some disciplinary issues like all corporations have. I would like to implement a civilian review board to assist the chiefs in administering discipline to members that have conduct issues. That board would consist of 4 civilians and three first responders. The civilian members would be appointed by the council members, and each session would be transparent.

Q: Voters passed the Ready to Work SA initiative in November which creates funding for job training and support services like childcare for people to seek new trades — especially for those who lost their job in the pandemic — using a sales tax for the next five years. Do you feel this was the right approach to addressing not only job losses but to also grow the talent pool for industries in San Antonio?

A: I feel that it was a good idea on paper, but it could've been addressed a bit differently. I would've suggested on investing/sponsoring apprenticeship programs with viable companies. The applicants would get on the job training, and a certification or a two year degree at the completion of the program.

Q: What changes — if any — do you feel are needed at CPS Energy and the San Antonio Water System following the winter storm?

A: I have been saying this for many years at the citizens to speak sessions " we need to be prepared for any natural or man made disaster. It is obvious that emphasis was place elsewhere. The CEO's of the utility companies should be held 100 percent accountable for their actions or inactions. Since the city of San Antonio owns both companies, there should be term limits placed on how long a CEO can serve. Complacency has been set in for too long that the CEO's do not listen to the public when they hold their meeting. I personally know, because I'm the only candidate that has attended their meetings.

Q: What is one policy or priority that you would introduce as a council consideration request that has not already been submitted or considered?

A: I would introduce and prioritize making those non profits that have been receiving and have become dependent on city funding for ten years or more to become self sufficient.


Matthew J. Gauna

Q: What is your experience with city government? For instance, have you ever served on a city board or commission?

A: I am well experienced with the city government, specifically the Public works (formerly the Transportation and Capital Improvements Department), Parks Department, San Antonio River Authority, and Edwards Aquifer Authority. I studied environmental law under former D6 Council member Robert “Bob” Thompson. I gained the insight into the inner workings of city council, and the actions that need to be taken immediately in order to improve the quality of life for residents.

Q: What is an issue relevant to your specific district that you would like to change or address?

A: My top priority is Environmental reform within every city department and utility. This means auditing the amount being overspent on mismanaging our city’s creeks, ditches, and easements within the Public Works department. I will hold CPS Energy and City Council accountable for their failures to keep our homes warm during the February 2021 Winter storm.

Q: If you are challenging an incumbent, why do you feel there needs to be a change in leadership and why are you the right person for that change?

A: I am running because Roberto Trevino has failed to be a public servant and has not made the correct investments for San Antonio. We bring fresh, new solutions to the issues brought about by the housing crisis, infrastructure failures, and climate change. City Council has not worked for the citizens, they offer failing solutions to the issues that face us. In 7 years, Trevino has not implemented viable solutions to the housing crisis nor any solutions to the lack of proper public transit, the lack of sidewalks, and failing to solve traffic problems in our neighborhoods. Our city’s lack of assistance to businesses during the COVID pandemic not only added to the abandoned and empty storefronts that occupy District 1 but also left many people without assistance they deserved. City Council has allowed developers to pocket taxpayer money in the form of subsidies for water, electric, and natural gas while failing to provide affordable housing for elderly, college students, youths, and new families.

Q: Voters will decide on Proposition B this May — a potential repeal of collective bargaining rights for the San Antonio Police Officers Association. Do you support repealing collective bargaining, or do you believe it should remain in place?

A: This proposition is not defunding the police. I support the public’s right to choose on this proposition come May 1st. I would like to see SAPD keep fired officers off the force as they reflect poorly on those serving the community. I support repealing the collective bargaining ability for the Police Union. Rest assured this will not interfere with the budget or daily operations of SAPD. I do support increasing the number of social workers and mental health professionals to assist officers on calls and outreach with those facing homelessness and drug abuse.

Q: Many residents have called for significant discipline reform for San Antonio Police officers in contract negotiations which are being debated right now between the city and the police union. What changes or reform — if any — would you like to see?

A: I support the reformation of how SAPD conducts operations regarding traffic stops and mental health incidences. Some things can’t be reformed within the Police force. We see rampant racism and aggressive attitude towards the general public, by officers, when conducting traffic stops and mental health incidents. Mathias Ometu was stopped by SAPD in a case of mistaken identity, costing this man his dignity and taxpayers money in the form of legal fees. The Police should serve and protect the community, as YOUR city council member we will ensure SAPD is held accountable to conduct their duties. The murder clearance rate in 2018 was almost 60% while SAPD’s budget is almost $500 Million. We are not investing in the correct equipment to solve violent crimes, we see SAPD buying military gear and supplies while not investing in practical technologies like city-wide camera system that could be used to track fleeing vehicles from crime scenes.

Q: Voters passed the Ready to Work SA initiative in November which creates funding for job training and support services like childcare for people to seek new trades — especially for those who lost their job in the pandemic — using a sales tax for the next five years. Do you feel this was the right approach to addressing not only job losses but to also grow the talent pool for industries in San Antonio?

A: No, this was the right idea, carried out poorly and the current implementation is a failure. We did not see the working class represented during the planning process or taking any leadership roles on the committee. City Council has wasted tax dollars on this program while enriching themselves.

Q: What changes — if any — do you feel are needed at CPS Energy and the San Antonio Water System following the winter storm?

A: Paula Gold-Williams must resign for her part in the failure to keep San Antonio powered during the February 2021 winter storm. As your council member we will allocate a greater part of the CPS Energy budget to invest in the weatherization of their generators and transmission lines. SAWS water pumps must also be weatherized. The incompetence shown by those in power left everyone cold during that storm. We need a leader who understands science. Vote Matthew J Gauna if you want to hold CPS and SAWS accountable.

Q: What is one policy or priority that you would introduce as a council consideration request that has not already been submitted or considered?

A: As your council member I would like to see the decriminalization of the possession and smoking of cannabis. SAPD spends valuable time and resources arresting cannabis smokers while rape kits go untested, and while murders go unsolved. If we can follow the lead of nations such as Canada & Israel in recognizing the medical properties of cannabis, we can free up those resources and devote them towards solving and preventing violent crimes. City council has failed to pass legislation to reflect the interests of the working class of San Antonio but will move immediately to approve vanity projects that benefit the wealthy. Taxes on the sale of cannabis can be used to supplement transportation investments and build a subway/SkyTrain system similar to Vancouver, building a community in which all ages and abilities can travel across the city without the need to purchase a vehicle.


* denotes candidates who did not respond to survey requests sent via email and/or phone calls by time of publication.

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