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San Antonio City Council District 10 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.


Emily Norwood

Did not respond.*


Alexander Svehla

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

I am the only candidate for city council 10 discussing education policy and progress. As an educator of 7 years, it makes me concerned that education never seems to be at the forefront of campaign discussion. I have run into other educators as well as parents during my campaign and they are frustrated that education is not being talked about during the most difficult year that education has ever faced. The past year has been extremely difficult for students, parents and educators.

As the pandemic hit, I saw how many schools struggled to adapt to the sudden change. Many of our independent school districts are not equipped with enough of the proper technology to best serve our students.

I believe we need to spend time analyzing our local school districts and the areas they serve to see how they were able to accommodate their families who did not have proper technology or internet access during the times of the pandemic. We need to ensure that our schools are correctly equipped with enough technology such as Chromebooks and tablets so that they can better serve their students and community. There are still many families that do not have reliable technology or internet service, so by properly equipping our schools - students will have more equitable access to education.

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?

The incumbent Mr. Perry and I have very opposite views on a majority of issues. He believes in public safety, but does not want to hold police officers accountable under proposition B. He did not support the 2019 propositions that passed overwhelmingly in the city (Pre-K4SA, VIA and Ready to Work SA). In my platform, we will address education, the environment, public transportation, housing first homeless policy, and police accountability - these are things that Mr. Perry has not and will not address under his leadership.

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?

In a Bexar Facts Poll, 68% of people polled said police officers that break the law should be held accountable. But, as it stands right now, San Antonio ranks last in police accountability measures in major cities in Texas, with 70% of SAPD officers being reinstated after firing. Infamously, a SAPD officer fed a homeless man a sandwich full of dog feces - a story which made national news. Under chapter 174 of the police contract, SAPD could not fire the man.

A study by Rice University found that oversight agencies that are meant to keep a watch on police conduct are barred from having access to data and important information about police activity. SAPD Chief McManus has admitted that the current rules are protecting bad officers.

This is why I support proposition B. This proposition will hold bad officers accountable, while benefiting those good officers who protect their citizenry and follow the law.

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?

The main goal is to repeal chapter 174 and hold officers that break the law accountable.

The misinformation from the other side is that proposition B will "defund" the police, which is not true at all. Instead collective bargaining with a union, police and the city would move to a meet and confer agreement which numbers show has significantly higher rates of police accountability.

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?

I supported and voted for Ready to Work SA. Having people be trained and returning to the workforce can only benefit our economy in both the short and long term. Through the partnerships that the city has created through Alamo Colleges for instance, they can ensure significant outreach and proper training in the multiple fields offered.

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

Like many in San Antonio, my wife and I were left without power and water for around 72 hours. It left us frustrated, confused and upset.

A change we need to make immediately before our next winter is to make sure all systems are winterized. We know a major part of the failure from the winter storm was lack of winterization methods because CPS and SAWS would never think such a devastating storm could ever hit our town.

Unfortunately, another part of the problem that we cannot fix as council members is that we are part of the ERCOT grid and not the national grid. I believe the storm showed why having your own state wide grid is a major mistake.

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

Besides my education policy that I already mentioned, I am also the only candidate in my district platforming for environmental policy. Over the past 5 years we have seen waste increase and recyling decrease in our city. We need to consider additional laws that will curb this trend - many major cities have successfully passed mandatory recycling and I believe this is something that we can pass. The city also needs to expand its efforts to work with businesses, non-profits and the community to increase education on recycling and waste.

I also want to pass a strict date on closing the Spruce Coal Plant and instead look toward clean energy solutions for the future. We need to hold CPS and SAWS accountable to creating and sustaining clean energy, protecting the aquifer and decreasing pollution.


Clayton Perry

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

I have served as the District 10 Councilmember for 4 years. In my four years on Council, I have served as a tri-chair of the Military Transformation Task Force, and have served on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) which determines funding for major transportation projects across the entire community and beyond, as well as the Alamo Regional Council of Governments (AACOG) and the Committee of Six for Workforce Solutions Alamo. I have also served on several City Council committees, namely; Public Safety, Audit and Accountability, Intergovernmental Relations, Culture and Neighborhood Services, Investments, and I was just appointed to the Emergency Preparedness Committee to investigate and make recommendations following the 2021 Winter Storm.

Prior to holding elective office, I served as the chairman of the City's Building Standards Board (BSB), and on the Streets Committee for the 2017 Bond.

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

I would like to continue fighting for more funding for core services in District 10. I believe in our responsibilities to protect and uphold the City Charter, and I will continue focusing on the core services that we are required to provide to our neighbors - infrastructure, public safety, parks, libraries, etc. I would like to keep a strong focus on funding these critical items in District 10. Provide more resources to our community to help our neighborhoods be safe and clean places to live, have good streets, great parks and trail connections, and to continue listening and learning from our neighbors about their needs and concerns and addressing them appropriately.

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

Throughout my whole career and especially on City Council, I have had a strong focus on customer service. On Council, I have been a staunch advocate for our neighbors and have fought for property tax relief, including passing the first ever City Homestead Exemption. I have delivered on bringing improvements to our district’s infrastructure to the tune of $64M, as well as on safety and security by spearheading the effort to fill the 300 vacancies at SAPD from 2017-2021. I have attended hundreds of neighborhood association meetings, hosted monthly District 10 Community meetings, answered thousands of emails and phone calls and addressed the important issues brought forth by our neighbors.

I am also proud to be the most pro-business and pro-military member of the City Council. My support of business and the military is well documented over the last four years. I have advocated for improving our processes and cutting bureaucratic red-tape that can increase the cost of doing business in our community. Throughout my tenure on Council, and especially due to the negative impacts of COVID 19, I have fought for more funding to be allocated to our small businesses to help keep their doors open.

Over the 21 years that I served the US Air Force, I learned the importance and the value of our military, and right here in Military City, USA, I have worked closely with JBSA on many projects to reduce their operational. This has been through partnerships such as sharing in road paving on the military installations, working to prevent encroachment and other negative impacts caused by incompatible development, and focusing on the quality of life issues such as housing, family services, and job opportunities for military spouses. The military has an enormous positive impact on our economy in San Antonio. I believe it is important that we have a Council member who understands the military's needs and can deliver results as an equal partner to help encourage the continued growth of military missions here at JBSA.

If re-elected, I will continue to provide great customer service, strong advocacy, thoughtful input and a common sense voice for the neighbors in District 10 at City Hall on these and other very important issues.

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?

I do not support Proposition B. I am a staunch supporter of SAPD and believe that the majority of officers are good people who selflessly serve our community. There’s room for improvement in every organization and I support reforms to SAPD that are realized through open dialogue with all parties involved. One thing I will not compromise on however is accountability. We must hold bad actors accountable for the good of the community and the department. I am concerned about unintended consequences that may occur if Proposition B is passed. Removing collective bargaining may create a void that could be filled with something less desirable.

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?

As the sitting Council Member for District 10, I am somewhat limited in what I am able to discuss with the ongoing collective bargaining currently underway. As I mentioned before, there’s room for improvement in every organization and I support reforms to SAPD that are realized through open dialogue with all parties involved. One thing I will not compromise on however is accountability. We must hold bad actors accountable for the good of the community and the department.

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?

I did not support this initiative in November because as it was presented, I felt that there were too many loose ends and unanswered questions that could end up making this program inefficient and wasteful. For example, the number of people expected to complete the program was less than 50%, which is very troubling given the great annual expense of the program. Additionally, at the time this was presented in August of 2020, we were at a very dire time with the COVID pandemic. We had businesses closing, unemployment skyrocketing, people unable to pay rent and mortgage, and I felt strongly that these funds could have been used to bolster small businesses and other necessary immediate assistance. Workforce Development can be a great tool, but it is long term, and not the immediate shot in the arm that we desperately needed at that time - and with over 39% of our small businesses still closed in San Antonio, I'd say we still need today.

Since the item passed overwhelmingly, I am going to support it and assist in providing input towards making the program better as it continues to be solidified.

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

As a member of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, I am currently studying all of the information and data from the utilities, the City, the public and all other stakeholders to find the facts of what led up to the catastrophic failures during the winter storm. We are about 4 meetings in to the process and have just begun questioning the utilities after gathering data and input from the community. I can tell you right off the bat that there was a massive communications failure that we will need to address between the utilities and the City - and ultimately from all of them to the public. We have a long way to go in investigating these important issues, but I am hopeful that a solid amount of recommendations will come forward to help our utilities become more resilient moving forward. This is going to be a methodical and thorough process because our community deserves to have their answers addressed, and collectively we need to be better prepared and our utilities resilient enough to withstand weather events as we move forward.

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

I would like to introduce a CCR that would provide "rental assistance" to small businesses that were impacted by the COVID pandemic. We have taken care of (and I have supported the item every time) housing assistance through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP), but this would be one to assist our struggling small businesses to help them get back on their feet, hire more of our neighbors and help kickstart the economy.


Ezra Johnson

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

I am the immediate past Vice-Chair of the VIA Metropolitan Transit Board of Trustees, where I also served as the Chair of the Audit Committee and the Chair of the Accessible Transit Advisory Committee. In addition, I was VIA’s representative on the board of the Alamo Area Mobility Planning Organization. I also represented VIA on the Joint COVID Community Response Coalition.

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

Ending housing instability and homelessness is a top priority and starts with passing Prop A and providing transitional and permanent housing to anyone experiencing homelessness - without preconditions. This “housing first” policy has already been successful in effectively ending homelessness among veterans in San Antonio and has repeatedly been shown to be the most cost-effective way to address temporary and chronic housing instability. In addition, it should be easier for people who are homeless to access services by facilitating greater coordination with providers. We also need to invest in wraparound services for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness stemming from addiction and mental health issues.

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?

It was during my time on the VIA Board that I came to realize that improving the quality of life for all city residents requires focus on our people and investing in their personal growth and success. I have called this the people-first approach to local government. The incumbent in District 10 has repeatedly shown that he does not believe that investing in people is all that important. I fought hard for investments in PreK4SA, Workforce Development and VIA funding while the incumbent fought against all three. I am the only candidate in my race who has actually run a small business and can call on personal experience in understanding the challenges currently faced by our small businesses. I further believe that each of our council districts succeeds when the city succeeds as a whole. As an educator, attorney, judge, and neighborhood leader, I have the right mix of experience and policy knowledge to start working for the people of District 10 on day one.

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?

San Antonio is lucky to have a well-trained and professional police force that supports our community and does the sometimes dangerous work of keeping us safe. SAPD has been on the forefront of developing innovative new policing strategies, such as specially trained units for mental health and homelessness response. At the same time, justifiable concerns have been raised about certain limitations on the police chief’s authority to fire or discipline officers who fail to uphold the high standard of conduct we expect from them. San Antonio’s citizen oversight of the police department has been shown to be insufficient, and current disciplinary rules allow too many rogue officers to remain on the force. Reform is needed to restore full public trust in SAPD and to maintain the stellar reputation of the vast majority of the officers on the force. As an attorney, I have carefully researched all of the applicable laws and listened to the arguments of all sides, and I cannot support Prop B at this time. Prop B takes fundamental collective bargaining rights away from workers with no appreciable gain in accountability for officers who violate our policies. I am committed to real accountability, however, through council action. As I have said many times in the past, I will not vote to approve any new police contract that does not contain the 10 reforms identified by Fix SAPD, or something substantially similar in nature.

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?

I support the 10 reforms identified by Fix SAPD, including changing the 180-day rule and limiting the ability of arbitrators to return fired officers to the force.

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?

Yes. I was a supporter of the Ready to Work SA initiative. I have committed to working with COPS/Metro to ensure that the program is designed to be as effective as possible and reach those who need it most

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

We must prioritize council oversight of our public utilities. The city council governance structure must be reformed so that there are staff and resources available for this purpose. The experience I gained as the chair of the VIA Metropolitan Transit Audit Committee will help me hit the ground running on day one to bring transparency and any needed accountability as soon as possible.

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

I am not aware of a current council consideration request concerning city policy on cite and release and the San Antonio Police Department, and would make that one of my first requests.


Gabrien Gregory

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

I have spent the past seven years organizing for local, state, and national candidates, officials, and issues.

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

Homelessness is not a crime. It is impossible to arrest away the core issues that cause individuals to become homeless, and that has never been as clear to so many as it is now during the COVID-19 pandemic. The residents of District 10 have seen the homeless population within the district grow significantly, and we must target the source of the problem – not the people. As your councilmember, we will take a Housing First approach that aims to keep families in their home long term through property tax relief and rent relief, and provide permanent resources to currently homeless residents without exhausting tax dollars.

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?

As an Army Reserve officer, organizer, and service industry worker, I understand what it takes to lead and I know what it feels like to make ends meet. I am running because it is time for a new generation of leadership in District 10 - a district that has been represented by the same group of men for almost 20 years. Councilman Perry is a guard-dog of our tax dollars and has voted against almost every positive measure on the dais, to include workforce development, public transportation, and early education. The councilman has sided against science and medical experts during this pandemic. As your councilman, I will listen to experts and those most affected by issues we face - not presume answers. Experience does not always equal leadership, and it is time for proactive leadership for the future.

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?

I am proud to be the only candidate in District 10 supporting Proposition B to hold bad officers accountable. As an platoon leader in the Army Reserve, I am responsible for roughly 20 Soldiers. If any of them did something wrong, they would be held accountable - the same should go for anyone wearing a uniform. San Antonio has the highest rehire rate of fired officers in the United States. The police chief should be able to make the tough decision to remove an officer rightfully. This is not a labor issue. This is a civil rights issue. We need leaders who stand on the right side of history and use good judgement.

While I support Proposition B, I do not support defunding the police. In fact, I am advocating for a far northeast public safety substation, expanding the SAFFE program, and increasing mental health services for police officers and firefighters.

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?

The police chief should have the trusted authority to remove bad officers. I support bringing on a civilian oversight group for a people-based appeals process and making disciplinary records public. The people should also be able to collect data from SAPD without reasonably and legitimately causing a security risk. With full transparency and community oversight, I believe we can work to bring the best pay and benefits to officers in the state, following the lead of some major Texas cities. Trust is the backbone.

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?

In a city where one in three residents live in poverty, we need to prioritize direct relief to folks facing eviction and experiencing hardships in light of the pandemic. We need to continue supporting small businesses and working people on the road to recovery. While I support the Workforce Development program, I see potential for changes to maximize recruitment into the program. I do not believe there should be such restrictions for people who need to utilize this service; eligibility for Pell grants and other factors should not disqualify people from workforce training. On Council, I would also work to bring more veterans and military spouses into the program.

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

I believe it's past time to shut down the spruce coal plant outside of town - one of the leading polluters in the Texas. As your councilman, I will advocate for renewable energy opportunities in San Antonio. I will advocate for CPS and SAWS to be held accountable and listen to community input. I will go up to Austin and demand the state add us to the national grid in light of the 111 Texans who died as a result of the winter storm and gross negligence by our state officials at the top. And we need to be prepared for when these events happen in the future. In one of the fastest growing cities in the country, I believe we must work toward a cleaner, more sustainable future in public transportation and clean development. It's time to do away with climate deniers - I am your climate advocate.

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

Among a slate of policies to address continued COVID relief, homelessness, and workforce opportunity for veterans, I would introduce a Council Consideration Request for a Cite and Release program for low-level marijuana offenses within the first one-hundred days. Low-level offenses should not completely negatively alter a resident's opportunities in life. A cite and release program in San Antonio will keep more families together and be a positive step toward limiting incarceration.


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