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Donald Oroian Points To Civil Engineering Experience In Case For Dist. 9 Seat

City Council District 9 candidate Donald Oroian is in good spirits and has plenty of confidence with over a week left until Election Day, May 10.

The small consulting firm owner is a neighborhood leader and a former city planning commission member who said he fits the bill for city council:

"You want a group of people on city council that have some diversity professionally," he said Wednesday. "A lot of what the city does is land transactions, construction, the budget, related to land, city code; sure would be great to have a civil engineer that actually understands the documents to be providing oversight."

Considering the merits of all five candidates in this District 9 race, Oroian said he comes to the table with the most experience behind him. His company does work like subdivision platting, zoning applications and building disability accommodations. Asked about any contracts he may have because of the work his firm does, Oroian said there are none. He disclosed that he finished a city-owned sidewalk inspection last week.

To run in the race, he said he also stepped down from the planning commission.

As with all the candidates, questions about their political ideologies are important for voters. Oroian said he doesn't like the streetcar project because he doesn't think there'll be enough people downtown to justify its cost or permanence.

He also wouldn't have voted in favor of the new non-discrimination ordinance. He believes votes should be based on getting basic services taken care of without so much focus on social issues.

"I don't want people to vote for me because of my stance on those sort of issues if they're not a prime focus of the City of San Antonio."

"I don't want to lose a vote or even gain a vote," Oroian said. "I hate to say it [but] I don't want people to vote for me because of my stance on those sort of issues if they're not a prime focus of the City of San Antonio," he said.

But some people who support the NDO take exception to that. One supporter said social and business issues are not mutually exclusive.

They feel social issues are just as important as city services and protections like these are needed here.

Oroian applied for the interim spot in District 9 last year after Elisa Chan's departure, but the council chose former chamber president Joe Krier. At the time, Krier said he only saw holding down the fort until the special election.

"I am not intending to run," said Krier to council members who were curious about whether he'd want to seek the seat in an election. Typically, council members have preferred that an interim council person not seek the position permanently.

The fact that Krier said he didn't intend on running, but later changed his mind because many different people encouraged him to run in the election, is not sitting well with constituents, Oroian said.

"Probably, more than half of the time, there was a comment made by the homeowner that said, 'He's the guy that said he wasn't running and I don't appreciate that.' And that's just what I'm hearing," Oroian said.

He agrees Krier has name recognition locally and maybe even across the state. But Oroian said when you consider the council job description and getting streets, drainage and emergency services taken care of, he is the man for the job.

"Who better than someone with my background?" he asked.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.