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Government/Politics

In District 7, Medina’s Got A Battle On His Hands

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City of San Antonio
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Councilman Cris Medina

It’s usually difficult to unseat incumbent candidates. But San Antonio District 7 Councilmember Cris Medina’s seat might be in jeopardy. Here’s more on the embattled councilman’s race to keep his seat and why things are tough for him.

During early voting, Shannon Dunn showed up at the Maverick Library to cast her vote in the District 7council race. District 7, west of downtown, stretches from Woodlawn Lake past 1604 to the Braun Road area. Dunn wants to keep Cris Medina. “He’s always doing community events and that’s great, and he lives in my neighborhood, he’s a good guy. He bought girl scout cookies from my daughter,” says Dunn.

But other voters like Louise, who asked us not to use her  last name, want anybody but Medina, because of a major criticism against him — he’s often just M.I.A..“[We need] someone who has our best interests at heart, [someone] looking out for us, somebody who is there in office and showing up for the meetings and not cutting out early.”

Councilman Medina has represented District 7 since 2011. He began this year facing media allegations he was being investigated by the FBI and the San Antonio Police Department following allegations he misused campaign funds, among other things. Medina has not been charged by either agency. The FBI does not confirm or deny whether it is investigating him, and Medina claims there is no investigation from SAPD.

“I’ve never sat down with anybody from SAPD in any criminal investigation. There has been no contact with them whatsoever on that regard. I’m proud to have the support of the San Antonio Police Officer’s Association, the San Antonio Fire Fighter’s Association. I think that if I were under investigation they would not be supporting me,” he says.

One of Medina’s opponents, Mari Aguirre-Rodriguez, temporarily served as District 2’s council person during a two month-absence Medina took last August for Air Force training. Aguirre-Rodriuez says she’s running to be the permanent council person to make changes at City Hall.

“I think that City Hall is going to be a different place after this weekend, and to me, this is going to be the most pivotal election, where we will look back and say this turned our city one way or another.”

Aguirre-Rodriguez’s tenure representing District 7 wasn’t without incident though. She caused upheaval in the district when she placed two staff members on paid administrative leave and hired temporary workers to take their places.“I just needed the support of staff that I could trust.”

Medina says Aguirre-Rodriuez didn’t take proper care of the district in his absence.“I got back to countless e-mails unopened, I got back to countless calls that were not taken, messages that were left unanswered.”

The Aguirre-Rodriguez campaign is accusing Medina of being absent for more than 570 votes in his two terms in office. The councilman says that’s inflated.  He admits missing a few votes but not as many as his opponent is claiming. “I think if you take out that part where I’m physically not there, I’m on military leave and military service, my record is in the upward low to mid 90s in terms of percentage.”

Attorney Enrique Valdivia, former City employee John Fodrill, and small business owner Fred Rangel are also competing to represent San Antonio City Council District 7.