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San Antonio

San Antonio Runoffs: District 6 Profiles

Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio

Texas Public Radio will run stories highlighting the candidates on the ballot for the June 8 runoff election.

There are three city council races on this Saturday’s runoff ballot, including District 6.

The winner of this race will replace outgoing councilman Greg Brockhouse, who is vacating the seat in order to run for mayor.

The runoff candidates for District 6 include Melissa Cabello Havrda, a disability attorney, and Andy Greene, an accountant and former city council staffer.

San Antonio’s District 6 is on the far reaches of the city’s west side.

Melissa Cabello Havrda finished first in the May election, with 46% of the vote.

During early voting, she stood outside of a library with some of her campaign staff talking to voters. She said her passion for civic government came during a walk with her grandfather.

“I look up and I asked him, ‘Why don’t you have any sidewalks in your neighborhood?’ And he looked down at me and said ‘porque no las importa’ – they don’t care about us,” she said. “And even as a little girl that sparked a fire in me that burns to this day.”

She said she wants to help people with the things they see when they look out their front door, like installing sidewalks and street lights.

Havrda is 44, and she’s lived in District 6 her entire life. She worked in the office of former San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza as a chief-of-staff for constituent services.

One issue the council will likely take up is property tax reform. Havrda said the most meaningful change would come from the appraisal district, which is separate from the city. She adds a city homestead exemption may not be enough for homeowners to see a difference on their tax bill but have a large impact on the budget.

“What worries me about it is, maybe it gets my $30 back this year but they have this millions of dollars of decrease in this city budget, and we can’t get new lighting, we can't get new drainage, we can’t fix that pothole in front of your house,” she said.

Havrda also made the runoff last election, ultimately losing to current councilman Greg Brockhouse.

This time on the ballot is Andy Greene. He’s lived in District 6 since the mid-1980s. He’s 59. In the May election, Greene finished with 35%. He said he wants to be a centrist voice on the city council.

“Our city council right now is very progressive — while that’s not a bad thing, it’s totally that way,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of votes that just get ram-rodded through because of that.”

Greene has worked in the city council offices for District 6 as a part-time staffer for the last ten years: eight under Councilman Ray Lopez and nearly two years under Brockhouse.

He said he served as Lopez’s campaign manager in 2009 and was hired on immediately. He was eventually staffed for metropolitan planning organization and the police and fire pension board.

Under Brockhouse, Greene said he was a liaison for 15 neighborhoods.

The street Enrique M. Barrera Parkway, where Lackland Air Force Base sits, was once known as Old Highway 90.

A council vote changed the name, which has been a contentious decision for residents here. Greene says he believes the public should be allowed to have it changed back if they wish.

“When that vote went through we really didn’t have a buy-in by all of the residents of all of this area – of Old Highway 90 and Enrique M. Barrera Parkway,” he said. “They’ve done a study — they’ve done a vote actually — and it was 97% to 3% that they want to have the name changed back. And if that’s what they want that’s what we’ll move forward with.”

This is Greene’s first run at political office. He was still for working for Brockhouse up until February when he filed to run for office.

Greene said he would be in favor of a proposed homestead exemption for the city’s property taxes.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.