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San Antonio

San Antonio Runoffs: District 4 Profiles

Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
Adriana Rocha Garcia and Johnny Arredondo

Texas Public Radio is 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 4, which is on the south west side of San Antonio.

On the ballot is Adriana Rocha Garcia, a business professor at Our Lady of the Lake University and Johnny Arredondo, a retired retail supervisor.

In the May election, Adriana Rocha Garcia finished first with 47% of the vote against four other opponents.  She’s 39 and teaches business and marketing classes at Our Lady of the Lake University. She said she is focused on growth because one million new residents are expected to move to San Antonio by 2040.

“So that we can plan now, so we can keep our neighborhoods intact, so that we could prevent any crime or displacement or anything negative that happens from growth,” she said. “Responsible growth is definitely at the top of my agenda because there’s so much opportunity for it (growth) still in District 4.”

She said part of addressing that growth is helping existing residents not get priced out of their homes on rising property taxes.

“That 55+ population that might not be able to afford the taxes. What are we doing to help advocate for them?” Garcia asked. “Or to help educate them and to help them see what things they can do so they can either better prepare, or just start planning for the next few years of their life?”

Garcia has lived in District 4 nearly all of her life. She said each age group in the district has different difficulties. For example, those between ages 19 and 54 may find it challenging to make ends meet and have time for family.

“How do we get them the skills training that they need so that they can provide a family living wage for their families, so that they don’t have to work two or three jobs, so that they are able to attend after school programs with their children, so that they able to able to help them with homework right?” she asked.

Johnny Arredondo finished second in the May 4 election with 21% of the vote, setting him up for the runoff. He’s 63, and before retirement he spent about 15 years as retail supervisor for department stores. If he’s elected, he said his goal is to bring the voice of District 4 to the council.

“I know what it’s like to be overburdened with taxes, and I really feel that the city council doesn’t listen to us,” he said. “I don’t feel that they have the best interest of the taxpayer at heart. I want to let the people of my district know that I will represent them and they will be the top priority on my list.”

For Arredondo, there are two big issues: transportation and property tax relief. On transportation, he said there needs to be smart technology and data collection to determine what steps the council should take.

“The transportation problems that we have, the high traffic that we have, the congestion that we have — those are the issues that the city has to address,” he said. “And they’re going to have to address it in a way that is not an overburden to the taxpayer. They need to make some smart decisions as far as how to solve that problem.”

Property taxes should be the city’s main concern, Arredondo said. He praised the Texas Legislature for passing property tax revenue caps, but he said there needs to be more action from the city.

“I believe all districts are going to see the property tax and appraisals, and I really feel that is going to be a major issue simply because some of these people are being taxed out of their house and homes,” Arredondo said. “Taxes are so crazy. Many people in this area — being that it’s an older area, an established area — we have a lot of people on fixed incomes.”

This is the first time District 4 has an open seat in nearly a decade. Current city councilman Rey Saldaña is termed out after serving on the council for eight years.

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