Ivy Taylor made history by being the first Black person elected Mayor of the seventh largest city in San Antonio, Texas. She also made history as a Black woman being elected of a city with over one million people. The Mayor took stands on issues that some would describe as her greatest accomplishments such as her decision to stop the Streetcar Project with VIA, or purchase a new 204-Acre Park on the Northside or successfully pass a new collective bargaining agreement with the San Antonio Police Officers Association. In fact, the MLK Commission, made up of mostly Black citizens, recognized Taylor, with the 2018 Martin Luther King, Jr Award, over a
posthumous recognition of the beloved former Texas State Representative Ruth Jones McClendon. One opportunity that also made the city proud was the Mayor Taylor signed a “Sister City” agreement with Windhoek, Namibia - a first for San Antonio with any African city. Likewise she hosted an active African national president in San Antonio, a historic first. As history supports, this was her accomplishment!
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Two weeks ago, the SA Observer published an Open Letter to Mayor Ron Nirenberg concerning the City of San Antonio’s lack of commitment to hiring Black people. Immediately, the Ron Nirenberg fanbase started to write back stating, the problem of Affirmative Action, did not start with the current mayor. They insinuate the problem was made worse under the term of Mayor Ivy Taylor. To be fair, we had to take a look without being biased.
The SA Observer emailed the City of San Antonio for the Open Records of the Affirmative Action committee minutes on March 12, 2018. This Affirmative Action Committee is a board and commission of the city that all City Council members and the Mayor appoint representation. The City met the request of the meeting minutes. We were very shocked to what we read. Maybe we shouldn’t be shocked, but the draft city minutes from the December 2017 meeting reads “The Chair moved to approve the October 13, 2015 minutes. Anthony Rogers seconded the motion. There being no objection, the Minutes for the October 13, 2015 meeting were adopted.” Did the minutes say 2015????
While we asked for the last three meeting minutes – only one was provided. So why are Blacks being shut out of City of San Antonio hiring? It seems as though our past mayor didn’t have Black employment on her focus. Some also say, the one employee, Yolanda Oden, also from Taylor's New York, was the only Black that the mayor continue to support. It was written by Gilbert Garcia in the San Antonio Express News on August 9, 2014, "Taylor also persuaded former Express-News columnist Cary Clack to leave the staff of U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, and insurance agent Lou Miller to give up his seat on the VIA board, for positions on her team." Not shortly after hiring, Lou Miller, who many credit for wheeling and dealing to get Taylor into the Mayor’s seat, was ousted by her. Cary Clack who was the Communications Director was also ousted but he resigned. Both left very disgruntled with Taylor’s leadership. In the end, no Black males were in position to serve Mayor Taylor. Sad to say, she never tried to fix those optics.
We can also remind the readers that a key White House initiative of President Obama,
My Brother’s Keeper, was adopted by Taylor, and whitewashed as she pushed the City to use P16PLUS COUNCIL OF GREATER BEXAR COUNTY, a white firm. While there were Black PhDs, like Dr. Ron Kelley, CEO of the National Training Corporation, and other highly qualified Black consultants like him, desired to manage this program, after all it does address the needs of primarily Black children. Taylor gave the program to P16's Judith McCormick. Today, the website reflects the former Mayor Taylor still in position as the Mayor overseeing the initiative. No wonder the Black program gotten NO REAL attention of the current mayor and his commitment to sustain the program.
When a Black 14-Year-Old Girl outside a Quinceañera was shown on a video to be punched by a San Antonio police, and arrested for assault and detained, Taylor downplayed the incident, and sided with the City of San Antonio police calling the incident “a scuffle.” People criticized and said if that Black girl was Taylor's daughter she would not have responded the same way. Not surprisingly, the City police endorsed Taylor within hours of the Mayor standing up for them - as VoteIvy.com indicates one of top accomplishments was supporting the collective bargaining agreement with the police. As you can imagine, Black Live Matter activist, SATX4, called Taylor all kind of names and stated she sold out. After the video tape traveled the internet, very few Black leaders called the Mayor to support her isolated stance on the issue. This is where Civil Rights Attorney Tess House had to speak up to defend the honor of Black youths. Unfortunately, the Mayor's position was with the law enforcement.
As a resident of Dignowity Hills, I am not shocked even though You may wonder why Ivy Taylor lost the Eastside to Mayor Nirenberg? As we covered the political race, Taylor would not attend Eastside functions or debates – often appearing more important than the people who celebrated her being in office. Ivy’s logic was the community should know that she had to court the North to win the election, even if it was at their expense. Maybe this is why District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick and Bexar County Commissioner of Precinct 4 Tommy Calvert opposed Taylor's run for the Mayor's seat as they understood her politics. In political events, Taylor would walk away from Black leaders to spend her time with mostly White donors who stated they believed in her and grateful for her accomplishments. Like many Black politicians, whether local or national, Taylor struggled with her roots. Losing critical voting precincts on the Eastside support how out of touch she became with the people, her constituents. But the worst, and more importantly, the bread and butter of jobs for Blacks was never on her radar. Maybe this is an ironic story, that Mayor Taylor has failed to connect her success with a big payout job. Unfortunately, the Express News pushed her under the bus, showing that she was probably the first mayor in history to file for unemployment compensation following her defeat to Nirenberg. This was probably a motivated story by the San Antonio Express News executive Bruce Davidson, who is now the new Mayor’s Chief of Staff. The hit was on… to bury the political career of Ivy R. Taylor.
In the end, Black people are very upset. As the story has been proven to be factual, the disparity is real, we haven’t heard any rumors the former mayor has tried to be like Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. and see how she can be a problem solver. No, there is no sign that Mayor Taylor is interested in helping anyone at this time, even though the largest failure could be attributed to her not being aware or doing more.
In the end, Taylor’s best days may be behind her, as there are no rumors of former “supporters” offering to bring her on board. While we recognize the former mayor may be popular to some, the masses of people complaining about the City’s poor hiring for Blacks are not defending Ivy Taylor's record while she was in-charge.
Under VoteIvy.com, at the very end of her website – and probably what she really thought was not so important, Ivy listed “Held the first ever Texas MBK summit to help connect young men and boys of color to opportunities and help them build healthy relationships with themselves, their families and their community.” Lastly she writes, “Established The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (which was renamed by Nirenberg to Office of Equity) to support individuals of every background.” It seems that Equity is not defined very well for African-Americans – this is clear!
Again, Taylor is not the sole person responsible for the Black 7% representation. Mayor Nirenberg was an elected City Councilman with his own appointee to the committee for years. If the committee couldn’t reach a quorum, why didn’t anyone kick and scream that the committee wasn’t meeting for 15 straight months? People shouldn’t sign up for any board or commission if they are not going to participate. To date, Mayor Nirenberg also has not replaced Dorinda Rolle, who the city website indicates resigned. This is a poor indication that Affirmative Action is not a top priority. The new chairman for this committee is Chris Hanel, a non-African American. Not surprisingly, there is only one African American on the committee from District 2, Michelle Lugalia-Hollon.
Fact: The City of San Antonio has hired more Whites and Hispanics than both of their populations represent. Black underemployment is falling at the expense of this dynamic. According to the City of San Antonio Draft Minutes, “The Chair moved to review the City’s Workforce Diversity Plan at the next meeting.” The SA Observer will request under the Open Records, a copy of the City’s Workforce Diversity Plan. Maybe this is where the NAACP and other community watchdogs need to spend their time. To expect, the majority White and Hispanic Affirmative Action Committee to 1) fix the mistakes and 2) ensure recruitment, retention and employment goals are in place for Blacks is not going to be understood or even felt by that group. The City needs to look at the good old fashioned, Affirmative Action Plan. As stated on FindLaw.com, “Affirmative action plans are detailed guidelines for how an organization plans to actively seek out members who belong to a particular demographic group it believes is underrepresented. For example, an employer [like the City of San Antonio and Bexar County] that discovers it lacks African-American employees (typically through an audit, one of the first steps) might put together an AAP with specific steps for addressing that demographic. This may include language on job advertisements urging minorities to apply, recruitment efforts in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, or a policy that favors African-Americans when all other qualifications among job applicants are equal.”
Last week, District 2 City Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw’s office spoke on the issues. Some Black people in District 2 have stated they want a stronger statement from the Councilman. Last week statement was "Councilman Shaw is going to be asking for data on African Americans recruited, hired/promoted, and retained here at the city and is requesting that this be brought up in his Community Health & Equity Committee Meeting with his colleagues because we can talk about equity all day, but the numbers have to show it." The community will closely monitor how this will be done.
At the last NAACP San Antonio Branch meeting, the organization leadership, Oliver Hill stated he would certainly investigate the issue with the City Mayor and Manager, Sheryl Sculley. However we must remind the NAACP, time is running out… the summer is approaching and we know people who want jobs. We also know the NAACP is coming to town. This is not the desired headline for the City of San Antonio or Bexar County.
Here is what the people are saying on social media – we have removed their names to ensure no more retribution occurs (not like they have a city job to lose).
What You Have Said:
“Yes! Nepatism and cronyism! Why does one have to be bilingual....lets dig back and find out the experience or credentials of people they hired over well qualified blacks! GED v. BS...check it....county too! This is san Antonio...double discrimination...”
“U see this sh*t here in San Antonio Texas open your eyes my Brother and Sister”
“I would like to talk you about my experience as a former employee of the city of San Antonio”
"If Ivy is truly MLK like, then what is she doing to help the Black, and the Poor now?"