Only on the Eastside…
With the sudden announcement of the resignation of City Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw from District 2 to become a judge, the community is buzzing with the question why now? and who is next...
It appears Eastside politics has raised her head yet again! With the sudden
announcement of the resignation of City Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw from District 2 to become a judge, the community was buzzing with the question why now? and who is next? Both are great questions.
It appeared on the City of San Antonio website the announcement of a special application that will be available to any person who desires to fill the remaining term of Cruz Shaw. The selection group will be the Mayor and City Council and the position will be determined in January. A second opportunity presents itself for a person choosing to run for office and being voted by the people in May 2019.
Based on history, it is obvious the position’s incumbent will have the advantage competing for the same position in May. The list of potential City Council members grows daily because the position is also a salaried position.
There are logical questions that loom over the district 2 position. There are already negotiations with City Council members to gain their favor and support. One major question is will City Council appoint a Latina/Latino person for this office historically held by African Americans. In the seventh largest US city with almost 1.7 million people, the Council has not seen any African-American serve on Council outside of district 2. While there are prominent African Americans that live outside the district, none have been able to put together a campaign and win outside of District 2. Even Mayor Ivy Taylor, when she was elected to City Council moved from the northside of the city to the Eastside simple to compete, and as history revealed her move paid off, she eventually won, and later became Mayor. But is the Taylor path, the only path for African Americans who desire to serve in politics that don’t live on the Eastside?
Even more challenging for African Americans, according to recent population estimates, the Eastside is now estimated 71% Hispanic or Latino. Blacks are about 7% to 8% of the City’s population. If you look at the City Council, the one African American on the Council represents 10% of the elected officials and without a Black person, there is no representation. Zero doesn’t sound very inclusive!
One person said, “If Mayor Nirenberg and City Council decide to choose a Latina/Latino, it will signal a major disrespect for Black people and further validate perceptions that City of San Antonio remains one of America’s most racially segregated cities.”
The business community also has great concern about the political appointment for District 2. They say the City Council person must understand he or she will chair the TERs Board which controls millions of city dollars, mostly in the downtown. “We want a person who can understand financial statements and have a basic understanding of how to evaluate proposals."
The people in District 2 have come to realize this is repeated history. When then Mayor Julian Castro was appointed to be the US Secretary of HUD, the City Council made the choice to appoint Ivy Taylor in the position and later she was elected. This appointment by City Council enabled Keith Toney to be sworn in to continue the term of the vacated position in District 2. Going back a little further, when City Councilwoman Elisa Chan resigned in District 9, the City Council Members chose Joe Krier to finish out her term and later he ran and was re-elected.
In state politics, when the late and Honorable Ruth Jones McClendon announced her retirement, her position as State Representative for House District 120 was competed in a special election as ordered by Governor of Texas for the remainder of the term. Laura Thompson ran as an independent and won the position over a long list of democrats. She was later beat by Democrat Barbara Gervin-Hawkins in the normal election cycle. Voters were left confused throughout the process…particularly Eastside residents.
The next weeks will be interesting. Whoever is hired will be on a political hot seat! In January 2019, San Antonio will host the largest MLK March in the nation. The community is now leaderless. People are starting to ask each other if the 2019 MLK Commission Honorary Chair, which is the District 2 Council member, will be an African American? Or what if City Council believes 5 months is a short term and they decide to make history with a Hispanic American appointment? Will marchers march behind a Latina/Latino?
What will the next leader bring to the community? Will City Council pick a person who they feel will be good to run in the May elections? If the Council chooses a person who is not African American, will there be an effort by city staff to recruit other qualified African Americans to compete for other council vacancies.
Today, with all of these changes, Eastside voters must remain vigilant and stay abreast of all candidates and emerging candidates. The voters must not get confused who is running. Running in May and being appointed in January 2019 are two different things.
Again, voters will not make the final decision to who will replace William “Cruz” Shaw as it will be the City Council. City Council will base their opinion in part on what you have to say. Call each of them and give them your opinion.