We knew about the hot checks, we knew about the evictions, we even knew about the 10 plus aliases used. Through all of that Jada Andrews-Sullivan had enough support and political moxy to weather the storm and narrowly defeat Former City Councilman Keith Toney in a runoff election by a little over 100 votes. Let’s be clear, she won the District 2 City Council seat fair and square and is the rightful occupant chosen by the voters. Love it or hate it, she earned that. I know what you’re thinking, wait a minute is this the Observer giving her credit? No your eyes are not deceiving you. Jada Andrews-Sullivan deserves more than credit for what she was able to accomplish and that FACT should not be diminished by the Observer or any other media outlet.
As news broke late last week by mainstream media of a dispute between Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan and a campaign worker over a $4200 debt, questions have begun to swirl again as to the fate of the Councilwoman.
Andrews-Sullivan, who was sworn in on June 19, faced scrutiny during her campaign regarding her past financial indiscretions. In a May 21 editorial during the campaign, we reported that the Councilwoman had been accused of writing hot checks in the past. In fairness to the Andrews-Sullivan campaign and the community we reached out to Ms. Sullivan on several occasions to get clarification on these concerns prior to going to print. Unfortunately we received no response and reported only the FACTS.
These new accusations have brought her past squarely into the present.
As reported by basically everyone, Sylvia Lopez, a campaign worker contracted by the Andrews-Sullivan campaign as a canvasser, accuses the Councilwoman of owing her $4,200 for services rendered. Without getting into the details, these new allegations could spell trouble for the newly elected Councilwoman. Couple that with intense scrutiny over the salaries of several members of her staff (Chief of Staff Lou Miller is raking in a cool $100k as a glorified secretary according to his version of his duties and responsibilities) and allegations of poor vetting of other staff members, there could be trouble on the horizon for the rookie politician.
As a lifelong resident and business owner in District 2 and a graduate of Sam Houston Highschool ‘94, Cherokees for life, I know Jada personally. I believe that Jada is inherently a good person. My belief in her as a person however can be in stark contrast to my belief in her as a political operative. As a first time candidate for any public office it should be expected that there will be missteps and growing pains along the way. Jada is no exception. More than anything, I believe that Jada is just guilty of bad judgement. We have all made mistakes and none of us is any better than the next man or woman in that respect.
On Monday July 22 several of our African American media outlets held a press conference to discuss the current state of the District 2 City Council seat. Those present included The San Antonio Observer, KROV, Tha1 Radio, TAAN Tv, Avista Products, and The Herald. The gathering was led by Dr. Latronda Harris, political consultant and government relations director, with remarks from representatives of each media outlet. The consensus, based on concerns expressed by our readers, watchers, and listeners was a loss of confidence in the Councilwoman’s ability to lead. There is a real chance that she may not finish out her term.
Let’s open our minds and truly internalize what this means for District 2. There is an underlying insinuation that my African American media colleagues and I are engaged in a political hit job to bring down one of our own. This could not be further from the truth. As stated earlier Jada Andrews-Sullivan won her election fair and square. There is no political coup d’etat from the black press. There is however an undying devotion to the community in which we serve and an overwhelming desire for African Americans to have a seat at the table and to have a voice in matters that affect our everyday lives.
D2 has traditionally had black representation on City Council. We’ve almost been guaranteed a seat at the table by default. That trend appears to be changing. Maybe it’s the demographic shifts in the community or perhaps gentrification that’s taking place in every major city that has placed a bullseye on a seat at the table that has been ours for decades. I believe it is self inflicted based on our complacency and failure to truly unite as a community to ensure our voices are heard. Whatever the cause Jada Andrews-Sullivan in this moment represents possibly the last vestige of African American representation of district 2. HER success or failure will have profound effects on OUR future.
The message the African American media is trying to convey is that this is not about Jada Andrews-Sullivan, it is so much bigger than her. Insert any other name and OUR predicament is the same. We have to be represented to the fullest or we stand to lose what little we have. And don’t be deluded, as African Americans in the grand scheme of things we have very little. Jada Andrews-Sullivan’s political future may be in jeopardy in light of a constant stream of new allegations in such a short time. If nothing else she’s proven she’s a fighter and it’s possible she comes out of this in one piece with her held high. We are urging the community to be proactive in the event that Ms. Andrews-Sullivan is unable to complete her term. As a collective, the black press recognizes the urgency of this situation and we are committed to keeping our community informed on all of the options the community has to ensure we are properly represented in a city that touts its diversity.
For the record, our job as voices for our community is NOT to tear down our black elected officials. On the contrary, our job is to lift them up. Our black elected officials have a hard enough fight in fighting FOR us, it is our responsibility to support them in that fight. It is our obligation to be strong when they are weak. It is our duty to be THEIR voice to say the objective truths that they may not be able to say. And while we do all of that.....
It is our RIGHT to hold them accountable to all of the people they swore to serve. It is our RIGHT to hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves.
I sincerely hope Jada Andrews-Sullivan rights this ship. I think I speak for all of my black media colleagues when I say we will be here to support you if you support this community, one that is desperate and on the verge of losing itself.