Certainly the Mayor’s race is heating up and the three front runners out of 14 candidates are Mayor Ivy Taylor, City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, and Democratic Party Chairman Manuel Medina. At the Hot Seat Debate on April 29, 2017 hosted by TAAN TV, NAACP and the San Antonio Observer, the Mayor and Councilman Nirenberg were both absent to scheduling conflicts. Not surprisingly, even in her absence, the Mayor was attacked from Manuel Medina in regards to her performance serving the small minority business community. Mr. Medina may have cited the story The Observer covered addressing how African American businesses in 2016 did not earn any of the city’s spend in the goods and supplies category. Maybe this sound bite caught the attention of the Mayor.
The City Economic Development Department now reports a 17% spend with African-American businesses in goods and supplies thus far in 2017. One of the Hot Seat panelists with Commissioner Keely Petty and former District 2 City Councilman Mario Salas was Christopher Herring, Chairman of the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce. Chris took on correcting Medina and mad a “hot seat” situation. It is also important to note he is a political appointee to the City of San Antonio Small Business Advocacy Committee and Chairs the City’s Five Year Contracting Diversity Plan Subcommittee. Herring clarified he disagreed with the points that Medina made about Taylor (and City Manager Sheryl Sculley). Herring stated, “in the history of San Antonio, Mayor Ivy Taylor has the best record to date for local small, minority and women owned businesses. If you can remember in 1988, the city found its participation with local small minority and women businesses at a very dismal 2%. Large non-minority businesses ran San Antonio. However, in 2017, under Mayor Ivy Taylor’s leadership the City achieved 45% of city contract dollars with 493 local, small, minority and women-owned businesses participating.” Medina countered by stating, “the city already had a Triple A bond rating before our city manager was hired” doubling down on his promise that if elected he will fire the city manager.
After the debate, Herring countered, “while this may be true that the city had a Triple A rating prior to the city manager being hired, the city didn’t have the highest level of commitment and aggressive agenda to serve the local small minority business community. If you think about it, in a city that is mostly people of color, this city’s leadership has increased our overall utilization to 45% and has maintained the confidence of a rating industry that is much more conservative than it was when Sheryl Sculley was hired.” Herring comments, “certainly there are a lot of advocates that help to improve the outcome the city has reached…I’m sure the Mayor would thank and credit the NAACP, The Fair Contractor Coalition (FCC), San Antonio’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Alamo Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce…I’m sure there are more kudos to go around, but the good thing is the current leadership team listened and they did get the job done. My personal goal is to see the city of San Antonio do even better with supporting African American businesses.
To see the Observer show a graphic of San Antonio Spurs player Danny Green earning $10M and to know collectively Black businesses earned $6M with our city is truly reflective that more progress must be achieved. One man bouncing and shooting an NBA ball should not make more than our local businesses with hundreds to thousands of employees with mouths to feed.”