D2 Councilwoman keeps blacks in last place by voting 'NO' to provide 60-day relief to renters
These are definitely frightening times that we are living in. As the Covid-19 virus continues to ravish the physical health, as well as the economic health of our nation, we face an uncertain future.
The Covid-19 virus, or novel Coronavirus as it is commonly referred as, has exposed the deep socio-economic schism that has plagued this “great” nation for 200+ years. The curtain has finally been pulled back on the racial and economic disparities within this country.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, communities of color didn’t need a virus to let us in on this big secret. We’ve known for decades that we were in last place in the race for the “American Dream”.
It is in these trying and uncertain times where true leadership is at a premium. We see the chaos that’s ensuing on a national level in dealing with this pandemic. From downplaying the severity of the Coronavirus, to inconsistent communications, to having no national strategic plan to safely navigate this country through this crisis- our federal leadership has failed us as citizens. As a result, we are forced to look to our local leaders for guidance.
We are fortunate in Bexar County to have elected officials who are up to the task of getting their citizens through this crisis. Mayor Ron Nirenberg is high on that list. Along with County Judge Nelson Wolff, Mayor Nirenberg acted decisively early on with consideration of the health and well-being of the citizens of San Antonio by enacting stay at home orders to prevent the wild spread of the virus through our collective communities.
Last month, we had the pleasure of an on-camera interview with Mayor Nirenberg to address the concerns of the African American community as it relates to the disastrous effects that the virus would have on our community. Underinsured and economically disenfranchised, we knew that the African American community, as well as other communities of color, would be disproportionately affected by the disease. We now know for a fact, based on statistics, that this is true. Mayor Nirenberg was committed to ensuring the welfare of the African American community. That commitment was put to the test last week.
Last Thursday, the City Council voted against a proposal for a city ordinance that would’ve given renters some much needed relief during these troubling times.
The proposal, pushed by District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño, would have given tenants 60 days to come up with rent if they happen to fall short. Landlords would be required to give two months notice if they planned to evict a tenant for not paying. Treviño’s proposed ordinance aimed to give renters time to bounce back once evictions are allowed to continue.
“When the moratorium on evictions is lifted, we don’t know what to expect,” Treviño said.
The proposal was voted down by a 5-6 vote. The Mayor, along with Councilman Treviño, was one of the 5 who voted in favor. However, OUR District 2 Councilwoman, voted NO to helping her constituents maintain roofs over the heads of their families.
If ANY district in the city was in need of that type of assistance, it’s D2. Let’s look at the numbers:
District 2 has a median household income of $19,041. That makes building generational wealth a daunting task and homeownership a distant dream for most of the constituents of the district.
Only 26% of the residents of District 2 are homeowners, while more than half rent their residences, 54% to be exact. Looking at the numbers, it looks as though a lot of people could’ve used the assistance that Councilman Treviño proposed and OUR Councilwoman voted AGAINST.
District 2 has long been the one of most underserved, neglected Council districts in the state of Texas. In a district where bail bondsmen are considered essential personnel during this pandemic and most constituents use the underground economy to make ends meet, eviction relief is a must. District 2 has a population of approximately 180,000 residents but the districts civil engagement rate is less than 11%. What does that mean to us common folk; we don’t get our asses up and vote. The Councilwoman is obviously more concerned about the well being of slum landlords and empowerment zone beneficiaries than long time residents who are seeking relief. This should serve as a wake-up call for all D-2 residents who choose not to vote. This councilwoman does not represent or even acknowledge you!
As I mentioned in my opening, these are indeed frightening times in which we live. How we come out on the other side of this pandemic will be strongly dictated by those in leadership who are tasked with guiding us all through this crisis.
Being elected does not make one a leader. Leadership is exhibited through actions and deeds. It is important that as a community we remember those actions and deeds that best represent not only our greatest interests but the ones that ensure our survival; not those that hasten our demise. Something to think about during election time.