Metro Health and Healthcare:
The mission of San Antonio’s health and wellness department, Metro Health, is to prevent illness, promote healthy behaviors, and protect against health hazards throughout San Antonio through education, collaboration and providing key services. With COVID, it is absolutely clear that Metro Health’s ability to provide these services and prevent illness suffers from limited resources. Although the city recently took steps to increase funding to Metro Health to address the COVID crisis, it is clear that more sustained prevention, preparation and planning efforts are necessary to address our future public health challenges.
COVID Recovery and Workforce Development:
A people-first approach to COVID recovery starts with protecting San Antonians from the short term and long term economic effects of the pandemic. We must do all we can to keep people in their homes by providing rental and other assistance in the short term and additional education and training in the long term. As the only candidate in this race with significant experience running a small business, I also understand the importance of small businesses to the economic health of the city and the need to get them through this crisis. We must support our small businesses in the short term with loans and other financial assistance and better transit and wider access to opportunity in the long term.
Housing & Development:
A people-first approach to tackling San Antonio’s affordable housing crisis starts with acknowledging the centrality of housing access to personal safety and wellbeing. San Antonio needs to take an “all of the above” approach to improving housing affordability that balances the preservation of an environmentally sensitive area experiencing substantial population growth with the preservation of existing neighborhoods. To provide additional housing options without contributing to urban sprawl and avoiding displacement of vulnerable communities, San Antonio must work to redevelop existing underutilized commercial corridors and incentivize the construction of additional affordable housing in every part of the city. We must update our development code to allow for unobtrusive alternative housing options that increase potential density within existing residential areas without changing neighborhood characteristics. Development codes that contribute to sprawl, such as parking minimums, should be revisited, reformed or repealed. City government also needs to facilitate more direct input from stakeholders in all facets of housing development and operations, especially in relation to its public housing services.
A people-first approach to public safety recognizes the right of ALL citizens to feel safe and secure in the places they live, work and play. There are two ways to reduce crime and promote public safety. One is to prevent crime by creating an inclusive society that helps everyone meet their basic needs. This includes access to housing, transportation, education, and healthcare. This also includes addressing issues of mental health and addiction as matters of public health rather than as problems for law enforcement. Because not all crime can be prevented, however, public safety also requires a well-trained, professional police force committed to public service and equal protection under the laws.
A people-first approach to transit starts with acknowledging San Antonio’s “pay-to-play” transportation economy. The ability to access opportunity and pursue happiness in San Antonio is too dependent on the ability to afford a car. As the most experienced candidate on transit issues, I will work to reduce transportation cost burdens for all San Antonio residents by continuing what I started as Vice Chair of the VIA Metropolitan Transit Board of Trustees. I will collaborate with the dedicated VIA Board and work closely with VIA’s exceptional management team to help make our public transit system more safe and convenient for everyone. I will support and encourage innovative mobility solutions in District 10 and San Antonio, like VIA’s successful VIALink mobility on demand program, to help ease traffic congestion in our neighborhoods. I will work with small business owners and employers to improve convenient transit access for jobs and opportunity.
A people-first approach to ending homelessness in San Antonio starts with providing transitional and permanent housing to anyone experiencing homelessness – without preconditions. This “housing first” policy has already been successful in effectively ending homelessness among veterans in San Antonio and has repeatedly been shown to be the most cost-effective way to address temporary and chronic homelessness. In addition, it should be easier for people who are homeless to access services by facilitating greater coordination with providers and making counseling available at more city operated properties. We also need to invest in wraparound services for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness stemming from addiction and mental health issues.