Today State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte announced her candidacy for the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in Texas. Van de Putte spoke before a crowd estimated between 500-700 people at San Antonio College. From her announcement press release, “I have to run. It’s my grandchildren. It’s your grandchildren. It’s the future of Texas. And with your help, and with your hard work, and with God’s blessing, we will win, and Texas families will be better for it.” With Van de Putte’s announcement, Texas Democrats are fielding the first all-women ballot slate for the top two offices. Here are her prepared remarks from today. Read more…
As some of you may know, two Texas couples are taking on the State of Texas in their bid to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes of Plano and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin have challenged the state in federal district court in a case that could become a landmark case in the battle to overturn the marriage statute. Just as Lawrence v. Texas overturned sodomy statutes across the nation, this case has the potential to do so also. This blog entry will provide a simple location to reference all the documents and proceedings as this case moves forward.
Last night I got a message from Jerry Torres, one of the owners of Taco Haven, saying their one and only statement would be forthcoming in a column by Express-News columnist Gilbert Garcia. Garcia posted it in the later part of his column without comment, after a very good column on how JFK’s visit to San Antonio affected a couple of local people. Reading the statement (printed after the jump), it’s really hard to determine if the Torres family really moved from the position I realized earlier this week. Yes, I know they have no problem accepting the dollars of LGBT patrons. They’ve done it for years. After all, they’re located in Southtown. But they tried to mask the fact they also support groups opposed to the LGBT community, including on their business property. So did anything really change with the statement?
Most of you know Taco Haven has been in the news after allowing people on their property last week promoting a recall of members of city council who supported the recently passed non-discrimination ordinance. That incident prompted a Yelp review by Michael Cepek who had visited the restaurant with his girlfriend, hoping to enjoy a good meal. Instead, he was met by folks spreading a lot of false information about the ordinance, such as predatory cross-dressing men invading female restrooms throughout the city. It turns out the recall folks were invited to the restaurant and allowed to collect signatures, even though Cepek tried to find out why, even asking to talk to the owners.
This past week I stopped by the San Antonio Food Bank to gain some perspective on a story I’m planning for another site. Honestly, in all the time I’ve lived in San Antonio, I’ve never been to the Food Bank to see what’s going on. That’s really embarrassing, since it’s such an important non-profit, focused on providing food and grocery products to partner agencies in 16 counties in Southwest Texas. Learning more about the Food Bank and thanks to some other reading, I started to realize we have a problem in America and the world that is solvable but will take some education and training to reach a solution. So this is really a journey about food security, what it means, why it’s a problem, and how it can be achieved unilaterally. I hope you join me on this journey and participate in discussion.
I had not intended to dig into the issue of closing Main Avenue. Personally, I’m okay either way it goes, provided the decision is fair and rational. But, it appears the heat has turned up quite a bit citywide and the air is full of confusion and misinformation from all sides. Hopefully rational minds from city staff, area stakeholders, and H-E-B are having constructive discussions on the best approach for this. The reason I’ve written extensively about it is that I prefer people to have solid, factual information to come to their own conclusions. In the course of that process, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from friends and others about what might be considered. So let’s move past the past and into the future to see how this could end up.
Most of you know I’m supportive of H-E-B’s proposal to the city to close a one block section of Main Avenue that runs through their corporate campus. I would like to see them keep the campus open to pedestrian and bike traffic, but I can understand their desire to secure the campus. The option to provide a wider ped/bike path down Flores is attractive and fits with the LSCP’s goal to increase development along South Flores. But, as I think more about the various positions regarding H-E-B’s desire to grow within their property, it makes me wonder if they have outgrown their space downtown. Read more…
Today I read an interesting interview piece in Stanford Business with David Bradford, co-author of Influencing Up, a book about how junior partners can maintain a stronger sphere of influence with the seniors in an organization. The interview highlights many of the dynamics experienced in these relationships such as the power gap and the fact that most seniors really need juniors who can bring new ideas to the table without being directed. “Powerful people need powerful direct reports. They need direct reports who can take initiative in coming up with new ideas and getting them implemented,” said Bradford in the interview. Thinking about those points, I started to realize, even in my blogging, I’m sort of that junior partner bringing new ideas to readers, hopefully seeing positive change.
Today, Councilman Diego Bernal, District 1, held his regular get together, Coffee with the Councilman. It’s a time when residents of the district can spend time chatting with him directly about issues within the district and throughout the city. With the closure of Main in the news, the gathering, held at The Friendly Spot, blocks from Main, drew a large crowd. I was looking to understand more about the issues and listen to the concerns of some of the residents. What became clear, as I listened to people speak from both sides, was that this is about the needs of a few residents around Main and Arsenal and the needs of many others, including the potential of bringing 800-1,000 jobs into the area.
Yesterday, I blogged about why I supported the proposal to close Main Street from Cesar Chavez to Arsenal, exploring several aspects of the proposal. As I look at it more, it’s becoming more appealing and provides greater opportunity than some people realize. While closing any street has its downsides, when you look at the greater good and consider the evolution of downtown, you start to see this is a closure that makes more sense, as the conversation continues. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse, but I think this is an important issue for downtown.
Almost everyone knows, by now, that HEB wants to close Main Street from Cesar Chavez to Arsenal. Several people have come out opposed to the closure and the process the city is undertaking to close it. However, as I look at the proposal, the neighborhood, and alternatives, I support the closure of Main Street to vehicle traffic. I was opposed to the $1 million incentive for the store, but now it looks like HEB will reject the city’s offer. Let me lay out my reasons for the closure and look at the alternatives presented.
Many of you know that Sen. Wendy Davis is running for governor of the State of Texas. Many of you know I am biased towards Democrats. So it should come as no surprise that I’m going to be supporting Wendy Davis in the coming 2014 statewide elections. That support doesn’t change my desire to look subjectively at the races. It just shows that, at this time, I feel Wendy is the best pick for governor in our state. I don’t take this support lightly and encourage you to look at the facts, when evaluating support for Wendy. So today, over 30 blogs are hosting a day of support for Wendy. You can do your part by donating today to help elect a Democrat to the governor’s office.
San Antonio has been the host of some pretty big sporting events. When the US Olympic Committee held Olympic Festivals, sort of mini-Olympics, we were the host in 1993. 1993 was also the inaugural game of the Alamobowl, beginning a tradition that I’ll get to shortly. In 1998 we started our tradition of hosting the Men’s and Women’s Final Four, hosting 3 Men’s and 2 Women’s championships in the following years. That doesn’t count the numerous other sporting events hosted by San Antonio Sports. But now we’re on the cusp of hosting the biggest game in college football, the 2017 College Football Championship Game, thanks to a bid by the Valero Alamo Bowl team. Too big a deal for our city? Hardly, and here’s why.
Tonight is National Night Out, a celebration of neighborhoods across the nation where friends and neighbors come together to meet and spend the evening with each other and local law enforcement officials. San Antonio is a leader in this celebration in the nation with thousands of people coming out to neighborhood parties. I’m a part of the Downtown Residents Association (yes, it is an association and has a party). Our party will be held at the oldest VFW hall in the state, VFW Post #76, located overlooking the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River. Tonight you should find your neighborhood’s celebration and join others. After all, San Antonio is a bunch of small communities all bound together.
The Texas Tribune Festival 2013 or, as I call it, “Wonkapalooza,” has come to a close with a host of panel discussions from public education to immigration. Candidates for many of the Republican primary races either had one on one conversations or sat in panel discussions with Tribune staffers. On Sunday, a panel of Democratic leaders and strategists discussed 2014 followed by Sen. Wendy Davis, who is expected to announce her run for governor this coming Thursday. Through these conversations it was apparent two different themes were emerging about the 2014 election – Texas and the nation.