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Council and Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire. Your answers will appear in our online voter guide and potentially in print in our April 17 issue. You must answer 10 of the following 15 questions. For those questions you choose not to answer please write “No Answer.” You may also address additional issues after question 15. 1) Could the City’s recent ethics reforms be better enforced? Should there be more of a focus on potential conflicts of interest among City Council members as well as City staff? Yes, ethics violations should be better enforced and the actions of City Council members should be more transparent. Yes, there should be more attention to conflicts of interest among Council and City staff. 2) What’s your opinion on encouraging economic development and cultural/nature programming via public/private partnerships, especially where public land, such as Hemisfair Park, is concerned? I am in favor of encouraging public/private partnerships to develop economic opportunities for cultural/nature venues in all areas of the city including downtown and Hemisfair Park. 3) Should the city establish an independent police monitor to better oversee the San Antonio Police Department? Why or why not? I am in favor of the city establishing an independent police monitor to bring better accountability to the San Antonio Police Dept. policies and their personnel. Also, I am in favor of establishing an independent monitor to oversee the Bexar County Sheriff’s Dept. 4) Do you support the way the health department currently regulates food trucks? If not, how could the regulations be changed to better serve San Antonians? I think that the background check regulation for issuing permits to food truck employees seems unnecessary, however, I do think that all food trucks and restaurants should be required to publicly display a food handler and/or sanitation certificate for all cooks and chefs in order to better reassure the public that the people making their food for them are knowledgeable in food safety and sanitation and know how to provide safe food service. Concerning the downtown regulations for food trucks, I would support lifting location/time and food description restrictions so that the food trucks could have complete and unrestricted access to all downtown streets according to their own schedules. 5) How can the City support sustainable transportation options? The city can support sustainable transportation by ensuring the patrons are offered an affordable, reliable, clean and comfortable option with plenty of parking available at Park and Rides.
6) What value do you think the arts (visual, performing, literary, etc…) bring to San Antonio? In what ways can the City support local arts organizations and individual artists? I think the Arts brings a lot of cultural and entertainment value to the people of San Antonio. I think the city could better support local arts organizations and individual artists by creating a program that will provide them with satellite locations around the city such as library meeting rooms or other public building space where they can perform, display products and interact with the public on a regular basis to encourage more people to become involved with the Arts. 7) Is it important for the City to strengthen its non-discrimination ordinances to protect LGBT citizens? Why or why not? I think it is important to strengthen ordinances such as this not only to protect LGBT citizens, but also because; as a pro-marijuana activist in San Antonio for the past 13 years I can relate to the prejudices and discrimination that has stalled civil rights issues such as this in our city for far too long and I want to this change. 8) Is Animal Care Services doing enough to increase its live-release rate? Is ACS' public-private partnership model is working? If not, what else could be done? In my opinion the ACS is doing a very good job dealing with live releases on the funds they receive and I feel that the current partnership model is satisfactory. I do support building additional housing facilities and I would support increasing funding to ACS for future operating costs if they are requested. I support stricter animal abuse and neglect ordinances with harsher penalties and I support a publicly accessible internet database of animal abusers for San Antonio and Bexar County. 9) What would you do to address the high vacancy rate in downtown buildings? I would consider increasing free and friendly parking options for the public. I would continue to offer incentives to businesses that move into the downtown area. I would keep the tax rates low for businesses located downtown and I would ease the tax burden on residential and apartment owners in an effort to help keep their costs low. I would like to see more businesses selling products attractive to residents and more non-alcoholic businesses offering activities or venues for people living downtown. 10) Is the City’s million-dollar incentive for the creation of a downtown grocery store appropriate? Why or why not? Is there a better way to bring a grocery store downtown? I do think those living or working downtown, as well as the tourists, need the opportunity to purchase groceries downtown. However, I think a million dollar incentive is somewhat excessive considering that if a single grocery business opens its doors downtown it will be operating in a near monopoly environment and they will have the opportunity to be very profitable. My suggestion for an alternative way to bring groceries downtown would include a large indoor cooperative marketplace of small business shops, kind of like the Farmers Market, that can supply all the various products that a single grocery store would provide.
11) How can San Antonio balance economic development with historic preservation? As a National Park Service volunteer with an interest in our local history, I tend to place more weight on historical preservation in cases where there is a conflict between economic development and preserving history. I seriously doubt that I would sacrifice history for the sake of a profit or prestige when it’s unnecessary. 12) Do you support union organizers' push for a Tip Integrity Act for the downtown hotel and restaurant industry? Yes, I do support efforts by the unions to address this unfair practice. 13) What is the City’s role in making consumer solar power affordable for residents as well as local businesses? The city’s role so far has been to offer some rebates for solar system use. For the most part, people have been going into debt with loans for solar systems that they have put on their homes. Most People are not going to be able to afford 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars for a solar system no matter how many rebates you offer them. I have a better way to put affordable solar systems on people’s homes. Solar systems designed by CPS that are locally manufactured and then installed and maintained by CPS on every property that they service. You can read about it on my website at www.steveshamblen.net 14) Is there more the City could do to protect the Edwards Aquifer in terms of building restrictions, funding conservation easements or other means? For several years I have been wanting to see an ordinance to require properties with large parking lots, such as Walmarts, car dealers, hospitals and malls to be covered with an overhead structure to support solar systems and harvest rain water in order to stop contamination of the Aquifer from large parking lot runoff. 15) What are the most critical components to implementing Pre-K 4 SA? Are there any other opportunities for the City to support education? I supported Pre-K SA before it went to the voters and I still support it. By doing this we have strengthened the financial sources of funds for local education. This makes our education funding more dependable and we have decreased our dependence on outside sources of funding and that is a good thing. I would like to add that in addition to my support for the Pre-K program that I am a firm believer in Free Education and freedom of choice in education.
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