City Council and Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire Thank you for participating in the San Antonio Current’s City

Council and Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire. Your answers will appear in our online voter guide and potentially in print in our April 17 issue. You may answer as much of the top biographical fields as you’d like to. If you’d rather not answer, put “no answer.” Be aware may fill in those blanks using publicly available election documents. 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. Please return via email to We can also accept faxed versions at 210227-7733. DEADLINE IS APRIL 9, 6 p.m. Name as it will appear on ballot: Ron Nirenberg Current employment (if retired, please describe your previous career): Associate General Manager of Trinity University’s KRTU-FM 50-word bio: Ron Nirenberg is a community leader, an entrepreneur, a family man and a public servant. A former program director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Ron serves on several nonprofit boards and committees and is the President of the Summerfield HOA. He earned a B.A. from Trinity University and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Ron and wife Erika Prosper are proud parents of son Jonah. 50 word reason for becoming a candidate in this election: I want to serve my district and the city in a thoughtful, balanced way in order to serve the best interests of our community long term. Doing so will help us improve the quality of life for residents, bring good new jobs to San Antonio, fix our roads and infrastructure, and make public safety a priority. 1. Could the City’s recent ethics reforms be better enforced, especially in terms of conflicts of interest? Yes. Taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being spent in the community’s interest, not to benefit city officials or their business partners. Primary, secondary, and tertiary conflicts of interest should be disclosed, random independent audits should be conducted of office holder contribution/expense reports and financial disclosures, and the ethics review board recommendations and guideline revisions should be addressed regularly by City Council. City officials and employees should be forbidden from seeking or holding any contract with the city or any agency with board members or officers appointed by the council. 2. What’s your opinion on encouraging economic development and civic programming via public/private partnerships, especially where public land, such as Hemisfair Park, is concerned?

There is a robust role for public/private partnerships in areas of ancillary city functions, particularly arts and cultural programming, community initiatives, etc. With regard to the use of city land and facilities for job growth/economic development/revitalization, we should be cautious. In cases where there is a clear community benefit, partnerships should be vetted publicly, including by the ethics review board, to ensure that there are no conflicts or “sweetheart” deals for the partners or their associates. 3. Should the city establish an independent police monitor to better oversee the San Antonio Police Department? Why or why not? No. Monitoring of the police is the job of citizens, their representative government, and a free press. An additional layer of government, which itself is prone to corruption (as evidenced in other cities), will only serve to breed mistrust on both sides of the issue. 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? We should revisit regulations on food trucks and other street food vendors to make sure there is enough flexibility to encourage this activity rather than impede it. Food trucks and other street food vendors can play an important role in vibrant, pedestrian-friendly cultural centers for which San Antonio is increasingly known. Economic and quality of life benefits are already being realized in a limited way, as we’ve seen in downtown office districts and farmers markets from the Pearl to the Alon Town Center. 5. How can the City support sustainable transportation options? The main obstacle to transportation reform is the lack of transparency. One of the reasons I (and others) opposed the streetcar program was the back-room process. We need to improve the process before we can address the substantive long-term challenges of transportation in San Antonio. This will help build back public trust and voter support for initiatives that will require leveraging of funds at the city, county, state, and federal levels. 6. What value do you think the arts bring to San Antonio? In what ways can the City support local arts organizations and individual artists? San Antonio’s historic arts and cultural heritage are one of the key ways we derive a competitive advantage as a city. It is our identity, and that’s how we separate ourselves from every other city in the world. In addition, economic impact from the industry is substantial. Since arts funding comes largely through the Hotel Occupancy Tax, and funding to individual organizations typically provides leverage for their own private sources of funding, we should continue to support the work of the Department of Culture and Creative Development as the city’s arts funding arm. 7. Is it important for the City to strengthen its non-discrimination ordinances to protect LGBT citizens? Why or why not? All residents of San Antonio deserve equal protection under the law, which includes on the basis of sexual orientation, so it is important that our policies would reflect that.

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? The improvement in the live-release rate is a testament to the fine work the folks over at ACS. The public-private partnership, which leverages the best of both the government and market, is one reason ACS has been able to beat its baseline goal. However, it will be important that there is objectivity in the reporting of these numbers and in the setting of goals. Citywide education is needed on the importance of spay/neuter programs, and we need real penalties for unlawful breeding and other animal control issues. 9. What would you do to address the high vacancy rate in downtown buildings? If we are serious about infill policies in San Antonio to create an attractive and economically vibrant downtown, we need to address why there seems to be more incentive for new development over the Edwards Aquifer than there is in the urban core. Rather than dis-incentivizing development in the suburbs, we should make it easier and more economic for businesses to move downtown. 10. Is the City’s million-dollar incentive to create a downtown grocery store appropriate? Why or why not? Is there a better way to bring a grocery store downtown? No. In the thin-margin world of retail grocery, the market will drive business development. While a grocery anchor will help make downtown more livable, incentivizing this industry in such a way is not good for taxpayers or the business. Instead, we should focus on encouraging business growth in the urban core. When population grows, grocers will find the market to support their business without tax incentives. 11. How can San Antonio balance economic development with historic preservation? We can’t have one without the other, so economic development policies should respect the important impact that the city’s heritage has on our quality of life. When the two come into conflict, there is often a debate about what should be considered “historic” and what shouldn’t. In those cases, I believe we should work closely with the developers, architects, etc. to make sure that the spirit and intent of original landmark is preserved. 12. Do you support union organizers' push for a Tip Integrity Act for the downtown hotel and restaurant industry? I need to learn more about the specific grievances levied against the particular businesses along with their response to those complaints. In any case, fair labor standards should be upheld, regardless of whether or not workers are unionized. 13. What is the City’s role in making consumer solar power affordable for residents as well as local businesses? The city should be proud to have a high performing utility in CPS that is also a leader in diversified energy portfolios. As the boom time in Eagle Ford Shale continues, now is the right time to enhance that portfolio and prepare for when traditional energy will be scarcer. The city should continue the solar rebate program for residents, so that individuals who choose to invest have incentive to do so, but those who don’t will not have to pay for it, too.

14. Is there more the City could do to protect the Edwards Aquifer in terms of building restrictions, funding conservation easements or other means? Yes, and it starts with protecting the ordinances that we have in place today, since San Antonio’s tree ordinance is currently targeted by legislation that was introduced by a legislator far removed from our city. We should continue the Edwards Aquifer Protection Initiative as another critical priority, since we can choose to put it on the ballot again in 2015. I also support restrictions on impervious cover, hazardous material storage, and overall development to protect our region's main source of drinking water. 15. What are the most critical components to implementing Pre-K 4 SA? Are there any other opportunities for the City to support education? As with any effort that utilizes our tax dollars, I believe that accountability and transparency are paramount. Whether one voted for PreK4SA or against it, we are all now invested in its success and must work toward its effectiveness. Towards that end, I believe initial division within our community on the concept of PreK4SA presents a unique opportunity for building trust into this and other city initiatives. Primarily, we need to make sure that the following areas are efficient and effective: board selection and teaching recruitment, curriculum development, a fair enrollment process, independent and appropriate measurement of students and the program itself, transportation of children, parental involvement and expectations, fiscal management and auditing. Additionally, the city’s first venture into education is within the San Antonio Public Library System, and we need to make sure that it is funded appropriately as a core service guaranteed in the City Charter.

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