City Council and Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire

Please return via email to cenlow@sacurrent.com. We can also accept faxed versions at 210-227-7733. DEADLINE IS APRIL 9, 6 p.m.
Name as it will appear on ballot:

Celeste Montez-Tidwell
Current employment:

Domestic Engineer at home, and Child Care Provider at YMCA
50-word (max) bio:

Born and raised in SA, my family lived in this area before Texas became a state. My hard-working parents taught me to care for my community like I care for my family. Married 13 years and mother of four; this city is my home and I'm going to protect it.
50-word (max) reason for becoming a candidate in this election:

My experience as a Bexar County Precinct Chair gave me the desire to do even more. I want to concentrate on defending the rights of everyday people. After learning how the city council conducts business, I realized they need a person like me that is more in touch with the people.

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? If the City Staff and City Council cannot be trusted to conduct themselves morally honorable on their own sense of integrity, then we definitely need Ethics Reforms and the ability to amend them as needed. Having a board to audit and oversee major decisions seems necessary because sometimes people take advantage of the position bestowed upon them. 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?

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Of course, the arts and companies that promote the arts and hire creative people does attract revenue and create jobs, as long as the focus is on maintaining the historical structures and beauty of the areas in question. Otherwise, we might hurt the very thing that draws people to our city. 3) Should the city establish an independent police monitor to better oversee the San Antonio Police Department? Why or why not? No. Once you get into that, it second guesses the actual chief of police. That's just another paid job for another baby-sitter. They already have a department of directors that oversee the Police Department. We don't need someone to oversee the overseers. 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? Though I don't know much about the program, after reading the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the City of San Antonio's Downtown Mobile Food Truck Vending Program, the regulations appear to be working. I see no cause for alarm at this point. But, I'm open to re-visit this topic when new information comes to my attention. How can the City support sustainable transportation options? I would like to learn more about this subject, so I have no answer at this time. 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? Coming from a family of artists and performers, when art exhibits, theatre productions and concerts are happening downtown or around the city, our own local residents come out to not only enjoy the creativity of local and/or national acts, but also spend money in the surrounding businesses. But, more than a monetary value, they broaden the minds of our young people and inspire social interaction and may also provide inspiration to a child to spend their time being creative and discover a side of themselves they may not have known was there.

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Is it important for the City to strengthen its nondiscrimination ordinances to protect LGBT citizens? Why or why not? Yes. Discrimination of any kind must become a thing of the past. When I'm presented with a decision that involves the protection and welfare of the LGBT community, my answer will always be in favor of human equality. I was so proud when I was endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio and I stand by my word to defend the rights of everyone. Is Animal Care Services doing enough to increase its liverelease rate? Is ACS' public-private partnership model is working? If not, what else could be done? I think that ACS could stand it's own in-house re-vamping but, I would like to learn more about the concerns of the people. What would you do to address the high vacancy rate in downtown buildings? It's not really the city's job, but I would want to address the parking situation downtown. Of course, this depends on the historical significance of the property in question. Each building that is vacant will have its own set of details to consider before making a decision as to its future and how to promote it.

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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? No. There really is no need to have a grocery store downtown considering the cost that would burden the city without enough residents or consumers to utilize it. There are enough grocery stores in the private sectors to provide for the consumers downtown. It's just not a necessity. 11) How can San Antonio balance economic development with historic preservation? Preserving history is of high importance yet so is economic development and there is a way to balance the two. I would like to see historical preservation as a priority as long as we maintain fiscal responsibility. Our unique history is a big part of our tourism attraction and revenue, hence it makes sense monetarily to preserve it.

12) Do you support union organizers' push for a Tip Integrity Act for the downtown hotel and restaurant industry? Yes. Many if not all wait staff personnel only make a few dollars an hour. They depend on their tips and sometimes get stiffed when they have provided excellent service. But, having an incentive to continue to give good service may become an issue if the gratuity is guaranteed. Maybe we could include penalties for abusing the guarantee of gratuity. 13) What is the City’s role in making consumer solar power affordable for residents as well as local businesses? Solar panels have come at a high cost so far and is intended to provide more efficient energy while creating hundreds of jobs. We've got to consider the initial cost-benefit ratio while making this transition. I want to expand on my answer when I learn more of the details. 14) Is there more the City could do to protect the Edwards Aquifer in terms of building restrictions, funding conservation easements or other means? Maintaining focus on the future repercussions of buildings and projects that have proposals in the delicate recharge zones is priority. We must make sure the contracts signed by one company or individual that agrees to practice safe usage aren't allowed to be sold to another company with a contract that doesn't include the same regulations and restrictions on dumping and contamination. We shouldn't get blinded by dollar signs... we all need clean 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? Early education is very important to me, but I can't answer this question right now. I'm still studying the program and learning about the details of it.

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