Alamo Heights has endured its share of heated political discussions debates in the last two years, namely whether to allow development of a parcel of prime real estate in the center of town and CPS Energy’s plan to install smart meters, which have met resistance from some homeowners. None of that caused voters to change their minds about longtime incumbent Mayor Louis Cooper, however, who easily won his sixth straight term in office with a 59.5%-41.5% victory over challenger Sarah Reveley.
Cooper topped Reveley and Bill Kiel in the 2011 mayor’s race.
In Alamo Heights’ other contested race, for City Council Place 1, political newcomer Lawson Jessee squeaked by with a nine-vote win over two-term incumbent Bobby Hasslocher, whose family owns the Jim’s Restaurant chain.
Incumbent Bobby Rosenthal ran unopposed for the Place 2 seat.
Cooper thanked voters for continuing to show “confidence in my leadership.”
“I also wish to compliment my opponent in this race for focusing on the issues rather than resorting to personal attacks,” he added.
Reveley campaigned against the apartment complex planned for Austin Highway and Broadway. She initially expressed concerns about CPS Energy’s plan to install digital meters in place of older analog meters on hundreds of thousands of homes across San Antonio. She eventually distanced herself from the anti-smart meter lobby, opting instead to focus on the mixed-use development at Austin Highway and Broadway, which has received preliminary approval, as well as preservation of older homes in other parts of Alamo Heights.
As for the smart meters, “That’s something we’ll just keep dealing with CPS Energy on. The issue will likely come up on the council agenda in June,” Cooper said. “Otherwise, the hoopla around it has died down.”
Jessee, a general contractor and member of the local Urban Land Institute chapter, supported Argyle Residential’s plan for the mixed-use development, saying it will help revitalize the Broadway corridor in the small municipality where his family has lived for generations. Jessee also focused his campaign on parking issues, the city’s water supply, and comprehensive planning.
Last month, Hasslocher cast the council’s lone dissenting vote against the city granting Argyle a special use permit for the same development. He said he had unanswered questions to many concerns he had expressed about Argyle’s plan.
On Saturday night, Reveley lauded Jessee’s “hard work” and “youthfulness” as two of many traits that helped him to score a narrow win over the well-established incumbent.
“We agreed to disagree about the high-rise,” Reveley said. “Putting that aside, (Jessee) had a lot of appeal to people who figured there were more important issues.”
Reveley said she agreed with Jessee’s assessment that the city’s comprehensive plan needs more formal attention from city officials.
She said her 40% showing at the polls proves that not everybody is happy with the status quo in Alamo Heights, although a 60-40% outcome is considered a huge margin of victory for the winner.
“I didn’t win, but 40% should shake up the council, make them realize some of the voting public is not satisfied with their performance,” she added.
*Featured/top image: Alamo Heights Mayor Louis Cooper (center) tells citizens that a letter will be sent to CPS Energy requesting a 12-month delay of installation of the smart meters. Photo by Katherine Nickas.