Mayor Ivy Taylor made it official Sunday afternoon: Less than six months from now, when San Antonio voters return to polling stations across the city, her name will be on the ballot.
About 50 supporters gathered in front of the future CAST Tech High School on the Fox Tech campus to hear Taylor lay out her plans for the next two years, should she be re-elected as mayor. She covered a lot of ground, from implementing the SA Tomorrow plan to continuing her “back to basics” approach with budget and bond programs, but emphasized the importance of workforce and business development that will make San Antonio a globally competitive city.
She also made a bold commitment to “avoid the pitfalls of growth that our friends in Austin are experiencing, namely those crippling traffic jams, the high cost of housing there, and rampant gentrification,” she said. “None of that is going to happen here, y’all.”
Council members Cris Medina (D7), Joe Krier (D9), Rebecca Viagran (D3), and Mike Gallagher (D10) stood in support of Taylor on Sunday afternoon alongside former Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, who ran against Taylor in the 2015 mayoral race, Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association President Brian Dillard, former Secretary of State Hope Andrade, and Ernesto Ancira, who serves as Taylor’s treasurer and is president of Ancira Enterprises, a string of auto and recreational vehicle dealerships.
Krier called Taylor the “best mayor in the U.S.” and praised her for her leadership, including backing the city out of funding a streetcar project.
Other community, business, and religious leaders were in attendance, and more are likely to attend a private fundraising reception for Taylor on Monday night at Mi Tierra. An invitation to the event sent out by Taylor’s campaign was signed by several well-known community leaders including Rackspace Co-founder and real estate mogul Graham Weston, local developers Ed Cross and David Adelman, Overland Partners Principal Madison Smith, and Trish DeBerry, president and CEO of the DeBerry Group marketing and public relations agency.
How many other names will appear with Taylor’s on the ballot is still unknown, but rumors are mounting that Councilmen Rey Saldaña (D4) and Ron Nirenberg (D8) are considering challenging Taylor.
“We haven’t even counted all the votes from the presidential election,” Nirenberg stated in a text message. “I think people want and deserve a little break from politics right now.”
Taylor anticipates competition, she said after her speech.
Brad Parscale, digital director of the successful Donald Trump presidential campaign and co-founder of local design and marketing firm Giles-Parscale, attended the event to show his support for Taylor.
“Campaigns have changed,” Parscale said. “Now it’s not just about one message, it’s about targeting voters at (many) levels and recognizing what it is that makes them move to get out the vote.”
National and local politics are different, he added, but he hopes to use his experience to influence local politics.
Giles-Parscale was paid more than $93 million by Trump’s campaign, he said. While he is not currently working for Taylor, the firm did design her logo. As a member of Tech Bloc, Parscale worked with Taylor, City Council, and Lyft last summer to develop the pilot operating agreement for rideshare companies.
“I believe she’s one of the forward-thinkers and a planner that brings San Antonio forward,” Parscale said.
The six people that showed up to protest Taylor’s announcement with signs decrying the Vista Ridge water pipeline, income inequality, and LGBTQIA rights clearly disagreed.
Members of the small group of protesters were quiet, for the most part, as they tried to get their signs close to the stage. Taylor’s supporters held up yard signs in front of them to block their view.
“We told (elected officials) we’d hold them accountable come election season for Vista Ridge,” said Alan Montemayor of the Alamo Sierra Club. “That’s what we’re doing.”
The local chapter of the Sierra Club opposes the 142-mile pipeline that City Council unanimously approved in 2014.
Vanessa Sanchez, an activist with LGBTQIA advocacy group PolitiQueers, said she’d rather see someone new run for office. Many in the community still oppose Taylor because she voted against the non-discrimination ordinance in 2013 when she represented District 2. One of Sanchez’s signs, which simply stated “Income Inequality,” was made to highlight the extreme economic segregation in San Antonio.
“I’ve seen no action from the mayor on that front,” Sanchez said.