To inform readers about the candidates seeking their votes on the May 1 ballot, the San Antonio Report asked all City Council and mayoral candidates to respond to a brief questionnaire. Only candidates who responded are listed below. Some responses were edited slightly for clarity, and we did not fact-check responses.

See more Q&As with candidates in the May election here.

Quick navigation: Mario Bravo | Roberto Treviño | Cyndi Dominguez | Lauro A. Bustamante | Raymond Zavala | Matthew J. Gauna

Mario Bravo

Age 45, project manager of the Energy Team for the Environmental Defense Fund. I moved to San Antonio when I was 8 years old, lived outside of San Antonio off and on for school and work purposes, and most recently moved back in 2016.

List any previous experience in government or participation on local boards, commissions, or neighborhood associations.

Former member, Alamo Area Council of Governments Air Improvement Resources Committee; former chair, CPS Energy Environmental Stakeholders Group;
former board member, MOVE Texas Civic Action Fund; former board member, US Green Building Council San Antonio Chapter; board member, Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance; former member, City of San Antonio Energy & Buildings Working Group.

What are the top priorities you would like to address as a council member?

Provide you with a voice in your government by creating more meaningful public partnership processes, and following through with implementing input from citizen advisory committees.

Provide checks and balances on our water and energy utilities – continuing my work of holding CPS Energy accountable.

Improve quality of life at the neighborhood level – protect the character of each unique neighborhood, and deliver sidewalk, street, and drainage improvements on time and on budget.

Property tax relief – stop taxing our most vulnerable out of their homes. Invest tax dollars more efficiently toward work that impacts citizen’s everyday lives.

Work with the community and local professionals to make meaningful progress on our homeless situation. Transition from a patchwork of isolated projects to better coordinating efforts at the city level, and expedite work on the city’s Strategic Plan to Respond to Homelessness.

Do you support the proposition to change city charter language and expand the use of bond money beyond public works?

Yes – we should have the same opportunities as other Texas cities in addressing affordable housing.

Do you believe there is a need for policing reform in San Antonio?

Yes – we should reward model police officers while holding bad actors accountable. We must end the practice of writing police disciplinary records in “disappearing ink,” which are then erased two years after infractions occur. We must strengthen the screening process for hiring police and improve responses to domestic violence calls. If elected, I will create an independent oversight office that investigates incidents in which anyone dies or suffers serious bodily injury at the hands of law enforcement. 

How do you see the concept of “equity” applying to a City Council member’s job?

As your council member, I will ensure that we do a better job when it comes to inclusion, bringing everyone along as we recover from the pandemic and build a more resilient city. I will look at the impact of every policy in terms of how they affect access to transportation, access to healthy food, safety, environmental impacts, etc.

Roberto Treviño

Age 50, licensed architect. San Antonio resident for 22 years.

List any previous experience in government or participation on local boards, commissions, or neighborhood associations.

City Council, District 1; Bexar Appraisal District Board of Directors; Alamo Management Committee; Alamo Trust Tri-Chair; Airport Advisory Board before he was on Council; Inner City TIRZ; Westside TIRZ; Midtown TIRZ.

What are the top priorities you would like to address as a council member?

  • Increasing housing stability and attainability: We have seen a crisis with regards to evictions and 47% of our community is composed of renters. We successfully passed a Right to Counsel ordinance to protect residents facing eviction. Our proposed Right to Cure ordinance did not pass, but I look forward to crafting more housing policies to help keep our families in their homes. People experiencing homelessness have also increased in our city, and we have located a number of barriers that must be changed in order to help these individuals. I will continue to do everything I can to create meaningful and lasting solutions instead of simply moving people out of sight and out of mind.
  • COVID-19 + Winter Storm Recovery: The crisis we have all experienced over the past year has laid bare our need for resilience. We must be better prepared to support residents in need. And now is the time to focus on creating a safety net as we rebuild from the dire impacts of the pandemic and Winter Storm Uri. I am proud to have championed the increase in our risk mitigation fund, but we can and should do more to provide direct support to our community for housing and small business. We have to move forward with the momentum formed by creating my proposed food and beverage worker relief fund.
  • Infrastructure: Each and every year, sidewalks are the largest ask from our residents. And I am proud to say that in my six years on council, I have been able to formulate and put into action a plan to build and reconstruct more sidewalks for our city than ever before. But this is only the first step.  We must continue to focus on the basics of city services such as street repair, animal care services, drainage, and lighting.

Do you support the proposition to change city charter language and expand the use of bond money beyond public works?

Yes, I support the change to the City Charter language. My primary concern is ensuring that there is an oversight in where the funds are allocated. The proposal is meant to help fund affordable housing, but the language provides nuance and space for interpretation. We must maintain a focus on staying true to the original intent of the proposal.

Do you believe there is a need for policing reform in San Antonio?

Yes, there is a need for policing reform. As my office has demonstrated with the shift of ID recovery from SAPD to our City Clerk’s office, there is a means to reallocating funds from our incredibly large public safety budget to other city departments to increase efficiency. It seems that the default position for our city is to use the police as the problem solver for many situations. There are oftentimes better ways of creating lasting change. I believe in supporting our good officers, but that can not come at the price of protecting officer misconduct. Currently, San Antonio boasts the highest rate of re-hiring fired officers at 70%, according to the Washington Post. We have to do better. 

How do you see the concept of “equity” applying to a City Council member’s job?

As a City Council member, it is my duty to ensure my constituents are heard. When there are segments of our population that are not being considered in the same way as others, it is my responsibility to ensure we are fair in how we apply governance and participation. District 1 receives a large number of constituent cases from every corner of our district. We hear every day about the wide range of issues faced by our residents and are familiar with the inequity of access and response faced by our community. Therefore, it is a core component of my role to ensure those inequities are met with equitable and just solutions.

Cyndi Dominguez

Age 45, licensed financial retirement coach. Lifelong San Antonio resident.

List any previous experience in government or participation on local boards, commissions, or neighborhood associations.

I have worked and or volunteered for numerous municipal city council campaigns, congressional and state representative campaigns, mayoral candidate campaigns, and many more types of grassroots campaigns for the past two decades. I was the president of a grassroots organization of the Advocacy Alliance for Children for two years.

I am a member of my local neighborhood association. Currently, I am also elected as Bexar County management for Precinct 2, also precinct chair 2073, and a Bexar county deputized voter registrar.

What are the top priorities you would like to address as a council member?

My top priority is the health and safety of the community, from children to the senior citizens. 

Also, I currently work and will continue to work to reduce the homelessness and human and sex trafficking within the community to reduce neighborhood crime.

Do you support the proposition to change city charter language and expand the use of bond money beyond public works?

No, I do not support proposition A. I will vote against proposition A.

Do you believe there is a need for policing reform in San Antonio?

I believe in reforming the police department to an adequate amount of police to population ratio. As far as the repeal of 174 I will vote against proposition B. I will be more than willing to negotiate the terms of the police department to ensure the safety of our communities while maintaining the police department intact.

How do you see the concept of “equity” applying to a City Council member’s job?

A city councilman should be inclusive of all. Equity for all races, cultures and all people should be represented by the councilman. Equity should be more than just a concept and should be implemented daily.

Lauro A. Bustamante

Age 70, attorney. San Antonio resident for 65 years.

List any previous experience in government or participation on local boards, commissions, or neighborhood associations.

Election District 1 Board for the Edwards Aquifer (4 years). Licensed attorney in good standing with the Texas Supreme Court. I provide some free legal services for the community.

What are the top priorities you would like to address as a council member?

  • Health Education and medical services for all
  • Safety: protection of life and property
  • Education: free education and education tools for all

Do you support the proposition to change city charter language and expand the use of bond money beyond public works?

Yes

Do you believe there is a need for policing reform in San Antonio?

Yes

How do you see the concept of “equity” applying to a City Council member’s job?

Law and “equity” should be apply on an individual case-by-case basis. I am an advocate for gender diversity.

Raymond Zavala

Age 69, twice retired. Lifelong resident of San Antonio.

List any previous experience in government or participation on local boards, commissions, or neighborhood associations.

I have been a leader or board member and have served on several organization boards. I have also been very active in the community since 2001 as an advocate for the senior citizens, the youth, the disabled, and veterans.

What are the top priorities you would like to address as a council member?

My top priorities are: Public safety, the budget, housing, senior care, homelessness, transportation, and the economy.

Do you support the proposition to change city charter language and expand the use of bond money beyond public works?

I support the changing of the city charter in order to give the residents more control over the spending vs. the outright giving a blank check to the council.

Do you believe there is a need for policing reform in San Antonio?

I believe that a motion or idea to defund the police will cause irreparable harm to the first responders’ morale, welfare, and safety.

How do you see the concept of “equity” applying to a City Council member’s job?

I am for the concept of equity, provided that there is full accountability, complete transparency, and total fiscal responsibility.

Matthew Gauna

Age 23, auditor at Aramark AT&T Center. Native San Antonian.

List any previous experience in government or participation on local boards, commissions, or neighborhood associations.

My earlier experience with our local government is like that of many citizens in San Antonio, a negative experience. In 2017 I began work with our city’s Adopt-a-Spot program. It was tedious work clearing out decades worth of garbage from Olmos Creek at 1700 Jackson Keller Rd. So our group teamed up with Basura Bash for a pilot program for the 2019 event. Much like how local citizens who saw extreme pollution in their community and were bound to act founded the original Basura Bash Event, we too felt that same need. Did our local government aid us, proactive college students, who were contributing to their local community? Only in the most minimal of ways. The Solid waste department provided us with garbage bags, five trash pickers, and five high-visibility jackets. This was standard equipment because our student group adopted the area. Beyond that day, they have supplied no further aid. After clearing the area and setting up a garden in the now clean and cleared area the Transportation and Capital Improvements department promptly destroyed it. Their equipment also shredded debris, making it easier to pollute Olmos Creek which directly flows into the water supply for the heavily polluted River Walk. I spoke to Eric Meyer, operations superintendent, and Mendi Litman, P.E., C.F.M., a stormwater engineer, about reaching a solution but did not.

What are the top priorities you would like to address as a council member?

My top priority is the environmental sustainability of San Antonio. Our goal is San Antonians having the right to a healthy environment and equitable access to livable environments in which they can thrive. Environmental factors affect every aspect of San Antonio. The differing soil types across the city, which make roads more susceptible to deterioration, directly impact our infrastructure. We all saw how easily our highways and roads came to a halt this February. Unreliable investments by CPS Energy in fossil fuels left many with high energy bills and without power. City Council passed the budget that permitted CPS to expand their natural gas production rather than diversifying their energy portfolio with renewable energy and battery storage. As a council member I will expand the parks system so that every citizen has equitable accessibility to greenspace, which plays a vital role in the health of everyone. I will work with VIA to expand public transportation accessibility for residents and travelers to create a truly inclusive city for mobility. Final top priorities would be zoning changes to ensure affordable housing near transportation corridors, as well as charter amendments to ensure our agenda is a priority for future city council members.

Do you support the proposition to change city charter language and expand the use of bond money beyond public works?

Yes, I support the proposition to expand use of bond money beyond public works, but we must be careful that this money does not go to those who would enrich themselves at the cost of the taxpayers.

Do you believe there is a need for policing reform in San Antonio?

With the negative officer-involved incidents increasing in past years, resulting in the deaths of many innocent people, it shows all of us the need for police reform. The city’s reaction to the officer-involved death of Charles Roundtree was very troubling. Protesters and the family demanded the body cam footage from the San Antonio Police Department, which does not happen in other cities, where they release body cam footage as soon as possible with minimal editing. We must increase transparency of SAPD. The wrongful arrest and false charges against Mathias Ometu while jogging show us that SAPD cannot conduct their duties without racial bias. As a council member we will hold SAPD accountable for their actions.

How do you see the concept of “equity” applying to a City Council member’s job?

Equity is making sure everyone in every district in this city receives adequate and equitable services. From school funding to transportation accessibility when voting, as your District 1 councilmember I will, in our term of service, ensure all city meetings have an ASL interpreter and meetings are fully accessible through the city website. I will work with the city to make the city website easier to navigate for those who are blind and/or have low vision. I will vigorously enforce the Home and Community Based Settings Rule. In 2014, the Obama administration issued a new Home and Community Based Settings Rule providing for crucial protections for people with disabilities, requiring that every state ensure that people with disabilities have such basic liberties respected as the right to choose where and with whom to live, and much more. Currently San Antonio is not an inclusive and fully accessible city as transportation and infrastructure issues prevent a fully independent life. I will fight to ensure our disability community members have the same rights and opportunities as other Americans. During my campaign I work to provide a fully accessible website and campaign materials.

San Antonio Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.