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: Anthony Gres | Jason Mata | Ray Garza | Teri Castillo | David Yañez | Marie Carbb | Rudy Lopez | Norberto “Geremy” Landin | Ricardo Moreno

Anthony Gres

Age 47, president and CEO of A&A Concepts LLC. Native San Antonian.

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

 I am the neighborhood association president of El Charro and former board member of YMCA.

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

My first priority would be in addressing small business needs. I will work to increase outreach to small businesses by working with organizations MicroSA, the Maestro Center, and the Westside Development Corporation to increase outreach to these businesses.

My second priority would be job creation. I am committed to working with Workforce Solutions Alamo, SAWorks, Alamo Colleges and our nonprofits to increase job opportunities and awareness.

Third, affordable housing. I support continued delay on evictions processes and will propose a change in the rental assistance support program that allows landlords and renters to be secure. While we want to ensure that our community members stay housed, we also have to take care of our small landlords who have to choose between their own mortgage or that of their rental property. No one should have to decide if they or the people that rent from them will be homeless.

Lastly, increasing public safety. The heart of any thriving community is the sense that they are safe and secure. To make our Westside community safe, I believe in working on increasing funding for nonprofits that focus on issues like domestic violence, and investing in infrastructure and programs to keep our children busy/productive and safe. I pledge to reinvest in community members that need second chances (I started a second chance program at my small business) and work on police/community relations.

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

Yes, I do. This vote would allow for bond project money to be used for items to help move District 5 out of poverty, such as housing, more workforce training opportunities, and transportation. For that reason alone I support it.

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

I believe police reform at some level needs to occur, but I also believe collective bargaining is important for any unionized group of individuals. If both sides come to an agreement prior to this issue being placed on the ballot for voters, then I would support whatever agreement is reached.

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

As the representative for District 5 my job will be focused on ensuring that the district continues to work its way out of a poverty standing. The word equity has been thrown around a lot by city staff and council members, though I’m not convinced we are seeing an actual, fully encompassed equity lens approach. You can put in more money to an area, but if you don’t expedite those projects, or keep those projects on the same timeline as other areas of the city, it’s not true equity. So I look forward to fully applying the concept of equity beyond the simple answer of providing more money to an area that can possibly fix a problem five years down the road.

Jason Mata

Age 48, social services worker and owner of a home renovation company. Native San Antonian.

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

I have served on the following boards, groups and committees: Haven for Hope (former executive board member), Westside Development Corporation (former executive board member), The Advocates Social Services (temporary leave of absence), Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association (volunteer director), Advocates Boxing Youth Program (volunteer director), Bexar County Democratic Party – Precinct 2007 (former chairperson), Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) Ombudsman program, Co-Founder of the Westside Taskforce, Co-Founder of the Westside Democrats, Founder of the Justice for Youth Initiative.

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

Public safety as related to crime, vehicular and pedestrian incidents, and prevention measures. Addressing generational poverty through education and trade skill programs. Promoting business development by ensuring equity when it comes  to stimulus funding and existing opportunities.

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

Yes, I support the charter change. However, I would like to minimize possible gentrification.   The words “acquire” often leads to gentrification. I believe that when it comes to acquiring or purchasing that this needs to be dealt with separately by committee and community.

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

Yes. However, I would like for any reforms or changes to be made by policy or procedure amendments.

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

I strongly believe that San Antonio is only as strong as its weakest link. In District 5, 33% live below the federal poverty level and only 36.6% of the constituency have a high school diploma.   City Council members need to support this vulnerable population through programming to ensure education and/or trade skills are achieved so that individuals may secure good paying jobs.

Ray Garza

Age 73, retired. Lifelong San Antonio resident.

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

Attended several meetings of the Thompson Street Neighborhood Association, was a member of Texas Organizing Project, member of the Esperanza “Casa de Cuentos”, member of the Guadalupe Cultural Center, member of Urban 15, and the Conjunto Heritage Taller.

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

Affordable housing, home rehabilitation, police transparency, social/cultural justice, institutional neglect of the constituents’ request for infrastructure repairs and construction of the overpass at Zarzamora St/Frio City Rd railroad tracks.

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 the use of bond money beyond public works.

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

Yes, there is a need for policing reform and transparency.

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

The concept of equity in the application to a city council member’s job is having equal access to the available funding for the constituents’ needs in District 5, where the most needy have been neglected for the last eight years.

Teri Castillo

Age 29, employed in secondary education. San Antonio resident for 29 years.

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

I am an active member of the Historic Westside Residents Association, an association that promotes the interests and needs of our neighbors. Through neighborhood association community work, I have participated in Building Standards board meetings, as well as zoning and planning meetings, representing and advocating on behalf of the community for equitable and just practices. As our families struggle to keep their heads above water financially in the midst of a COVID-19 economic downturn, I have participated in the Emergency Housing Outreach Committee to maintain accessibility of resources to San Antonians. For the last several years, my work has included challenging unjust housing practices for property owners, tenants, and legacy business owners; advocating for adequate funding for home rehab programs and tenant protections; and encouraging investment in our youth and senior centers. As a member of the Texas Organizing Project, I have been fighting for Medicare expansion at the state level; many Bexar County residents – in District 5, in particular – still lack access to health insurance, a problem that must continue to be addressed in the coming years. 

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

District 5 is experiencing economic investments that are outpacing stagnant wages. As such, and as elaborated in my platform from Day 1 of the campaign, we must prioritize a thoughtful post-COVID-19 recovery for residents and small business owners, housing protections, and extensive infrastructure repairs.  

As the next councilwoman for District 5, I will continue my organizing work while in office, ensuring that we implement measures that protect our legacy business owners, homeowners, and renters from predatory real estate practices. We must guarantee that our public money works for us; when a project receives tax abatements or incentives, that project must provide permanently affordable units for our District 5 families. I am also committed to championing much-needed initiatives to meet the needs of San Antonio’s increasing unhoused population. I have vigorously challenged overly generous Unified Development Code amendments that would have made our neighbors vulnerable to home loss, and will continue to use my extensive experience fighting alongside the community for just housing practices to explore and wield a wide variety of tools in service of the people. 

We are in the midst of multiple crises – housing, economic, and environmental, to name a few – and as a city, we must be strategic with our post-COVID-19 recovery. We must encourage the growth of green union jobs that can meet our housing needs. This can be done through supporting workforce development programs that train our workers to decarbonize and retrofit our homes and legacy businesses. Supporting green union jobs will provide great wages to preserve our shrinking affordable housing stock, while also minimizing the amount of waste in landfills from demolitions.

We must ensure that we are meeting the long-neglected infrastructure needs throughout the district, moving away from the downtown-centric model that has left our Westside and Southside neighbors without safe and accessible sidewalks, streets, lighting, and drainage. Infrastructure is a key concern of District 5 constituents, and it is about time that we move comprehensively to make repairs they have long been seeking.

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

When we examine the city’s current affordable housing crisis, we learn that our public money and tax incentives are being used to construct housing that is unaffordable to the working people of San Antonio. Though city leadership claims bond dollars will broaden housing initiatives, the current San Antonio housing pipeline shows that the city has been failing to meet the need for deeply affordable housing. We need to interrogate the plans put forward, making sure they are consistent with the actual needs of the people. Infrastructure needs throughout District 5 are substantial – and we must guarantee that the needs of our families do not get pushed back additional decades for the sake of luxury development. Ultimately, I support the decision of voters and will ensure that, if further changes are passed, our public dollars are used to meet the housing needs where we actually need it the most. 

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

A recent poll and article in the national news site The Appeal (3/25/2021) reveals that, among hundreds of San Antonians surveyed, “64 percent of likely voters support replacing transit officers with civilian enforcement, 71 percent of likely voters support community-based programs to prevent violence, and 64 percent of likely voters support the use of non-police responders to mental health-related or substance use crises”. I stand with San Antonians for reform of the police. Our communities deserve to feel safe, and the San Antonio Police Department must amend their practices to do exactly that. The people have spoken in favor of police reform, and our city government must be responsive to their message.

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

My campaign has always been centered on social and economic justice, two concepts that are the foundation of equity. We must continue to advocate for further local reforms benefiting women, racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, and the disabled community. We must also advocate sincerely and strongly for local reforms that benefit our working class – many of whom are women, racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, and the disabled. Equity happens when social and economic justice are finally achieved together.

Equity, for example, involves fighting to erase wage gaps – and this must be accomplished through ordinances that boost levels of pay for our lowest-paid workers, who as studies show, are disproportionately women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ folk, and the disabled. Equity involves fighting to erase barriers to healthcare and the digital world, which as studies again show, disproportionately hinder women, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ folk, and the disabled. 

Equity involves achieving better mobility for those currently underserved by our transportation system, who as studies show, are our working class. Equity involves making child care more easily accessible to those most in need, which as studies again show, are our working class. Equity involves finally giving voice to ALL citizens in District 5 – not just to wealthy donors from other parts of the country – through the implementation of reforms proposed during participatory budgeting meetings and citizens’ assemblies. (See the 2004 Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in British Columbia or the 2006 Citizens’ Reference Panels in Ontario to learn more about how randomly selected citizens’ assemblies, including people from ALL walks of life and backgrounds, can provide meaningful policy recommendations to local governments.)

Equity, as just demonstrated, is a comprehensive process – and it takes commitment and innovation. I have a comprehensive vision for change, one that will significantly advance the cause of equity in District 5.

David Yañez

Age 53, immigration and nationality law attorney. Native San Antonian.

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

I began my career in public service as an assistant to Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the Texas Senate (District 26) for five years and was hired as a legislative assistant.  I also performed constituent service duties and special project assignments in Austin and San Antonio for her office. 

In addition, I did serve as city employee for four months, when I was hired specifically to be a trainer for the new incoming staff of District 5 City Councilman David Medina. From August 2009 to November 2009, I provided governance training to the new councilman, his staff and provided temporary transition support to get the office on the right path to serve the community and following the same formula as was used for Sen. Van de Puttes’ office. I also prepared an economic development strength and weakness assessment plan of District 5 for him and his staff to review before beginning my new attorney position at Catholic Charities in January 2010. 

I am also vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) chapter in San Antonio. 

I am also a member of the Palm Heights Neighborhood Association and a parishioner of St. James.

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

My top priority is infrastructure improvements, to include street, sidewalk, drainage, and alley maintenance to get District 5 in pace and utilize my master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania to plan and promote smart city planning strategies for District 5 residents to support our future and our vitality.

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?

Only a need for accountability, but not for the collective bargaining rights. I believe if a police officer has been fired for good cause, then that decision should be final.

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

To promote equity is within the policy making of a council person and their oath to serve with the goal to providing good service to all.  To find new ways to solve a need of the constituents we serve is my plan. The role of the council person is to increase the success for all in a community, including the disabled.

Marie Crabb

Age 34, realtor and owner of a real estate business. Native San Antonian.

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

I have worked at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., where I worked in the Office of Civil Rights and was certified as an EEO Counselor and I currently serve as a board member and Animal Rescue Advocate with P.A.W.S. (Protecting Animals within San Antonio) as well as a board member of the American Indian Movement of Central Texas.

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

My first priority will be looking at our district’s economic recovery post-COVID. I know people are hurting and need jobs. I know small businesses are struggling to keep the lights on and keeping their employees. I will focus on gaining access to and increasing resources for our small businesses and jobs.

My second priority is improving infrastructure. This means improving our sidewalks, roads, and sewage.

We also need to focus on our neighborhoods being safe and secure. I will focus on public safety, and this also means improving communication and the relationship between the community and police. The police do a lot for our community and if I can help change the narrative that the police are on the side of the public and highlight the things they do for our communities, it will help improve community relations.

Also, I want to look at affordable housing and finding ways to keep our tenants secure in place and help our landlords to be in a position to keep housing available.

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

Yes, I do. I think it is a great opportunity to help get bond dollars towards eliminating poverty.

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

I believe that we do need police reform, and that collective bargaining needs to happen. Meaningful police reform comes from recruiting a diverse police force, training them properly and continuously in de-escalation, implicit bias and sensitivity training, and also changing the policies in place. Additionally, I want to find ways to proactively shift the narrative of how our police positively interact with our communities. Moving money around in a budget does not equate to fixing a situation; structural change is the only way to do so, and my staff and I will work on that the minute I am sworn in.

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

My job as the District 5 councilwoman will be to ensure that the district continues to move its way out of poverty, largely meaning that it is not only given an equitable amount of the budget, but an equitable timeline for finishing projects, improving infrastructure, police patrols and health services.

Rudy Lopez

Age 51, retired civilian employee of the San Antonio Police Department and City of San Antonio. Lifelong San Antonio resident.

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

President and vice president, Thompson Neighborhood Association; Port San Antonio Regional Center Committee member; Kelly Field Technical Advisory Committee; Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. 

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

As councilman, my top priorities are to improve infrastructure in the areas of District 5 where  roads, sidewalks, and adequate lighting have not been improved in decades. I would improve  senior services to the vast number of seniors currently residing in our district. Lastly, I would  work closely with developers to provide quality affordable housing, with a focus on home  ownership. 

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

Yes, as long as the money used is what the citizens of San Antonio vote to approve. This will  allow City Council to have broader power as to how funds can be allocated. 

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

Absolutely. I am a proud supporter of collective bargaining rights for our police officers.  However, there needs to be more accountability for those police officers who have either  abused their power or failed to uphold the standards the citizens of San Antonio expect out of  law enforcement. 

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

It is the responsibility of a council member to understand the specific needs of the districts  they represent. This means allocating funds for specific communities where there are greater  needs than others. There cannot be a broad-brush approach to improving a district. The  council person should work closely with residents and organizations like neighborhood associations to address specific needs in communities and make sure services and improvements are provided strategically. 

Norberto “Geremy” Landin

Age 25, executive director and co-founder of Con Corazón. San Antonio resident for 22 years.

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

I served as liaison for the Hispanic Chamber Marketing and Communications Board. I assisted in preparation for the Early Childhood Development Municipal Corporation (Pre-K 4 SA). I served on the Fox Tech High School Health Profession School Advisory Board. 

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

I want District 5 to rise to our full potential, and to accomplish that my priorities are to improve residents’ quality of life, support public safety, and invest in the district. 

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

Yes, I support Proposition A because it is important for the City to have different Instruments in their tool box to best respond to the needs and desires of the community. 

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

Yes, I believe there is a need to address the disciplinary process of police officers, but I stand firmly against stripping collective bargaining rights from our union workers. 

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

I believe an equity lens should be applied to both the city’s budget as well as future bond projects. In District 5, we have a great need for digital infrastructure as well as street and drainage overhauls. I believe in applying an equitable distribution process to funds would greatly support the district. I also believe that an equity lens can be applied to the distribution of those funds that are at the council person’s discretion.

Ricardo Moreno

Age 35, assistant principal at Losoya Middle School. Lifelong San Antonio resident.

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

I have had the privilege of serving my Harlandale community as a school board trustee since 2015. I am also a part of the Bexar County School Board Coalition, where we advocate for public education through the Go Public Initiative. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have served on the COVID-19 Community Response Coalition and the San Antonio Metro Health Department Pre-K-12 Consultation Group, where we have conferred about safe school reopening procedures and practices. I am also a member of the Tierra Linda Neighborhood Association here within the southern part of District 5.

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

I run on a platform that encourages education, emphasizes the need to provide relief for our local businesses and help for those affected by the pandemic, and create trust among our stakeholders based on tolerance and equity. Local businesses should have access to PPE and other COVID-19 relief initiatives that have been distributed to the city from the federal and state level.

We need to create a plan to streamline the process that is online and a physical version to reach more business owners. It is important to make sure we make COVID-19 relief resources accessible to all. I firmly view education as the backbone to any prospering or affluent society. I have a sense of civic duty to help my community through education. I feel that we can leverage the resources that are in place and already offered through wraparound services from our local ISDs. I would welcome the opportunity to leverage some of these resources and work collectively with local ISDs to address issues in particular with food banks, mental health support for our community members, and access to support for affordable housing. I feel we must create a needs assessment and to see how effectively, efficiently, and equitably all areas of District 5 are being funded, additionally let us also look at the resources and groups that already provide services and outreach to our District 5 community members so that we may enhance its effectiveness. It is vital to invest in our neighborhoods where our younger generation can return to find a community moving upward. For growth to occur we must have infrastructure in place, a feeling of safety and awareness, and businesses that are thriving developed to align with the careers they seek. I believe with new leadership, we can create a District 5 that is not associated as an area of problems, but rather an area of solutions.

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

I support the measure since it would allow the city to provide relief and funds to areas that have long been unrepresented. This would be another tool to refine and jump start growth that has been stagnant, helping rehabilitate homes, encouraging business development, and restoring opportunities especially within our District 5 community.

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

I feel hard and honest conversations must be had in order to provide all our stakeholders a community that is based on trust, tolerance, and equity. We must examine how certain items have been allocated, but if you examine the budget of SAPD you will see, just as similar to school districts, approximately 85% of the budget goes towards salary, insurance, and benefits. We can find ways to create a balanced budget that meets the needs of all to create a fair and responsive presence in our neighborhoods.

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

First attribute is to listen. In my experience that has been critical in showing mutual respect for my community members and their concerns. Our neighborhoods play a significant role in providing a pulse of the diverse areas that make up District 5. I plan to engage in meaningful and honest conversations with all stakeholders and assess how we can provide the best for our District 5 community. Equity is ensuring that District 5 is not allowed to wallow in despair, but rather be given its fair share of resources to continue to thrive. Equity is also empowering our communities that collectively our Southside and Westside voices are much louder if we merge our efforts together in order to show solidarity and support for one another. I believe that the true measure of a leader is finding a situation and leaving it better than you found it. I intend to not only have a seat at the table, but also lead the discussion among my potential city council colleagues. I strongly believe that my experience as an elected official, working with a diverse group of people as an educator, and knowing my community has afforded me the skill set to advocate and implement change for our District 5 community.

San Antonio Report Staff

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