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: Erika Moe | Patrick Von Dohlen | John Courage

Erika Moe

Age not provided, attorney and certified mediator and guardian ad litem. San Antonio resident for 36 years.

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

Trauma Informed Care Committee, ChildSafe; Texas Military Institute Equity Task Force; People of Courage, ChildSafe; Chair for St. George Episcopal School Advancement Committee; National Charity League; Brighton’s Queen of the Vine Committee; STARS over TMI Committee; head of Missionary  Moms SACS; former member IMPACT San Antonio

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

Fiscal responsibility, neighborhood safety, infrastructure, and combating human trafficking

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

No.

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

I believe we need a better system to hold bad officers accountable while maintaining funding and resources given to SAPD. 

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

I have spent my career fighting for the oppressed and individuals in need. As a City Council member I will continue applying the principles of equity and fairness to ensure the office, staff, and city departments are hired and  perform their duties in compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations in the workplace.

Patrick Von Dohlen

Age 51, partner in financial planning firm. San Antonio resident for more than 24 years.

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

I have been a community advocate for over 20 years and, during that time, I have led many  community efforts to hold the city accountable, including efforts to stop taxpayer waste and to  increase transparency at city hall. I have successfully worked with people of all political  philosophies to pass city commission resolutions and a city ordinance as a private citizen. 

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

As city councilman, I will work to: 

Get back to basics. We must refocus on public safety, clean water, reliable energy, waste services, sound infrastructure, transparency, adherence to ordinances and processes, balance the budget and reduce debt, and quality of life issues. We must vote against Proposition A. 

Get back to business. We must create a positive environment for small businesses, especially those trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as they are the largest employers in the city.  Small businesses must not be strangled by bad policy and government mandates.  

Back the blue. We must affirm the police and other first responders in order to restore public safety in the district. Our men and women in uniform need the best resources and support to do  their job. Now is the time to defend those who put their lives on the line for us every day. We must vote against Proposition B. 

My goal is always smaller government, less taxes, and more freedom. 

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 Prop A on the May ballot. This prop would give the city unlimited  authority, basically a blank check, to spend taxpayer money on anything and everything they wish without voter approval. 

I believe the city’s $6.4B debt is one of the most unsettling issues facing residents. This debt limits our city’s ability to provide core services to residents citywide and in District 9, especially when it comes to police protection and infrastructure.

Consequently, when I am elected, I will work to  encourage the City to do the following:  

  • Avoid accumulating unnecessary debt 
  • Avoid spending more revenue than it receives from taxpayers 
  • Avoid broken city processes that result in frivolous lawsuits 
  • Create additional revenue streams without new government mandates or taxes 5. Work toward property owner tax relief to assist people with escalating property values  instead of creating social welfare mitigation funds 
  • Reduce the city’s property tax rate that benefits all home owners 
  • Use this time of growth to minimize the city debt placed on the backs of taxpayers
  • Seek all alternative and reliable sources of energy as we work towards cleaner energy. We  need to avoid putting all of our “eggs in one basket” by going “carbon neutral” for vehicles  or for buildings. We need to keep our energy sources diversified. 
  • Utilize and encourage technological development to promote more efficient and cleaner  systems. 
  • Promote economic development and job growth by encouraging traditional energy sectors  and energy industries to prosper. San Antonio is a great place to live, work and flourish  because we value family and the contributions of a thriving economy.  

In 2015, I helped lead the fight to stop the streetcar from becoming a new city boondoggle. Voter  approval is key to any major expense and should always be the basis of any city effort to ensure the taxpayers of San Antonio are completely informed of all the risks and benefits of the initiatives.  

In my experience, the city has done everything they can to “sell” the idea of these initiatives and made much less effort to fully inform the public about the good, the bad, and the ugly costs or risks involved. We need transparency in all aspects of local city government and I will work to ensure this is the basis of all they do. 

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

I will vote against Prop B on the May ballot. This proposition does not address police accountability but simply attempts to eliminate officers’ right to freely associate and the association’s right to collectively bargain. This would be detrimental to the police officers and  the department and residents throughout San Antonio. Crime will increase as it has in Austin. This measure is a form of defunding and must be rejected. Reform is always needed on an individual basis and a city process basis. We can always improve how the city serves the people and we should. 

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

I have been involved in community advocacy for over 20 years. As a small business owner, it seems to me that city council must realize their job is to provide basic, core services and then get out of the way. It is not the job of the city council to regulate our lives.

We need to get back to equal-based budgeting so all districts in the city can do their very best to improve core services and infrastructure. 

As city councilman, I am not interested in serving an ideological agenda. I am working to help residents experience smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom. Conservative values matter.

John Courage

Age 69, District 9 City Council member, retired educator, and Air Force veteran. San Antonio resident for 45 years.

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

Former Alamo Community College District trustee, San Antonio Literacy Commission board member, San Antonio Teachers Council Board member, full-time District 9 Councilman since 2017.

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

Public safety, the pandemic response, tax relief, infrastructure improvements, including the completion of the District 9 Senior Center, the development of the new Classen-Steubing Park, and other ongoing projects that affect the quality of life for my neighbors in District 9. Also the investigation/rebuilding of our city utilities from the winter storm to insure we don’t experience such a crisis again.

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

Yes, but this is an issue the residents need to educate themselves about and vote their determination about if it will benefit the city and the residents or not.

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

I do not support defunding the police department. I’m a strong supporter of the police. I was a police officer in the Air Force and I know what it means to take an oath to serve and protect. Times and circumstances change, and it’s appropriate to consider reforms, but that means research and data-supported decision making, not knee-jerk reactions. Collectively the Council has determined reforms that would be beneficial to the operation of the police department. Those reforms are part of our negotiations ongoing with the SAPOA at this time. So further comments would be inappropriate. Regarding Proposition B on the May ballot, that was a citizen-initiated issue to address a past citizen-approved action. I believe the voters need to decide this issue without the political influence of council members.

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

Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. You represent not only your district as council member but the entire city. Every decision made at council, one way or another, affects the lives of all San Antonians. I try my best to see all sides of an issue before making what I consider to be a reasonable, responsible decision. I believe real leaders have empathy and bridge common ground, but at the end of the day, you must try to be the best messenger to and advocate for your neighbors.

San Antonio Report Staff

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