North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President Cristina Aldrete.
Cristina Aldrete is president and CEO of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

A group of local business leaders will release a scorecard that ranks City Council members and the mayor on how they treat business interests, North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Cristina Aldrete said Monday.

The chamber will release its scorecard – based on votes by the sitting mayor and City Council members on key business and economic policies – before the May 4 city elections, Aldrete told the Rivard Report.

“We’re scoring based on their votes, which may include social policy issues only if it impacts business profitability, and a business’ ability to expand, provide jobs and wages to employees,” she said via email.

Chamber leadership and staff are sifting through which votes should be included in the ranking, how much each is weighed towards the final score, and “evaluating the best way” to deliver scores, such as a percentage or with letter grades A through F.

The scorecard, the first of its kind in San Antonio from a chamber of commerce, was born out of “general frustration over Council-driven proposed initiatives and decisions over the last year or two that have threatened local business growth and economic development,” Aldrete said.

The business community and City Council have had a string of recent policy differences, including union-friendly airport concession contracts (which were ultimately changed), most Council members’ stances against pursuing the 2020 Republican National Convention, and an ordinance mandating paid sick leave (which could be overruled by State legislation or court ruling).

Other state and national organizations across the U.S. advocate for business-friendly policies and politicians with report cards – typically for partisan state or federal elected officials.

The North San Antonio Chamber and other local chambers aren’t expected to endorse specific candidates, but such organizations sometimes weigh in on issues put before voters. They remain quiet when it comes to endorsing candidates because picking a candidate who loses could be seen as bad for business.

“We advocate for issues, that may affect businesses, but not any particular candidate,” Aldrete said. “No matter the candidate, chambers continue to work collaboratively with city, state, and federal office holders on issues in the best interest of the business community.”

The other candidates in the municipal election – there are more than 50 for all 10 districts and the mayor’s seat – will not be given a scorecard, she said.

Asked what role she thinks chambers should play in politics, Aldrete said: “A chamber’s main role is to advocate on behalf of the business community.”

Aldrete was hired as CEO of the North San Antonio Chamber, one of the three largest local business leader organizations, last summer.

“The North Chamber is committed to working with our elected representatives to ensure that we, the job creators, the wage providers of San Antonio are at the table to influence and guide public policy as it relates to our business interests,” Aldrete stated in a press release Monday.

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org