We have been inundated with negative stories of partisan politics at the national and state levels of government. Online comments are harsh with each side shouting at the other, with phrases that would make no mother proud. As a conservative sitting on what has been called the “most progressive Council” in San Antonio history, I am concerned that our city will further divide itself on party lines and lose sight of what’s important.
As City Council resumes its regular meetings this week, I hope my colleagues and I can maintain the spirit of nonpartisanship.
Being a conservative at the local level means I am concerned about passing a fiscally responsible budget and funding basic services, such as streets and public safety, above everything else. It means I want the funding to match the needs, and if there’s anything left, incorporate some of the wants as well.
As a conservative Council member, I do support progress; however, I reject the notion that progress is now reserved as a political label. Progress can be found on a district-by-district, or even neighborhood-by-neighborhood, basis.
To residents near the Royal Ridge neighborhood in District 10, progress means securing the funding to improve the intersection at Randolph Boulevard and Weidner Road and reducing the number of traffic accidents. To Larry Johnson, a resident and writer who has been blind since birth, progress means having ADA-accessible equipment at the Northeast Senior Center and smart crosswalks that make pedestrian safety a priority.
Progress is at the heart of every Council member – it’s why we run. We campaign on a new vision and hope for the opportunity to reach that goal. However, viewing City government through a blue or red lens can skew both the message and the messenger, and continuing this practice would be a mistake.
It is City Council’s job to represent its neighbors and be their voice in matters of City government. Not one district is 100% liberal or 100% conservative, which means we as Council members will upset someone in the district along the line. Speaking only for myself, I am not interested in bringing divisive issues for Council to consider under the notion of progress – dividing us further is not progress.
Progress today is listening to the opposite side. Progress is resisting vitriol and looking for the similarities, not the differences. San Antonio does not need to replicate the patterns of our federal and state governments.
As City Council resumes its regular meetings this week, I hope we keep that top of mind. Together, I believe we can work to create meaningful, responsible improvements to our city.