San Antonio is not yet a great city. San Antonio is sprawling with expensive infrastructure, its inner-city and suburban school districts fail too many families, and it’s considered news when a City Council member takes the public bus. Those are just the big things.
As a city, we don’t do enough to promote the amazing artists who live here. We don’t offer enough jobs in technology. There’s nothing to do downtown that doesn’t involve working or the River Walk, and although San Antonio has 300 sunny days each year, we have zero real bike lanes. We should have 300 bike lanes.
Despite all those faults, I love San Antonio. I love San Antonio because we get to change all of that. We get to make San Antonio into a great city.
My wife, Megan, and I moved to San Antonio in 2009 for what we thought would be a temporary stay. With the exception of some time spent in Kansas City between 2013 and 2014, we have been living and working here ever since. Our first stay in San Antonio became less temporary when Megan was offered a fantastic opportunity at work and my graduate school instructor, Ivy Taylor, saw something in me and offered me a job as a City Council aide to work on housing and development on the Eastside.
Overnight, I went from talking about urban development issues at the UTSA School of Architecture to doing the real thing. I fell in love with San Antonio and the promise this city held. I met many talented and committed people who you have likely read about in the Rivard Report. I came to know and work with people like Brian Dillard, Zac Harris, Barb Garcia, Sho Nakpodia, Nicki Marrone, and Kelly Beevers. Ryan Bigley and I started the Downtown Kickball League. I served as the Dean of Awesome SA, and became a reading buddy at Bowden Elementary School.
While I was starting a kickball league for 100 (now 250!) people to gather on a weekly basis, Mayor Julián Castro was launching the “Decade of Downtown,” then-Councilwoman Ivy Taylor was fighting tooth and nail for a stronger and safer Eastside, the San Antonio River Authority was doing amazing things with the Museum and Mission Reaches, the Pearl was growing, Hemisfair was being reimagined, B-Cycle was leading a mobility revolution in San Antonio, and Geekdom was growing a community of people who could change the shape of San Antonio’s economy.
It was at this time that Megan and I made the decision to move to Kansas City so we could live closer to our family. I spent hours every day exploring Kansas City’s neighborhoods on foot, while pushing a stroller. I observed that the city was experiencing successes and failures, just like San Antonio. But one major difference stood out. Kansas City’s civic and business culture is more rooted in hierarchy, whereas San Antonio’s civic and business culture is more grassroots. That culture creates opportunities for people who want to be involved, and doors open more easily here.
I still have a number of friends who work in talented and innovative fields in the Kansas City area. Their skills would be recognized anywhere else in the country, but the community there doesn’t fully embrace their talents because they operate outside the established system. San Antonio is not perfect, and it certainly suffers from issues of inequity, but it has more opportunities for people who want to be involved and actually make a difference.
Ultimately, that is why Megan and I moved back almost two years ago. When we weren’t looking, San Antonio had become our home. The community embraced and nurtured us and set down the path toward greatness with us. This is the city we want our kids to call home, and the city that allows us to lead the march toward greatness.
After we moved back to San Antonio, I took a job at Centro San Antonio and, again, I had the chance to work with people who are making a difference in this city every day, and I don’t just mean the talented team at Centro. I got to work with people who are truly transforming San Antonio. They include folks like Molly Cox, Suhail Arastu, Rick Stemm, the Cortez family, Graciela Sanchez, and Paula Owen.
San Antonio is the kind of community where you can go from being a dreamer to being a doer.
That is why I am so proud to now be working at the Rivard Report. The staff here is unbelievably talented and committed. I will be working behind the scenes, here, as the Business Manager. In short, I am helping to manage the membership program and running the office so Bob and the team can focus on what they do best: reporting the news that matters to you.
Bob Rivard, Iris Dimmick, Scott Ball, Camille Garcia, Kathryn Boyd-Batstone, Lea Thompson and Jaime Solis and our contributors are building something together at the Rivard Report that won’t just document San Antonio’s march toward greatness. They will push us there.
The Rivard Report is a now a nonprofit and reader supported. You should consider supporting this amazing team.
*Top image: Rivard Report Business Manager Scott Gustafson during a typical day at the Rivard Report office. Photo by Scott Ball.