Our third U.S. President, the incredible Thomas Jefferson, gives me insight into experiences I have had in public life, including campaigns. He said in his First Inaugural Address in 1801, among other things, “I shall often go wrong through defect of judgment. When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional, and your support against the error of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts.”
Earlier this year I ran for Mayor of San Antonio because I believed it was high time that our city get back to basics, especially in our neighborhoods. Some seem to believe that our city must be the biggest. I simply believe that it must be the best! And that’s why I have sought for us to refocus our energy and resources on the core functions of our city before unduly committing to the mega projects that seem to focus on making us bigger, but not necessarily better.
To do this however, the mayor must be willing to concentrate on San Antonio without serious distraction. Among other out-of-the-city distractions, seriously engaging the next presidential campaign is one of those “near occasions” for our next mayor to be disconnected, especially if it occurs at the beginning of one’s mayoral term of office and the person is new to city government.
The core functions about which I have spoken during my campaign and continue to speak of are the basics: crime-free, safe and sustainable neighborhoods, adequate road infrastructure, including sidewalks and curbs, proper flood control, walkable neighborhoods and supporting local businesses; things that matter most to San Antonio families. For most of my 66 years I have steadfastly advocated for neighborhoods, hoping that someone – just someone – would have the courage to usher in a sustainable renaissance in our entire city. Critical to effectively launching a renaissance or being a transformational leader is to be here at home, where “management by walking around” (MBWA) can be most effective.
Some would like to critique Mayor Taylor on social issues, and the social issues are important. I oppose any form of discrimination and therefore, support the non-discrimination ordinance (NDO). But, we must do justice to social issues without paralyzing progress on other great issues for our city, a city with viable and sustainable neighborhoods, new or old, urban or suburban, poor, middle-class or wealthy! This will take hard work to turn some of these neighborhoods, long left to languish, into contributing, attractive areas where their respective school districts receive the respect and admiration of the rest of the city if not the state or the nation.
We must re-engage and elevate some of these neighborhoods by taking the ones with the old, urban or suburban corridors and accommodate drivers’ demands for quick trips by synchronizing traffic lights. Our goal should be to get 20% of the expressway traffic off our highways and back to the urban corridors they once came from. This could lift up neighborhoods adjoining these corridors as well as the schools and the businesses that have unnecessarily languished. Additionally, travel on these corridors would lighten the current load of expressway traffic without tolling it.
Over the past four months I’ve engaged in nearly 50 mayoral forums and have touted my unique 16 years of local experience. Because of my local experience, I know the difference in the issues and challenges at the local level of government. I know that local experience and diversity of thought is what is needed for our mayor to succeed. In the mayoral candidate field, the next candidate with the most local experience is Mayor Ivy Taylor.
In addition to six years on the council, Mayor Taylor’s other local experience includes service on various governmental and nonprofit boards, including, but not limited to, the Urban Renewal Agency (San Antonio Development Agency), Healthy Futures of Texas, and the Martinez Street Women’s Center. Taylor also is a graduate of Leadership San Antonio and the 2004 recipient of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Rising Star Award. After earning her undergraduate degree from Yale University, Taylor studied Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving her master’s degree in 1998.
Mayor Taylor’s goals are, among other things, the following:
- Balancing the budget;
- Remaining focused on balanced growth throughout our city and targeted investment in areas where opportunities have been limited;
- Settling Police and Fire contract negotiations;
- Developing a comprehensive transportation plan; and
- Improving our city’s infrastructure, both human and physical, to better support economic development.
In part, the difficult fire and police contract dispute drifted instead of being settled because of the mayor’s race. We need a mayor and a council that is unafraid to take the lead and to ask that the executive staff follow its lead. As mayor, Taylor pulled the streetcar project, and, along with city council, worked with San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) to achieve unanimous approval for the Vista Ridge water supply project, which will help ensure water supply for our growing city. As a council member, she led the effort to bring more than $50 million in federal funding for the Promise Zone & Choice Neighborhoods for revitalization of San Antonio’s Eastside. In the short time Mayor Taylor has been in office, she has displayed incredible courage, tact and genuine diplomacy.
With four terms in county government, I feel uniquely qualified to assess our local government “in all its parts.” I cannot over emphasize the need for diversity of thought and diversity of political counsel. I believe that San Antonio would benefit from the enlightened presence, the local experience and balanced guidance that Mayor Ivy Taylor brings to our City Hall. This is why I ran for county judge and mayor. This is why I believe Ivy Taylor is the right choice to lead San Antonio and hope that you will join me in supporting the one candidate ready to lead on “Day-One” of her new term as mayor.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article was attributed to Managing Editor Iris Dimmick. She is in fact the editor, but not the author, Tommy Adkisson.
*Featured/top image: Mayor Ivy Taylor and Tommy Adkisson embrace on the steps of City Hall. Photo by Iris Dimmick