Councilmembers John Courage (D9) and Clayton Perry (D10) will seek reelection next year, they told the San Antonio Report during a live interview Tuesday.
However, Perry added, he’s open to other options.
“There have been rumors floating around about possibly running for mayor,” he said. “I’m not going to shut the door for anything.”
The two Northside districts are historically represented by conservative Council members, though municipal elections are nonpartisan and consistently draw numerous candidates.
“I’m going to give the people in our district the opportunity to allow me to continue to serve,” said Courage, who offers a more moderate voice on Council compared to Perry, who is the most conservative, and the rest of Council, which largely leans progressive.
Perry, who opposed the workforce development initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved in November, said the City of San Antonio has increasingly gone beyond its “core responsibilities” to fund social services and other “ancillary” programs.
People are concerned about their property taxes, streets, and public safety, he said. “We’ve kind of stepped out of that bounds in my opinion. I think that we’re supporting a lot of things that people don’t prioritize.”
Courage and Perry led the years-long effort to give San Antonio homeowners a homestead exemption on their property tax bills.
“I agree probably 50 percent of the time with my friend,” Courage said. “Fiscally, we all need to be conservative to a great extent. … I’m always looking at how we want to spend money to positively affect the people in the district.”
Courage, along with most of his colleagues, advocated for the SA Ready to Work workforce development initiative as a way to build back the economy and help educate workers. The goal is to give more than 30,000 people job training and scholarships for two- and four-year degrees, increasing their average wages.
“I think we need to start looking more long term to protect the interests of our community,” Courage said, and SA Ready to Work does that.
Perry took issue with the projected community and economic impact outlined by a recent report and pledged to keep a close eye on the actual results.
He also took issue with locally enacted restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus.
“When you look at the restrictions that are in place … closing bars [and curfews] where’s the data to support that?” Perry said. “There is none.”
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg enacted a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew over the extended Thanksgiving weekend.
Regarding the beginning signs of a spike in cases and deaths after Thanksgiving, Perry asked, “Is that because the curfew was put in place that caused people to jam into bars earlier?”
Courage answered with another question.
“How can you prove a negative?” Courage said. “If we hadn’t had a curfew, maybe 100 more would have died and 1,000 would be in the hospital. But you can’t prove that ahead of time. All you can do is … what you feel is the best you can do at the time.”
The councilmen sat down – 6 feet apart – with San Antonio Report Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick to discuss several other topics, including aquifer protection, street maintenance, and affordable housing. Monday marked the final event in the nonprofit’s Conversations with the Council series.
Watch the entire discussion in the video above or on the San Antonio Report’s Facebook page here.