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The Liberty Blog

Let's Talk About City Charter Amendments

Posted: 4/28/15

Voters in San Antonio have three Charter Amendments to consider when early voting in the May 9 election begins on April 27. Charter Amendment One will build a roadblock to the city’s ability to make a light rail system without bringing it to the people for a vote; Charter Amendment Two deals with paying the council members and mayor; and Charter Amendment Three deals with how empty council seats will be handled in the future.

Whatever your personal view of a light rail system, the voters have made it clear three times that they do not want city funds to go toward building it. This charter amendment figuratively shouts of being tired of the entire discussion by making it impossible for the city to alter the roads, grant right-of-ways, or pass bonds for a light rail system without bringing it back during an election.  It would take a stone-deaf city council or employee to want to try again any time soon. We, in the Liberty Caucus, hear you! N-O means NO! There will be some who don’t like this, but they’d be foolhardy to fight for something when the people have their ears flat and their feet dug in.

The second charter amendment deals with changing the structure of the city government on a fundamental level. The Mayor of San Antonio and Council Members will no longer be volunteers if this passes. Instead the council will receive a salary based on the median income for residents, and the Mayor will get that plus thirty-five percent. A person’s kneejerk reaction might be to say no to this based on the idea that it saves the city money, but Liberty people believe in fairness. Because over time the council’s responsibilities have grown to where they spend more than forty hours a week doing the job, we say a worker should be paid. The city can find the money in the budget by cutting unessential items. Let’s hope that this opens the door for people who don’t have the financial backing of special interest groups to represent us on the council.

Charter Amendment three will ensure that council positions that become vacant – that have 120 days remaining before an election – will be filled by the people in that district during a special election. Elected representation…who opposes that? For the record, not us!