by Morgan Montalvo
Two key figures on opposite sides of a set of controversial November ballot proposals pleaded their respective arguments before a Southeast Side audience Monday evening, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who opposes Propositions A, B and C, and Reinette King, spokeswoman for the pro-propositions group San Antonio First clarified their positions on the amendments, which would lower the number of signatures needed on a petition for initiative and referendum, limit the employment tenure and salaries of future city managers, and require the city and municipal unions to use arbitration, rather than expensive and drawn-out lawsuits, to solve contract disputes.
Each spoke in turn and took questions from the members of the Highland Hills Neighborhood Association and visitors.
Nirenberg’s arguments against the trio of ballot items focused on what he characterized as a threat to the city’s bond rating and subsequent higher interest payments if voters approve the propositions, and what he says is an attempt by the head of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Union to wield undue control over local government.
“It’s a fool’s errand, because in the end it’s only going to hurt firefighters, as well,” Nirenberg told News Radio 1200 WOAI after speaking to the group.
“These amendments, if they pass, will only simply raise taxes and lower city services, because more of taxpayers’ hard-earned money is going to go to interest payments rather than infrastructure and service,” the mayor said.
King said special interests fear the three proposals because they would give taxpayers more local government oversight and ability to rein in popular decision by local elected leaders and bureaucrats.
“There’s a lot of money that they’ve spent on things that people don’t really agree with, so people don’t feel like they have a voice.” said King.
Highland Hills resident William Anderson says the mayor’s financial stability argument resonated with him.
“Somewhere down the line, whether it be two weeks or six months from now, someone’s going to come up and say ‘You don’t have control of your budgetary process,’ ” Anderson said after the presentations.
San Antonio voters will decide the issues when they go to the polls Nov. 6.
PHOTO: San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and local taxpayer advocate Reinette King clarify their opposing positions on a set of controversial November ballot proposals Monday evening before the Highland Hills Neighborhood Association. Photo by Morgan Montalvo