By Morgan Montalvo
Members of the local tech community came together at The Pearl Thursday evening to oppose a trio of controversial November local ballot items, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
David Heard, CEO of the computer industry advocacy group Tech-Bloc organized the rally, aimed at encouraging local voters to say "no" to Propositions A, B and C. The three amendments would: significantly decrease the number of petition signatures needed to bring an issue before City Council and place it on local ballots for a "referendum" vote;
limit the salaries and employment tenures of future San Antonio city managers;
require local elected leaders and police and fire unions to settle contract disputes through arbitration rather than often protracted, expensive lawsuits.
Heard says voter approval of the trio of ballot measures will stifle economic growth in the city's fast-growing tech industry.
"We've made a lot of progress, but we've got a long way to go. And anything that hurts the prospects of our city economically, or hurts our ability to recruit jobs and workers to our town, and to keep our talented workers here when they graduate, really impacts business overall," says Heard.
"We're really driven by talent, we're recruiting companies as hard as we can to move great-paying jobs to this town, and these propositions threaten a lot of that progress we've made and put our future at risk," Heard says.
Heard says the propositions undermine the authority of local elected officials and lead to both tax increases and local labor issues decided by out-of-town arbitrators.
Tech-Bloc co-founder Dax Moreno says the outcome of the November vote could affect the future of local governance for the next five to ten years.
"We are experience in our city a success in growth at a scale that we have never experienced in our lifetime, or our last two generations' lifetimes. I would love for us to continue that momentum and not start undermining it now," says Moreno.
Supporters of Propositions A, B and C say the measures give voters more oversight of local government, target the "special interest" influence that developers and other special interests can wield over a city manager, and give first responders' unions valuable bargaining power when it comes to negotiating employment contracts and health insurance benefits.
The election is scheduled for Nov. 6.