Candidate questionnaire: Chris Forbrich, District 1
March 4, the Current emailed the following questionnaire to all
candidates who filed by March 9 for the May 2009 municipal elections.
As responses begin to roll in, we will post them in their unedited
entirety here on QueBlog. Excerpts will appear in the April 1 print
edition of the Current. if you're a candidate, and did not receive a
questionnaire from us, please call Elaine Wolff at 388-0625, or email
her at email@example.com, and provide the best email address for
Ed. note: Mr. Forbrich rephrased some of the questions. You can find the original questions here, along with District 7 candidate Elena Guajardo's answers.
Do you support the addition of two new nuclear power plants to the
South Texas Project to meet our future energy needs? If not, please
describe the alternative you favor. If so, please explain your
position or philosophy on the long term storage of nuclear fuel waste.
support expanding the Nuclear Project. I support all sources of energy
that provide a reliable and reasonable electric source for our
metropolitan area that would not impact the air quality. Nuclear waste
is a serious issue that needs to be considered; however we are already
using Nuclear Power in the area. The proposal is only to expand. I
believe that the nuclear waste should be stored in the safest possible
way, using the commercial standard for that industry.
Do you support Mayor Hardberger’s Mission Verde initiative in its
entirety? If so, what do you see as the most critical steps council
must take to implement it successfully? If not, do you support any of
its provisions, and why (not)?
Verde is a great program. I think that there are some issues with
installing solar panels in the Historic Districts of San Antonio that
really need to be considered. Historic Neighborhoods wouldn’t be the
same with large solar panels on the roofs and yards, but that isn’t to
say that doesn’t work for other neighborhoods in the city. I agree
strongly that transportation changes need to happen, but don’t support
a mileage fee to subsidize mass transportation. Energy should be saved
whenever possible both for the environment and for cost reasons.3.
What is the right mix of public transit options for San Antonio’s
future and what do you think is the best method to fund/maintain each
think either stimulus money or bond money needs to be used, in
cooperation with the County and other municipal governments to build a
metropolitan metrorail that can move people from major points of
interest (Downtown, Stone Oak, La Cantera, Judson area, Port San
Antonio and Medical Center). Every major, modern metropolitan area in
the world has mass transit options. A great test to how this system
will be used is to institute a bus rapid transit program and a
marketing campaign to remind everyone that public transportation is for
4. If San Antonio faces a major budget shortfall, where would you be willing to make budget cuts?
non-core city services. I believe strongly that the city must continue
to provide for the health and safety of its residence and would want to
make sure that those departments were unaffected by budget cuts. San
Antonio spends a lot on administrative costs, which could be cut, as
well as the Mayor & Council’s discretionary funding. The next few
years of recession are going to be difficult for the city and its
people. We can cut back on the bureaucracy and keep essential services.5.
What are your top spending priorities for the Hotel Occupancy Tax?
Would you support a recommendation to use some of those funds to expand
the convention center?
HOT can not be used for infrastructure improvements such as streets and
sidewalks. I would like to continue to invest that money in culture
and arts to encourage the tourism and cultural activities that make our
city unique to continue. The more successful this industry is, the
more money that is available for those programs.6.
Please briefly describe your conception of San Antonio’s economy, its
strengths and weaknesses, and what you would do to build the former and
address the latter?
Antonio is fortunate that it is not dependent on just one industry.
The Tourism, Medical, Military and Education industries are strong in
San Antonio. By continuing to work with leaders of these areas to
provide zoning opportunities and build on what we have, we can continue
to see good jobs for these areas. San Antonio also has a large number
of Small Businesses that are vital to our day to day lives. By keeping
their concerns in mind when making ordinance, changing fees or
proposing different taxes, we can be sure that they continue to have
Keeping in mind the playground scandal, the Healy Murphy Park Sale and
the El Mercado Flap, how would you increase accountability and
transparency at City Hall? Specifically, would you change the role or
method of choosing a City Auditor, and his/her scope of authority?
What San Antonio lacks is enough large
businesses. With the departing of AT&T, a number of high paying
jobs left the area. In order to get and keep large employers the mess
at the Airport needs to be cleaned up and property tax incentives need
to be aggressively offered to companies that would be willing to make a
large presence here. There are several buildings in the downtown area
that could be used to house these companies, providing the downtown
business with customers, the building with a tenant, and the people of
the city with jobs. It’s a good deal for everyone.
think City Council Meetings should take place on a weekend. There are
a few people who take time from there schedules to question their
elected officials in council, but for the most part, the average
working person can’t leave their office and come to City Hall on
Thursday at 10am to provide their input. I propose having the meetings
on a Saturday, making government more accessible to the people.
Further, I am strongly against back door deals and secret meetings.
When elected, I would only wish to discuss lawsuits and personnel
problems that might lead to lawsuits in executive sessions and leave
all other discussions to the open meeting.8.
Do you support extending the digital billboard pilot program? If so,
what restrictions, if any would you recommend on their placement and
I believe that the City
Council should continue to select the city auditor. The auditor needs
to honestly review the books of the City and provide information based
on that requirement. If the auditor was elected, like the
councilmembers, the office becomes political, making someone have to
decide if their decision is popular for the city, or just simple what
they actually found during the scope of their audit. I think it would
be inappropriate to put an auditor in that type of situation.
I do not support putting in any additional billboards, digital or otherwise.9.
Do you support SAWS current plans to secure San Antonio’s Water
Supply? If so, please explain why? If not, please explain what they
should be doing differently…
I believe that new sources are essential to our economic future. Water
is a precious resource and we are a growing city. While more water is
needed, conservation is needed. SAWS does provide a reasonable amount
of conservation material to its customers, but could do better about
informing the people of the city, through their newsletter, about the
aquifer and how San Antonio’s future is going to depend on have and
getting water for the people. We are far ahead of other large Texas
cities, but we can do more.10.
Please briefly describe how you financially support yourself. How will
you balance your work demands with your council responsibilities? Do
you foresee any conflicts of interest between your profession (or
former profession, if your retired) and a position on council? If so,
how will you handle these?
am an IT Manager at a medium sized Oil & Gas Operator based in San
Antonio and I also own a small computer consulting firm. My schedule
is flexible and I feel that I will be able to take my troubleshooting
skills to City Hall to find solutions to the problems facing the people
of District 1. In regards to conflicts, as I do work at an Oil &
Gas company, it would be inappropriate for me to vote directly on
issues relating to natural gas, as the company I work for sells natural
gas, though not to San Antonio. Having a strong sense of ethics in
government is vital to being a leader, no matter what the arena. I will
disclose any potential conflicts (no matter how remote the possibility
is) and discuss with the City Ethics Office to ensure we maintain the
highest level of discretion.11.
What is your opinion regarding the Parade Ordinance that is the subject
of the Free Speech Coalition lawsuit? Specifically, what fees, if any,
should the city charge for parade permits? Should they distinguish
between types of applicants and events, and if so, how and by whom
should these decisions be made?
think you should have the right to assemble. I believe that
organizations wishing to have a parade or public demonstration should
purchase a permit for such an event, but one that doesn’t exceed around
$40. The cost of the permit should go towards the costs of informing
the police, fire & EMS, health department of the activities so that
they can better prepare. It is unfair to charge certain groups to
express themselves and allow other groups to do this without charge.12.
Please briefly describe your philosophy toward the maintenance and
funding of publicly owned and/or operated spaces, such as golf courses,
libraries, parks and El Mercado. Should these entities break even,
make a profit, or be viewed as investments with tangible returns?
Please propose a solution for the issues surrounding either
Healy-Murphy Park, El Mercado or La Villita.
think that the cost of the Golf Course Green Fee should be equal to
what it costs the city to provide you with the space to play the
round. The quality of life added by these facilities is vital to our
economic health. When companies are surveyed about features that would
attract them locate their businesses to a certain place, golf courses
are always at the top of the list.
In regards to parks, libraries,
and the zoo: these are public spaces that the city provides to the
people for their education, enjoyment and culture. I believe these are
investments we making in the people and should. I do believe decisions
regarding these institutions should always be made in the public and
with as much public input as can be collected.
El Mercado, La
Villita, the Missions, and the Alamo are our history, heritage and
legacy. They should never be sold off to the highest bidder. There
are many options including lease-operate agreements that could be
implemented to make facilities more profitable.
If we failed to raise a question or issue that you feel represents your
values and priorities as a candidate, please discuss it here.
The residents of
District 1 have been struggling with the same major challenges for the
past 20 years. We need to get back to basics and address many of the
base concerns. Crime prevention, graffiti prevention/abatement, code
compliance, green spaces, and pothole prevention/repair are top
priorities. As councilman for District 1 I will be present and active
in the community. We will place quality of life at the top of the list
of things to do.
Posted by Elaine Wolff on 3/25/2009 3:31:30 PM
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