> Council Election Guide
Q & A with Elena Guajardo
San Antonio is about to come on hard times, given major budget cuts at a state and federal level. What programs do you think can be trimmed back? What should we not touch?
It’s not about trimming back. It’s about reviewing programs and identifying what is working and what is not. We need to make sure programs are efficiently meeting the needs of the citizens of San Antonio so that the city is getting a better return on its investments. Above all, we must continue to provide basic services efficiently and fund our fire and police departments to keep our neighborhoods safe.
Are there programs you plan to champion to ease the impact of those outside funding cuts on our community? Are you committed to continuing the SA2020 process?
I plan to champion being fiscally responsible in providing our basic services and safety first. I am committed to listening and reviewing details brought forth from the committees contributing to the SA2020 process.
What is your position on the city’s investment in two proposed nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project? CPS Energy plans for early retirement of the Deeley coal plant? Renewable energy development?
The community has always had profound questions regarding the safety if nuclear energy. And in light of the events in Japan, more safety questions now exist. Before developing a position on the proposed nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project, my duty would be to make sure those questions are thoroughly answered. To our benefit CPS Energy is researching how to increase alternate energy options, these options will help with my decision on whether or not to support the early retirement of the Deeley coal plant. There have been increased excitement on how to turn San Antonio green and I am among those excited about the possibilities. We must continue to look at more opportunities for education, purchasing, and jobs related to renewable energy.
How could the city better support public education? Do you support efforts to allow Mayor Julián Castro to be able to appoint some school board members?
San Antonio does a great job of supporting better public education, developing funding for more avenues to better serve our children. Education is a high priority of Mayor Castro and I will support him in those ways I can, however my first priority is to represent the interests of the residents of District 7 with the basic services they demand and should have.
Given the EPA is planning on toughening national air quality standards, what steps do you think the city can take to make sure our skies are healthy (and federal transportation keeps flowing to San Antonio)?
The city of San Antonio must remain vigilant in making sure we do not lose local control of our Bexar County tree ordinance. The ordinance is important in making sure our skies stay healthy.
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 element?
The long range transportation goal should be to look at options feasible to be a truly regional, multimodal transit service. We are the largest city in the nation to rely solely on traditional buses for mass transit. Because federal and state financing of long range transit options looks bleak, my recommendation is to consider other transportation alternatives such as High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and Managed Lanes.
What life experiences make you uniquely qualified to serve on the city council?
My passion for service includes a 30-year multi-faceted career spanning achievements in my family’s business, corporate America, non-profit and varied political arenas. My community leadership as a “change agent” demonstrated on San Antonio City Council includes the infusion of $30 million in new funding for District 7 projects.
Please briefly describe your conception of San Antonio’s economy, its strengths and weaknesses, and what you would do to build on the former and address the latter?
San Antonio is listed 2nd of the list of fastest recovering cities from the recession. We have the economy to attract large companies to our city. I will work to develop programs to reach out to these corporations.
How do 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 you’re retired) and a position on council? If so, how will you handle these?
I am retired. I am the only candidate that truly understands the time demands and commitment this position entails having previously served as District 7 Councilwoman. I do not foresee any conflict of interests. I have a clear understanding of the city, and I plan to take a hard stance on ethics reform.
Should service on the San Antonio City Council provide a living wage? Why or why not?
I believe paying San Antonio members of City Council $20 per meeting is limiting our potential to have people serve on council who desire to make a positive difference in our city. To provide a living wage would be fair, however it would have to be voted on by the people of San Antonio.
If we’ve failed to raise a question or issue that you feel represents your values and priorities as a candidate, please discuss it here.
I want to finish what I have started for the people of District 7. There is so much work to be done and I don't believe in leaving anything incomplete. During my term on San Antonio City Council we saw much improvement which includes the infusion of $30 million in new funding for District 7 projects. During my tenure representing District 7, together, we increased police and fire officers on the streets, built a new library and fire station, purchased all new fire trucks and acquired land for new parks in our neighborhoods. I want to go back to council to finish the work that we started together.
I want to address these major issues I see facing the city of San Antonio:
1. Safety - I would like to continue what I started during my last tenure representing District 7, by increasing police and fire officers on the streets and making sure they have the tools necessary to keep our residents safe.
2. Bond Improvements - I plan to address the lack of oversight in the implementation of the City Bond 2005-2012. I will fight for public improvements projects to improve our streets, bridges, drainage, sidewalks, and parks.
3. Creating Jobs - In my plan to push for the bond improvements already voted for will be included an emphasis on the creation of much needed jobs, contracts, and economic development for small businesses and our overall community. In addition, I will work with the Mayor and other members of city government to seek out new opportunities for the city of San Antonio.
4. Ethics Reform - I plan to author policy changes that will protect your tax dollars and take a hard stance on ethics reform. We've seen many stories over the last year about council members engaged in questions of ethic. The citizens of our great city deserve better. The reason I continue to seek to represent District 7, is that I know they deserve better than corrupt government. That's why my campaign is focused not only on the neighborhoods of District 7 but in creating a city government that will be fiscally responsible for all San Antonians.
5. A Neighborhood Focus - I have the experience and leadership to advocate for the concerns and issues important to each resident in each neighborhood of District 7. With a background in social work, it is my intention to offer great constituent services to the citizens of San Antonio as I have in the past. I will continue to be a fighter for those principles of fairness and justice for all San Antonio residents.
Find out what district you live in, how to register to vote, information on the the other districts and more in our 2011 City Council Election Guide.