The most recent class day of Leadership San Antonio explored government and politics with an in-depth look at the recent initiatives the City of San Antonio is championing, focusing on SA2020 and the upcoming bond election. The day began at the Pearl Brewery with remarks from SA2020 CEO, Darryl Byrd. Byrd discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the community-wide effort to chart a bold course and transform the city into one of the nation’s great cities.
Following the opening presentation, the class traveled to Fire Station #30 for a special presentation of a portion of the remains of the World Trade Center to San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood and the City of San Antonio as a tribute to the men and women in San Antonio who serve in public service. The piece of steel is from the remains of the former World Trade Center site via the World Trade Center Tribute Center and the New York City Fire Department. These memorial pieces are rare and are given as memorials to not for profits and are to be used as a remembrance and memorial to all of those who lost their lives on 9.11.01.
Assistant City Manager, Peter Zanoni, also joined the class at the fire station to discuss the committee process the city went through to arrive at the $596 million proposed bond program. The five committees assembled approved 135 projects to be considered by City Council and presented their recommendations in January 2012. City Council approved 140 projects to be included in the election, which include more than 97% of the committee-recommended projects.
The class then traveled to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center for lunch, a tour and a panel discussion with stakeholders in the bond process. The panel was comprised of Patti Radle, former Councilwoman and member of the community bond committee, Paty Ortiz, Executive Director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Diego Bernal, City Councilman for District 1, and Elaine Wolf, Editor of Plaza de Armas.
Afterward, Greater Chamber President & CEO, Richard Perez, welcomed the class to City Council chambers in Municipal Plaza and introduced former City Manager, Lou Fox, who described how city governance has evolved over the years. Mayor Julian Castro then joined the class to present a proclamation in honor of their day.
The day ended back at the Pearl Brewery with closing remarks from Jacquelyn Callanen, Bexar County Elections Administrator, and demographers from local universities to explore the changing demographics of Bexar County voters and how they will impact our political future.
Finally, State Representative, Mike Villarreal, addressed the importance of voting and introduced the “Get Out the Vote” tool kit to encourage all to get active and vote. The kit included a new voter information app called “SA Votes” for smartphones/mobile devices created by the LSA Government & Politics Team to help voters in the area easily find voting sites, list of candidates and other helpful resources, in hopes of encouraging a new generation of voters to participate fully in the election process.
The "SA Votes" App can be found at the following links for both iPhone and Android devices.
The 54 members of LSA Class 37 are grouped into committees responsible for developing agendas for each of the seven class days. The agenda for Government & Politics Day was developed by class members:
- Amy Contreras, Senior Manager of International Tax Services, Ernst & Young, LLP
- Mike Kaiman, Vice President and General Manager, Turner Construction Company
- Venus Medina, Principal, Woodrow Wilson Elementary
- Ronald A. Nirenberg, Associate General Manager, KTRU Trinity University
- Stephanie Ockenfels, Corporate Affairs & Public Policy, CPS Energy
- Amita Patinak, Associate Director of Clinical Research, START
- La Shawn Stewart, Vice President of Business Development, Foster CM Group, Inc.
- Barbara Taylor, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
LSA is a joint partnership of The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Click here for more information on LSA or email Michelle Whitlow, Director of Leadership San Antonio, at LSA@sachamber.org.