AP NEWS

Adriana Garcia for City Council District 4

April 9, 2019

For the past eight years, Rey Saldaña has been an exemplary representative for District 4 on the city’s South Side.

He has led with integrity. He has spoken about issues with conviction and persuasiveness. He has listened to his constituents at long neighborhood meetings and even ridden along with dog catchers. He has championed better bus service, crafted a truancy system for San Antonio’s school districts and led the way on Pearsall Park.

But Saldaña is termed out, which means it’s time for new leadership in District 4. We recommend Adriana Rocha Garcia, although with some reservation due to her position on campaign finance disclosure.

Garcia, 39, is a lifelong resident of the district, and even now lives close to her parents. She is a single mother who earned her Ph.D. in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and is an assistant professor at Our Lady of the Lake University.

All of this points to her potential on council, but her tenure on the city’s Ethics Review Board gives us pause. She opposed disclosing the workplaces of campaign donors in municipal elections, even though this aligns with state and federal laws. She has said small donors could suffer retribution from employers. But the donation is already a public record. Requiring donors to disclose employment gives the public insight into the industries or firms that support particular candidates.

There are five candidates in this race, but none of the others can match Garcia’s résumé or breadth of experience. Besides chairing the city’s Ethics Review Board, Garcia has worked in business and school settings. This experience includes communications work with the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Project QUEST and SAMMinistries Furniture for a Cause.

Garcia comes across as thoughtful on the issues and a person who could bridge political divides on council. At times, though, Garcia was too cautious with her answers about city policies. It was tough to get clear answers from her on whether the city should mandate paid sick leave, for example. And while she said she supported the city taking some kind of action to mitigate man-made climate change, she also expressed concern about the cost of the city’s proposed (and nonbinding) Climate Action and Adaptation Plan for businesses.

Some of this likely stems from a desire to do more research and build consensus, which is good. That’s what smart leaders do. But City Council members have to take tough votes on local issues and argue their positions with persuasive clarity.

While we disagree with Garcia on campaign finance, we believe she has the potential to shine on City Council and she has earned this opportunity through her work in the community.

Garcia for City Council District 4.