AP NEWS

Viagran deserves another term

April 9, 2019

Rebecca Viagran has been an effective representative for San Antonio City Council District 3. She merits re-election to her last term. She will be termed out.

She is being challenged by Elizabeth Campos, a business owner who obviously cares about the district but simply does not have the same grasp of issues as Viagran.

Campos’ chief complaint is unmet infrastructure needs of District 3. And, without a doubt, these needs — for sidewalks, and sewage and drainage improvements — exist. But Viagran credibly responds that she has brought more of such improvements to the district than before. More important, she exhibits the savvy necessary to bring even more.

Viagran has been a good steward of the missions that exist in her district, helping ensure that new development won’t encroach on their cultural importance. UNESCO World Heritage designation for the missions occurred on her watch.

Unlike her challenger, Viagran was on the right side of the recent charter amendments on the ballot — two of three of which passed. She urged no votes on all three. One amendment (the one that failed) would have set a lower threshold for the number of signatures to force referendums on issues, a move that could have resulted in legislative gridlock because of a constant challenging of City Council spending proposals.

A second amendment set a cap on city manager pay and tenure — a clear slam at former City Manager Sheryl Sculley. But this was unnecessary as it did not affect Sculley’s pay and because Sculley was an excellent city manager who deserved her salary. Now, newly installed City Manager Erik Walsh is capped at eight years no matter if he performs superbly.

A third amendment gives the firefighters union sole authority to declare an impasse in contract negotiations and to submit the dispute to binding arbitration. This invests too much power in a public employee union at the potential expense of future taxpayers — and could result in a weakened fire department.

On the council’s recent action to prevent Chick-fil-A from operating at the airport, Viagran moved to have the matter moved to B Session discussion for more airing. That motion didn’t pass, but Viagran should be credited for offering it. She then correctly abstained on the final vote.

Viagran deserves a third term on the council.