Issues

The Basics

The city should focus on the basics. Streets, crime, utilities. These are hard enough to manage and keep from exploding into expansive government without worrying about other things politicians can spend taxpayer money on. I think its important to really make sure these are taken care of efficiently and should be the main focus of San Antonio. These areas also shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of ‘growth’. Citizens and the community and interests they have build a city and not how much new land and taxpayer revenue it can generate.

“City Builder”

Government is best when its local. A real local ‘government’ is people getting involved in the issue they care about. Instead of fighting city hall over money for projects people should be free to invest in the city the way they want to. Voluntarily projects take the “robbing-hood” effect out of government.

I have an idea for a volunteer website where people can put projects for their local projects or even city wide goals. People then can choose to invest or not invest in these ideas. None of the money would be controlled by the city. These projects could be simple like getting a side walk built. They could be more involved like funding for fire equipment or police overtime. They could even be bigger like a new community center. Its really up to the ideas of the people and what they want to achieve. It encourages civil and community involvement as well.

People can accomplish great things when their goal is to work together and invest in the community instead of fighting over what was taken from them.

Reduce Debt

FY 2013 Adopted Budget Highlights (English)

Its easy to see what the city wants to show you but hard to find information. This includes information on the $9,424,770,314 in debt (over $7000 per capita) according to this Sept 2012 report. When citizens are dealing with tough time shouldn’t government? The city needs to reduce costs and not expand its budget. It should always be looking for ways to do this, but it is especially need when citizens are trying to deal with a tougher economy.

Pre-K 4 SA

I am against this program as it is way out of the domain of what the city should be dealing with. Ignoring the questionable merits and whether it can be successful or not, the city should not be getting involved in its own education system.

We can all thing of a list of things that might be ‘good’ ideas, but the role of government in not to fight over each others money to implement our ‘good’ ideas. We should focus on common basic services and keep as much money with the people where it belongs. People make the decisions to invest into programs and charities that they care about. Let citizens decide what is best for them and their community and not politicians.

Streetcar (Rail)

This is another political ‘dream’ that should not be followed with taxpayer money. The uniqueness or desire for San Antonio to look more metropolitan by politicians shouldn’t be cause to empty the pocketbooks of taxpayers. This would be a heavily subsidized program that serves very few. It does not meet practical transportation needs and is more an effort to create a place that is ideal to the politicians than the citizens. Let citizens decide and invest in what they need. We do not need to keep piling on subsidized transportation systems.

Transportation (RMA)

The city should have never given a loan to an organization that only exist to toll them which is double taxation. I fear that the $500,000 is money that has been thrown away. The RMA has no ability to pay this money back without building toll roads which should not be built. The city does not need to endorse the bad policies of TXDoT and the state legislature. We already pay for roads and should not be paying an even higher user fee on top of that. I would not extend the loan further and not support toll road expansion around San Antonio.

Communication

I think it is extremely important to communicate with constituents. I know everyone will not agree with ever decision, but it is important for citizens to know why I made a decision and not just that I made it. Digging through council minutes is not a reasonable way for citizens to finder my actions either. I will send out an email newsletter at least once a month with district news and I will keep this website open and post my reasoning behind votes I have made for all to see and evaluate. The principle behind decisions is important and I think it should always be communicated.

I will not send out mailings at a cost to taxpayers. Most people have online access these days and I believe that would cover most that are interested. My office will be open and I will make every effort to be available to people personally as well. Fighting for good city policy is something citizens should have the right to do and they can only do it if I am available and listening to their concerns.

Keep Government Simple

We can all think of a list things we want to see in the world. Things we think are good or beneficial. The problem is when we start applying those to government. Its often seen as the ‘easy road’ to solving problems. In reality to implement any idea has to go through politics and requires taking money from the citizens that earned it. This means all the baggage and fighting of politics gets involved. It also means that citizens are robbed of their ability to pay into the things they personally care about. Government becomes a battleground to take from each other to implement government ideology instead of protected the rights of free citizens to invest in the things they care about. We should never be forced to pay for the dreams of politicians or special interests. Corporatism and corruption are often the byproducts of government spending instead of good will and the betterment of society. It is up to us as individuals to buy into the world we want and we should have to fight over government to see that happen.

Keep government basic. Focus on the essentials such as road, police, fire. If society cannot tend to its needs then it will never come together to build a government that can do better.

Approval Voting

I know this is an issue many may not have heard about but it something that affects everyone when they step into a voting booth. At every level of government we use a plurality voting method which is the worst method possible. Its low in voter satisfaction and encourages ‘gaming’ the elections.

I propose using approval voting which would end runoffs and end the ‘spoiler’ effect. Please checkout the site and take a look. It is a simple voting method that solves many of the problems in ballot box politics.

Petitioning

I support a citizen petitioning process that makes it easy to remove bad government. The idea of nullification of bad laws at the state and jury level is something more people are ‘re-learning’. We need the ability to remove bad city ordinances that citizens don’t favor as well. San Antonio needs a petition process that allows citizens that live within the city district, not just voters, to remove things that affect them. Government always grows if left unchecked. This would put a strong and useful tool into the hands of citizen to stop bad government.

4 thoughts on “Issues

  1. Rob Wilson

    I’m pretty liberal, but if I were in your district I’d probably vote for you anyway just because I think implementing approval voting is one of the most important things we can do.

    If you want government to be financially responsible, why not support the creation of a website that details government spending as it happens and where. It should be so detailed and easy to use that any layman should be able to log on and be able to find out how much any particular department is spending on paperclips in a particular month.

    Also, to keep elections competitive and have a real battle of ideas, why not have an official city internet message-board from which candidates for office can debate point by point throughout the campaign. In order to run for office, it would be required to make at least one post introducing yourself.

    1. amthomasiv Post author

      Yes, we do use an antiquated voting system that allows to much ‘gaming’ and does not maximize voter choice. Its an issue not many people are aware of, but the people that benefit from plurality voting like it that way. I think San Antonio can be a leader in changing its voting system.

      I was actually discussing the issue of transparency with someone else and that came up. I would like to make a website that is built to convey the status of the city at all time. This includes debt, expenses, income. It should be able to drill down if people want it, but be simple so people can get an at a glance view of the city status. This would extend to council meetings as well. You should not have to dig through minutes of a meeting to see how council members voted. There should be an online quick reference for citizens to see. There are tons of ways we could take simple steps to make government more transparent.

      I wouldn’t mind some sort of candidate message boards, but I worry that it would be in favor or give advantage to incumbents that would be making the rules and have better access to use such a tool. I think in the end voters have to engage and really see who is on the ballot. I know its hard sometimes, but if voters aren’t doing their jobs then you cannot fix that after the fact in government.

      Thank you for visiting my site!

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