Once again, we are currently in the midst of a City Council and mayoral race in San Antonio. Unlike the presidential, congressional and state races held in even years, City Council and mayoral races are conducted in the odd years. Since it is 2017, it time to elect a mayor and 10 City Council persons for a two year term. Election Day is May 6.
Since the voters cast their ballots in a referendum last cycle to raise the Council’s pay to $46,000 a year from $20 a week, we now have 79 candidates on the May ballot – 38 of the candidates are Hispanic.
A number of the incumbent Council members are Hispanic. Currently, District 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are represented by Hispanics. They include Roberto Treviño, Rebecca Viagran, Rey Saldana, Shirley Gonzales, Ray Lopez and Cris Medina, respectively. Five of them minus Councilman Ray Lopez are running for re-election. Councilman Ray Lopez is term limited from running for another term having served the maximum four terms.
With 14 candidates running for mayor, six of the candidates are Hispanic. They include: Nathan Madrid, Felicio Flores, John Martinez Velasquez, Manuel Medina, Gerald Ponce and Tony Diaz.
All six District 1 candidates are Hispanic to include: Robert Feria, Adrian Flores, Ross Trevino, Lauro Bustamante, Michael Montano and incumbent Roberto Treviño.
Of the four candidates running in District 2, none of them are Hispanic.
District 3 has seven candidates, five Hispanics to include: Jessica Guerrero, Rebecca Viagran, Nathan Carrizales, Sylvia Don and Ismael Reyes.
District 4 has three candidates, all Hispanic, to include Rey Saldana, Rey Guevara and Johnny Arredondo.
District 5 has six candidates all who are Hispanic. The list includes: Cynthia Cavazos, David Yanez, Dolores Sotomayor, Richard Montez, Daniel Lopez and Shirley Gonzales.
District 6 has eight candidates of which four are Hispanic. They include; Cris Medina, Marco Reyes, Alfredo Esparza Colunga, Ana Sandoval and Michelle Dalbis Robleto.
District 8 has six candidates with three Hispanics to include: Manny Palaez, Pat Stout and Tony Valdivia. District 9 has 10 candidates but only two Hispanics, Sandra Martinez-Deyarmond and Marco Barros.
Finally, District 10 has 10 candidates but only three Hispanics to include: John Alvarez, Celeste Montez-Tidwell and Andrew Padilla.
For you History buffs who may have forgotten: it took until 1870 to pass the 15th amendment to guarantee the right to vote to all men 21 and older regardless of race or ethnic background. That included freed slaves.
Imagine the excitement in 1920 when women over 21 were finally allowed to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment. Today, 52 percent of the eligible voters are women and more women are being elected to serve.
In 1971, while I was still serving in Vietnam, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age across the nation to 18. In 1982, the Voting Rights Act Amendments allowed further provisions and added Americans with disabilities, voters not able to read and write and those not fluent in English to insure their freedoms.
When you go to the polls remember your vote does count and can make a difference on who wins or loses. You are encouraged to vote on May 6 or vote early in late April. It is your choice. Be a part of the process and go vote!
And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.