By Steve Walker
The long awaited mayoral and City Council races have finally been decided effective June 30. We now have a new mayor in Ron Nirenberg, outgoing District 8 councilman who ousted incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor in the runoff. The five Hispanics who did not make that run-off included: Manuel Medina, Gerard Ponce, Tony Diaz, Felicio Hernandez Flores and Napoleon Madrid.
With 69,000 early votes and 30,000 Election Day votes, we have a complete City Council. Seven of those elected officials are Hispanic. With 39 Hispanic candidates in the first round, the number was finally narrowed down to seven.
Four of those Hispanic Council members were re-elected to their respective districts. They include Roberto Treviño, who represents District 1. Forced into a runoff with fellow Hispanic and lawyer Michael Montano, he emerged victorious for a full second term. Earlier, he was appointed to finish an unexpired term when now State Rep. Diego Bernal left to serve in the legislature. In the first round of this race three other Hispanics, Adrian Flores, Robert Feria and Lawyer Lauro Bustmante, were on the ballot.
District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran also won her re-election bid without a runoff. She faced off with Hispanic candidates Ismael Reyes, Sylvia Don, Jessica Guerrero and Nathan Carrizales.
District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña also won without a runoff with Hispanic opponents Rey Guevara and Johnny Arredondo. District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales won without a runoff, facing off with Hispanic candidates: David Yanez, Daniel Lopez, Cynthia Cavazos and Dolores Sotomayor.
In District 6 Hispanic candidate Greg Brockhouse defeated Lawyer Melissa Cabello-Havrda in the runoff. Three other Hispanic candidates, Rick Trevino, Joseph Cortez and Robert Castaneda, were on the ballot.
In District 7 incumbent Cris Medina was ousted by fellow Hispanic Ana Sandoval without a runoff. Two other Hispanics were on the ballot to include Marco Reyes and Alfredo Esparza Colunga.
Finally, in District 8 Manny Pelaez won in a runoff after out polling Hispanics Pat Stout and Tony Valivia. Pelaez is the only Hispanic lawyer on the new City Council. One other councilman who is a lawyer is newly elected District 2 Councilman Will Cruz Shaw.
In District 9 and District 10 no Hispanics won those seats; although in District 9, Hispanics Matt Pina, Sandra Martinez-Deyarmond and Marco Barros, who lost in the runoff, were on listed on the ballot.
In District 10 no Hispanic made the runoff; although, there were three Hispanic candidates to include: Lon Jett, John Alvarez and Celeste Montez Tidwell.
With a new mayor, four Hispanics re-elected, three Hispanics ready to serve their first term, the makeup of the new City Council will look noticeably different than the last two years. With the bond issue passed by the voters in the first round, the next two years may be exciting. Only time will tell if that is the case.
As Always, I write “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace.