March 21, 2005
Chron on Castro

I took a bit of a breather this weekend - the days were too nice, the baby was too active, and the NCAA opening round games were too interesting to spend too much time on the computer. So please indulge me as I catch up on a couple of stories.

From the Sunday Chron, an overview of the San Antonio Mayoral race. Not much here that I hadn't seen before from reviewing Express News stories, but certainly useful if you hadn't done that. Couple of things to comment on:

In a nonpartisan election with an unpredictable turnout, the city is choosing a replacement for Mayor Ed Garza, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Similarly, Castro and Schubert must vacate their council seats after four years in office.


The candidates are trying to distinguish themselves on a slew of issues, including strained city services, rambunctious suburban development and the ever-tenuous water supply. And then there are potholes, chronic flooding in some neighborhoods, traffic jams and struggling small businesses in need of city help.

Schubert, 57, the lone Republican among the three major contenders, vows to stick to "essential" city services. Castro, 30, speaks in visionary terms of improving city life and government. Hardberger, 70, plays the outsider role as he pledges to restore credibility to City Hall. But all their promises are tempered by one reality: The new mayor will have only two or four years to accomplish anything.

Yes, the title of Stupidest Term Limits Law does not go to Houston but to San Antonio. Seems to me that under a setup like that all they ever do is choose their next bungee boss, but whatever. I also recall from my bright college days that San Antonio operated under a weak-mayor system, with the real power residing in the City Manager's office. I don't know if that's still the case, however.

Four other candidates, none with significant resources or name recognition they're routinely excluded from candidate forums will also be on the May ballot.

Maybe that dismissal sounds harsh to you. All I can say is that I attended a candidates' forum in 2003 which featured two no-name candidates (both of whom eventually dropped out of the race), and let me tell you, they added nothing, absolutely nothing to the event. One of them started and ended her pre-debate spiel by trying to engage the crowd in a chant of "Let's do it, Houston!" or something equally trivial. Excluding them from the event would have been a net positive, since it would have given the real candidates (and at that time that included Michael "Boy Wonder" Berry) more time to answer questions.

Vigorous campaigning has been under way since January, and a series of polls, with varying degrees of reliability, have consistently listed Castro as the leader, though short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

Hardberger usually runs second in those polls.

Neither of his opponents sees Castro's apparent advantage as insurmountable.

For what it's worth, I attended a Trinity alumni event late last week at which the featured guest was history prof Char Miller. I asked him what he thought of the mayoral race, and he predicted a Castro win in a runoff. Make of that what you will.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 21, 2005 to Election 2005 | TrackBack


You are correct. San Antonio still has a waek-mayor system. The City Manager and City Council are the real power in San Antonio. The Mayor is more like San Antonio's cheerleader.


Posted by: texprodigy on March 22, 2005 8:47 AM