Examine what I’ve been working on for San Antonio.
San Antonio is and will continue to be a place we are proud to call home, a place where – no matter your age, your profession, your politics, or your religion – you will find families and businesses like yours finding quality, safety, and prosperity. Here is a timeline of what we’ve accomplished over the past two years.
Ron is pleased with the recent passage by the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and said ““Northwest San Antonio is one of the fastest-growing areas in our state and we have been working diligently to address traffic issues there. This money will help relieve congestion — a regional priority since the Wurzbach corridor is a main route into the South Texas Medical Center.”
55,000 already work in the med center area. Within 25 years, it is estimated to have 50,000 more. On Jan 19th, the City Council recommended $2 million in additional Wurzbach Road spending through the 2017 Bond program.
The location of the new building will steer the service away from an extremely busy intersection location, reducing response times to their emergencies. “Our top priority is always the safety and security of our residents and this new station will ensure improved services for our community members.” More on KSAT web
Ron held the annual Kids Town Hall meeting in the morning at Hobby Middle School to discuss the hurdles students face before and after school. Report by LaPrensasa.com
“We work with Catholic Charities on issues related to placement — so finding services related to language, transportation, medical, and housing.” And training, as one refugee noted: “Give me fish, you feed me today. Teach me to fish and I eat every day”
After addressing that kids as young as five about getting more involved in the community, interactions and Q&A.
More at article at TWCNEWS.COM
Hosted panel discussion at Santikos Bijou Theater to move divided communities forward after national elections. “We have a remarkable opportunity in San Antonio to show America how we deal with issues that divide us. Our panel discussion last night, intended to help us figure out how we move forward in the wake of a divisive election, was a good first step.”
Ron asks: Why not make Stage 1 restrictions a new baseline for San Antonio Water System customers – would we still need such things as the expensive Vista Ridge? Some on the council said to the SA water utility -“At the end of the day, you’re in the business of selling water, aren’t you?” Ron stepped in: “You are not in the business of selling water. You’re in the business of delivering water.” It did not pass at the council but is still in serious discussion.
“This was an incredibly complicated project and a design-build process delivery that will become a model for future roadway construction in the city…All of you worked diligently and corroboratively to make this project a reality.” More at the Rivard Report.com
At a press conference at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, members of the Jewish community gathered with Ron to celebrate a $15,000 grant from AT&T
“It is bad policy to continue to expand our legal jurisdiction and population while telling citizens that growth will pay for itself. It should, but it doesn’t…”“We need to be a better city, not a bigger one.” Read more at the city web site and the Business Journal
Hosts public discussion on economics with Industry Leaders. The issue? The future of San Antonio’s Economy. Read more at the Rivard Report
Forum with Ron and President Ricardo Romo on the UTSA chiefs upcoming retirement in August 2017. Ron among many have watched the school’s steady rise under his leadership.
Ron asks “Does it have regulatory ‘teeth’?” Read more at the Rivard Report:
“We need to stop – not keep studying – this ill-conceived idea that would use public money on a downtown minor league stadium, especially when the public is still not invited to the conversation.” Read the Current article
Ron speaks on his desires during the discussion of annexation even though the city voted 8-2 to move forward with four different annexation processes for areas outside city limits. Many citizens say ‘No’ to Annexation.
“When we have the courage to listen, we inherit the power to see our differences as strengths.” More at Peace Center.com
“First, by the fourth year of this agreement, the proposed contract increases to more than 66 percent of the budget. By year five, according to city staff, we will be more than $20 million over budget. That’s the rough equivalent of the entire delegate agency budget that funds organizations dealing with some of the most urgent issues in our city, from child abuse to literacy. That’s not fiscally responsible.” Read more at KSAT .com
Councilman Nirenberg, along with industry leaders, kicked off the public education campaign for San Antonio’s new anti-idling ordinance ( more from the San Antonio Business Journal). The ordinance, which was passed on June 30, is aimed at reducing air pollution caused by unnecessary idling of heavy vehicles, part of a regional strategy to lower the impact of the expected 2017 non-attainment designation.
Councilman Nirenberg led efforts to achieve a 114-acre mixed used, master planned development off of I-10 and UTSA Blvd, providing for a live, work, play center in the high-growth northwest corridor. By working with the property owners and developers, the councilman was able to secure design elements that complemented the surrounding commercial and residential areas, preserved green space and tree canopy, access to trails systems, and more. The development has been dubbed “The Pearl of the North” (watch a News4 report).
During adoption of the SA Tomorrow comprehensive plan, an effort that he co-chaired since 2014, Councilman Nirenberg led efforts to restore important provisions that would protect critical economic assets within San Antonio, including our military bases (see Rivard Report article). After the Planning Commission voted 5-4 to delete measures meant to evaluate and improve dark sky policies and impervious cover regulations that protect our water supply, the councilman worked to have them added back to the final SA Tomorrow comprehensive plan passed by City Council. Further amendments that Councilman Nirenberg proposed to restore the teeth to the plans were defeated (see his Texas Week debate on the issue), but he remains focused on implementing a strong vision for San Antonio.
Did you know that The Farm, located in the heart of our district, is using innovative growing practices and technology to help address the global food shortage and get us thinking about how to tackle food insecurity in our own city? Learn about what Culinaria San Antonio is doing to create a sustainable and delicious future here.
Secured a partnership with private sector partners to contribute half the cost of needed resurfacing of La Cantera Parkway, saving San Antonio taxpayers over half a million dollars.
Councilman Nirenberg hosted a forum at Cody Library for residents to learn about energy and water efficiency measures they can implement in their own homes to save money and improve the city. Presentations and sign-ups were conducted by CPS, SAWS and AACOG.
Councilman Nirenberg, a Sister Cities International board member, was elected Vice Chairman during the 60th Anniversary Conference in Washington, D.C. The high level leadership position will continue to establish San Antonio as a worldwide city. He will take over as Chairman in 2018, during the San Antonio Tricentennial celebration.
As the first step in a larger strategy to reduce air pollution in the San Antonio region, City Council unanimously passed an anti-idling ordinance championed by Councilman Nirenberg. The ordinance prohibits unnecessary idling over five minutes by heavy trucks weighing 14,000 pounds or more. Councilman Nirenberg is leading regional efforts to improve air quality efforts through his role as Chairman of the AACOG Air Improvement Resources Executive Committee.
In 2014, Councilman Nirenberg filed a resolution to ban on coal tar based road sealants (read an op-ed). More than two years later, City Council passed the ban to protect public health and keep a known carcinogenic substance out of our air and waterways. San Antonio became the largest city in the nation to ban these substances (see report from KSAT-12).
The Edwards Aquifer Protection Program, a ground-breaking initiative that Councilman Nirenberg fought to renew in 2015, reached an important milestone when the total amount of land protected reached over 140,000 acres.
Hosted and sponsored a family-friendly event that featured health screenings, Zumba, rock climbing, and more. While the Fit Family Challenge is in its 7th year, this is the 3rd year that it has been taken place in District 8. This event promotes fitness and is held in D8’s marquee park, Phil Hardberger Park.
In his role as a Board member of Sister Cities International, Councilman Nirenberg hosted Sister Cities International leadership, including CEO Mary Kane and 2016-2017 Board Chair Tim Quigley at an event in San Antonio to honor the organization’s 60th anniversary (read an op-ed by Councilman Nirenberg). Not only was the event educational and celebratory, but it also served as a fundraiser for various programs of the organization, including scholarships.
Councilman Nirenberg continues to fight dangerous cuts to services targeting domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, hunger, etc. (see report from KSAT-12). After Mayor Taylor and others proposed cutting $1.3 million in FY2017 from these “community safety net” agencies and using those funds for workforce development programs, Councilman Nirenberg immediately objected and has continued to advocate for restoring funds to fight domestic violence and child abuse (see coverage from NOWCastSA).
Councilman Nirenberg, with the support of his Council colleagues, proposed a resolution to recognize the 200,000 Filipino Veterans of WWII. This resolution would formally honor these veterans and support efforts underway nationally for those brave soldiers to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
In a partnership with the San Antonio Zoo and the office of Senator José Menendez, Councilman Nirenberg brought together dozens of cultural groups to share food and performances in order to cultivate cultural understanding. This event was a response to racially-targeted vandalism that occurred in San Antonio in late 2015.
As part of a response to traffic accidents and constituent concerns on Woodstone Drive, a dangerous section of roadway in the heart of District 8, Councilman Nirenberg initiated improvements over six months to improve safety, including striping, signage, and traffic enforcement.
As a board member of the National League of Cities, and Chairman of the NLC Energy, Environment, Natural Resources Committee, Councilman Nirenberg led a delegation of city leaders nationwide in advocating for city infrastructure needs in Congress. He also spoke on a distinguished panel of water experts, discussing various challenges faced by cities in supplying clean and affordable water services.
After residents complained that the former site of a night club on Parkdale was attracting vagrants and illegal activity,Councilman Nirenberg initiated an aggressive clean-up process with Code Enforcement staff and SAPD to address the issues at the vacant building. The owner resurrected a metal fence and graffiti abatement crews have removed 9,000 square feet of graffiti from the first floor.
Councilman Nirenberg, who kickstarted the city’s effort to end veteran homelessness as chair of the Quality of Life Council committee in 2015, was on hand with City Council and HUD Secretary Julian Castro to declare that San Antonio had reached “functional zero” (read more). The milestone was reached because all homeless veterans who want to receive permanent shelter and are in the process of being transitioned. San Antonio was one of over 200 city’s that accepted the Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness during 2015.
The latest in his continued efforts to boost access and transparency at City Hall, Councilman Nirenberg pushed an initiative called OpenGov that will make easier for residents to examine the city budget online (read more from the Rivard Report). The OpenGov platform, approved last week by Council, will be ready on the city website (sanantonio.gov) later in the year and will allow you to more readily examine details on city revenues and expenses.
Councilman Nirenberg and other city leaders gathered together to break ground on major improvements along UTSA Blvd, including expansion of the two-lane road into a four-lane road with new left turn lanes (read more). The project will also include sidewalk improvements to protect the safety of UTSA pedestrians and cyclists.
Councilman Nirenberg co-chaired a joint meeting of the Alamo and Capitol Area Councils of Governments in order to address the significant air quality challenges that our communities face (see coverage from the Express-News). The result of this summit was a resolution asking the EPA for more local control on staying in attainment with ozone regulations. Both cities face potential sanctions for worsening air quality over the last two decades.
Councilman Nirenberg stood with neighborhood leaders in the Babcock area in an attempt to reduce the impact of development on a parcel of land that had been seized by the federal government due to illegal activity. Neighbors had serious concerns about traffic in this area, which is already overrun by congestion, and when the property was seized by the federal government, the councilman initiated a public zoning process that was supported by a unanimous vote of City Council in January 2016. After the property was auctioned off later in January, the winning bidder hired lobbyists to accuse the city of a “taking” and suggested that the zoning process – already underway – was unfair to his ability to profit off the land he had just won. Council sided with the developer, but Councilman Nirenberg led a minority of council members who agreed with his position that “The only reason there is an objection being raised is we are interfering with the profit-making of a speculator.” The councilman continues to work with area residents and city staff to ensure that impacts will be minimized. “Frankly, I pay much more attention to the lives and the voices of the people who have to live with the consequences of development decisions,” he told the Express-News.
Between discussions of MLS expansion in San Antonio, a proposed minor league baseball stadium pushed by the the mayor, and the continued excellence of the Spurs, professional sports are front of mind for San Antonio. Councilman Nirenberg convened experts in these areas to bring some clarity to the citizens in his April town hall at Hills and Dales (Watch coverage from KSAT-12). Read more about Councilman Nirenberg’s position on the ill-conceived baseball stadium proposal.
Hosted Kids’ Town Hall at Bob Beard Elementary School to encourage civic engagement among our youngest citizens and learn about issues of concern to young people in San Antonio.
Councilman Nirenberg strongly opposed the suggestion by the mayor that taxpayer dollars through the 2017 Bond Program should be used to pay for a minor league baseball stadium downtown. With few details available about a commitment from the mayor to build a downtown stadium in hopes of bringing a AAA team to downtown, he said, “At a time when our city is experiencing unprecedented growth, and when service and infrastructure needs have never been greater, I believe we have other, far greater priorities than a minor league ballpark.” (read more from the Business Journal).
Hosted Kids’ Town Hall at Ellison Elementary School to encourage civic engagement among our youngest citizens and learn about issues of concern to young people in San Antonio.
Councilman Nirenberg’s years of focused efforts targeting infrastructure needs in District 8 are beginning to pay off, when in March 2016, the MPO approved funding for infrastructure improvements at four intersections along Wurzbach Road. The councilman continues to advocate for local, state the federal funding for the intersection changes at NW Military, Lockhill-Selma, IH-10 and Fredericksburg Road will relieve congestion brought on by the opening of Wurzbach Parkway. The process began in 2013 when he successfully pushed for TxDOT funding to study the parkway’s impact.
Councilman Nirenberg was a featured speaker on a panel with international conservation leaders hosted at the Our World Global Summit hosted for the first time in 30 years in San Antonio. Councilman Nirenberg shared his work to save the Bracken Bat Cave, advance the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and other efforts with capacity audience of worldwide leaders at the Convention Center.
The Freetail Brewing Co. was filled for Councilman Nirenberg’s Town Hall panel focused on water issues. “Without water, you can’t have beer,” started Councilman Nirenberg, launching into a discussion that covered topics from desalination to drought management to the Vista Ridge pipeline. Panelists included distinguished water experts from a range of fields including law, academia, policy, business, science and utility management.
After Councilman Nirenberg’s urging, VIA launch a pilot to give registered voters, showing their registration card, a free ride to the polls on Election Day (read more in the Express-News). After initial success during the March primary elections, it was announced that this program will become permanent.
At his annual State of District 8 event, Councilman Nirenberg asserted a strong vision, calling for a vote on comprehensive transportation reform in May of 2017 to address significant transportation policy challenges that our city faces (watch a video of his address). He also called for bold action on the issue of ethics, economic development and water security (read the transcript).
In conjunction with his State of the District event at Hardberger Park, the Councilman moderated a panel on the future of transportation in San Antonio, which included County Commissioner Kevin Wolff, VIA President and CEO Jeff Arndt, TechBloc executive director Marina Gavito and City Sustainability Director Doug Melnick (watch video of the discussion). The group covered a range of issues, including traffic congestion, highway construction, bike lanes, Vision Zero, ride share, rail and more (read coverage in the Rivard Report).
Councilman Nirenberg filed a resolution to give City Council formal review authority of any changes to the SAWS contract for the Vista Ridge project. He remained steadfast in his opposition to SAWS acquiring any portion of the project debt and any changes to the contract that would shift the risks of the project to the San Antonio residents. The measure failed to move out of the governance committee after getting strong opposition from the mayor, despite continued questions about the stability of project partners.
Councilman Nirenberg announced a scholarship program that allowed five students to attend the Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The initiative, which corresponds to the 60th anniversary of Sister Cities International, is sponsored by the City’s Culture and Creative Development Department and the International Relations Office (read more in the Rivard Report).
After months of advocacy and regional collaboration from Councilman Nirenberg, the City, TxDOT and the MPO funded and completed the first phase of improvements along the Wurzbach corridor, a priority the Councilman has been raising since before he was elected. In these first measures, turn lane reconfigurations, traffic signal changes, signage and striping improvements and other adjustments were made, particularly at the Wurzbach and NW Military intersection (read more). This change was just the beginning in a series of changes for Wurzbach after the parkway was completed, with additional funding secured from multiple agencies by the councilman for more substantial improvements.
Councilman Nirenberg announced strong support of making a student association of higher education representatives an official City Commission to advise City Council on related issues. Having worked extensively with the San Antonio Higher Education Representative Assembly, the Councilman pushed for a move towards official City recognition that would help the San Antonio better handle issues impacting the 115,000 college and university students that live in the area (read more).
Councilman Nirenberg hosted a tech and innovation town hall at Big Bob’s Burgers at 1604, where panelists discussed how San Antonio can use technology to solve problems in transportation, governance and more, while ensuring that we are a strong, efficient city.
Councilman Nirenberg worked with hundreds of volunteers and staff to conduct the annual “Point in Time” count, a crucial census of homelessness in San Antonio that helps us establish measures of current and future progress (read more).
Two years after the murder of a jogger in OP Schnabel Park, January marked significant progress in the parks safety plan designed to prevent crime and respond to incidents. January marked City implementation of the plan initiated by Councilman Nirenberg, which includes public service announcements about safety in the parks, cameras at trailheads, emergency call boxes at remote locations, improved way-finding, etc.
Councilman Nirenberg push to increase transparency at City Hall marked new progress as the City Clerk’s office implemented a new policy to provide audio recordings of all City Council committee meetings through the Council agenda webpage. This follows up on success in getting live broadcasting of B Session and other efforts throughout the Councilman’s tenure. To listen to a recording, click on the “Meeting Details” of a particular committee meeting, then click on “Recording” under the attachments entry.
Held a town hall panel discussion on improving local elections at The Brass Tap in the Rim. Panelists included the Bexar County Elections administrator, members of our Charter Review Commission and Ethics Review Board, academics and political consultants.
Councilman Nirenberg served as a panelist at the SA Tomorrow Multimodal Transportation Plan virtual town hall meeting, in which citizens participated either online or from one of four viewing sites around the city. The discussion ranged from sidewalks to roadways to rail.
Councilman Nirenberg, who has worked with and advocated for the local refugee community, convened a meeting with new neighbors at a Northwest side church to convey a message of welcoming and community (read more in the Express News and Rivard Report). He said, “Whether you’re a new American or have been here for generations, we are united to stand against fear. This is especially true in the place you call home now, San Antonio.”
During SAWS rate approval process, Councilman Nirenberg pushed successfully to delay the vote, so that Council’s proper oversight role could be fulfilled and a controversial water study could be examined first. He then worked tirelessly – and often, uphill – to scrutinize all aspects of the agency’s governance and operation. Before the vote, he secured commitments from SAWS leadership on conservation, transparency, and regional cooperation, along with receiving project updates every six months. Those commitments were reiterated during testimony, and they remain important criteria for Councilman Nirenberg’s handling of SAWS oversight going forward (read more from the Texas Tribune).
Hosted Kids’ Town Hall at Oak Meadow Elementary School to encourage civic engagement among our youngest citizens and learn about issues of concern to young people in San Antonio (watch a report on KSAT-12).
Councilman Nirenberg celebrated the completion of a sidewalk in front of Hector Garcia Middle School with a walk with students who had proposed it during at 2014 Kids Town Hall at their school (listen to more from TPR).
Held a town hall for student leaders from colleges and universities across San Antonio at the Luxx, a new UTSA student housing facility.
Councilman Nirenberg served as a panelist at the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum’s sixth annual Water Forum at the Pearl Stable (listen to the panel on TPR). Topics discussed included San Antonio Water System and the Vista Ridge project, the Texas Water Development Board, water quality issues, and the new Texas A&M University San Antonio Water Institute (read more from the Rivard Report).
Councilman Nirenberg leveraged new legislation to enable uninterrupted work in San Antonio while engaging with federal administration officials on critical needs for the City of San Antonio. He connected remotely to City Council meetings in October while on a trip in D.C. regarding our ongoing pursuit of federal courthouse funding and to attend meetings with the FCC.
Councilman Nirenberg and the D8 team visited different neighborhoods throughout District 8 to celebrate National Night Out and work on ways to make the community safer through participation.
In a speech at the first UTSA Civic Engagement Summit, Councilman Nirenberg called for municipal elections to be moved to November of even numbered years, rather than May of odd numbered years as they currently are. The move would require a change to San Antonio’s City Charter (read coverage in the Rivard Report).
Held a town hall on transportation issues at Hills & Dales Ice House. Representatives from SA Tomorrow, VIA, Yellow Cab, and Lyft attended.
As Chairman of the Air Improvement Resources Executive Committee, Councilman Nirenberg convened industry representatives and elected officials to discuss San Antonio’s air quality regulations. As part of the initial meetings, regional partners unanimously passed a resolution that any air quality measure being undertaken in one of the partner governments would be brought to the other governments formally for consideration. The accord was a breakthrough for regional cooperation on air quality issues.
For three years, Councilman Nirenberg had been working with parks officials to improve the historic Denman Park, home to native South Texas habitat and trees. The park’s pond – which has no source of water other than rainfall – had been very susceptible to drought, threatening the wildlife and plant life in the area. During the FY2016 budget process, Councilman Nirenberg secured funding to being improvements to the park, including re-engineering the pond so that it is not as threatened by the volatility of rainfall.
Advocated for the approval of $100,000 from the Capital Budget during the FY2015 midyear budget adjustment to pilot Councilman Nirenberg’s park security plan that was initiated in Feb. 2015. During the FY2016 budget adoption, Councilman Nirenberg advocated for full funding of $1 Million for the plan, which was approved unanimously by council.
Allocated $1 million with City Council in the 2016 budget to improve intersections along Wurzbach Parkway in order to alleviate heavy traffic after the completion of its final section (read coverage from the Express-News)
Councilman Nirenberg’s digital communication initiative continued to see significant, incremental progress with the passage of a model licensing agreement to speed deployment of mobile infrastructure throughout the city and the creation of a dedicated revenue stream for digital technology along with funding in FY2016 for the municipal broadband network (read coverage from the Rivard Report).
Early in 2015, Councilman Nirenberg led a special delegation to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to discuss policing techniques and technologies like bodycams, and in September, the Department of Justice announced it would award the City of San Antonio with a $1 million federal grant for police body cameras (watch a KSAT-12 report about the developments). “‘The Department of Justice recognizes San Antonio as an innovative and thoughtful leader in deploying technology in policing,’ said Councilman Ron Nirenberg, District 8. ‘The San Antonio body camera policy is viewed as a national model.'”
Hosted a Thank You Picnic for District 8 at Orsinger Park. A group of over 80 citizens gathered to relax and enjoy the end of summer with their neighbors over some hot dogs from the Original Hotdog House.
Hosted a Thank You Picnic for District 8 at Orsinger Park. A group of over 80 citizens gathered to relax and enjoy the end of summer with their neighbors over some hotdogs from the Original Hotdog House.
Councilman Nirenberg invited residents to give their input on the city’s FY2016 budget, hosting the SpeakUp San Antonio initiative at Hardberger Park for the proposed budget. Though residents were encouraged to meet the Councilman at the park, SpeakUp San Antonio also encourages citizens to participate any way they can, including through online social media. (read the D8 Dialogue blog on the SpeakUp effort).
Pushed to get unanimous City Council approval for a $6 million multi-modal infrastructure project in the South Texas Medical Center (read coverage in the San Antonio Business Journal). Floyd Curl will be redesigned as a “Green Street” with two-way cycling lanes, improved facilities for pedestrians and interconnectivity with the Medical Center trail system. The project was chosen by the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to be funded by the Texas Department of Transportation, with additional funding from the City of San Antonio and Medical Center Alliance. Councilman Nirenberg said it is emblematic of what we are trying to accomplish with SA Tomorrow, which is a renewed focus on fiscal sustainability, livability and safety. The South Texas Medical Center has been identified as one of the City’s economic growth centers by in the San Antonio comprehensive plan, employing 50,000 workers and treating more than 5 million patients every year.
Called for the city to adhere to Stage One Restrictions in order to conserve water. “The cheapest, most available water is the water we do not use,” said Nirenberg (read coverage from the San Antonio Current).
Helped broker an agreement with Verizon Wireless, which permits expansion of the company’s nodes on pre-existing structures and eliminates the cost of new construction and the time necessary to get such construction permits approved. This agreement is part of the Councilman’s Unified Digital Communications Strategy, which aims to increase the city’s broadband capacity in the private and public sectors.
Elected to the Board of Directors of Sister Cities International (SCI), giving San Antonio a significant leadership position in the international diplomatic relations (read more from the Rivard Report). Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, SCI represents 1,200 U.S. cities, counties, and states and their 2,100 partners in 125 countries worldwide on six continents. SCI is a nonpartisan nonprofit that facilitates global city exchanges in four main areas: arts and culture, business and trade, youth and education, and community development. Its mission is “to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.” San Antonio, host of the 57th annual SCI conference in 2013, has nine Sister City relationships.
Hosted July 2015 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at new District 8 small business, Peppe & Ronni’s Pizza at 10403 Huebner Rd.
Hosted the 2nd Annual Fit Family Challenge at Phil Hardberger Park in partnership with San Antonio Sports. Activities at the event included: fitness instruction, Zumba class, Highland Games boot camp, nature walks, and health screenings, among others. Hundreds of families came out to participate in the Fit Family Challenge and to promote a healthier, more active San Antonio.
Moderated the city’s SA Tomorrow Sustainability Forum, which sought to address the transportation, environmental, and economic challenges of a rapidly growing San Antonio population. Discussed during the forum were possible policies and plans to manage land use, housing, and transportation infrastructure.
Hosted inaugural #SASpeakUp public budget meeting at the Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology. The event, prior to the city’s manager’s fiscal year budget proposal, was aimed at getting feedback from residents about their priorities for city services, projects, and improvements.
Councilman Nirenberg invited residents to give their input on the city’s FY2016 budget, hosting the SpeakUp San Antonio initiative at Hardberger Park for the pre-proposed budget. Though residents were encouraged to meet the Councilman at the park, SpeakUp San Antonio also encourages citizens to participate any way they can, including through online social media. (read the D8 Dialogue blog on the SpeakUp effort).
Councilman Nirenberg sounded the alarm and put a halt to an attempted fast-tracking of a water bottling plant to South San Antonio. Councilman Nirenberg prioritizes long-term water quality, quantity, and affordability and “said the amount of water the company projects it will use may be small compared with the city’s overall use but that such projects result in an ‘incremental change’ in the city’s long-term water security” (see a report in the Express-News).
In leading the city’s effort to end veteran homeless, convened a summit in early June, featuring a panel of representatives from the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veteran Affairs, the San Antonio Regional Alliance for the Homeless, and the City of Phoenix (read more about the panel and effort from the Rivard Report). Moderated the panel discussion centered around collaborating with local and regional partners so that San Antonio, one of 225 cities that have pledged to end veteran homelessness, can achieve the goal by the end of 2015 (watch a report from KSAT-TV).
Testified to the County Commissioners Court for support of municipal broadband. The Court backed the cause and resolved to join the city in the effort of equipping San Antonio with a high-speed fiber network (read coverage from the Rivard Report).
Worked with City Council to pass the Pet Microchip Ordinance, which overhauled the old pet licensing system and replaced it with cheaper, more efficient and more effective micro-chipping. The microchip functions as a lifelong form of pet registration for a one-time fee (watch coverage from Kens5).
Hosted the May 2015 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the Elks Lodge #216 at 15650 Market Hill.
On May 9th, 2015, the citizens of District 8 re-elected Councilman Nirenberg to his second term on City Council with an overwhelming 72.5 percent of the vote. He is grateful for the privilege of serving District 8 for two more years and will continue to prioritize, among others, securing San Antonio’s water future, improving transportation infrastructure, and bringing and creating new jobs to our District.
Advocated for Council approval of approximately $200,000 in funding to the pedestrian crosswalk at Floyd Curl, one of the most dangerous pedestrian areas in the Medical Center, during the FY2015 mid-year budget adjustment. Worked with the UT Health Science Center for their contribution of additional funding to complete the project.
Since 2014, Councilman Nirenberg worked on bringing Text-to-911 to communities across the country, including Bexar County, with his colleagues on the Federal Communication Commission Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC). A new platform for public safety, Text-to-911 was unveiled in San Antonio on May 1 and included Bexar, Guadalupe, and Comal Counties. The program gives citizens an option in emergencies when speaking is not an option (read more about Text to 911).
Worked with council to pass resolution in support of local authority for San Antonio citizens over matters such as water quality and managed growth. In addition, Councilman Nirenberg provided testimony to the Texas House Committee on Land and Resource Management against proposed state legislation that would have been harmful to the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program. HB 3620, filed by a representative in Dripping Springs, would have limited San Antonio’s ability to protect groundwater through conservation easements (watch video of committee testimony). After testimony, the bill was left in committee and not advanced.
Councilman Nirenberg, chair of the City Council Comprehensive Planning Committee, and city leaders kicked off SATomorrow, an effort to harness the rapid growth of our city and ensure it benefits all residents (watch a short video about Ron’s vision for the effort). SATomorrow includes technical working groups, citizen committees, and stakeholder groups, each focused and collaborating to build a strategy that covers all aspects of city operations and infrastructure. Read Ron’s op-ed about SATomorrow in the Rivard Report and visit satomorrow.com for more information.
Called for City Council to reestablish active oversight of the Municipal Courts system, including creation of a standing City Council committee with continuous jurisdiction over Municipal Court operations. The San Antonio Municipal Court System handles issues that directly affect San Antonians’ quality of life, from traffic citations to code enforcement to animal care services. At various times in the past, City Council has established standing and ad hoc committees to oversee judicial selection and court management.
Councilman Nirenberg signed official documents that start the process of expanding and improving sidewalks around Hector P. Garcia Middle School. The project was a direct result of proposals made by students during the D8 Kids Town Hall at the school in January. After the event, Councilman Nirenberg invited the students to City Hall, where they made their presentations to Transportation and Capital Improvements (TCI) Department staff, who worked with the councilman to prepare work scopes for his approval.
Time and again, San Antonians have voted to invest in our parks. Improved and expanded green space is one of the things that makes San Antonio a premiere American city. Councilman Nirenberg requested City staff work with the Parks and Recreation and Linear Creekway Advisory Boards to formulate a strategy to build safety infrastructure into the development of the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails (read a report in the Express-News). The councilman has asked that all safety infrastructure improvements be considered to determine what is appropriate for San Antonio, including security camera systems, additional staff and/or Trail Watch Program resources, Emergency Blue Light devices and an intensive public education campaign.
Appointed Vice Chairman of National League of Cities (NLC) Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, 2015 President of the NLC. The committee develops federal policy positions on air quality, water quality, energy, national wetlands, and waste management.
Appointed Chairman of the Air Improvement Resources (AIR) Executive Committee by Guadalupe County Commissioner Jim Wolverton, Chair of the Alamo Area Council of Governments. The AIR Executive Committee is an entity that establishes partnerships within the region to improve air quality.
Hosted Kids’ Town Hall at Hector Garcia Middle School to encourage civic engagement among our youngest citizens and learn about issues of concern to young people in San Antonio. After the event, teams of students who made specific proposals on sidewalk/street safety were invited by Councilman Nirenberg to make their pitches directly to Transportation and Capital Improvements staff, and projects were later funded by the District 8 office.
Worked with city management to identify construction savings and fund a $1.8 million project pre-construction engineering and design contract that is the first step in widening and improving DeZavala Road between Lockhill-Selma and the Union Pacific Railroad. Councilman Nirenberg hopes to make the construction phase a priority for the 2017 Bond Program. Council voted unanimously to approve the initiative.
Led an effort to bring renewal of the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System to the May 9 municipal ballot for voter approval, which they have done overwhelmingly every five years since 2000. In early 2015, Councilman Nirenberg filed a request to bring the program up for full Council debate, and after working with the mayor to enhance the project, subsequently, Council moved unanimously to put the initiative on the May ballot. Discuss your thoughts on the importance of the Greenway Trails on the D8Dialogues Blog.
Led an effort to bring renewal of the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program to the May 9 municipal ballot for voter approval, which they have done overwhelmingly every five years since 2000. In early 2015, Councilman Nirenberg filed a request to bring the program up for full Council debate, and after working with the mayor to enhance the project, subsequently, Council moved unanimously to put the initiative on the May ballot. Read Councilman Nirenberg’s op-ed on the effort in the Express-News and discuss your thoughts on the importance of the program on the D8Dialogues Blog.
Hosted the December 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at Igo Library.
Led the charge to ensure unanimous Council approval of an economic development agreement with Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU), relocating and consolidating the corporate headquarters into the I-10 corridor (read more in the Express-News). The deal will result in more than 700 financial services jobs and over $10 million in infrastructure improvement in the heart of District 8. SSFCU is the largest federal credit union in Texas and one of the largest in the country. Discuss your thoughts on economic development on the D8 Dialogues Blog.
Hosted Kids’ Town Hall at Oak Meadow Elementary School to encourage civic engagement among our youngest citizens and learn about issues of concern to young people in San Antonio (watch a report from KSAT-TV).
The November 2014 D8 HOA Presidents Meeting was held at Cody Library.
Advocated for a prohibition on the use of handheld devices while driving, similar to the law already that was already in effect for San Antonio school zones. Council unanimously voted to approve the ban on November 6, and after a 30-day grace period, the new law went into effect on Feb. 1, 2015.
Hosted the October 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at Locke Hill Elementary School.
Councilman Nirenberg represented San Antonio as the city was named an inaugural Next Century Cities partner, in part, recognizing the significant progress of establishing equitable, cost-effective access to 21st Century digital communication services (read a city announcement). His work on establishing the city’s first unified digital communications strategy, including access to a municipal broadband network, is cited (share your thoughts about municipal broadband on the D8Dialogues Blog).
City Council unanimously approved deal assembled by Councilman Nirenberg to protect over 1,500 acres of sensitive land over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and adjacent to the famed Bracken Bat Cave, Hill Country home of the largest bat colony in the world (more from NPR). The agreement took 15 months to assemble, and included support form local, state, and federal delegations, along with a coalition of funding partners involving the City of San Antonio, the Nature Conservancy, Bat Conservation International, the U.S. Army, Bexar County, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority. Read a column from the Express News and tell us what you think on the D8Dialogues Blog.
In preparation for Vista Ridge decision, Councilman Nirenberg worked to make sure all information was available and that there was robust public dialogue about water security. He hosted several public meetings on long term water supply security, participated in panel discussions with water experts (see UTSA Water Panel), and articulated four values he expected to be affirmed in the San Antonio Water System’s contract for regional water: regional cooperation, environmental stewardship, fiscal responsibility, and public transparency. Councilman Nirenberg supported the 30-year Vista Ridge contract under those principles and continues to scrutinize the execution of the project, which is the larges water diversification measure ever undertaken by SAWS and the City of San Antonio. Read a Texas Tribune Q&A about water issues with Councilman Nirenberg.
Collaborated with Northside Independent School District and San Antonio Sports to fund a new SPARK Park at Boone Elementary School (read more). SPARK Parks provide upgraded facilities for schools, while area residents are able to access the parks after hours for recreation.
Hosted the September 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at Shenandoah Homeowners Clubhouse, at 4402 Ramsgate.
As part of his efforts to support the Tier One pursuit of UTSA, Councilman Nirenberg organized
meetings with university leadership and the City of San Antonio in order to coordinate the City’s Capital Improvement and Infrastructure Management Plans with the UTSA Master Plan. Councilman Nirenberg also initiated the process to form UTSA Overlay Zones around the Main and Downtown Campuses. The proposed university zones would ensure that student cultural offerings and housing capacity keep pace with demand while helping maintain safety and quality of life for nearby neighborhoods. (Watch a feature from WOAI, read coverage in the Express-News, and watch an excerpt from Councilman Nirenberg’s 2014 State of District 8 Address.) The entire effort kicked off publicly with Councilman Nirenberg’s initiative to install UTSA-branded street signage around the Main, Downtown, and Park West Athletics campuses.
Advocated for investment in bus shelter improvements by VIA Metropolitan Transit, using funds previously earmarked for the Downtown Streetcar project. As a result, twenty bus stops on Wurzbach Road have been enhanced, improving transit and rider safety in one of the major local corridors in the district and San Antonio (read more in the Express-News).
Worked with city staff to produce a district-wide land use study of multi-family developments in northwest San Antonio. The resulting report gives an overview of multi-family zoned properties – developed and undeveloped – in District 8 to provide a comprehensive analysis and tool for managing the accelerating growth of multi-family development across the area.
Hosted the July 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall event at Bonnie Conner Park, coinciding with the second annual “D8 Summer Barbecue in the Park.” Attendees met their neighbors, enjoyed grilled burgers and veggies, and discussed the issues that were important to them with city staff and Councilman Nirenberg.
During the week of July 21 to 27, the District 8 staff organized volunteers to clean upstreets, sidewalks, and other public spaces in order to keep northwest San Antonio a beautiful and welcoming place. Public service messages and reminders were also broadcast throughout the district.
Community Academy received Congressional Recognition and Award in a ceremony held July 2014. The Community Academy brings together community members, volunteers, and civic and business leaders to make District 8 a better place to live and work. Read coverage about the D8 Community Academy in the Rivard Report.
As a member of the FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee and Chairman of the city’s Intergovernmental Relations committee, Councilman Nirenberg worked with other local leaders nationwide to reduce the detrimental effects of proposed new federal policy governing wireless towers on San Antonio neighborhoods and historic sites.
Started the first-ever District 8 Fit Family Challenge at Hardberger Park.
Hosted the June 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the Woods of Shavano Clubhouse, located at 13838 Parksite Woods.
After six months of “refugee service provider summits” to unite various service organizations and help them exchange ideas, identify gaps in services, and find ways to gain efficiencies, Councilman Nirenberg celebrated World Refugee Day at St. Francis Episcopal Church (watch his keynote address). Among the outcomes are a better coordination of resources among nonprofits, increased access to English language education, native language service for critical medicine and transportation needs, and improved transit access and accommodations.
Initiated a comprehensive digital communications plan to aid in the expansion of broadband, mobile, and wireless services throughout the city. Councilman Nirenberg is pushing to establish a unified, cost effective strategy for digital communication in San Antonio that ensures equitable access to the 21st century economy (read NY Times coverage of the issue). This strategy will also help protect the integrity of neighborhoods, historic, and other public assets. Read coverage from the San Antonio Current.
The June 2014 D8 HOA Presidents Meeting was held at the UTSA Main Campus.
City Council B Sessions (working sessions) began broadcasting on TVSA (available through Cable and Internet). initiative was led by Councilman Nirenberg to continue increasing transparency in local government, and City Council unanimously supported the measure (read more from the Express-News and the D8Dialogues Blog. TVSA is available on Time Warner Cable channel 21; Grande Cable Channel 20; AT&T U-verse channel 99 and ONLINE.
Appointed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to the 15-member Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. The IAC works on telecommunications matters of interest to state and local governments, including broadband access and public rights-of-way. Councilman Nirenberg joins a distinguished list that includes Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Hosted the May 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall Event at the Fossil Springs Ranch Clubhouse, located at 13506 Rehm Dr.
Initiated the process of integrating a phase II Medical Center Master Plan with the City’s Capital Improvement and Infrastructure Management Plans. This will ensure that infrastructure investments by the City align with the Medical Center real estate and economic development activity, totaling in the billions over the next several years. Collaboration at this level will help us to realize an enormous opportunity for continued job creation in this sector. Currently, San Antonio’s medical community accounts for $30 Billion in economic impact annually. Nearly 60,000 people are employed in the South Texas Medical Center, and there were 5.64 million patient visits recorded in 2014. Read Councilman Nirenberg’s comments about the impact of biosciences, and watch excerpts about this topic in his 2014 State of District 8 Address.
Hosted the April 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the Woodridge Community Association Clubhouse, located at 7613 Tezel Rd.
While spearheading an effort to leverage CPS Energy’s unused ‘dark fiber’ to establish a citywide municipal broadband network, Councilman Nirenberg, along with former Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna, led a delegation of city officials and local technology leaders to learn from and tour Austin’s municipal network, called GAATN, the Greater Austin Area Telecommunication Network (listen to coverage from Texas Public Radio). Watch a panel discussion featuring Councilman Nirenberg, Ozuna, and GAATN Chairman Wayne Wedemeyer, read coverage from the Rivard Report, and share your thoughts on municipal broadband on the D8Dialogues Blog.
Started successful, televised “Kid’s Town Hall” events to encourage civic engagement
among our youngest citizens (read coverage from the Express-News). First town hall took place at Northside I.S.D.’s McDermott Elementary School. See the video.
The first District 8 HOA Presidents Meeting was held at Bob Ross Senior Center. At this meeting, which is open to HOA presidents or their designees, neighborhood representatives hear a fiscal quarter report from the city’s budget office, then are grouped at tables by district quadrant (north, south, east, west). At each table, Councilman Nirenberg and staff answer questions and identify regional “punch list” items that can be addressed by city staff, such as lighting issues, sidewalk and street damage repair, safety issues, etc. The District 8 HOA Presidents Meetings are held quarterly each year.
Hosted the March 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the Babcock North Apartment Community Center, located at 11800 Spring Shadow.
Called for creation of a comprehensive water plan for the City of San Antonio in order to ensure availability, affordability, and quality of water supply for future generations. City Council unanimously approved the measure in October after Councilman Nirenberg also secured a funding partnership with the City of Fair Oaks. The plan will consider environmental, political, and economic challenges, along with how city, SAWS policies should align in order to protect San Antonio’s long term water security. Read Councilman Nirenberg’s overview of the importance of water planning in the Rivard Report.
Secured state funding for study and prioritization of Wurzbach corridor, west of NW Military Highway, in preparation for the completion of a Wurzbach Parkway (read more from the Express-News). Negotiated as part of the $825 Billion TxDOT/RMA/Bexar/CoSA agreement and approved by City Council. See an excerpt from Councilman Nirenberg’s 2014 State of the District Address.
Hosted the January 2014 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the Shenandoah Homeowners Association Clubhouse, located at 4402 Ramsgate St.
Hosted ground-breaking of the Hausman Road 2012-2017 Bond project (see City’s Hausman project web page). The $70 Million project is the largest voter-approved roadway project int he city’s history and will include additional lanes, drainage improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, turnarounds, and more. The project will use a design-build delivery, reducing construction time from 3 years to 18 months, with completion set for summer of 2015. Guests in attendance were former District 8 City Council members Bonnie Conner and Reed Williams.
As part of his efforts to support the Tier One pursuit of UTSA, Councilman Nirenberg called for termination of the Coordinated Admissions Program at the University of Texas, which artificially reduces UTSA graduation rates. Read coverage from KVUE-TV Austin.
Initiated “refugee service provider summits” to unite various service organizations and help them exchange ideas, identify gaps in services, and find ways to gain efficiencies. Through the U.S. State Department Office of Refugee Resettlement, San Antonio receives approximately 800 international refugees per year, the majority of whom are settled into northwest San Antonio because of the proximity of important resources like housing and health care. Participants in the summit meetings included the City of San Antonio, Catholic Charities, Center for Refugee Services, Northside and Northeast I.S.D., VIA Metropolitan Transit, Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word, local faith organizations, medical professionals, and employers. Listen to a feature about these efforts on TPR, read coverage in LOCAL.
Hosted the November 2013 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center.
Hosted the October 2013 D8 Dialogues Town Hall at the UTSA Main Campus. The event was covered by student journalists of The Paisano, the weekly campus newspaper of the UTSA (read more here).
Hosted a pre-construction public meeting to answer questions and roll out the details of the Hausman Road 2012-2017 Bond project (see City’s Hausman project web page). The $70 Million project is the largest voter-approved roadway project int he city’s history and will include additional lanes, drainage improvements, sidewalks, bike lanes, turnarounds, and more. The project will use a design-build delivery, reducing construction time from 3 years to 18 months. It is addresses one of Councilman Nirenberg’s top transportation priorities in the district, easing congestion on one of the most heavily trafficked east-west corridors in northwest San Antonio. The public meeting was held at Stinson Middle School.
Hosted a first-ever District 8 Back-to-School event at Brandeis High School to provide families with donated school supplies. There were also booths providing information on drug awareness, school and neighborhood safety, library services, family heath and nutrition, etc. The Spurs Coyote even joined us!
Kicked off the D8 Dialogues monthly town hall events, where neighbors visit for an open question-and-answer with Councilman Nirenberg, discussing any issues that concern them. The event starts with a brief presentation from a city department or agency to allow attendees to learn more about city operations. Each D8 Dialogue town hall is hosted on an alternating Saturday morning or Tuesday evening, and moves to different locations throughout District 8 each month. The first event was hosted in Bonnie Conner Park and followed a “D8 Summer Barbecue in the Park.”
Called on San Antonio Library officials to revise Internet Policies so that they are compliant with Children’s Internet Protection Act (read coverage in the San Antonio Business Journal). This action, subsequently approved by the Library Board of Trustees, provides for better Internet safety for young patrons and parents, while it also makes the city eligible to receive larger proportions of federal E-rate funds, helping local library systems expand technology infrastructure and services.
Through realignment, cost efficiency measures, and partnership with the private sector, secured important pedestrian and vehicular mobility improvements in the Medical Center, totaling $1.1 Million, and stewarded additional voter-approved infrastructure safety projects totaling $6.6 Million. These improvements included an upgraded intersection at Babcock and Hamilton Wolfe, reduced speed limits, new crosswalks, upgraded signage, and increased SAPD patrols. In addition, Councilman Nirenberg directed City staff to prioritize roadway improvements in the Medical Center as part of the citywide Infrastructure Maintenance Program. Read coverage of the councilman’s efforts in the San Antonio Business Journal .
Established the District 8 Community Academy, a volunteer organization aimed at encouraging civic engagement and awareness throughout our community (read coverage about the Community Academy from the Rivard Report and watch an excerpt from Councilman Nirenberg’s 2014 State of District 8 Address). The D8 Community Academy engages people of all ages and walks of life and initatives include Citizen Advisory Councils to inform the Councilman’s position on issues, a litter and graffiti task forces, and monthly town halls, HOA consortiums, etc. It has been directed and managed by college students under CM’s guidance. Want to get involved? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!