Mayor-elect Ron Nirenberg is pushing for the City to have a charter amendment election, which could take place as early as November.
There have been three public input meetings in which City Council members and residents proposed amendments to the existing charter. The Charter Review Commission will examine their suggestions and committees and subcommittees will discuss proposed charter amendments through July.
The suggestions included extending terms of elected office from two to four years, pushing the May municipal election to November, changing the appointment processes for the Ethics Review Board (ERB) and the Planning Commission, allowing the City, by public vote, to use taxpayer funds directly for affordable housing, and adjusting the process of verifying a mayoral or Council candidate’s residency.
Another topic discussed was lowering the threshold for voters to petition for initiative or recall. Patrick Von Dohlen, who ran for the District 9 Council seat this year and placed a close 3rd (out of 10), advocated using a more manageable number of voter signatures needed to advance a petition. He said that using a threshold such as 15% of voters who actually cast ballots in the City’s last election would be more reasonable than using a percentage of registered voters.
Bob Martin, the Homeowner Taxpayer Association President, supported lowering the petition-initiative threshold, and was against extending terms for elected officials since he thought four-year terms could lead to complacency.
Students from University of Texas at San Antonio members of MOVE San Antonio also spoke at the meeting.
Full meeting dates and times will be posted at City Hall and on the City’s website. These meetings will be open to the public.