Trevor Whitney & Clayton Perry Headline RCBC Forum
Photos by Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel.
April 24, 2019 - Downtown San Antonio
Article By: Jonathan Guajardo - Editor, SA Sentinel
Updated: Friday, May 3, 2019, 12:30 PM
On a stormy Wednesday afternoon, members and guests of the Republican Club of Bexar County found their seats among an array of potential council members in the Fiesta Room of San Antonio’s downtown Luby’s location to witness six candidates make their case for why they should be elected to the city council. While raindrops thudded across the metal roofing of the prominent downtown diner, attendees laid their trays upon the wooden tables and unpacked their silverware from rolls of tightly wound paper towels, preparing to enjoy their lunch and listen to the day’s speakers: Candidates Andy Greene, Trevor Whitney, Will McCloud, Richard Versace, Patrick Von Dohlen, and current District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry.
Greene took the podium first and began by addressing how he worked in the city council for the past ten years and how he would place an emphasis on transparency if elected to public office. In regards to the Alamo Cenotaph relocation controversy, he noted how the issue should be considered on a level above city politics. “I really don’t have an issue with it as long as it is done very respectfully,” said Greene, addressing the proposed Cenotaph move. He ended his turn at the podium by stating that, before any move is considered, he would push for a vote on the issue to determine any course of action.
After Greene stepped down, oft-controversial D7 candidate, Trevor Whitney, took the podium. It should be noted that this forum took place a day before an Express-News article would surface about Whitney losing his position at Blue Duck scooters where he served as Regional Director of Government Relations due to off-color antics made at a MOVE SA Youth Forum towards a heckler in the audience and an alleged altercation with opponent Ana Sandoval’s boyfriend, environmental activist Mario Bravo, in the parking lot of Maverick Library. As such, he would not be addressing this topic during his opening statement or subsequent responses to fielded questions.
To start off, Whitney stated that his district is “the home of Julian Castro and his machine, and we’re going to destroy it this year.” He later went on to say that, if elected, he would enact a $25,000 homestead exemption off of residents’ property taxes on his first day in office. He further argued that if the city can spend $23 million on the land bridge (for Phil Hardberger Park) or $300,000 on the self-cleaning downtown bathroom, we should instead spend the funds on helping homeless veterans by building a tiny home community out of shipping containers to help veterans get back on their feet. In regards to the Chick-Fil-A issue he stated that “we (the City of San Antonio) have discriminated against a company based on religious principles.”
“Ana Sandoval has never talked about property taxes in her life,” declared Whitney as he launched into an assault on Sandoval’s record as a councilwoman. He later went on to state that he would put his name on the list of the Bexar County appraisal district and work to alleviate the property tax burden on the community.
After Whitney stepped down, Will McCloud (District 7 Candidate) approached the podium. Stating, “I’m the only candidate using public transportation to get where I’m going,” McCloud followed up with a statement proclaiming his distaste for hypocrisy, referring to the fact that no other city council members take the bus to get to work and therefore don’t have firsthand knowledge of relying on public transportation for their daily commute. He later went on to proclaim that the Pre-K 4 SA initiative should be “revisited” and that the Alamo Plaza cenotaph “needs not to be removed one inch.” In regards to Haven for Hope on the Central Westside, he stated “they’re not helping unfortunately,” and said that he agrees with Trevor Whitney about the need to help homeless veterans in San Antonio.
After McCloud, Richard Versace (District 9 Candidate) walked up to the microphone. He began with an oration on how he came to the United States four years ago and is of Italian and Persian decent. Declaring that “love is the key,” he talked about how he is an expert on nutrition and described ways he would like to lessen the obesity epidemic in the nation and in the city.
PATRICK VON DOHLEN
Patrick Von Dohlen was next and began by stating that he hopes to be “the voice of common sense for city council District 9.” “I’m a Republican. My opponent is a hard Democrat,” began Von Dohlen before saying that the votes that city council has enacted has “led to less freedom” and “bigger government.” He finished up his statement by addressing the Chick-Fil-A vote and saying that it was “just the tip of the sword” to the council enacting measures that would restrict businesses based on their religious beliefs.
Last to address the crowd of Republicans was current District 10 Councilman, Clayton Perry. A Texas A&M graduate from Giddings, Texas, Perry said that he is still very conservative today. “If you go back and look at my voting record on council, I’m usually the odd man out and that does not bother me because I’m representing my district,” said Perry. “I’m a conservative. I make no bones about it. And people respect that, but when I vote no, I make sure that people understand why I vote no so nobody has any doubt to my rationale.” Perry later addressed the hot-button topic of homestead exemptions and property taxes, remarking, “I have been working on that homestead exemption for two years. It was not politically motivated. It’s the right thing to do here in San Antonio.”
The meeting wrapped up with an urging of those in attendance to go vote. An emphasis was then placed on making San Antonio a more conservative city, with the last words of the meeting being “make this council Red.” Those in attendance then mingled with the candidates, snapping pictures and posing questions to these six men who could one day serve on San Antonio’s City Council.