Nirenberg Confronts Heckler at Rally

Mayor Nirenberg speaks at a rally at  La Tuna  Saturday night. (Photo by  William Timmerman  - Photographer, SA Sentinel)

Mayor Nirenberg speaks at a rally at La Tuna Saturday night. (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, SA Sentinel)

May 25, 2019 - La Tuna Icehouse (Southtown San Antonio)

By: William Timmerman - Writer, San Antonio Sentinel

Saturday night, as the sun dipped from the San Antonio horizon, Mayor Nirenberg addressed an enthusiastic crowd of supporters at La Tuna Icehouse in the trendy Southtown district. It was a busy Saturday night at the twenty-five year old bar and grill located adjacent to the Blue Star Arts Complex, with between forty and sixty people coming out to support the mayor in his re-election efforts.

A heckler makes his opinion known at the Nirenberg Rally at  La Tuna . (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, SA Sentinel)

A heckler makes his opinion known at the Nirenberg Rally at La Tuna. (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, SA Sentinel)

As Nirenberg rose to the stage and addressed those present, a voice cried out in the audience, overpowering even the venue’s ample loudspeaker system. “Brockhouse! Brockhouse!,” shouted a man sitting at one of the venue’s plentiful picnic tables, prompting a group of Nirenberg supporters to start retorting with expletive laden outbursts of their own, along with cries of, “He’s a wife beater!” and “Wrong, wrong, wrong!” Soon after, a representative from the Nirenberg campaign went over to the persistent heckler and urged him to stop shouting, as the Mayor made his way back onto the stage.

In an interview with the Sentinel after the event, the man (who wished to remain known as only an anonymous heckler), expressed that his outbursts stemmed from frustration with tax increases he sees as linked to some of Nirenberg’s mayoral policies. He added that he developed properties on the East side of town and that the tax changes were threatening his business’ ability to operate.

Nirenberg meets with attendees at  La Tuna . (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, SA Sentinel)

Nirenberg meets with attendees at La Tuna. (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, SA Sentinel)

After the speech had concluded, Nirenberg left the podium and started mingling with the crowd, spending about half an hour taking photos, shaking hands, and cooing over newborns. He eventually approached the man who had heckled him earlier to have an exchange of dialogue. Nirenberg sat with the heckler for what definitely couldn’t be described as a peace accord, but merely a civil discussion of differences. The Mayor then reportedly gave the man a phone number and took his leave. Afterwards, the man made a “so-so” gesture with his hand to someone sitting at his table, emphasizing his opinion on the conversation with Nirenberg.

Although the Mayor remarked that he wasn’t aware that the man was a Brockhouse supporter while he was on stage, once he was informed about the man’s affiliation, he wanted to speak with him to address his concerns. Given the reporting from The Sentinel’s Sunday article, this is not Nirenberg’s first foray into dealing with his opponent’s supporters, having been noted for approaching the houses of people who have Brockhouse signage prominently displayed in front of their homes. Nirenberg stated to The Sentinel on Wednesday that his reasoning for approaching his opponent’s supporters stems from a desire to inform them about information that he believes the Brockhouse campaign has distorted both about him and his policies. With election day a little over a week away, it remains to be seen if this tactic will pay off for him.