Webcast: 2017 Mayoral Candidate Forum on Nonprofit Impact

Where do the candidates for mayor of San Antonio stand on increasing funding for nonprofits and delegate agencies? What is the city’s role in helping medically vulnerable children, community foster care, children’s mental health, local education policy and offering sanctuary to immigrants?

What are the candidates’ spiritual beliefs and what do they see as the systemic causes of generational poverty?

Ivy Taylor and Ron Nirenberg answered those questions and more during the April 3, 2017 Mayoral Candidate Forum on the impact of nonprofits in San Antonio.

Scroll down below the video to see the questions and get a link to jump straight to the candidates’ answer. This article has been updated throughout.

Use these links to jump straight to the candidates' answers in the video:

Introductory Statement by Ivy Taylor: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=3m56s
Introductory Statement by Ron Nirenberg: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=7m55s

QUESTION 1: Mike Gilliam, President/ CEO Lighthouse for the Blind: What could or would you do to simplify city’s funding process for nonprofits, i.e.: delegate agencies? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=12m25s

TAYLOR: We could be more strategic and need to expand access to smaller agencies. Need to have conversation about agencies political and advocacy. In favor of letting new agencies get funding. (full quote: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=15m11s)  

NIRENBERG: First, understand what delegate agency does. They provide important safety net services that the city cannot handle on its own. Also the application process needs to be simplified. Socio economic inequities mean problems addressed by safety net will increase. (full quote: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=13m05s)

QUESTION 2: Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News follow up: What would you do to ensure that smaller nonprofits have an opportunity for funding? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=17m50s

QUESTION 3: Robert Salcido, Chair, PRIDE Center San Antonio: As director of a center that provides services to the LGBTQ community, I want to know, as mayor, what is your plan to promote inclusivity as well as working toward bringing cohesion to all these groups? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=23m45s  

NIRENBERG: "I think that starting or building a culture of inclusion and compassion begins with the rhetoric that comes out of city hall. I don’t think we can sit back and let issues like this happen, I think we need to make sure that we’re focusing and enforcing our non-discrimination ordinance." (full quote https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=24m55s)

TAYLOR: "When I got into the mayor’s office, I worked with the manager to create of the office of diversity and inclusion." (full quote:https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=27m51s)

QUESTION 4: Henry Rosales, CEO American Volkssport: Would you as mayor offer sanctuary to our law-abiding immigrants, why or why not?  https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=26m04s

TAYLOR: "Though we have not adopted the political label of calling ourselves a sanctuary city, we have ensured from a practical perspective that our law enforcement officials here know that their job is to enforce the laws of our community and not immigration laws, and so their job is not to ask people about their status because we want to make sure that everyone in our community feels safe and feels comfortable approaching law enforcement ." (full quote: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=31m2s)

NIRENBERG: "This is a country where the front door step is the Statue of Liberty. I think we need to focus, not on the debates in Austin or in D.C. but focus on what are we supposed to do as citizens of San Antonio, as public leaders in San Antonio. And that is to make sure everyone who is here feels safe, and has a right to belong and to prosper in this community. Every law abiding person should be able to do that." (full quote: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=32m49s )

QUESTION 5: Nora Oyler, Executive Director of Spina Bifida of Texas: The proposed state budget cuts could significantly affect a medically vulnerable population, including children we serve. What is the city going to do about these children who are not going to have medical care? How is the city going to help these children, and there is a big population of them? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=34m35s

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=33m22s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=30m35s

QUESTION 6: Gilbert Garcia: When it comes to goals for the city, such as SA Tomorrow, where can nonprofits play a role? how to do you see those plans work to make nonprofits a player? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=34m56s

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=34m56s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=38m49s

QUESTION 7: Melissa Kazen, Executive Vice President, Communities in Schools: What role do you see the city playing in developing and influencing local education policies and strategies to meet SA 2020 education goals?
 Simon Salas, CEO, Good Samaritan Community Services: Would you support taking the steps necessary to dedicate funding to support the work of nonprofits that provide and enhance certain preventative health and or after school programs and needs to increase the amount now available to what would be raised by an 1/8 percent sales tax or about $31 million?  https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=41m49s

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=51m4s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=47m26s

QUESTION 8: Gilbert Garcia: Should the 16 school districts in San Antonio be consolidated? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=51m54s

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=51m57s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=53m15s

QUESTION 9: Jane Fairchild Children’s Shelter: What role do you see city playing in a Community Care model for the Foster Care children? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=54m42s

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=57m1s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=55m15s

QUESTION 10: Fred Hines, CEO of Clarity Child Guidance: We all know that a large percentage of kids and adults with mental health issues never get service. Two of the key reasons for that are access and a real shortage of mental health professionals… What do you think the role of the city should be in dealing with these mental health issues? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=59m

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=59m33s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h3m12s

QUESTION 11: Maureen O'Nell SA, Executive Director, Pets Alive! How does animal welfare play into your vision of a vibrant San Antonio? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h4m32s

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h6m22s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h4m47s

QUESTION 12: Megan Legacy, Executive Director, SA Christian Hope Resource Center:  What do you see as the deepest systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h7m40s

TAYLOR: Since you’re with the Christian Coalition, I’ll go ahead and put it out there that to me, it's broken people - people not being in relationship with their creator - and therefore not being in good relationship with their families and their communities and not being productive members of society… I think that's the ultimate answer, that's not something that I work on from my position as Mayor of the community, though I try to be an example. As far as some of the political issues... I see education as the great equalizer…if you want to talk about school districts or economic segregation, we have not provided the same opportunities to have high quality education that puts them on the path of careers in every part of San Antonio. I see that as one of the systemic causes…another that I've worked on is teen pregnancy….when people are parenting early, they usually do not have an opportunity to continue their education those are a couple of the things I have tried to bring teen pregnancy forward as an issue ... I've tried to frame it as an economic development issue."  https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h7m52s 

NIRENBERG: "If I had to point to one cause, philosophically, it would be the loss of the public common, the sense that we are all in this together, which has resulted in people not doing a lot of things, such as participating in local elections, reading a newspaper, such as helping with a neighborhood association. The loss of a common ground and common purpose is a plague on us all. From public policy standpoint it manifests itself in different ways...One of chief policy challenges city faces is to manage our growth in a sustainable way. (By not doing that we have) Neighborhoods that have seen disinvestments in many ways." https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h10m48s

QUESTION 13: Gilbert Hernandez President/CEO San Antonio Youth for Christ: What is your plan in working with faith-based organizations, like nonprofits and churches, to better serve the city?
Jay Burchfield, CEO Life Skills For Living: What are your spiritual beliefs and how will they affect your decision making as mayor? https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h13m51s

TAYLOR: "As far as my own spiritual beliefs and how they affect my governing, I am a Christian, a born again Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ and how it affects me on a daily basis since I draw very heavily on that as far as the strength to do this job [and the scriptures like the one in my notebook today] really do help me on a daily basis in order to serve San Antonians, that’s what works for me." (full answer https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h17m48s)

NIRENBERG: "I was raised in a Catholic-Jewish household… It taught me a respect for the role of faith in religion but it also taught me the universality of religions… I have a deep respect for where religions intersect … the simple golden rule which is that we want to make sure that … government is treating everyone as they would want to be treated, that we have a government that is based on equality, that’s based in inclusion and diversity.” (full answer: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h14m36s )

CLOSING STATEMENT QUESTION: Dawn White Executive Director of Christian Assistance Ministries: Councilman Nirenberg why should we replace the Mayor we have with you and Mayor Taylor, why should we keep you for another term?

TAYLOR: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h21m44s

NIRENBERG: https://youtu.be/7417pVwzPYc?t=1h25m6s