Updated: More than 100 residents from dozens of neighborhoods across San Antonio descended on City Council in solidarity for Neighborhood Day, during the Citizens to be Heard session on Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pre-K 4 SA East Education Center, 5230 Eisenhauer Rd.
The action was the brainchild of Westside Neighborhoods Association Coalition leader Velma Pena. The Westside group is a key member of the Tier One Neighborhood Coalition, a group that promotes citizen participation in public policy issues through education and advocacy.
“Neighborhoods across the city will be there to welcome the council to a new council year, but also to remind them, through our physical presence, that we are their constituents and voters and that our voices are important and should be part of the decision-making process of the development of our neighborhoods and communities,” wrote Tier One Neighborhood Coalition leader Cynthia Spielman in an email to the groups. “With development incentives in our communities and the UDC amendment process underway, our voices are needed now more than ever.”
Her email continued: “Our issues of preservation and displacement, of compatible and affordable development of housing and the well-being of our communities have bonded us in the past. Can we count on you to bring at least five (more the better) members of your community with a sign (most will be simple hand-made ones) with your organization name?”
Neighborhoods in all parts of the city took up the challenge, including Northside Neighborhoods for Organized Development, whose chair, Colleen Waguespack wrote in an email: “This isn't about whether your neighborhood is on the Westside or Northside, urban center or suburbs. Our neighborhoods each have unique concerns, but we also have a common commitment to protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods. This event is about reminding our City leaders that, as our city grows, the voices of those who live in our city NOW still matter.”
The City of San Antonio historically has turned off its Council Chambers livestream during the Citizens to be Heard session, so NOWCastSA recorded video of the event for rebroadcast and archive.