Alamo Heights Council Members Re-elected
Three incumbent City Council members in Alamo Heights survived critical challenges from a trio of political newcomers in the May 5 elections.
Place 3 Councilman Fred Prassel received 50 percent of the vote to beat Mallory Geis. It was a four-vote margin of victory for Prassel, a military veteran who said his council experience and lifelong residency will continue to benefit the city government.
Prassel said his re-election will allow him to keep focusing on objectives such as economic redevelopment in Alamo Heights’ downtown area.
“This will include a vibrant downtown area that features user–friendly sidewalks and continued attention to living within our means,” he said.
Place 4 Councilwoman Lynda Billa Burke got 61 percent in her victory over Joe Gardner, who owns and runs his own accounting firm.
She expressed gratitude to the voters who supported her campaign, which along with the other two incumbent candidates endured pointed attacks by backers of their opponents.
Burke campaigned on continuing to work toward a more secure water supply, a balanced budget, ensuring public safety, expanding parks and green space for families and pets, and business growth.
“It’s a new day in Alamo Heights,” she said.
Place 5 Councilman John Savage received 51 percent en route to besting U.S. Army veteran Sallye “Jane” Allgood. According to Savage, many voters are happy with the city’s direction.
It was a heated campaign at times when supporters of the challengers used as a key issue the 2015 council approval of a controversial mixed-use development, which is now being constructed at Broadway and Austin Highway.
Opponents characterized the incumbent council members as caring more about developers than about residents’ interests.
Some area voters cast a ballot in the Alamo Colleges District race between District 9 incumbent Joe Jesse Sanchez and Felix Grieder.
In the end, Sanchez got 50.8 percent over Grieder, a U.S. Air Force veteran-turned-process engineer at USAA.
Sanchez was appointed to late trustee Jim Rindfuss’ Alamo Colleges board seat in 2017 to fill a term that expires in 2020. Sanchez spent more than 40 years working in local primary and secondary education as an educator and administrator.
Prior to the election, Sanchez said his focus was ensuring all of District 9, which runs from the Alamo Heights area through the far Northeast Side, is well-represented on the board.
Terrell Hills voters needed only to reauthorize the city’s street maintenance sales tax on May 5. The measure garnered more than 91 percent of the vote.
Terrell Hills had no contested council races. William Mitchell, president of the G.W. Mitchell Construction company, is succeeding Councilman Charles Parish, who opted to step down after 30 years in office.
Neither Mayor Anne Ballantyne nor Councilman John Low had a challenger.
The North East Independent School District had no election. Terri Williams has been sworn in as the new District 2 school board member, succeeding Edd White.
White, a five-term trustee, had filed for re-election, but then withdrew. Williams leads the Small Business Development Center within the University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Economic Development.
Alamo Heights Independent School District, too, had no election. Incumbents Bonnie Giddens in Place 5, Lisa Krenger in Place 6, and Perry Shankle in Place 7 all ran unopposed, securing new three-year terms.
Elected Officials Sworn Into Office
May 14 was a special day in Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills, as winners of the May 5 local elections took the oath of office in their respective city.
William Mitchell, president of GW Mitchell Construction, assumed his new role as a Terrell Hills City Council member. He was the lone person to file for the seat vacated by Charles Parish, who has retired.
Mayor Anne Ballantyne and Councilman John Low, also, were sworn into office for another two-year term. Ballantyne and Low did not draw challengers. Colleagues also selected Low as mayor pro tem.
“I’d like to welcome our new council member, and say what a wonderful job that Anne Ballantyne does as mayor,” Councilwoman Marilyn Eldridge said. “It can’t be overstated.”
In Alamo Heights, Councilmembers Fred Prassel, John Savage and Lynda Billa Burke took the oath of office. They all won their re-election races. Burke was selected mayor pro tem by her colleagues.
Alamo Heights History on Digital Display
While San Antonio celebrates the 300th anniversary of its founding, Alamo Heights has been collecting images tracing its nearly century of history since the city’s incorporation.
City Secretary Jennifer Reyna addressed the May 14 City Council meeting, briefly showing off a few of the 130-plus images she has collected from residents and other sources since last fall.
It’s part of the city’s project to compile photos, maps and other images highlighting Alamo Heights evolution, particularly since its incorporation in 1922.
Reyna has posted the images to a website where anyone can digital contribute their visual commemoration of San Antonio’s tricentennial: https://bibliotech.librariescreate.com/tricentennial/ That link can be found at the city’s website, www.alamoheightstx.gov, under “News.” Reyna and other local officials encouraged Heights residents, non-residents and civic organizations to contribute to the city’s collection.
“This is going to give us a head start,” Reyna said of forwarding thinking about Alamo Heights’ potential centennial celebration in 2022.
By Edmond Ortiz