SAN ANTONIO – The proposed charter amendments - Propositions A, B and C – are the most politicized local battles this upcoming election day on November 6.
For a no-spin look at the issues, we turn to Professor Andrew Sanders from Texas A&M San Antonio.
"It's important to understand exactly what you're voting on,” he says.
Proposition A deals with how voters can challenge city council decisions. It would allow for referendums on taxes, utility rates and zoning. It would also lower the amount of signatures needed from 75,000 to 20,000.
"The No campaign here argues that it would be too easy for people to demand a referendum if you reduce the number of signatures that's required to call one,” Prof. Sanders says. “The Yes campaign, on the other hand, believes that it's more democratic if you can request a referendum on a particular issue."
Proposition B deals puts a term limit and a salary cap on the city manager position. It would not affect city manager Sheryl Sculley, who was hired in 2005 and earns a base salary this year of $475,000.
"A Yes vote on that would be in favor of reducing the salary. That would limit how much the future city managers earn,” Prof. Sanders says. “The No vote would be if you wanted to ensure that the salary remains high and remains competitive, and in the event that Sheryl Sculley is to be replaced, then the city would be able to recruit someone that would demand such a salary."
Proposition C deals with the firefighters union and its years-long contract battle with the city. It would give the union the sole right to declare negotiations have stalled and go into a binding arbitration.
"Certainly the fact that it's paired up with firefighter compensation makes it much more complicated for most people,” Prof. Sanders says. “I would definitely suggest that people really look into that, read up on both sides of the issue and make an informed decision on that."
Early voting starts Monday, October 22. If you’d like to read through the proposition questions ahead of time, you can find them on page 5 of Bexar County’s sample ballot.
By EMILY BAUCUM