Monday, June 19, 2006

Mayor Hardberger Lovefest

Mayor Phil Hardberger won in a close election to term limited Julian Castro just one year ago, and the city seems to have forgotten that they anointed Castro the heir apparent in 2005.

Much to his credit, Harberger has won over the city, seen stellar approval numbers, and has courted and won over the San Antonio press. It is impossible to see Harberger’s name not associated with good news or novel thinking, but is it too early to write this chapter in the history of San Antonio politics?


Harberger has attempted much and achieved little. San Antonio has the lowest pay and toughest term-limits out of any major city, and this makes it hard or nearly impossible to get things done. Citizen advisory commissions, lobbyist, and citizen groups make the wheels turn either with lightning speed or a nice… slow…. methodical…. grind.

Hardberger has tried to get a baseball team and a football team. He has tried luring business and said no to conventions. He has made the actions inside city council more professional, but he has refused to take a stand on controversial issues or defend members of the council.

By no means is this a negative critique to the current mayor, but it is a critique of the early praise. One of my favorite writers for the Express-News, Greg Jefferson has this to say:
Hardberger so far has no sweeping, high-impact initiatives to his credit, and he's not without a few failures and disappointments. On the other hand, he's spent a good deal of time courting council members, forging a coalition and piecing together what he considers an A-team of city administrators.
This is by far the most concise summation of this mayor. In one year we as a city have gone from announcing the 2007 rematch of Castro vs. Hardberger to hailing Hardberger as the best Mayor in San Antonio history. Has he been a bad Mayor? No. But, what has he done to deserve so many column inches and so much praise?


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