Councilman Greg Brockhouse has formally thrown his hat into the mayoral ring.
The primary-term District 6 consultant ended a yr of hypothesis at a marketing campaign occasion Saturday at a Westside document store when he publicly introduced he will hand over his Council seat to problem Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
“We’re caught and we’re operating in place,” he stated throughout his marketing campaign announcement on Previous Freeway 90. “We’re in impartial at Metropolis Corridor. … [Nirenberg’s] time is up.”
“I completed every part I needed to do [in District 6] in my first time period as much as and together with altering the town supervisor,” he advised the Rivard Report.
The “Metropolis you deserve” is Nirenberg’s slogan, he stated this week, however San Antonio “must ask itself is that this the path that we need to go?” As an alternative, we should always work to “keep who we’re as a metropolis,” he stated.
At Saturday’s announcement, Brockhouse outlined three issues he would enhance if elected mayor: financial alternative, transparency, and public security.
He’ll give attention to job creation, wage inequality, lightening pricey laws for companies, he stated, and he pledged to decrease property taxes and hold utility charges down.
There might be “no extra backroom offers” whereas he’s mayor, he advised the gang, and cops and firefighters gained’t have to fret about if they’ve a labor contract.
The San Antonio Skilled Firefighters Affiliation offered a number of tents for his occasion to serve meals and occasional to the almost 100 attendees. Union officers stated it has not formally endorsed Brockhouse.
Brockhouse, a 46-year-old former political advisor and Air Pressure veteran, doubtless can be Nirenberg’s largest competitors on the Might four poll. As of Saturday afternoon, 5 different lesser-known candidates had registered.
Brockhouse has asserted himself because the contrarian’s voice on a largely progressive Metropolis Council. Whereas native municipal elections are technically nonpartisan, Nirenberg and Brockhouse usually comply with liberal and conservative strains, respectively.
They’ve typically taken reverse sides on votes and points since Brockhouse was elected in 2017, however their most notable clashes have surrounded the November poll propositions aimed toward difficult Metropolis Council authority, the town supervisor’s place, and the Metropolis’s dealing with of firefighter union negotiations. All have been supported by Brockhouse, who used to work for the police and hearth unions as a political advisor.
Throughout Nirenberg’s first time period as mayor, the Metropolis initiated a number of activity forces, committees, and plans to deal with such subjects as reasonably priced housing, local weather change, transportation, and airport enlargement. Such initiatives have acquired reward from enterprise and group leaders as an effort on Nirenberg’s half to incorporate numerous group voices, however Brockhouse has been one of the crucial vocal critics of a number of the pricey suggestions that emerged, such because the 10-year, $three.9 billion reasonably priced housing plan.
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“That’s a number of spending of different individuals’s cash,” he informed the Rivard Report, including that the Metropolis must get “again to fundamentals” with a give attention to “public security, neighborhoods, job creation, wages – [and other] garden-variety, one-on-one public providers.”
“… On the finish of the day, we lack the management,” Brockhouse stated. “[Nirenberg] creates activity forces as a result of he has an lack of ability to get the work achieved himself. … The No. 1 ‘process pressure’ that Ron forgets is the Metropolis Council – that’s an important activity pressure, but he doesn’t embrace us in selections.”
Brockhouse has launched beheardsa.com to gather suggestions by way of a survey from residents throughout the town.
“I would like you to elucidate to me the place you reside and what issues most to you,” he stated Saturday, “Then I’m going to take that and return to Metropolis Corridor and battle for it.”
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Brockhouse factors to the choice to not pursue the Republican Nationwide Conference or Amazon’s second headquarters as probably the most vital examples of Nirenberg’s lack of communication with Council. That led to Brockhouse’s protest of Metropolis Council’s government session course of through which personnel, contracts, and different delicate issues are mentioned behind closed doorways. He has attended solely a handful of these personal Council conferences since Might final yr as a result of he believes some discussions – particularly about whether or not to pursue multimillion-dollar contracts – must be held within the public eye.
Regardless of his criticism of some Council procedures, he has efficiently introduced assets to District 6 and championed different priorities comparable to funding for a Metropolis place to enhance employment charges for army veterans and their spouses. However different efforts he spearheaded, resembling requesting that metropolis supervisor interviews be carried out in public – didn’t obtain broad council help. Brockhouse and Councilman Clayton Perry (D10) typically discover themselves on the dropping finish of 9-2 Council votes.
“I needed to shine a light-weight on Metropolis Corridor and I feel I’ve completed that,” Brockhouse advised the Rivard Report, including that he led efforts to enhance the Metropolis’s open data request course of. That initiative upgraded the doc search course of with digital know-how in 2017.
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Whereas Brockhouse stated he has recognized for a while that he’s operating for mayor, the stress that a heated mayoral marketing campaign might have on his household gave him pause.
Brockhouse has 4 youngsters, every with totally different ladies; he has been divorced twice. He makes common youngster help funds, he stated, and is pleased with his little kids, together with spouse Annalisa’s son from a earlier marriage.
“Some males take longer than others to study what it means to be a person, a father, a husband, and a pacesetter of a household and [understand] what issues most,” he stated. “Religion was large for me in getting there.”
“It’s not straightforward paying youngster help. It’s additionally not straightforward for the youngsters,” he stated. “I feel it truly sort of provides me a bit little bit of perception into what it means to wrestle. There have been occasions in my life once I had zero. … I’ve stood in that payday mortgage line as a result of I knew I can’t make this cost. The disgrace of that, I do know that. And I feel that provides me a perspective to know. I feel I join properly with residents.
“It was robust, however I’ve acquired 5 nice youngsters. Did my life decisions make it harder for them? Yeah, it did. However I don’t have regrets about it. I’d do it yet again. … If somebody needs to make some extent of it, deliver it on.”
Brockhouse stated Saturday that he needed to ask his spouse for permission to maneuver ahead together with his bid for mayor as a result of campaigns can take a toll on household time and grow to be deeply private. After the announcement, Annalisa Brockhouse informed the Rivard Report that she and her household are absolutely ready to make these sacrifices.
As a faith-based household, they’ll “stay respectful” within the face of any criticism, she stated. “There’s no different option to reply.”
Brockhouse was born in Peoria, Illinois, whereas his mother and father have been visiting his father’s household, however he grew up on San Antonio’s South Aspect, the place his mom, of Mexican descent, grew up with 9 brothers and sisters. Her household has been in San Antonio for a number of generations. Brockhouse stated his grandfather was a Canary Islander.
After graduating from John Jay Excessive Faculty, Brockhouse adopted his father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Air Drive, primarily engaged on missile upkeep. His major task was in Montana, however he later labored at Lackland Air Drive Base in San Antonio. He left the army in 1999, after incomes a bachelors of utilized arts and sciences from Southwest Texas State College and a public supervisor certification.
He informed the Rivard Report that he labored in administration at H-E-B, discovered “it simply wasn’t my factor,” then began work in mortgage lending. He labored for World Financial savings Financial institution till the housing mortgage crash in 2008. However he acquired a “heck of a severance package deal,” he stated, and was capable of do volunteer work till determining his subsequent profession transfer.
“In all probability the one determination I remorse from knowledgeable perspective was leaping [out of the military] once I did,” he stated. “I simply needed to make more cash.”
A ‘random alternative’
Brockhouse was volunteering on the Basilica of the Nationwide Shrine of the Little Flower when he met and began working for then-Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros in 2009. That led to work as a political advisor for different native campaigns, and ultimately he joined the marketing campaign of underdog candidate Rey Saldaña in District four. Brockhouse briefly served as his chief of employees when Saldaña took workplace in 2011.
“I kinda all the time needed to run for workplace. I used to be very desirous about public service,” Brockhouse stated. “Life and army and household [got in the way] – I kinda stored placing it off. However me getting laid off from the financial institution was like a God-given epiphany of a present. … It was a random alternative that wouldn’t have produced itself if I didn’t get laid off.”
In 2013, Brockhouse ran towards incumbent Councilman Ray Lopez and misplaced, however he gained expertise, identify recognition, and a connection to public security unions that may find yourself shaping San Antonio’s political panorama for years to return.
“I met with [police and fire union leaders] in 2013 for his or her endorsements … and I didn’t get endorsed. They favored Ray,” Brockhouse stated with amusing. “We simply kinda hit it off. That was it. And I informed them I might assist them in different areas they usually stated, hey, we expect you’ll be able to assist us, and it simply took off from there.”
Brockhouse labored for the firefighters union’s anti-streetcar coalition in 2014, an effort that led to a constitution modification requiring a public vote on street- or light-rail tasks. He labored towards the Council pay constitution modification and a San Antonio Water System price hike associated to the Vista Ridge water pipeline. Brockhouse additionally labored for the police union throughout its contentious labor contract negotiations with the Metropolis. The police obtained a deal in 2016, however the firefighters have gone greater than 4 years and not using a pay improve as negotiations have begun simply this month.
Due to Brockhouse’s shut dealings with the hearth union and a leaked recording by which the union president stated Brockhouse was “our man” and headed in the direction of the mayor’s seat, some political observers fear Brockhouse, if elected mayor, may assist usher in a labor contract that’s good for the firefighters however not essentially in the most effective curiosity of the town.
“If I did that … the general public would know the moment I did it and I’d be out of workplace within the subsequent election,” he advised the Rivard Report. “If I gave them the farm, I’d be out of a job. The residents don’t need me to provide them the farm because the mayor. What they need is an effective contract that takes care of [firefighters]pays them nicely,” and is truthful to the taxpayer.
A ‘robust mayor’ in ready?
The union-backed propositions, two of which handed, have been largely seen as a political win for the union. And the retirement of Metropolis Supervisor Sheryl Sculley furthered that notion.
Brockhouse was by no means shy in criticizing Sculley and sometimes referred to as for her resignation. He contended Sculley had amassed an excessive amount of energy in her 13 years as metropolis supervisor and recommended shifting away from the council-manager type of municipal authorities and right into a mayor-council system, which might put extra energy – and day-to-day duty – within the palms of elected officers.
Nevertheless, with Sculley’s impending retirement and Deputy Metropolis Supervisor Erik Walsh assuming the town supervisor position on March 1, Brockhouse has backed off his procedural criticisms for now.
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“I nonetheless assume there’s plenty of worth in [changing to a strong mayor form of government]however let’s reserve judgment and see how [Walsh] does,” he stated. “If he’s capable of proper the town energy construction, I feel what we then take a look at is: the place is a few consolidation [possible]the place can we save extra money?”
“Let’s see how we transition out of [the Sculley era],” he stated. “Was it actually simply Sheryl Sculley that was dangerous concerning the place or is it the place itself?”
In fact, if he loses, he’ll haven’t any platform to have a say in any of this.
A proud Catholic
Brockhouse’s path to this marketing campaign was no coincidence, he stated. Though he was raised as a Lutheran, he transformed to Catholicism quickly after he misplaced his banking job and went by way of his second divorce.
“I misplaced all the things. … Often that’s whenever you discover [religion],” he stated. “I had an epiphany with the Lord.”
His religion leads him to take robust stances on caring for the homeless inhabitants, he stated. “I’m simply pleased with the truth that I’m Catholic and I feel it helps me be a greater policymaker,” he stated.
The Catholic Church doesn’t help same-sex marriage, he stated, so neither can he. However that doesn’t imply he can’t help “fairness and equity.”
He stated he wouldn’t help repealing a piece of the Metropolis’s nondiscrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based mostly on sexual orientation and gender identification. “Why struggle a regulation that claims we shouldn’t discriminate towards a human being?” he stated. “… I’m anxious for individuals to know that I’m much more inclusive, I feel, than individuals have ever given me credit score for.”
Abortion is the place he, and the Church, draw a agency line.
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“I’m pro-life. I make no concession,” Brockhouse stated, including that he gained’t preach from the dais. Whereas abortion legal guidelines aren’t in a municipal authorities’s purview, Metropolis Council does management zoning guidelines, which may influence the place clinics that carry out abortions may be situated. He would vote towards abortion every time attainable, he stated.
“I’m not going to be get together to it underneath any circumstance,” he stated. “There are some issues I gained’t vote on and promote my soul on.”
A calculated danger
Brockhouse is aware of that operating for mayor places his political clout in jeopardy, however he’s prepared to run the danger.
“In the event that they select Ron’s path, so be it,” stated Brockhouse, who thinks he’s leaving District 6 in a superb place. “It’s not the top of my life. … If I lose, I’m going again to my household and get again to being profitable once more and lift my final boy at house, and we’re going to have a superb time.”
He did say Saturday that, win or lose, “I’ll miss my [District 6] seat dearly as a result of I really like and fought for that seat for 4 years.”
He advised the Rivard Report this week that he thinks the truth that Nirenberg isn’t a local San Antonian – although he’s lived within the metropolis for 17 years – ought to work in his favor.
“I don’t assume it’s a adverse that Ron’s not from right here, I feel it’s a constructive for me,” Brockhouse stated. “It simply makes me higher certified.”