Who says you can't fight City Hall?
Opponents of that downtown streetcar have won a complete victory at San Antonio City Hall, as City Attorney Robbie Greenblum read the proposed ballot language of a measure that, if full council gives its approval, will appear on the ballot next May.
"No grant of permission to alter or damage any public way of the city for the laying of light rail or streetcar tracks will ever be valid, unless first approved by a majority of qualified electors of the city."
That means not only can San Antonio City government not fund a streetcar or light rail system in the future, but no entity, local, state, or federal, can build any rail based transportation system in the city in the future, unless voters give their approval.
Anti streetcar groups were pushing for a 'comprehensive' measure, and not just a proposal which would prevent city money from being used on a rail transportation system. Opponents said that would be too easy to skirt, by just transferring city money to some other group, like VIA, and then claiming the city is 'not funding' the project.
Greenblum says the final language was a compromise which required seven reworking before it was approved by all parties involved.
"This language that would be voted on reflects the intent of the thousands of San Antonio citizens who singed the petition calling for a charter amendment," he said.
Councilman Rey Saldana stressed that the proposal, which was approved by the Council Governance Committee and now goes to the full council, would not prohibit a streetcar from being built, but would simply require a public vote on it.
Assistant City Manager Carlos Contreras said the streetcar measure is likely to be on the ballot with two other charter changes in May. One would pay members of City Council a professional salary at an amount yet to be determined. The other would allow the people, and not just city council, to fill any vacancy in the Mayor's office.