March Word from the Chairman

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March 20, 2015
On behalf of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, our Board of Directors, staff and countless volunteers, thank you for your continued support. I also want to welcome our new North Chamber members and express my hope that you will take advantage of all of the resources that we have to offer.
 
Spring is here and we have a number of programs coming up in April, including our annual Golf Tournament on April 2 at the Dominion, and the CIO Panel on April 9 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. We continue to build on our legacy of leadership with the kickoff of our latest Leadership Lab class and outreach to past chairs and student members. We are also staying engaged with local and state elected officials and policymakers on a wide range of issues that impact the San Antonio business community. Your participation is critical to our mission as advocates for the economic vitality of our region.    
 
Leadership Development
On March 5, 2015 our newest Leadership Lab class began their retreat at the Flying L Guest Ranch in Bandera. I enjoyed meeting with our largest class ever, over ninety participants from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn will serve them well through the nine-month program. Melodye Tomsu, SpawGlass, this year’s Leadership Lab chair, is doing an outstanding job with the class.
 
Leadership Lab is an award-winning and innovative approach to leadership development which is targeted to San Antonio’s up-and-coming business leaders from the corporate, non-profit and small business environments. The program is based on the most current thinking, research and best practices in leadership development focusing on five core elements including: professional performance, leadership, management, community service and self-awareness. Leadership Lab alumni continue to stay engaged with the North Chamber, and they are using the skills that they have developed to grow within their professions and give back to the community.
 
The North Chamber’s commitment to professional development extends beyond Leadership Lab. At our February Board meeting we were joined by several of our student members who are currently undergraduates at UTSA. Through their membership, these students are getting exposure to various aspects of the North Chamber and the business world. On March 24 I have invited our past Board Chairmen and Chairwomen to a lunch to talk about current and future chamber initiatives. The time and energy that our past chairs invested in the North Chamber are an important part of our success. As we build on a legacy of leadership with student members and the Leadership Lab program, the ongoing participation of our experienced volunteers is a vital component.
 
City of San Antonio May Charter Election
Voters in the City of San Antonio will be asked to make important decisions regarding municipal governance on May 9, 2015. In addition to a crowded field of mayoral candidates and contested races in every City Council district, the ballot will include City Charter revisions and a sales tax for aquifer protection and linear parks. At our meeting on February 24, 2015, the North Chamber Board of Directors voted to support the proposed council pay amendment. Here is the language that will appear on the ballots:
 
Shall the City Charter be amended to provide that no grant of permission to alter or damage any public way of the city for the laying of streetcar or light rail tracks shall ever be valid, and no funds shall be appropriated and no bonds or notes shall be issued or sold for the purpose of streetcar or light rail systems, unless first approved by a majority of the qualified electors of the city voting at an election containing a proposition specifically identified for and limited to such purpose?
           
Shall the City Charter be amended to pay an annual salary of $45,722 to the members of the City Council (equal to the San Antonio Area Median Household Income), and pay a salary of $61,725 to the mayor (equal to the San Antonio Area Median Household Income +35%), and permit the Mayor and members of the City Council elected at the May 9, 2015 general election to be eligible to receive the salary?
           
Shall the City Charter be amended to allow filling City Council and Mayoral vacancies by special election rather than appointment when more than 120 days remain in the unexpired council term, and to allow the City Council to appoint a temporary Council member or Mayor until the special election is held?
 
Authorizing the City of San Antonio to protect water quality in the Edwards Aquifer by establishing a watershed protection and preservation project known as the “Edwards Aquifer Protection Venue Project” to acquire and preserve land or interests in land in the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones both inside and outside Bexar County, and to develop a recharge, recharge area or recharge feature protection program and to impose a sales and use tax at the rate of one-eighth of one percent (1/8 of 1%) … in an amount not to exceed $100 million ….
 
Authorizing the City of San Antonio to establish the “Parks Development and Expansion Venue Project” which includes the acquisition of open space and development of linear parks along San Antonio’s Creekways … and for improvements and additions to the Municipal Parks and Recreation System, and to impose a sales and use tax at the rate of one-eighth of one percent (1/8 of 1%) … in an amount not to exceed $80 million ….
 
Stay Involved
We offer many opportunities to you join us at programs that will help you develop professionally, expand your business connections and learn about the latest local and national economic trends. With the Texas Legislature in session and City elections, we may see a number of changes in local and state law this year. Your participation makes the North Chamber a more effective advocate for our business members. Thank you for helping us keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.