The Insanity Continues

Much has happened since the Department of Cultural Affairs took over responsibility for the physical site of La Villita in late 2012.   Almost none of it is positive for the businesses of the village. The only notable achievement of this City of San Antonio department is that they changed their name to the Department for Culture and Creative Development—called DCCD in shorthand.   I suppose the name change makes them sound more important and professional in print. It surely did not elevate their competency level.

La Villita and its businesses are in a state of crisis.   The decisions made by DCCD regarding La Villita have brought about this reality.   Seven business owners have given their notice and/or left the area. Seven out of twenty-one!  A full third of all shops and galleries are soon-to-be-history.

Felix Padron, the self-important head of DCCD remains in his position of so-called “authority” over La Villita, despite his many failures and shortcomings concerning La Villita since 2012.   Mr. Padron has time and again exhibited  a lack of understanding concerning the nature of the area, its needs, the nature of the La Villita businesses, their needs, the nature of this so-called RFP process and what it means to wipe out dozens of businesses with an arrogant, shallow, inexpert, uninformed approach to “curating” the area.   DCCD has done its best to stack the odds against the Tenants and it has been called to task for it many times.   Mr. Padron  is unable to answer even the most basic questions at public meetings and continually demonstrates a lack of care and understanding regarding the small businesses that are suffering because of his decisions.

The so-called “professionals” Mr. Padron tapped to handle the “reinvention” of La Villita have been either fired or moved to other responsibilities because of their behavior—related to La Villita or not. Responsibility for on-site, day-to-day La Villita has been temporarily taken away from Padron and DCCD and passed off for the time being to an authority at City Hall.   The City Manager’s Office has stepped in and placed a manager over the physical site until a proper individual can be hired to assist Mr. Padron. If only a new, more competent person could replace Mr. Padron as Executive Director as well. Until this happens, small business will suffer in La Villita. Long-standing tradition and atmosphere and fabric of La Villita will continue to deteriorate. The animosity, snobbery and apathy Mr. Padron has time and again demonstrated for the business owners of La Villita will continue to rule the day.

Yet….yet… on a daily basis, visitors to our great city stop by the La Villita businesses and voice their support to keep the shops.  They  speak of past visits to La Villita and its stores.  They speak with great love and nostalgia and fond remembrance.  They remember visiting with their grandparents, or their graduating Air Force class, or their newlywed spouse.   They can’t believe the City of San Antonio would demonstrate such a lack of understanding in what they are doing.  They can’t believe they would seek to stamp out small businesses to pursue an unrealistic, uninformed, beyond-lofty plan touted by the supposed expert for Culture and Creative Development:  Mr. Felix Padron. (pictured below)

 

Padron

 

When will the insanity end?

 

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Get In Touch with City Leaders

The following are emails, phone number and facebook pages for a number of Council Leaders and Mayor Castro.  Please let your voice be heard if you wish to safeguard the businesses in La Villita and find a solution that re-invigorates the area, while maintaining these valued small businesses.

You can help NOW by doing the following:

Please let them know if you are in their district and that you are someone who lives and/or works in San Antonio. Please let them know that you are definitely against the plans/proposal to end the contracts with the businesses of La Villita. Please let them know any good things you value about those businesses and the role they play in Historic La Villita. Please let them know if you have been a customer of any of the stores in the past or enjoyed their hospitality and atmosphere (of course these are example suggestions, feel free to use your own words and arguments and suggestions) Please also let them know if you have seen the media coverage at all this past week.

It is important that you make sure they take your name and your comments and log them for review by the Mayor and Councilpeople.

Here is a list of phone numbers and emails. If you don’t know your City Councilperson, you can look it up here: http://www.sanantonio.gov/Portals/0/Files/GIS/PoliticalMaps/1402GG13.pdf or contact us and we will find out for you.

For those wishing to go above and beyond, we will also list the City Council High Profile Contract Committee’s members so you may contact them directly as well and speak to their role in deciding this upcoming proposal.

Mayor’s Office (please call both numbers,the first one during business hours):

(210) 207-8998 – ask for Sarah, she is Director of Constituent Services I believe

(210) 207-2280 – Mayor’s Comment Line *you can call this at any time and leave a voicemail

Email: mayorjuliancastro@sanantonio.gov

 

District One (Diego Bernal)

210.207.0900

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diegombernal

Email: district1@sanantonio.gov

 

District Two (Ivy Taylor)

Office One: 210-207-0950; Office Two: 210-207-0970 *perhaps call both?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ivy.taylor.94

Email: district2@sanantonio.gov

 

District Three (Rebecca Viagran)

Office : 210-207-0969

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VoteforRebecca

Email: district3@sanantonio.gov

 

District Four (Rey Saldana)

Office : 210-207-0880

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rey4sa

Email: district4@sanantonio.gov

 

District Five (Shirley Gonzales)

Office One: 210-207-0960; Office Two: 210-207-0990 *perhaps call both?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShirleyGonzalesD5

Email: district5@sanantonio.gov

 

District Seven (Cris Medina)

Office : 210-207-0870

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/kebu99v

Email: district7@sanantonio.gov

 

District Eight (Ron Nirenberg)

Office : 210-207-0943

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nirenberg?fref=ts

Email: district8@sanantonio.gov

 

District Nine (Joe Krier)

Office : 210-207-0955

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/councilmanjoe.krier

Email: district9@sanantonio.gov

 

District Ten (Mike Gallagher)

Office : 210-207-0999

Webpage: http://sanantonio.gov/council/d10.aspx

Email: district10@sanantonio.gov

 

Contact These Councilpeople concerning the High Profile Contract Committee (use info from above):

1. Chair: Diego Bernal, District One

2. Ivy Taylor, District Two

3. Rebecca Viagran, District Three

4. Ray Saldana, District Four

5. Ray Lopez, District Six