American Dental Event

As reported in the Sunday edition of the Express News, last week the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center hosted the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Annual Meeting from Oct. 9-14th.

One of our largest events, ADA had over 20,000 attendees and utilized every space at the Convention Center. The exhibit floor spanned all four halls with a total of 550 exhibits and required over 1.5m pounds of freight transported in and out of the building.

Their meeting even utilized the Alamodome for their Opening General Session which was attended by 10,000 participants who gathered to hear Keynote Speaker, former President George W. Bush.

But the ADA Annual Meetings contribution to San Antonio was more than just their economic impact, the ADA also conducted a local community outreach to provide free dental care to over 1,200 through their Mission of Mercy program.

Women in the World Update

I am excited to share that San Antonio’s Charline McCombs Empire Theatre will host Women in the World’s signature live event on October 22nd. This event will draw a national and international spotlight not only to our great city but to critical women’s issues and the messages of prominent women change makers.

Women in the World focuses on global women’s issues and the event features celebrities, leaders, and change makers.  For the upcoming event, only a handful of tickets remain to be sold; a testament to both the significance of the event and our community’s support of women’s issues.  Women in the World is produced and co-hosted by Tina Brown of Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the Daily Beast.

The San Antonio forum features Dr. Jill Biden; Gloria Steinem; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; Ambassador Karen Hughes; Mayor Ivy Taylor; Diane von Furstenberg, Former White House Advisor Sonya Medina Williams; author and journalist Marie Brenner; art patron and activist Aaronetta Pierce; President of 3N Group Guillermo Nicolas; Eva Longoria; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Rosie Castro, Congressman Joaquin Castro, myself (CM) and others.

This year’s forum will include discussions on the important topics of violence against women; the current face of feminism; challenges faced by military wives, mothers, and caregivers; the importance of a mother’s influence; young women in Africa; women and immigration; and how Texas women are shaping state and national politics

A portion of ticket proceeds will go to the Foundation for Education of Young Women.  Women in the World Texas is supported by presenting sponsor Toyota and leadership sponsors Include the City of San Antonio and Credit Suisse.

International City-County Management Association Award

A few weeks ago, the International City/County Manager’s Association (ICMA) held its annual conference. ICMA is a professional organization of local government leaders Whose purpose is to advance professional local government worldwide.

At the conference, ICMA leaders recognized the City of San Antonio with a prestigious Local Government Program Excellence Award for our “Fitness in the Park” program.  San Antonio took home the top award in the Community Health & Safety Program category, for cities 50,000 and larger.

As many of you know, Fitness in the Park uses outdoor space at City parks to offer exercise classes such as zumba, yoga, and boot camp fitness to residents at no cost.

The program began in 2011 as one of several health and wellness initiatives funded through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, with the goal of helping San Antonio residents establish healthy, active lifestyles and combat obesity-related diseases.

Fitness in the Park brings fitness options to areas of the city where residents might not otherwise have access to organized fitness activities. Exercise classes that usually require a gym membership are now available to all residents at no cost. Residents also have the opportunity to try different types of exercise, with the hope they will find something to make a permanent part of their lifestyle.

The program has grown from volunteers providing seasonal classes for eight to ten weeks into a year-round program.  Since the fall of 2011, the Fitness in the Park program has conducted more than 4,000 free classes, with more than 35,000 in attendance.  In addition to breaking down “barriers to fitness,” the program has the added benefit of introducing residents to the many facilities and parks available in San Antonio.

Between 2010 and 2012, the obesity rate in Bexar County dropped from 35% to 28.5%, which is now just below the state average. That drop means that, over a two year period, 70,000 adults moved from obesity to a healthier weight.

Fitness in the Park is one of many initiatives that Parks, Metro Health, and community partners have developed in the last few years to transform San Antonio into a more active, physically fit community.

Emergency Preparedness

Metro Health has been coordinating over the last several months with the San Antonio Fire Department, the state health department, local health care systems, and other elements of the local emergency response network Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) regarding the Ebola virus.

Ebola is a severe viral disease that is spread person-to-person only by direct personal contact with exposure to bodily fluids.  Metro Health has distributed to local health care providers guidance on Ebola.

In light of the first U.S. case of Ebola in Dallas, the City and our many partners continue efforts to prepare, should an Ebola case occur in our community.

For the general public, no special concern or precautions are necessary at this time.  However, any persons who have traveled to Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Senegal or Nigeria within the past 21 days and who are feeling ill, should seek medical care immediately.
On Wednesday, October 8th, the Ebola patient in Dallas passed away from his illness. Our condolences go to his family. Based on this tragic event, health officials continue to work on strategies for combating the disease.

At this point, no secondary cases have been identified in Dallas. Members of the patient’s household were relocated from their apartment and are now under observation at an undisclosed location. The apartment and its contents are being decontaminated and biological hazardous waste is being disposed of according to regulations.

Dr. Schlenker met this week with the City’s partners to ensure that local resources are available if needed for biological waste disposal, alternative housing, and emergency funding.

In San Antonio, hospitals, providers and first responders are kept up to date by regular communications from Metro Health, the Department of State Health Services, the San Antonio Fire Department EMS, STRAC, and the Bexar County Medical Society.

Aviation Update

I am pleased to announce that the City of San Antonio will have new AIR service to Miami and New Orleans and additional service to Los Angeles.   American Airlines will initiate non-stop service to Miami on March 5.  The new daily service will leave San Antonio early at 6:10 a.m. and return at 9:58 p.m.

This new service joins another target, New Orleans, which Southwest Airlines will begin daily service on April 7, 2015.

Southwest is phasing in the New Orleans service with special service during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday season and Saturday-only service beginning in March.  In addition, passengers heading to Los Angeles are enjoying new daily service that was added by American and began on October 2 and Delta will begin daily service in April 2015.  The new Delta and American non-stop service joins daily service already in place by Southwest and United. For our passengers, the additional air service means more flying options and should lead to more competitive fares.

While we celebrate the new service, we know there is more work to be done in this regard.  Frank Miller and key staff members will meet next month with Mexican air carriers to discuss increasing seat capacity and promoting air service to additional destinations.   And we are partnering with members of the business community as we continue to work to expand air service.  These partners will accompany staff in meetings over the next few months with other airlines, both currently serving San Antonio and potential new tenants, to make the case for San Antonio.

Air service continues to be a priority and I will continue to keep you informed on our progress to increasing the number of destinations serving San Antonio.

Pre-K 4 SA Update

The new school year at Pre-K 4 SA has proven to be a great success. We built two new education centers within the last year which brings us to a total of four education centers city wide. We are continuing to serve the community in our second year, Pre-K 4 SA with early childhood education, parent engagement, and professional development.

Currently, 1,450 students are enrolled at Pre-K 4 SA. This is more than twice as many students enrolled compared to the inaugural school year. General education classes are at 99% capacity with a wait-list of 1,300 students. Each education center has two bilingual classes which have are still accepting students.

During the first month of school, the new students spent time learning about self-managing behavior, problem solving, emotions, and daily routines. When i visited the west education center last week, i saw students adjusting well, having a positive experience, and having fun while learning.

To gauge success in development and implementation of the program, Pre-K 4 SA has contracted with Edvance research and the national institution of early education research (NIEER) in affiliation with Rutgers University to conduct an independent evaluation. The evaluation each year will include an alignment study of prekindergarten readiness assessments used throughout Texas and an overall program assessment. For our first school year, the study measured six outcomes: cognitive, literacy, mathematics, oral language, physical ability, and socio-emotional behavior. The first year evaluation results of Pre-K 4 SA students show that students met or exceeded a nationally-normed sample of children their same age.

Parent engagement

Pre-K 4 SA also puts a strong emphasis on family engagement. The program uses a multi-pronged approach to parent involvement by providing training and events, dedicating family specialists to work with families individually, collecting feedback through surveys and evaluations, providing services, and offering the online and technology resources.

Pre-K 4 SA partnered with the Baptist Health System’s student program where their students earned school credit for their service by providing free screenings for vision and hearing to all families enrolled at Pre-K 4 SA.

A survey was sent to parents asking them to provide feedback on their experience with Pre-K 4 SA during the first month of school. 96% of parents reported that their child has adjusted positively to school.

Parents also were asked to identify where their child would be if they had not been selected for the Pre-K 4 SA program. 80% of families would not have had the opportunity to attend a “quality full-day” program. This is a good indicator that the initiative is fulfilling its purpose of serving families that may not have had access to early childhood education.

Professional development

Professional development is the third key dimension of Pre-K 4 SA. The professional development program is designed with an internal and external component. Internally, our Pre-K 4 SA teachers and assistants received over 30 days of trainings and workshops to prepare for the school year and will continue to receive in-service opportunities through the year. Externally, our professional development coaches are provide guided observations, planning, and other services for public and private schools and childcare facilities throughout the city.

As we continue through the school year, we look to build upon our successes in the first year focusing on high-quality prekindergarten services and innovation.

2014 Kickoff Luncheon to Benefit United Way

The community is invited to join the City of San Antonio staff on Friday, July 11, 2014 at the Alamodome from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for the 2014 City of San Antonio Charitable Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon.  The event will feature the City of San Antonio’s Executive Team serving the meal to City employees and guests.

The lunch plate costs only $10 and includes: pasta and meatballs, salad, breadstick, your choice of water/tea, and a cookie. Proceeds from the Luncheon will benefit the 2014 City of San Antonio United Way Charitable Campaign.

Tickets are now on sale and available here. Payment can be made by credit card online. Free parking is available in Alamodome Lot A.

2014 Spurs Championship Celebration

Congratulations to the 2014 NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs!

San Antonians are invited downtown this Wednesday, June 18 to help the San Antonio Spurs and the City of San Antonio celebrate a fifth NBA Championship. A river parade community celebration begins at 6 p.m. on the River Walk.  Following the river parade, the celebration will move to the Alamodome for a special ceremony beginning at 9 p.m.

Both events are part of the 2014 Spurs Championship Celebration, presented by H-E-B and BBVA Compass.  The City of San Antonio is hosting the celebration for the Spurs and the entire community. Rio San Antonio Cruises and the Paseo del Rio Association are also providing support for the event.
The events will be broadcast live by several local network affiliates.  In addition, the events will be webcast live online at  Event information is also available at

The river parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the Arneson River Theater, travel through the River Center extension, and end at the Navarro Street Bridge. Barges will carry Spurs players and coaches, Spurs officials, former Spurs players, City and Bexar County officials, live musical entertainers and others down the San Antonio River.

Spurs players, coaches and local officials will address fans at the Alamodome and show off the latest championship trophy.

The doors for the Alamodome celebration will open at 4:30 p.m.  No tickets will be needed to enter the Alamodome.  Fans who arrive early at the Alamodome will be able to watch the victory parade broadcast live on an LED video wall, as well as the highlights of the Spurs 2014 NBA championship run.

Questions regarding licensing and media credentials for the Arneson and the Alamodome should be directed to Carlos Manzanillo/Spurs Sports & Entertainment at (858) 344-8620,, or Julie Shussler/Spurs Sports & Entertainment at (210) 867-6825,

Boarding Homes Update

Ordinance related to “Boarding Homes” went into effect on March 1, 2013. Since the effective date, more than 2,000 properties have been investigated to determine if they meet the definition per the Ordinance.

Referrals have been received from the San Antonio Fire Department, San Antonio Police Department, Texas Adult Protective Services, Texas Department of Aging and Disability, and the Development Services Department’s boarding home “hotline”.

  • Of the properties investigated, 96 were identified as boarding homes
  • 45 properties are currently operating as boarding homes
  • 51 properties are no longer in operation due to withdrawing, voluntarily closing, reducing number of residents below three, or City has closed them
  • City has closed six (6) properties, due to numerous life safety issues; these properties housed 93 residents who were voluntarily relocated with assistance from City’s Department of human Services and Adult Protective Services

Development Services Department will continue to actively monitor and inspect boarding homes within San Antonio. The department encourages residents and other agencies to report potential boarding homes to our boarding home hotline at 207-8511.

Alamo Plaza

Under the guidance of The City Council, the City is undertaking a comprehensive master planning effort for Alamo Plaza that is respectful of the plaza and the Alamo’s history.

On March 6, 2014, City Council passed an ordinance approving a process, strategy, and next steps for the development of a comprehensive master plan for Alamo Plaza and the surrounding area, to include the establishment of a 21 member Alamo Plaza Advisory Committee.

The Committee is charged with updating the 1994 Alamo Plaza Study; creating a vision and the guiding principles for the redevelopment of Alamo Plaza and the surrounding area; assisting in the development of an RFQ for the comprehensive master plan; and providing general oversight of the development of the master plan.

The committee had its first meetings on May 9th and has help 6 meetings since. All meetings have been posted in advance and are open to the public.  The purpose of these meetings has been to gather information on the current operations, history, perspectives, and relevant plans pertaining to the plaza and surrounding area. These work sessions will begin on June 23rd in Room 206 at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center.

The Committee realizes the importance of Alamo Plaza to our community, so the public will be invited to provide feedback on the Committee’s progress during a public meeting on August 26th in Room 103 at the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center.

The Committee will submit its recommendations to City Council at the September Quality of Life meeting before proceeding to a City Council B Session in November. The goal is to request endorsement of the proposed update to the 1994 Alamo Plaza Study and authorization to proceed with the RFQ process in late Fall 2014.

For more information on the initiative please call Sarah Esserlieu at 207-0108.