Library Update

Last Tuesday, the San Antonio Public Library, in partnership with our Aviation Department, unveiled new digital library kiosks at the San Antonio International Airport.  The two Digital Library kiosks – one in each terminal – are the first of their kind in an airport. These kiosks Allow the Library’s content to be accessed on personal mobile devices.

The Library has partnered with Overdrive, the worldwide leader in full-service digital media distribution, to produce the kiosks.  San Antonio Public Library cardholders visiting a Digital Library kiosk can quickly access the Library’s entire digital collection via a 55-inch interactive screen.

Additionally, the Library has debuted the first-ever temporary Library card feature, available from OverDrive, for out-of-town visitors or for residents who do not yet have a San Antonio Public Library card.  As an added feature for travelers, the kiosks provide rapid recharging for a wide range of mobile devices.

The digital library kiosks are graciously funded in partnership with the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library, and we thank them for their continued support.  This project exemplifies the City’s Core Values of Teamwork and Innovation.

Women in the World Recap

On October 22nd San Antonio hosted Women in The World a national/international event by Tina Brown Live Media,  drawing speakers from all over the world – thought leaders, change makers, celebrities and politicians to address a sell-out crowd.

600 Individuals attended the forum in the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre to hear panels and interviews on issues impacting women from Honor Killings, the Middle East, Ebola, military families, and a number of other Critical issues that impact women and Society.

The San Antonio forum featured 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.

Media attending the event included Fusion TV (ABC/Univision), the Daily Beast, and writers for a number of other outlets.  The Forum’s presenting sponsor was Toyota, and leadership sponsors were the City of San Antonio and Credit Suisse.

Bond Refunding Transaction

I wanted to provide you preliminary information regarding the General Obligation refinancing transaction that City Council approved parameter sale authorization for on October 9th for interest cost savings.

The Bonds are planned to be priced the week of November 17th by a syndicate led by Siebert Brandford Shank as Senior Book Running Manager, Frost National Bank as Co-Senior Manager, and RBC Capital Markets and Southwestern Capital Markets as Co-Managers.

The refunding transaction is estimated to produce total savings of $7,168,632 with annual savings estimated at $550,000 in FY 2015 and an average of $661,000 per year from FY 2016 though FY 2025.   Net present value savings on the transaction is estimated to be $6,540,258 or 11.62% of the refunded obligations.

Coastal Securities, Inc. and Estrada Hinojosa & Company, Inc. are serving as Co-Financial Advisors, and Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and LM Tatum, PLLC are serving as Co-Bond Counsel.

Closing and delivery for the Bonds is anticipated on Tuesday, December 16th.  This refinancing of our debt reflects our on-going proactive debt management and provided an excellent opportunity for interest cost savings.

Since April 2012, the City has completed 6 refunding transactions for interest cost savings resulting in total gross savings of $47.3 million and net present value savings of $39.3 million.

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.