photo courtesy of Seth Gaines
Obama's inauguration causing a stir in San Antonio (or at least with me).
While people search, beg, and plead for the hottest ticket in D.C. this month, some San Antonio City Council members are taking flack for their appearance at the inauguration. Out of the six members reported to be attending the January 20th event in Washington, D.C., two are using San Antonio taxpayer money to fund their trips. District 6 Councilwoman Delicia Herrera and District 2 Councilwoman Sheila McNeil will each cost San Antonio around $2,500 for the three day event. Although I value City Council's efforts to attract the attention of the U.S. Government, I'm afraid I have to disagree with the Council's ability to attend the inauguration on our dime. While I agree that the members could make relationships that would benefit San Antonio, it seems to me that an event like this should be done at one's own expense (especially considering that City Council will be back in D.C. in February for their annual trip to meet with congressional leaders).
Shelia McNeil (District 2 Councilwoman) was quoted as saying, "As a council member representing the city, and chairing all the committees I chair, it's not unusual that the city takes care of us when we go. We get paid $20 a week, I'm not sure we could really represent the city like we would want to if we had to pay for it out of our own pockets." Immediately when I heard this, I was taken aback. If you're going to throw the $20 a week salary back into the taxpayer's faces, you shouldn't be serving our city. You decided to go for a Council position, if it was a salary you didn't like, you shouldn't have taken the job. I don't work at McDonald's because the pay is crap. I would enjoy the easy life of flipping burgers (I did it for many years), but the fact is, it doesn't pay my bills. Please don't use your choice in job against us.
Two Council members I applaud.
District 1 Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros and District 3 Councilwoman Jennifer Ramos will be heading to Washington, but without the assistance of tax dollars. Ramos, in a statement to KSAT 12 News, said, "Although I feel this trip is well-warranted, there will be times when city business will not take place and a more political tone ensues. It is for that reason I feel taxpayer funds should not be utilized on my behalf for this trip." Well put, Councilwoman Ramos, I applaud your decision and reasons for it.
I hope San Antonio's residents thank the two Councilwomen above for thinking of the City, not just themselves.