There was never a North-South love affair on Castro's Council, but lately the mismatch has become overtly partisan and very public
Last month, Mike Beldon arranged a breakfast meeting at El Mirador between District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan and Christian Archer, the campaign strategist behind the election and national rocket launch of Mayor Julian Castro. So what? you might think. Before he worked for Castro, Archer engineered the surprise win and successful City Hall career of Mayor Phil Hardberger – an early champion of Chan. Beldon, a successful businessman and popular campaign treasurer who’s served that role for both mayors, was also Chan’s first treasurer.
The meeting, however, was anything but a happy reunion of old allies. Chan has aggressively questioned Castro and City Manager Sheryl Sculley on a number of high-profile initiatives in the past two years, including the Mayor’s Pre-K program, the Nexolon solar-manufacturing incentive, and the recent SAWS rate increase. But the relationship between Chan, who represents the city’s most reliably conservative political district, and the popular Democratic mayor, has deteriorated rapidly and publicly in recent weeks, as Chan became the unhappy poster child for the Mayor’s proposed ethics reform. Those reforms would increase the list of public entities with which elected City officials are prohibited from doing business – a direct poke at Chan, whose engineering firm has worked on contracts with VIA, the public transit agency for San Antonio and Bexar County.
Chan’s firm had nothing to do with the Convention Center ethics breakdown that theoretically inspired this latest round of reform. And it wasn’t lost on her that the newspaper reports linking her name and business, Unintech, with the need for additional ethics rules appeared around the same time that at least one member of the Mayor’s political team was talking to potential Chan opponents for the May elections.