Gonzales controversy raises new questions about housing policy in San Antonio

Shirley Gonzales went to City Council in 2013 in large part because of her commitment to helping stimulate economic activity on the West Side.

These days, as Gonzales seeks a nomination from Mayor Ron Nirenberg as chair of the San Antonio Housing Commission, the pawnshop owner and former city councilor faces reluctance from activists who believe she has favored the financial interests of developers over the gentrification concerns of the working class West Siders.

Activists point to Gonzales’ support for the demolition and replacement of the courts in Alazan, the city’s oldest public housing complex, with mixed-income apartments that threatened to force the displacement of many residents of Alazan. They also note his enthusiastic support for an East Side apartment complex in the long-dormant Friedrich Building, which allowed developers to avoid property taxes altogether, but did little to hinder the move. affordability.

The controversy over Gonzales’ candidacy for the Housing Commission was a topic of conversation in this week’s edition of Express-News’s Puro Politics podcast.

“Shirley Gonzales never shied away from the lack of development on the West Side,” said Greg Jefferson, editor of Express-News. “She’s talked a lot about how she would like to start catalytic projects on the West Side; it’s just that the developers, for many reasons, were never particularly interested.

“There was a feeling that if you were a developer and showed interest in a project in District 5, his first response would be, ‘How can I help? “Not necessarily:” Tell me about your project and what it would bring in terms of affordable housing.

Learn more about this and more in the latest episode of Puro Politics.

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