Toby C. Hooper, a contract administrator for Seton Healthcare and a member of the city’s ethics commission, announced Friday that he is running for the San Marcos City Council.
Hooper filed to run for the seat being vacated by Councilmember Gaylord Bose, who is not seeking re-election. San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jude Prather filed for that seat earlier this month.
Hooper’s filing means that all four council seats that are up for grabs will be decided in contested elections. Councilmember John Thomaides and former Councilmember Daniel Guerrero are running for mayor, former San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Officer Rodney van Oudekerke and local businessman Shane Scott are running for the seat being vacated by Thomaides, and Councilmember Kim Porterfield faces a re-election challenge from Texas State student Griffin Spell.
Making his announcement, Hooper emphasized fealty to the city charter, open government with citizen involvement, water protection, commuter rail, opposition to urban sprawl, strengthening of non-profit organizations to aid those with low incomes, Texas State’s role in economic development and balanced economic development.
“When negotiating a contract, both parties understand that they need each other,” Hooper said. “I want the people of San Marcos to get as much as possible from economic development. I want to foster projects that bring value and truly improve our quality of life. San Marcos should not be seen as a blank check, but rather a community that is not only inviting to business but also a community with expectations. It is possible to balance the two.”
Hooper said the city must emphasize an approach to growth that does not detract from the city’s quality of life. He said San Marcos can maintain a distinctive environment by resisting sprawl.
“During my life, I have observed, first hand, the larger Texas cities sprawl out of control and become challenging places to live and raise families and become less attractive. I want San Marcos to be different. Careful development blends the business model with conservation of neighborhoods and natural space to make an optimal place to live and work. “
Hooper and his family have lived in San Marcos for nine years. He has two daughters who graduated from San Marcos High School and one son currently enrolled in San Marcos CISD. One of his daughters attends Texas State.
A daily commuter to Austin, Hooper said the city needs to actively pursue transportation options, particularly a regional rail system. Hooper said city government can partner with business to create rail infrastructure the includes retail and residential uses.
“In our present system, if a person does not have a dependable car they have a limited life,” Hooper said. “If a mother cannot take her child to see a physician in Austin or San Antonio, that means delayed health … I’ve seen how a rail company built a train station with a large shopping mall in which people went from being passengers into shoppers. It was like delivering 30,000 wallets and purses into the shops everyday. No cars and parking concerns. Something like this can be done in San Marcos.”
In addition to serving on the ethics commission, Hooper also served for three years on the city’s human services advisory board. He said citizens stand to develop trust in city government by deep involvement.
“When a citizenry believes that they know what is happening in government they begin to trust government, and when they believe they are being heard and realize they have a measure of control, they understand that they are the government,” Hooper said.Email | Print