COVER: Businessman Ruben Becerra and his wife, Monica. PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK
by BRAD ROLLINS
Downtown businessman Ruben Becerra filed paperwork today to enter the race for San Marcos mayor, setting up a spirited contest at the top of the Nov. 8 municipal election ballot.
Becerra, 44, said he is a political moderate who is well-positioned to build consensus among the factions that perennially fight for control of City Hall.
“It seems like we’re constantly swinging that pendulum — hard left, hard right, hard left, hard right — and people are getting knocked around with it. I’m kind of tired of the idea that it’s all or nothing with people around here,” Becerra said. “I really am interested in not doing business as usual. I really am interested in a higher-spirited, community-oriented” brand of politics.
Becerra owns Gil’s Broiler, Manske Roll Bakery Bakery and Dixie Cream Artisan Donuts — all of which have operated for decades in the Central Business District — as well as Specialized Medical Solutions, a San Antonio-based medical equipment supplier. He has served on the planning and zoning commission and serves as board president of Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos.
In the mayoral race, Becerra faces longtime council member John Thomaides, 50, who sells and installs water filtration systems. Cherif Gacis, 38, has also filed to run for mayor; Gacias does not list an occupation on his ballot application.
In a brief telephone interview as he prepared to make his candidacy official, Becerra declined to discuss specific city issues, saying he is still formulating how to best articulate his positions.
At one point in the interview, he cited the ongoing debate over removal of Cape’s Dam in the San Marcos River — a position Thomaides supports — as an example of an issue that demands leadership that seeks to unify and inform.
In announcing his candidacy to friends and acquaintances on Facebook, however, Becerra struck a less measured tone. He wrote, “When I learned that some folks wanted to end this place, I said NO WAY! I’m running for mayor to help save the San Marcos River!”