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October 23rd, 2008
Letter to the Editor: Concerns about Mayor Narvaiz

I am an informed voter who is concerned with the direction our City is going. I have nothing but respect for our current Mayor, but I cannot help being concerned over her leadership & vision for San Marcos.

A. We now owe 3 times what we owed when Susan became Mayor. That is $44.5 Million every year she has been in office.

B. Our income to the city has only doubled, & of the 6000 jobs, she says she has created, the majority are low paying retail & janitorial type jobs. We have not gotten the high tech, high salary jobs she has been promising.

C. Under her leadership the council has changed our voting time from May to November, which makes it even more difficult to focus on local issues & candidates.

D. The biggest part of the city’s debt is to give Corporate Welfare to the developers & literally pay for their projects. An example of this is the $3 million given for the shopping center on McCarty & then they come back & want #3 million more, & we give it to them.

E. She continues to seek a salary, determined by her, even when it was voted down by the citizens of San Marcos. The majority of the City council will vote with Susan on almost every agenda item, & the committees who make up the Charter Review are appointed by the City Council & The Mayor. Look at #5 on the Charter Amendments.

F. We the citizens, living in neighborhoods over run with rentals breaking the single family zoning, can only speculate as to the changes in #2 of the San Marcos Charter, where the word promote neighborhood integrity has been removed.

You can call the city clerk to confirm the figures & you can read the League of Women’s Voter’s Guide to really see what the San Marcos Charter said & how it is being changed. Unfortunately it is not transparent government at all if you try & figure out what the election ballot says on the Charter changes, because the whole amendment is not on the ballot. Not only is it a very difficult year to make decisions on National politics, it is also a very difficult year with the local elections to have to decide what is not transparently clear in either governments. We the voters have to look way down deep to get an honest idea of what is going on.

Sherri Bilson

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0 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Concerns about Mayor Narvaiz

  1. “Unfortunately it is not transparent government at all if you try & figure out what the election ballot says on the Charter changes, because the whole amendment is not on the ballot. Not only is it a very difficult year to make decisions on National politics, it is also a very difficult year with the local elections to have to decide what is not transparently clear in either governments.”

    It’s impossible to cast an informed vote if one waits until election day to evaluate what and who is on the ballot. Though detailed descriptions of the amendments do not appear on the ballot, the city website provides explanations of each change ( ), and one can read the current incarnation of the charter and ordinances here:

  2. I am a new professor here and i am surprised to see the city streets in such a bad shape. I was thinking San Marcos would be one of the best cities due to the fact that they have the outlet mall which generates a lot of taxes to the city. I am not sure why the city is not taken care of at all compared to small new cities like Kyle, and Buda. I hope the citizens of the city start speaking against this carelessness

  3. Relative newcomers ourselves, we too are still amazed at how bad the streets are in the city. Thank goodness I don’t have any “real low to the ground” cars anymore!

  4. I as well feel that the majority of the council vote along with the mayor. I am not sure whether direction to staff is overused during the meetings as well. It appears the staff does an awful lot which may not be a bad thing ecept it seems direction to staff is used over and over again on the same issues. I cannot understand how this city has taken years upon years to develop any sort of relations with local businesses on the parking concern. It seems the tow truck drivers are booming because they cant figure out how to form a relationship and maybe pay, yes pay someone to look out for local parking lots. It seems like a slap on the forehead could figure that out. Other cities have this sort of thing figured out but we spend countless amounts of money to others to come up with a down town master plan. Really? Really? I don’t get it. If someone would like to enlighten me on why this is so difficult. Also a parking garage. How difficult is that to oversee? Our downtown, so to speak is not that big. Unles you want to block the view of our campus.
    On another note. Is it really that odd that the city council wants to oversee everything and take control of everything if they give them some money example the Chamber the CVB, The hispanic chamber, economic developement etc. What is the point of all that. Why was it so neccessary for the council to take control. How many other cities operate in this fashion and where are they? As I have more questions I will wait for response on the above mentioned.

  5. Want to hear something really crazy? The city signed a contract with the Chamber for them to handle Economic Development,but still wanted to keep control right? The counsels #1 goal for the coming year is Economic Development. But here is the crazy thing; Counsel cut the budget for Economic Development for the coming year and expects the Chamber to make up the difference, but still expects to keep control. WOW, talk about being Government Controlled

  6. Mayor Narvaiz has had an uphill battle with the established ‘good old boy, local born and raised’ contingent. I have lived here 6 years under two mayors and she is a vast improvement over the previous mayor. One of the problems was the former city manager, now thankfully retired. You can blame him for the streets, the trashy homes and yards, etc. Also, the college has blinded the eyes of local property owners, managers and real estate entities on the subject of single family vs apartments and slum dwellings. The mayor, any mayor is not as all-powerful as you suggest. Even a new mayor would have to face these issues. Once again, I’m voting Mayor Susan.

  7. Navriz an improvement?! I have lived in San Marcos since 1978, originally from Austin which I left due to the corruption at Austin’s city hall. Navriz compares to our passed mayor Kathy Morris who was one heck of a control freak, except that Navriz is more of a fascist control freak. If re-elected she will bankrupt the city, she is currently spending almost 2 million dollars on a riverbank erosion project which according to her own planning department, the project has nothing to do with erosion. The project is to lay down some huge stones at various spots along the river so people can access other sections of the river. Its a great idea if we were stinking rich like the folks in Saudi Arabia. And it gets better, $600,000 to buffer the train whistles going by city hall (it disturbs her long naps at the helm of the city). Come on citizens of San Marcos, wake up and smell the recession!!!

  8. Post Script…By the way Ms. Smith you are a newcomer (6 years) and I don’t mean to be disrespectful but you need to live here at little longer in order to see the quick change artists at city hall. Oh, I personally knew Dan (city manager) and he tried to do the right thing by the citizens tax dollars but once again QUEEN Susan has the last word on EVERYTHING in San Marcos politics!

  9. To Linda Smith: Isn’t T.P. Gilmore still the leader of the established ‘good old boy, local born and raised’ contingent that you speak of? Narvaiz sure doesn’t battle him.

  10. IS the battle still going on with Susan and the good ole boy network?! T.P. Gilmore being the HEAD or TAIL of this here network yet he picked up the tab when Susan ran an opposed and yet spent $30,000 if T.P.’s money getting re-elected!

  11. Let us not forget the $7 million she-they spent on the “Bridge to Nowhere” over Yarrington to the Blanco Vista failed subdivision. It will take eons to get that money back from taxes out there.

  12. It is my hope that the new bridge on Yarrington Rd. will eventually be accompanied by a bridge across the Blanco and a loop around S.M. Is that not part of the plan?
    I’m all for hearing about the issues, but this name-calling is disgusting and neutralizes any other views expressed by the author.

  13. That Yarrington bridge was a “free” incentive for the developer and not in a plan for the “Loop” around San Marcos. I have not seen any name calling , only comments of facts and frustrations.

  14. The Yarrington Bridge is the north point for Loop 110. It was paid for using Tax Increment Financing where the taxes on the increased value of the land in Blanco Vista are dedicated to repay the cost of the bridge. I’m not sure the degree to which the developer (Carma Texas) is on the hook if the increased taxes don’t cover the note. Loop 110 is a loop around San Marcos from Yarrington on the north to McCarty on the south. The eastern portion is planned to be built first. It’s proscribed in the Horizons Master Plan which was adopted by city council in 1996 as a long range plan for growth. I think it’s good governance that the Mayor and Council worked with the circumstances and got that bridge built. It seems Loop 110 is going to have to be fought for every inch of the way yet it’s a needed infrastructure improvement for San Marcos. A loop around the east side promotes growth in that less environmentally sensitive part of town. The growth is inevitable but we have some sway over where it occurs. Furthermore, a loop around the east side allows traffic from Lockhart, Luling and Seguin to access I-35 without adding congestion to the Hwy 123 and Hwy 80 intersections with I-35.

  15. Phil,

    Your comments have too much REAL information and common sense for most of the folks here. In case anyone doesn’t know, Phil works in the Planning Dept for the City so he has the right information instead of some hearsay.

  16. If you need a loan, call Susan Narvaiz and get some city money. She loaned money to a private religious school, so why not loan it to you?

    In August city council gave a loan of up to $345,000 at 3% interest to the Master’s school to be repaid in a year. The city has to borrow it at 5% interest but the city gave the school a break. The school owns 16 acres behind the outlet malls so they could have gone to a bank and used the land as collateral. Susan justified this loan by saying it was for economic development because the school will creat new jobs with an estimated payroll of $120,000 a year.

  17. I was a planning commmissioner for 3 years, about 3 years ago. But thanks for the positive comment.
    There’s a Phil Steed who works in the planning department though. He and I served together on the P&Z and now he works for the planning department.

  18. Phil,
    The Tax Increment financing is true,but it has to be paid back to the city from Taxes received from Blanco Vista which will probably be in the next millenium. Meanwhile we are out 7 million dollars to help another developer. Of course he helps the Council with political contributions so I guess that is a fair trade for everyone except taxpayers. That Loop is probably a 2020 to 2025 timeline from what I remember of the planning map.

  19. What I know about it could fit in a thimble. But to truly estimate how long it would take to pay the loan back you would need to know the taxes on the land before the development occurred and subtract that from the taxes each year. The difference goes to pay down the note. In this case the county participated so those taxes go to pay down the note as well. Blanco Vista is a good concept subdivision. They donated land for a school and they have a neighborhood pool which is nice. San Marcos needs such neighborhoods and I’m sorry Blanco Vista is not doing better. When the economy turns around perhaps it will. The developer has invested many millions of dollars in our city. I support the Mayor’s foresight in getting all the parties together and making this happen.

  20. Wow I should check back more often. Angel, it is disrespectful not to value to opinions of new citizens to San Marcos (6-7 years is not a newbie). As a matter of fact, newcomers help evaluate to state of the city through the experience of seeing other city government run. . . some not even Texas cities. Having been involved in local organizations and politics since we arrived, we have seen first hand the obstacles thrown up by ‘old-timers’. (By the way, we live close the the train tracks and would welcome a toning down of those train whistles). An example would be when an organization wanted to buy the old hardware store downtown, but the demands of a city department made it next to impossible and economically unfeasible to renovate for public use. I do have a few concerns about the economic future and development that do not have to do with the mayor. That would be when the college has empty buildings falling apart downtown for years and years. That’s wrong and the city ought to have more authority to make that stop. Also the lack of affordable, but nice single family homes. Not everyone is a student.

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