The District 8 race for the City Council was turned upside down this weekend, with Rolando Briones initially being hit by a broadside attack on Page One of the San Antonio Express-News. Later in the day, however, Briones received the endorsement of perhaps the most influential politician in District 8, the incumbent Reed Williams.
According to an article published on-line by Texas Public Radio, Williams endorsed Briones because a negative mailer by Nirenberg unfairly maligned the integrity of the San Antonio City Council:
- “Mr. Nirenberg believes that our political personnel, political bodies, can be bought off for $6,500, and that’s just not acceptable,” he said.
Count me with Nirenberg on this one. Whenever I’ve heard a politician or businessman say that they can’t be bought for a free Spurs ticket or a round of golf, I ask them why they thought the other person was giving them the freebie. I would assure them that the freebies would disappear as soon as their position of influence was gone.
Furthermore, I am surprised that Williams would get so upset about Nirenberg’s ethical sensitivities because I thought Williams shared those sensitivities. A few months ago I visited with Williams’s chief of staff, who incidentally is now a paid staffer for Briones, and she told me that whenever Williams had substantive meetings with a city supplicant, he made sure, in advance, to return any political contribution the supplicant had previously made.
Why wouldn’t Williams’s care to avoid an appearance of impropriety cause him to be troubled by the intersection of Briones’s contributions and winning government business?