By Aaron J. Derton
SAN MARCOS — Candidates for city council gathered to engage in civil, substantive debate Thursday night.
Incumbent Council members Ed Mihalkanin, Place Three, and Jane Hughson, Place Four, faced off against small business owner, Amy Stanfield, and property rights activist, Joshua Simpson, respectively.
Mr. Simpson, 24, graduated from Texas State last spring with a degree in Criminal Justice. While he admits he is not well-known, Mr. Simpson says he is “exquisitely passionate about this city, and the future it holds for innovation.”
Stanfield, another newcomer who sits on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, says she wants to bring “a fresh perspective and balance” to the council. Stanfield has been active in the community for many years, and in addition to the Chamber of Commerce she is on the Board of Directors at the San Marcos Education Foundation.
Dr. Mihalkanin and Stanfield both believe there are major issues with downtown parking and public transportation. Stanfield says she would be in favor of removing minimum parking requirements downtown, because it could “encourage different modes of transportation” and “alleviate some of the parking problems downtown.”
“We can’t change one variable, and expect that the new Jerusalem is gonna happen,” Dr. Mihalkanin said. He contended that “[Texas State] University doesn’t care about solving its parking problems,” and puts the burden on the city. “What about having a parking garage? Okay? What about expanding the public transportation network? We can’t abolish these parking requirements and do nothing else.”
On the same issue, the candidates for Place Four had very different solutions. “Right now have a grant that’s going to allow [the bus] to run from six to eight, additionally in the evenings,” Ms. Hughson said.
Innovation, says Mr. Simpson, is the silver bullet. He believes Cars2go and bike rental shops will solve the city’s parking issues. “Those two options will take cars off the road, and put people in a more affordable area of their life in terms of transportation.”
Featured image by Madison Tyson.