Politics
2:54 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

With Talk Of Cabinet Position Swirling, City Ponders Life Without Mayor Castro

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 11:57 am

The White House isn't talking and neither is Mayor Julián Castro.

Today he helped hand out awards inside city council chambers to businesses for the 2014 Healthy Workplace Recognition Program.

Afterward, a swarm of media caught up with him, only to hear the three-term mayor say what he's said before.

"All I'm going to say today is that I enjoy being mayor, and I'm going to continue to work hard on behalf of the people that elected me," Castro said. "I'll talk about the future and other things later."

By indications over the weekend, the mayor is being tapped by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It's the second time the mayor's been asked by the president to join his cabinet. The second time may be the charm for Castro to leave his post as mayor and head to Washington, D.C.

Last week Castro began telling his city council colleagues that he had a pretty serious offer on the table from the president. According to District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg, he felt pretty serious about accepting the White House post.

"He told all council members personally," Nirenberg said Sunday. "I did congratulate him. It's a huge honor, it's a huge honor for our city to be considered like that."

It's unclear how long the background checks and Senate confirmation would take, but if everything goes smoothly city council could be selecting a new mayor from within the current ranks. And that would mean another leader's perspective on things.

Darryl Byrd, president of SA2020, an umbrella organization aiming for progress in a number of areas like education, wellness and families, said he is happy for Castro. He wants the progress made by the mayor to continue.

"If we let our mayor ride off into the sunset and we let all the momentum, all the progress, all the aspiration for our future ride out along with him, then that would be a failure on our part," Byrd said. "And I know that he would be disappointed if we allowed that to happen."

Byrd said while some are seeing the possibility of Castro leaving San Antonio as the sky falling, he sees it as a reminder that San Antonio is a city on the rise, creating leaders every day like Castro.

Castro is also SA2020's board chairman and would have to step down from that position. Byrd said he realizes the next chair will have a new perspective, a different personality and a new approach to doing things.

"And they may have different things that they are most interested in," Byrd said. "When you think about SA2020, it's a little bit challenging because you have 11 core visionaries that these thousands of San Antonians came up with. And then that breaks down into 59 metrics or measures of our community's success that we're tracking every single day."

Castro's top priority always has been education, but Byrd said someone else may choose a different focus like health.

Change is inevitable, said Byrd, and there's work to be done at SA2020. The board will now be in talks about how it will move forward.

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