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May 1st 2021 Helotes General Election Unofficial Results

Election Results May 1st 2021 Web

*Unofficial results reported by Bexar County Elections on May 1st, 11:17 PM.

Mayor

Rich White Head Mayor Candidate Helotes Web

Winner – Rich Whitehead (Challenger)

71.55% of Total Votes Cast for Mayor City of Helotes

 

Councilmember Place 3

Matt McCrossen Pro Headshot Web

Winner – Matt McCrossen (Challenger)

66.38% of Total Votes Cast for Council, Place No. 3 City of Helotes

 

Councilmember Place 5

Matthew Merchant Helotes City Council Candidate Place 5 Web

Winner – Matthew Merchant (Challenger)

65.22% of Total Votes Cast for Council, Place No. 5 City of Helotes

 

2021 General Election Series Helotes City Council Place 5 Candidate Matthew Merchant Part 2

Matthew Merchant Helotes City Council Candidate Place 5 Web

This article is the final interview of the Helotes City Council candidates on the May 1st, 2021 ballot. Only candidates who participated in the previous interview were invited to participate in the second and final interview for this election series.

Economy

Helotes News:  How would you collaborate with the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) to foster managed commercial growth in Helotes?

Matthew Merchant:  In a word, listen. The members of this very important organization in Helotes can and have been making some very impactful decisions for quite some time. I have been reading everything I can to learn what they have done, what they are doing, and what they have in mind for the future.  I will work to build a relationship that is mutually respectful. I have the utmost respect for passionate people who work to build a successful business, and I think we are lucky to have the EDC who promote, and assist brave entrepreneurs in the best interest of citizens (wide tax base).  

Helotes News:  In terms of oversight, how involved do you plan to be with the activities and action items brought before you on Council from the HEDC, Planning and Zoning, Board of Adjustments?

Matthew Merchant:  This question, to me, has everything to do with creating, building, and fostering relationships. I need to do my research, and ask appropriate questions. In order to do this, I need to gain the trust of the people I will be interacting with, while also earning and maintain the trust of the citizens of Helotes.  I am not afraid to ask questions. The chances are, if I am asking the questions, there are citizens who also don’t understand.

Helotes News:  We’re not expecting you to know it all. So, if there is one thing you could change about Helotes zoning, what would it be?

Thankfully we have a very capable Planning and Zoning committee. I don’t know if I will change anything as this is something I honestly have not looked too deeply into. What people can be sure of is that I will ensure and advocate for the property rights of citizens. Changes to current zoning should be made only in the best interests of citizens.

Traffic

Helotes News:  There is a good amount of frustration with traffic in Helotes. What is your view on our private and commercial traffic?

Matthew Merchant:  My thoughts on traffic is that we all have some place to go and invariably not enough time to get there. The most important issue is that we need to ensure safe travel; not just motorist, but pedestrians and cyclist as well. There are locations in Helotes that want more roads (connecting road from Davis Ranch to Beverly hills to gain FM-1560 access), some want traffic lights (FM-1560 & Helotes Trail) and few more that need sidewalks (Riggs Rd & Bandera Rd). In the interest of public safety, we need leaders who will work with TXDot and citizens to locate issues and problems, and then prioritize sound practical solutions.

Helotes News:  What areas, if any, do you believe the City can work better with TX DoT to improve our commuter’s experience?

Matthew Merchant:  Engage with TxDot. Expand and generate a better relationship with TxDot to ensure that they don’t engineer anymore blind corners (Riggs Rd and FM1560). With the widening of 1560, be forward thinking enough to include bike lanes and sidewalks where appropriate. There is also quite a bit of conversation about the FM-1560 widening at Antonio Drive, Iron Hose Way, Riggs Rd, and the road to City Hall; and deservedly so. There will only be left turns at these Roads, except for Antonio Drive. This is an issue that needs more conversation.

For more information see https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/get-involved/about/hearings-meetings/san-antonio/041521.html?fbclid=IwAR0KpMccBMB-nLllkA4AUlUfyq1Mhi3zO_d5mE3HNmShJhAlMZLgr2fO1wA

To make a (highly encouraged) comment see https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K5WG5X8?fbclid=IwAR0urQMfmWTHsjwXKiHM9oSgI-wdjYl1Rli6wdbb2mDSCsiHiVwRgjZN1YQ

Ethics

Helotes News:  Will you report observed or employee reported violations of Texas Municipal and Penal codes to the proper authorities?

Matthew Merchant:  Without question.

Helotes News:  How will you ensure the items brought before you on the City Council Meeting Agenda packets for any given meeting are presented to you unbiased, complete with relevant facts or background omissions?

Matthew Merchant:  I don’t want to be so naïve as to think that everything brought before City Council has some personal agenda. However, I believe in the idea of a free market and that bad ideas die on their own lack of merit. Conversely good ideas will thrive.

Last Minute Thoughts

Helotes News:  Consider everything you have learned from campaigning this year; what is the most important positive item you learned about that should be sustained or improved upon, and what is the most negative item that should be eliminated or amended? You don’t have to answer if there is nothing that comes to mind?

Matthew Merchant:  The single most positive item I have learned while campaigning is that the people of Helotes, whether they are voting for me or not are positive, upbeat, encouraging and kind. It is intimidating to go door to door to ask for support and votes. Almost all the people I spoke with were engaging and supportive. I will never forget this experience.

The negative – I never thought I would experience this in a great place like Helotes, is that those with power and authority are not as polite as those who put them into said authority. The poor attitude and lack of professionalism displayed by the Mayor and a very few supports will not be soon forgotten.

2021 General Election Series Helotes City Council Place 3 Candidate Matt McCrossen Part 2

Matt McCrossen Pro Headshot Web

This article is the final interview of the Helotes City Council candidates on the May 1st, 2021 ballot. Only candidates who participated in the previous interview were invited to participate in the second and final interview for this election series.

Economy

Helotes News:  How would you collaborate with the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) to foster managed commercial growth in Helotes?

Matt McCrossen: I plan to attend or view the HEDC meeting recordings to ensure I have first-hand knowledge of what is being discussed and voted on by the directors of the board. I will routinely engage with HEDC staff as I did for the two years I served on the HEDC. I intend to be fully informed well before any item requiring city council approval is brought before me from the HEDC.

Helotes News:  In terms of oversight, how involved do you plan to be with the activities and action items brought before you on Council from the HEDC, Planning and Zoning, Board of Adjustments?

Matt McCrossen:  I plan to be very involved with any item brought before me on council where my vote or staff guidance is required. In terms of oversight specifically, one of the first items I will fight for are bylaws changes to the HEDC where each councilperson is responsible for solicitation, vetting and nomination of an appointee respective of the councilmember’s place. E.g. If I am elected to Place 3, I will be responsible for ensuring the HEDC has an appointee for Place 3 on the HEDC. The same process would apply to all other boards and commissions. In the case of the HEDC where there are Places 6 and 7, one place could be a Mayoral nominee and HEDC nominations committee nominee, or any combination thereof. The point is to re-distribute the nominations process to ensure the Mayor’s Office is not sole source of nominations.

Zoning

Helotes News:  We’re not expecting you to know it all. So, if there is one thing you could change about Helotes zoning, what would it be?

Matt McCrossen:  There are several changes I intend to advocate for based on my experience as a homeowner and former HOA board president.

The first is reviewing all Code of Ordinances such as Chapter 98 ZONING, Section 98-405, that discuss property owner notices. At the very least I would like to two or three public forums on our notices sent to property owners. I’d be more comfortable voting on zoning items brought before council with current input on two specific items. One, are notices sent within 200 feet of the proposed changes falling short or excessive? Two, is ten calendar days before a hearing sufficient considering notices are mailed to property owners based on last tax roll?

Considering the lasting impact of any action P&Z and council takes, I personally would like the range extended past 200 feet based on reasonable facts. E.g. next to a sub-division, perhaps 14 calendar day notice to the HOA, board of directors and 200 feet for the residents.

I stated I would like two or three public forums for this topic. There is a reason for this. The opportunity to hold a few public forums would afford myself and elected colleagues feedback to help inform our decisions on any changes we make.

Traffic

Helotes News:  There is a good amount of frustration with traffic in Helotes. What is your view on our private and commercial traffic?

Matt McCrossen:  As a citizen I share many of the same common complaints about distracted drivers, speeding, congestion and commute times. If elected, I’ll be in a position to weigh in on, and vote on where tax dollars go.

In terms of deterrence, there are devices on the market nearing $3,000 a piece that have data collection which could be fed to HPD for targeted enforcement at high-risk intersections or areas where excessive speed is common.

I’m not sure of the feasibility of this idea in a municipality. If it’s a possibility, then we have one more tool to aid HPD.

Citizens will be a resource to ensure traffic adjustments made by TXDoT are well informed. Ensuring you are aware of TXDoT public hearings is a huge task. Consider this, TXDoT has a segment of it’s .gov website dedicated to public hearings, social media and our City’s Public Relations Specialist has posted the most recent TXDoT Virtual Public Hearing – FM 1560 From FM 471 to SH 16. I found out about it from our City’s website in the scrolling notices on the homepage. So, as a courtesy I shared it with several residents I know are focused on traffic. Even those who are very interested in traffic development in our city just recently learned about this. I want to explore what the preferred communication channels are for residents, develop those channels and segment them so that you receive information you’re interested in. In terms of email lists, many services like ConstantContact and Mailchimp allow segmented lists so you would only receive information on traffic if that’s all you’re interested.

Helotes News:  What areas, if any, do you believe the City can work better with TX DoT to improve our commuter’s experience.

Matt McCrossen:  Very simply, advocacy. Consider what the Social Justice Group Our Lady of Guadalupe COPS/Metro did to get the ear of TXDoT for changes at Riggs Rd. and FM 1560. They organized, they reached out to elected officials and eventually TXDoT came back to rework the raised road near Burger King. I’m curious how quickly the issue would have been resolved if COPS/Metro had letters of support from council or the Mayor, or phone calls already placed to Texas Representatives and Senators, when this group engaged with TXDoT.

Ethics

Helotes News:  Will you report observed or employee reported violations of Texas Municipal and Penal codes to the proper authorities?

Matt McCrossen:  Yes.

Helotes News:  How will you ensure the items brought before you on the City Council Meeting Agenda packets for any given meeting are presented to you unbiased, complete with relevant facts or background omissions?

Matt McCrossen: As soon as the agenda is published, I will read it that night, and begin preparing for the meeting. I will have dialogue with the Mayor and City Administrator for those items I need more background on and answer any complex questions I have prior to the meetings.

Last Minute Thoughts

Helotes News:  Consider everything you have learned from campaigning this year; what is the most important positive item you learned about that should be sustained or improved upon, and what is the most negative item that should be eliminated or amended? You don’t have to answer if there is nothing that comes to mind.

Matt McCrossen: I can say this was a very positive experience over the last several months. I’ve learned a great deal more about citizens collective concerns by going door-to-door then if I had focused on a digital campaign, events and Zoom meetings. The only negative item is early posts in my political campaign that could have made the same point without me being so direct and aggressive. I have not heard any negative statements about me by the man I’m challenging for Place 3. So, for transparency sake, I will be editing several social media posts to make my point and removing some unnecessary jabs I made early on.

Helotes News 2021 Election Center Updated

helotes news poll

The Helotes News Election Center 2021 is updated with a new poll. This poll will run from now until May 1st, 2021 7pm CST.

 
*Not a scientific poll.
 
You are required to enter your street name (no numbers) or subdivision name to help validate votes. This is in addition to our existing automated validation applications to increase poll validity.
 

2021 General Election Series Helotes Mayoral Candidate Rich Whitehead Part 2

Rich White Head Mayor Candidate Helotes Web

This article is the final interview of the Helotes Mayoral candidates on the May 1st, 2021 ballot. Only candidates who participated in the previous interview were invited to participate in the second and final interview for this election cycle.

Economy

Helotes News:  How would you collaborate with the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) to foster managed commercial growth in Helotes?

Rich Whitehead:  The position of Mayor should serve to facilitate the support and development of the community.  As such, any direct investment in the community must be done by the HEDC, but should be done so by the direction of the leadership of the HEDC and appropriate voting of support by city council.  The Mayor’s involvement should be limited to passing on ideas, needs, and concerns, and then the Mayor should support the decisions of the HEDC.  Collaboration by the Mayor should be limited to sharing of ideas, and not be viewed as ’controlling’ the HEDC.

Helotes News:  In terms of oversight, how involved do you plan to be with the activities and action items brought before you on Council from the HEDC, Planning and Zoning, Board of Adjustments?

Rich Whitehead:  One of the reasons I am running for Mayor is a fundamental difference in opinion on how the city should be run.   Currently, the Mayor has extended his control of boards, committees, and the HEDC to a point that if you disagree with the Mayor then you will be removed.  I want to foster differing opinions, civilized debate, and intelligent discussion.   As such, as Mayor I will facilitate the inclusion of agenda items as submitted by HEDC, P and Z, Board of Adjustments and other boards in a timely fashion, regardless of my personal position on the topics.   Good government can only happen with the transparent discussion of business.

Zoning

Helotes News:  We’re not expecting you to know it all. So, if there is one thing you could change about Helotes zoning, what would it be?

Rich Whitehead:  Zoning decisions are made by a dedicated P and Z committee and ultimately adopted by city council vote.  Property rights should be protected and zoning changes should only be made when it is in the best interests of the community, the individuals directly affected, and the city.   Currently, zoning changes have been made by city council in the name of increasing tax base with disregard to affected citizens.  I would like to see council become a more responsible advocate for the community.

Traffic

Helotes News:  There is a good amount of frustration with traffic in Helotes. What is your view on our private and commercial traffic?

Rich Whitehead:  There are several major traffic issues, two of which are Bandera road issues and proposed cut thru traffic from Davis Ranch thru Beverly Hills.  While ultimate decisions rest with TxDOT and Bexar County respectively, I believe the Mayor needs to take an active role in being a ‘squeaky wheel’ to those organizations for the needs of our community.   Cut-thru roads thru Beverly Hills should be prevented, and every option to prevent that should be explored.   Recent fatalities on Bandera Road demands that we press TxDoT for review and measures taken to make our roads safer.

Helotes News:  What areas, if any, do you believe the City can work better with TX DoT to improve our commuter’s experience.

Rich Whitehead:  Proactive review of traffic signal placement, active pursuit of solutions, and consideration to traffic flow will highlight changes needed and help place pressure for needed change on TxDot.  The city needs to foster cooperative relationships with Tx Dot so that needed changes can be made.

Ethics

Helotes News:  Will you report observed or employee reported violations of Texas Municipal and Penal codes to the proper authorities?

Rich Whitehead:  Of course.  Of course by establishing proper expectations of employees, preventative employee training, and increased attention in the hiring process will greatly reduce unfortunate incidents.

Helotes News:  How will you ensure the items brought before you on the City Council Meeting Agenda packets for any given meeting are presented to you unbiased, complete without relevant facts or background omissions?

Rich Whitehead:  While this question is mostly directed to council members, the Mayor has a responsibility to do his due diligence to ensure factual representation and complete inclusion of relevant material in the construction of the Agenda packets.

Last Minute Thoughts

Helotes News:  Consider everything you have learned from campaigning this year; what is the most important positive item you learned about that should be sustained or improved upon, and what is the most negative item that should be eliminated or amended? You don’t have to answer if there is nothing that comes to mind.

Rich Whitehead:  The greatest positive of Helotes I have learned in this campaign is the quality of people we have in Helotes.  We are blessed to have a quality and diverse community that enjoys building relationships with their neighbors and this quality needs to be protected and fostered.

The biggest negative I have learned is the vast number of people and businesses in Helotes that live in fear of their leadership.  Way to many times has it been expressed to me that people disagree with Mayor Schoolcraft but fear retribution if they voice a differing opinion.   People should never live in fear of their leadership.  This is a democracy and not a kingdom, and I look forward to restoring peoples comfort to disagree and feel safe to express their opinions.

Iron Horse Canyon Community Yard Sale April 10th, 2021

Helotes Iron Horse Canyon Yard Sale

Iron Horse Canyon Community Yard Sale will be April 10th, 2021 from 7:30am to 1:00pm.

Helotes Small Business Assistance Program Second Round of Grants Now Available

Helotes-Small-Business-Grant-Flyer-April2021-Final Header

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC)

HELOTES, TX, – April 1, 2021 – The Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) is funding $475,000 to establish a Small Business Assistance Program to provide a second round of grants to local businesses and nonprofits impacted most by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding was made possible by postponing two capital projects and re-allocating those funds to focus on rebuilding the small businesses and nonprofits that make our community great.

This second round of funding, with grants of up to $25,000, is aimed toward small businesses and nonprofits that were required to close, lost revenue due to closures, or had added expenses for safety operations. Grants are administered in partnership with nonprofit economic development corporation BCL of Texas, who were instrumental in rolling out the first round of grants rapidly.

“With the success of our first grant program that was able to assist 18 small businesses during an unprecedented hardship, we felt the need to do more. We are committed to the long-term support of our community,” stated Glenn Goolsby, Helotes EDC Assistant Director.

Eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations must have been in operation prior to February 2020 and have sustained losses of 15 percent or more for any quarter of 2020. To view the full program requirements and Frequently Asked Questions, visit the Helotes EDC website at www.helotesedc.com/helotesgrant2. Grant applications will open at 8:00 a.m. on April 5,2021.

Helotes-Small-Business-Grant-Flyer-April2021-Final

About the HEDC

The Helotes EDC was created in 2003. The mission is to promote, encourage, and enhance the creation of jobs, the expansion of the local tax base, and our quality-of-life through projects that assist in the retention and expansion of existing employers and which attract new employers and aid in their development and growth.

For more information or to apply, go to www.helotesedc.com. Funding will be available based on need, applications will be accepted beginning at 8:00 a.m. on April 5 and closes April 23, 2021. For more information contact BCL staff at 1-888-241-2215 or Helotes EDC staff at 210-695-5910.

CONTACT: Glenn Goolsby
Assistant Director EDC
(210) 695-5910  |  ggoolsby@helotes-tx.gov

GRAND OPENING & RIBBON CUTTING for Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces – Helotes

Smile Structure Dentistry & Orthodontics Ribbon cutting flyer Updated-01

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Helotes Area Chamber of Commerce News Release

Open to the Public, Thursday, April 1, 2021 11:00 AM

Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces – Helotes
12423 Bandera Rd. Suite 109
Helotes, TX 78023

HELOTES, TX, – On behalf of The Helotes Area Chamber of Commerce, we welcome the greater Helotes community to the Grand opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces. The event will take place at 12423 Bandera Rd. Ste. 109, Helotes, TX 78023 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on April 1, 2021.  Guests will be treated to food & drinks as well as have the option to tour the brand-new office space along with a meet & greet with Dr. Adam Smith and Staff.

Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces is open Tuesday through Saturday with flexible after school and work hours. Smile Structure is owned & operated by Dr. Adam Smith & Melissa Smith.

Smile Structure Dentistry & Braces in Helotes offers excellence in dentistry with friendly, personal patient care. Dr. Adam Smith and their entire dental team welcome patients of all ages, from toddlers to seniors, at their clinics in San Antonio and Helotes. Their goal is to provide affordable, quality dental care to improve the health and appearance of all the smiles that walk through their doors.

Smile Structure Dentistry offers: Family Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Sedation Dentistry, Restorative Dentistry, and discounts are available for Veterans! All patients are welcome to take advantage of Free whitening after the first appointment. You can visit Smile Structure’s website at https://www.smilestructure.com/ or follow them on Facebook at @SmileStructureHelotes for more information! Call to schedule your appointment today at 210-699-4100.

Please contact Rachel Barringer at 210-931-0683 or rnbarringer@heloteschamber.com for any questions.

Texas to Open COVID-19 Vaccination to All Adults on March 29

44529670 Texas to Open COVID-19 Vaccination to All Adults on March 29 COVID-19 Helotes News

News Alert!

All adults will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas beginning Monday, March 29. The Texas Department of State Health Services expects vaccine supplies to increase next week, and providers in multiple parts of the state have made great strides in vaccinating people in the current priority groups. The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations to protect as many Texans as possible.

“We are closing in on 10 million doses administered in Texas, and we want to keep up the momentum as the vaccine supply increases,” said Imelda Garcia, DSHS associate commissioner for laboratory and infectious disease services and the chair of the Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel. “As eligibility opens up, we are asking providers to continue to prioritize people who are the most at risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death – such as older adults.”

DSHS has directed vaccine providers to prioritize people 80 years old or older when scheduling appointments and accommodate anyone in that age group who presents for vaccination, whether or not they have an appointment, by immediately moving them to the front of the line. That will ensure vaccination of anyone 80 or older with as small a burden on themselves as possible.

Also next week, DSHS will launch a website to allow people to register for a shot through some public health providers. The public will be able to enroll in the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler to identify upcoming vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS or a participating local health department and be notified when new clinics and appointments become available. People can continue to find additional providers though the DSHS Vaccine Information page at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.

Online registration will be the best option for most people. For those for whom that is not an option, DSHS will launch a toll-free number to provide assistance making an appointment with a participating provider or locating another provider that has vaccine available.

To date, Texas has administered more than 9.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, equating to more than 6 million people with at least one dose and more than 3 million fully vaccinated. Most vaccines are authorized for people 18 years old and older; the FDA has authorized the Pfizer vaccine for use in people 16 and older.

American Legion Virtual Community Fundraiser March 23, 2021

Helotes News American Legion Riders Post 309 Virtual Community Fundraiser

In case you didn’t know, Helotes has its own American Legion Post, Post 309!

The Post uses the money it raises to give back to the community in scholarships and awards recognizing Helotes first responders to name just a few things that our local American Legion does for our community.

If you like Panda Express, then perhaps you might want to do an online order on March 23rd, 2021 using using the special code that will allow Panda Express to donate 28% of the cost of the meal to Post 309.

I just thought you all might want to know. Regards, Craig Sanders. (309 Post Member). https://alpost309helotestx.org/2021/03/18/alr-post-309-fundraiser/