After campaigning for four months prior, Ralph Gutierrez won the November 5, 2019 election to become the new mayor of Schertz. He replaces Mayor Michael Carpenter, who served for three terms before deciding to not run for reelection.
“I’d been on council for three years before I ran for mayor, and I had no intentions of running for mayor until Mayor Carpenter decided that he was not going to seek reelection, and at that point, I thought, who is going to step up?” Gutierrez said. “I decided I would run because I wanted to continue the economic success that had occurred under his tenure.”
The economy is a focal point of Gutierrez’s plan to grow and expand Schertz, as he hopes to develop and grow the economy while lessening tax burdens on residents. This relief comes as a result of more businesses making their way to the Schertz area. He emphasizes his plan to reduce taxes by one penny while in office, although he notes that it is a very difficult task, as the equivalent of a one penny tax reduction is $400,000 in total. He also hopes to make sure that all employees are smiling so that it will have a contagious effect with the community.
“I have two goals: one penny, and a smile,” Gutierrez said. “These two goals sound very simple and easy, but they might be difficult to attain.”
Another focus of Mayor Gutierrez is the comprehensive land use plan, first put into effect nearly two decades ago. This long length of time is one reason why Gutierrez plans to take another look at land usage, stating that what people wanted 20 years ago may not be what they want now.
“First of all, we need to go over our comprehensive land use plan,” Gutierrez said. “It doesn’t match our planning and zoning, there’s a lot of vacant space still. The biggest portion is the southern part of Schertz, south of F.M. 78 mainly on the F.M. 1518 corridor. There’s a lot of undeveloped land, and right now, the comprehensive land use plan says one house per five acres. That’s what voters wanted back then, but it may not be what they want at this time. There’s a lot of desire to develop that portion of 1518.”
Along with the south side of Schertz, Gutierrez hopes to develop the east side, opposite of Randolph Air Force Base.
“We can’t develop the west side, that’s where Randolph Air Force Base is at,” Gutierrez said. “We can’t jeopardize or compromise the mission at Randolph, but on the opposite side of the street is the east side. We can go ahead and start looking at development there. F.M. 3009 stops right at F.M. 78, but we need to connect it to go all the way to I-10. That’s my ten year goal. I may not see those things happen, but this is the time to plan for it.”
Mayor Gutierrez also notes that he wants to focus on involvement within the community and younger generations in Schertz, and hopes to create more events that attract teen audiences, especially those in high school. Moreover, Gutierrez hopes to show youth that they should be who they are and stay true to themselves, and that people can earn positions they want while being themselves.
“I want more involvement with our residents and community, it’s not just about me, it’s about we,” Gutierrez said. “Together, we can be involved in our city and make it what we want it to be, so that is the message I want to get across.”
The difficult campaign effort, as described by Mayor Gutierrez, entailed calling many businesses and land owners to place his campaign signs around some of the busiest roads, such as F.M 3009, 78, 1103 and I-35. Gutierrez also thanks his wife for helping him in this process of contacting people to place his advertisements.
“Campaigning is not easy, as soon as you submit your paperwork, you start putting yourself in campaign mode,” Gutierrez said. “For every sign I put out on the road, I had to contact every owner. I had to respect the property rights, I could not just put a sign up there, I had to have permission.”
Gutierrez also explains that he is twice retired, and that he can devote his time to the community fully, noting that this may have played a large part in his election. This faith from the community pushed him to run in the election.
“When I first heard I was elected, I was amazed,” Gutierrez said. “When you look at my life four years prior, I was not on council, and to come up and after just three years and be elected mayor, I was very proud that the residents have that confidence and trust, selecting me to be their next mayor.”
Gutierrez’s time in office should be one of growth and increased involvement, as he has outlined that he will be planning for the future as he takes on this leadership position. He will show restraint as he strives to be a great leader to not only his staff, but the community too.
“You can’t just go in there and start making changes, that’s never the right way to approach any position,” Gutierrez said. “In a leadership position, you stay, you look around, and you observe what’s going on. You make adjustments, but you don’t make big radical changes, that’s not the way to do anything.”
~Brady Davis- Editor-in-Chief
A Letter From the Editor
Happy holidays from the SC Correspondent Online! As we reflect back on 2019, the stories that echo through these halls make me appreciative of the students who make this publication worthwhile. While for many of us, Christmas Break marks the beginning of our last semester of high school, there's still so many memories left to archive. Thank you for appreciating the stories we cultivate as young journalists!
~Taylor Trapp- Online Editor-in-Chief