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Student media hosts City Council candidate debate

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Photo by Victor Rodriguez | Assistant Multimedia Editor

The University Star and KTSW 89.9 hosted the four candidates running for Place 3 and Place 4 in the LBJ Teaching Theater Oct. 18. The candidates discussed Senate Bill 4 and controversies in San Marcos including Cape’s Dam and the social media of the San Marcos ethics commissioner.

The candidates include incumbent Ed Mihalkanin and challenger Amy Stanfield for Place 3. For Place 4, Jane Hughson serves as the incumbent and is challenged by Joshua Simpson.

When asked about Senate Bill 4, candidates explained the difficult position the City Council is put in when having to make decisions in support or against state law. Mihalkanin and Hughson said they made the decision to file an amicus brief and wanted City Council’s amicus brief to be like the Major Cities Police Chief Associations brief.

Stanfield and Simpson advocated that immigration is a federal issue and the council was put in a tough situation. All candidates advocated for police officers and residents to follow the law.

On Oct. 16, Naomi Narvaiz, ethics commissioner appointee to an advisory role for the San Marcos school district, was appointed to the Student Health Advisory Council. Activists and residents of San Marcos called for Narvaiz to be removed from the council, due to tweets by Narvaiz labeled as discriminatory toward immigrants and LGBTQIA members.

When asked if Narvaiz should be removed from her public position, three candidates said they would have to look further into the issue. Simpson said no, not because of a tweet. Stanfield said all social media posts should be considered being made public.

“I do think that if you are appointed or elected to a public position, you should be held to a higher standard,” Stanfield said.

Although candidates had similar responses for SB 4 and Narvaiz’s tweets, while discussing Cape’s Dam, candidates disagreed. Cape’s Dam has been closed since 2014. The council voted last year to remove the dam. No progress has been made to remove it.

Stanfield believes that more information should be gathered about the dam, she believes it should be resorted and preserved for history. Simpson claimed the motives of the research were just for profit.

“So much of the data that was taken, to me, looked like lazy work,” Simpson said.

Hughson voted in favor of removing the dam.

“I have learned a lot more since then,” Hughson said. “There is still a hearing that needs to happen on that issue, that hasn’t happened yet.”

Mihalkanin is in favor of keeping Cape’s Dam. He said the history behind the dam is important to San Marcos residents and should be reopened.

Before questions from students in the audience, candidates were asked why students should participate in local government and to expand on the importance. Candidates advocated that local government is not only the closest government, it’s where change is possible.

“Local government is the government closest to its citizens,” Mihalkanin said. “I hope you will participate.”

City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month, 5:30 p.m., at City Hall located at 630 E. Hopkins. Election locations can be found on the city of San Marcos website.

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