The League of Women Voters (LWV) hosted a city council debate at the San Marcos Activity Center Monday night.
Although the debate was the fourth of this election season, the candidates were not lacking in energy.
Scott Gregson and Frank Arredondo, Place 5 city council candidates and Melissa Derrick and Shane Scott, Place 6 city council candidates, discussed their opinions on the economic growth of the city, rent-by-the-bedroom student housing and property rights.
“(Gregson) said he is for property rights, yet he has been linked to disrespecting homeowner rights by placing campaign yard signs on Hispanic properties,” Arredondo said. “(Gregson stated) he has a right to have his campaign signs on their yard.”
Arredondo said Hispanics have been “bullied” by Gregson’s campaign activities.
Derrick said despite what media has written, she does not support implementing a $10 fee for tourists who want to access the San Marcos River.
“I would also like to clear up some confusion about a quote in a local newspaper,” Derrick said.
“I am not charging or limiting access to our community treasure, the San Marcos River. I do not now, or ever will support such limitations.”
However, Arredondo said Derrick has gone on the record in the past saying that she is in favor of the installation of a river fee because it would attract the “right kind of people.” He said the river is state property and God’s gift to San Marcos.
Scott said he supports rent-by-the-bedroom student housing while Derrick is actively against this form of lodging in single family neighborhoods.
Scott said rent-by-the-bedroom apartment complexes became popular because students enjoyed the ability to get away from residential neighborhoods to live with fellow Bobcats.
Derrick said the lack of parking stickers required in rent-by-the-bedroom apartment complexes leads to visitors’ vehicles taking up space in neighboring residential areas. She said neighborhoods adjacent to the complexes are plagued with noise and profanity coming from students.
Gregson said the city’s master plan will allow student living complexes to be built in areas where they will not adversely affect people in residential neighborhoods.
Gregson said his education and background as a business owner would help him budget city finances if he were elected into office.
“I have a lot of experience not only with government budgeting, but with budgets that I’ve had to fund,” Gregson said. “I’ve had to run companies and made sure that at the end of the day, payroll is met. I’m good with numbers; I graduated from Harvard.”
Scott said he is impressed with the growth of San Marcos so far and will continue to bring more jobs to the city if he is re-elected.
Gregson said although he supports the economic growth of the city, he feels development could be detrimental to the community if not implemented strategically.
“We need to grow and bring jobs without losing the importance of the community and our beauty,” Gregson said. “The citizens have decided on how they want the city to grow.”
In his closing statement, Arredondo said he is disappointed that LWV officials changed the location of the debate from Cuauhtémoc Hall citing concerns of displaying bias toward himself because he is Hispanic.
“If that is not an insult to the Hispanic community, I want to challenge those to find a better example,” Arredondo said.