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San AntonioWilliam “Cruz” Shaw was elected to San Antonio’s City Council for District 2 in June 2017.

Now it is his turn in the seat to try to make a difference in San Antonio’s District 2.

He is the lone Black voice representing African-Americans at San Antonio City Hall.

A native of Houston, Texas, William H. (“Cruz”) Shaw III has a passion for helping people in his community. This passion is reflected in his educational, professional, and public service pursuits.

Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time visiting with residents from all across the District about the vision and direction for our community and they have a lot to say,” he said during the campaign. “I’m running for City Council to make sure those voices are heard.”

Background

He is a 1999 graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, with a focus on juvenile corrections.

In 2009, Cruz graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November of that same year. While in law school, he was a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association and the Black Law Student Association.

He also participated in the Criminal Defense Legal Clinic in 2008 and 2009, winning awards for his trial advocacy.
From 2008 through 2009, Cruz was a law clerk at the Law Office of Johnny W. Thomas and joined the practice as an attorney in 2009 until 2010. There, Cruz focused his practice in the area of Federal bankruptcy and the United States Bankruptcy Code.

In September 2010, Cruz opened his own law practice in San Antonio’s historic Eastside community. The Law Office of William H. Shaw, PLLC handles probate, personal injury, contract negotiations, and criminal law.
San Antonio’s District 2 is my home,” he said. “It’s where I work; it’s where I live; and, more than anything, it’s where I serve.”
Cruz has an unparalleled dedication to public service and is actively involved in the San Antonio community. He is a member of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, and served as the Chairman of the San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE) Board. He is also a member of the San Antonio Bar Association and the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association. Additionally, Cruz is a member of 41st Leadership San Antonio class. He continues to work on issues including police community relations, community and economic development, and San Antonio youth and crime. Cruz previously served San Antonio as the Chairman of the San Antonio Zoning Commission from 2015 through 2016 after joining the commission in 2013. His past service also includes a term as Vice President of the San Antonio Black Lawyers Association.

When he has spare time, Cruz enjoys spending time with his family and his wife Michelle. Cruz is an active parishioner of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church.

Prior to all of this work in the legal profession and in the San Antonio community, Cruz served his country as a Yeoman Second Class in the United States Navy Reserves from 2003 until 2011; he was stationed in San Antonio and Singapore.

Two main issues affecting the Black community in the city and throughout Texas include promoting social progress and public safety and relationships with law enforcement.

Social Progress

Cruz has unveiled his plans for change not only for his district, but also for a growing city. He has unveiled a 12-point plan for social development in the city he vows to complete.

“San Antonio has a long history of being a diverse, vibrant, and inclusive community – values that are essential to a modern, progressive city,” he said. “As San Antonio continues to grow, we must become the shining example.”

Cruz Shaw says he will:

Support increasing the minimum wage for city employees and city contractors to $15 an hour: With our city continuing to grow, it is important we provide our residents with the opportunity to thrive. By increasing the minimum wage, we not only help alleviate issues of generational poverty but we also give our residents more disposable income to live, work, and invest back into our district.
“While more work needs to be done to better understand the economic impact an increase to the minimum wage would have on the city budget, it is critical that we find a way to make it happen,” he said.

Support the expansion of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance: While the 2014 expansion of the NDO and the creation of the office of Diversity and Inclusion were a positive first step in extending protective status to vulnerable groups, the city still has work to be done to ensure the protection of basic rights for all of its residents.

Cruz Shaw supports the expansion of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance to cover all classes of workplaces, not just those doing business with the city.

Support comprehensive reform to ensure pay equality: Equal pay for equal work must be a foundation of any progressive 21st century city. Cruz Shaw not only supports reforms that would ensure equal pay for women but also for minority groups that are often forgotten in the conversation.

Fight for immigrants and refugees: San Antonio has a history of being a diverse and welcoming city and given the current political climate, it is critical that our elected officials make it clear that they stand with our immigrant and refugee communities.

Push for affordable housing: As a resident of San Antonio’s East Side, Cruz Shaw has seen first-hand what gentrification is doing to historic communities and as a member of Council, Cruz will fight for greater investment in affordable housing and tax controls to provide relief to those seeing community change.

Support the expansion of Pre-k for SA: With the state continuing to underfund education, it is critical that our city take the lead in investing in our children from the beginning. In order to help better prepare our children for the world of tomorrow, we need to start ensuring all children have the opportunity to thrive, today. That starts with expanding access for our low-income families to resources like pre-k for SA.

Expand funding for city healthcare clinics and public health programs: Studies show that the single biggest determinant in your life expectancy is your address, and that’s appalling. With the future of the Affordable Care Act in jeopardy, a state unwilling to expand Medicaid, and a Care-link system that is tapped out of funding, it is critical that the city invest more money for public health clinics in order to create a healthier community.

Beyond healthcare, this also means the city has a role to play in addressing food and literacy deserts and providing education opportunities for those who need it. Much of this work could come through partnerships with local nonprofit organizations, but the city must take the lead.

Expand sick and parental leave: The United States is the only industrialized nation without parental leave. This is unacceptable and discriminatory. While Cruz believes that we should be fighting for the expansion of paid leave at the state and federal level, the City of San Antonio should lead by example and put an ordinance in place that extends mandatory sick and parental leave to all city employees.  Beyond maternal leave, this also means expanding access to paternal leave and leave for parents who adopt and foster. It is undeniable that longer leave leads to healthier outcomes for children and healthier children mean a healthier future for our city.

Support water security: As citizens from across the country continue to move to San Antonio, it is critical that we continue to support all options to diversify and protect our water. As such, Cruz Shaw support projects like Vista Ridge, reclamation plants, surface water reservoirs, and the in-land desalinization plant and will continue to support watersheds and other measures to protect the Edward’s Aquifer.

Improve San Antonio’s air quality and natural environment: With climate change causing devastating affects across the planet, it is critical that we take measures in this city to help protect our residents, air, water, and natural environment. As such, Cruz Shaw will support measures on council that lead to a healthier future for all of San Antonio, residents and environment alike.

Increase and diversify funding to VIA:  Progressive cities require strong public transportation, not only as a method to attract new residents to the urban core but to provide better options for those in our community who rely on their services every day. Investing more in VIA and alternative public transit systems, like expanding our bike share programs, mean more opportunities for our residents. As a start, we must restore the $10 million in funding to VIA. It will have an immediate impact at a low cost, and it is being matched with federal dollars. Beyond this initial investment, we must give VIA the full cent of the sales tax it could receive.

Support the development of rapid bus transit, light rail, and increased access to protected pedestrian and bike lanes:  This city is growing, and we cannot build our way out of it with more highways. The cost is unsustainable, favors investment in districts with more affluence, and encourages more sprawl, thereby further taxing our water and power systems.

Public Safety

According to Shaw, public safety is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires comprehensive and complete solutions.

As your councilman, Cruz Shaw won’t be afraid to get his hands dirty and will look to bring together leaders from across the community to develop a solution that works for everybody,” he said. “No longer will we apply ‘band-aids to broken bones’ in an effort to win political points. It’s time for comprehensive solutions to be applied across the board.”

Some of the proposed solutions include

Ensure that our public safety dollars are put to good use: Cruz Shaw will work with organizations ranging from neighborhood associations, to fellow council members, to local law enforcement to ensure everyone has the resources they need to truly make a difference when it comes to eliminating crime from our community.

Support community policing efforts:  As a seasoned attorney, Cruz Shaw understands the legal system and is familiar with local law enforcement leadership. He plans to work with those same leaders to solidify a true partnership with the community they serve. Community policing only works when both sides trust each other. Cruz will help enhance communication channels already in place and ensure an effective process where citizens and law enforcement work together to make a difference in the communities they live in and serve.

Develop proactive solutions to help stop crime before it happens: Attacking crime after it occurs is a reactionary measure. Cruz Shaw is also focused on developing proactive measures that will allow communities to stop crime before it happens. This involves empowering communities with the resources they need to connect with organizations in law enforcement, education, community organizations, and of course city hall, to reduce the opportunities for crime to develop in the first place.

Reduce the stray animal population: Animal welfare has been a recently overlooked public safety issue and needs to be addressed in the same comprehensive manner as the other public safety components. Working with Animal Care Services (ACS) and the many independent resources to assist in reducing the amount of stray animals and assist in finding these same animals a ‘forever home’ will also help provide safety for residents who are often deterred by strays in their own neighborhoods.

Work to reduce recidivism: A 2015 national report to the Texas Legislative Budget Board showed that 46.5% of adults are re-arrested within 3 years of release from prison and 62% are re-arrested from state jail. With juveniles, the number climbs even higher, with over 71% re-arrested within three years. While recidivism is a complex and multi-faceted issue, it is also one our community must aggressively work on solving by creating re-entry mentorship programs for those exiting prison and stopping arrests before they start through educational opportunities and training and stronger support through the expansion of programs like My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio.

It’s time for us to really fulfill our entire District’s potential,” he added. “It’s time to show that we really are the district on the rise. I hope you will join me.”
By: Darwin Campbell

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