For his actions, Mayor Ron Nirenberg has suspended Bravo indefinitely and is investigating possible options for punishment.
The spat revolved around a proposed alternative to the Central Public Service (CPS) energy rebate that has received heated debate since it was proposed in early August. The idea for the rebate came from a windfall of $75,000,000 in CPS revenue.
The rebate would credit $30 per ratepayer on a monthly power bill, and received mixed support from the council.
Bravo believed that the rebate would not be meaningful, and proposed the money go towards weatherization initiatives to prevent outages and damage caused by extreme weather events. He claimed this proposal would benefit ratepayers to the tune of $300 in energy savings per year.
Responding to his idea, Diane Rath, executive director of the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG), told him the city would not have the staff or supply chain capacity to weatherize homes at the scale he was proposing.
AACOG’s “Weatherization Assistance Program” helps insulate homes to mitigate the cost of electricity for low-income families.
Bravo then addressed the council, saying, “Yes, there are supply chain issues, yes, there are labor issues, but when you talk to a psychologist, you have to distinguish between ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t.’”
“The issue here is not that we can’t, but there are some people here that won’t.”
Later in the meeting, he called out Sandoval directly: “I got so much criticism for my proposal from the mayor and Councilmember Sandoval for the lack of detail, but I see the same thing in [her] proposal.”
“I see a lack of an equity component. I have searched the document and cannot find any matches, and that gives me some concern.”
He continued to criticize Sandoval publicly, prompting Andy Segovia, the city’s chief legal advisor, to reprimand Bravo.
Speaking over Bravo, Segovia asserted, “The point of decorum I am trying to make is that your comments should be directed at the policy, not the councilmember.”
“I have not been addressing the council member directly, but the plan,” Bravo snapped back.
Bravo and Sandoval were previously involved in a romantic relationship, and according to city staff, he told her before the meeting that her not supporting his proposal was why he didn’t have children with her.
Bravo’s actions were severe enough for Nirenberg to indefinitely suspend him from all his committee assignments. A statement from the mayor reads, “[Bravo] has been suspended from his current City Council committee assignments and external appointments until further notice.”
“Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully and professionally, but elected officials should hold themselves to the highest standard,” he continued.
Now an independent investigation is underway to evaluate what should be done regarding the situation.
Possible punishments include permanently stripping Bravo of his committee assignments, which would hurt his ability to shape city policy. Bravo sits on the Transportation and Mobility, Municipal Utilities, and Community Health, Environment and Culture committees.
His name has already been pulled from the website of city council committee memberships.
In a statement on Twitter, Bravo wrote, “All members of council deserve to be treated with respect at all times. In this instance I fell short of that. I regret it and I wholeheartedly apologize to Councilwoman Sandoval.” He also reportedly emailed a similar apology to other city council members and staff.
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX-23) chimed in on Twitter after Bravo’s suspension, saying, “Councilman Bravo needs to resign IMMEDIATELY. His behavior crossed the line and a half hearted ‘I’m sorry’ email won’t fix it.”
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Hudson Callender is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of San Antonio, Texas. Hudson recently graduated cum laude from Trinity University with majors in Economics and Political Science, and loves to study ancient history. Hudson is also an avid mountaineer, backpacker, and paddler, often leading trips to remote wilderness areas. Outside of his love for nature, history, and Lone Star beer, Hudson spends his weekends arguing with his friends about football, and will always stick up for the Baylor Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and San Antonio Spurs.