Two siblings face off for Austin City Council runoff

Two siblings are facing off in a runoff for Austin City Council on Tuesday.

Incumbent District 3 City Council Member Sabino "Pio" Renteria and longtime environmental activist Susana Almanza are brother and sister.

"I want the people to see it as I'm a political opponent," Almanza said. 

Almanza and Renteria are alongside candidates in districts 1 and 8 fighting in runoffs for a seat on the dais.

"One of the big differences between myself and Councilman Renteria is that I look at community interests and people's interests and he looks at developers' interests," Almanza said.  

"I do know a lot of the developers because they're the ones that basically are doing all of the work for us. These non-profits don't build houses, they fund houses to get builders to come in," Renteria said.

Almanza is Director of PODER, an environmental social justice organization. When Precourt Sports Ventures was trying to figure out where they could put a Major League Soccer stadium, Roy G. Guerrero Park came up. Almanza's group fought hard against it.

"It's an environmentally-sensitive area. It also is home to a lot of the deer, the Red Tail Fox and rabbits and other insects, it's a very beautiful park," Almanza said.  

Council Member Renteria thought Roy G. Guerrero would have been a good spot for it because the stadium wouldn't have taken up the entire park. He says in the end the surrounding community and the park itself could have benefited.

"When we increase our sales tax bases, we have extra money to spend on services that's needed, especially in East Austin so that's what I was looking at," Renteria said.

Almanza also disagrees with Renteria on how to achieve affordable housing.

"The land value is what's driving this and you know when you have a lot that's a residential lot that's selling for $300,000 plus there's not much of affordable units you can build on there unless you build density," Renteria said.

"If you're building at 60 percent median income for a family of four that's $65,000, the majority of people in District 3 are living from $28,000 to $48,000 median income," Almanza said.

For Almanza it's the issues she wants voters to look at. Not the sibling relationship.

"If you Google Susana Almanza anywhere from local to international level, nowhere is it mentioned that I'm Sabino Renteria's sister and I don't think that it should be mentioned now. I'm a political opponent, I'm addressing real critical issues," she said.

"I have no problem with a brother-sister campaign. You know I always believed that you have a right in this country to run for public office and that's what's she's doing and my hat goes off to her," Renteria said.

The polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and will close at 7 p.m.