Recent attention has been a misdirection fueled by speculation
There’s been a lot of attention on me lately, and some of it appears to be just a mean-spirited effort to tarnish a reputation that I’ve worked hard throughout my life to earn and keep. When I ran for office I understood that I might be a target to attract those that may be best described as “political enemies.” I do and have always thought that even these folks would share a common goal of a better San Marcos and would join me in helping out our small businesses.
Following my election, I asked our Ethics Review Commission to weigh in on matters potentially impacting properties that I had an economic interest in downtown and tell me if I could vote on these specific matters. To date I’ve spent over $5,000 of my personal money seeking ethics opinions from an attorney before I cast a vote to ensure no conflicts exist with my personal businesses. They gave me approval to vote on all three of these questions. This most recent program, called the Business, Improvement and Growth Program (or BIG) was designed to help level the playing field for local businesses in their fight to stay competitive with national and regional competitors. On April 5, 2016 I voted to approve our City Manager’s request to expand an existing program already available in our downtown, and already funded by previous budgets, for other areas of the city as well as our downtown.
Under the BIG program, locally owned business that happened to be tenants were allowed to apply with the approval of their landlord. That is what tenants in buildings I have a financial interest did--they asked permission for their business to apply for the BIG program. To be very clear, since this program was created, I have not been an applicant for any grant under this program and I never intend to be. But it would not be fair to tell my tenants they cannot apply for a program funded by their own hard-earned tax dollars, simply because their landlord serves on City Council.
Based upon my unwavering support for locally-owned small businesses in our community, anti-small business activists and a candidate have enlisted the news media, in particular KXAN and Jody Barr, an investigative reporter, to delve into “possible” violations of our City’s ethics ordinance. His own “ethics expert” stated that “Scott Gregson did nothing wrong when he voted to approve the BIG Program but technically if he voted on budgets that fund that program later that could mean trouble.” I have received written confirmation from our Assistant City Manager and Chief Financial Officer that no budget that I have voted on since I have been in office has funded this program.
As a result of this mean-spirited effort, great businesses like Blue Dahlia, Buzzmill, and Rita’s Parlour have been placed in the cross-hairs of attacks intended only to hurt me and win an election, in which I am not even a candidate. Details matter, and I would hope any serious candidate for City Council would research and seek facts rather than harm small businesses with unfounded political attacks
During my final days in office as a City Council member, I will continue to do my homework, listen to all sides and ethically vote my conscience on matters before me. It is and has been an honor to serve our city and I hope to continue to do so on the other boards and commissions I have the privilege of serving.
Downtown Resident, Local Small Business Owner and City Councilmember