Phil Hardberger

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Phil Hardberger
Linda Morgan 2007.jpg
Mayor of San Antonio
In office
June 7, 2005 – June 1, 2009
Preceded by Ed Garza
Succeeded by Julian Castro
Personal details
Born Phillip Duane Hardberger[1]
(1934-07-27) July 27, 1934 (age 80)
Morton, Texas
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda Morgan Hardberger
Profession Mayor
Judge
Attorney
Religion Baptist
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Cold War

Phillip Duane "Phil" Hardberger (born July 27, 1934) is a former mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He took office in June 2005. He is a Democrat; however, as with all mayoral, city council, and school board positions in Texas, Hardberger was elected on a non-partisan ballot.

Life and career[edit]

Family and early years[edit]

Hardberger was born in Morton, the seat of Cochran County in West Texas, to Homer Reeves Hardberger (1908–1986)[2] and the former Bess Scott (1913–2008). In 1943, the family moved to O'Donnell in Lynn County near Lubbock. As a youth, Hardberger worked in cotton gins. Mrs. Hardberger, a native of Burnet County, taught school in O'Donnell for thirty-three years and was a 1955 graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Son Phil graduated the same year from Baylor University in Waco. Hardberger was reared in the Baptist Church. He has a younger sister, Jan Peranteau, who was born in 1945 in Lamesa, the seat of Dawson County, also in the Texas South Plains country. Hardberger said that his mother was "the single most cheerful person I've ever known. She loved the trees and flowers here in San Antonio and always had a positive spirit."[3]

Military career[edit]

After Baylor, Hardberger was a captain in the United States Air Force and piloted the B-47 bomber. He was the executive secretary of the Peace Corps during the administration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. He was a special assistant to the director of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1968, he married the former Linda Morgan, who in 1956 survived the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria. He would then be appointed Associate Justice and then Chief Justice of the Fourth Court of Appeals. As chief justice, he presided over the Littleton v. Prange case, invalidating marriages in the court's jurisdiction if the transgendered partner is of the same birth sex.[4] It simultaneously also opened the option for some same-sex couples to marry as long as the two partners were assigned to the opposite sex at birth.[5]

Politics career[edit]

Hardberger's decision to run for mayor in the fall of 2004 was somewhat of a surprise because no one without a city council background had been elected mayor of San Antonio in modern history. He defeated Councilman Julian Castro, his ultimate successor as mayor, in a runoff on June 7, 2005. Hardberger himself succeeded Ed Garza, who was prohibited by city statute from serving more than two two-year terms.

He was in office during the fall of 2005 when the New Orleans Saints were displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina and set up their operations in San Antonio. The 2005 season was split between the Alamodome in San Antonio and LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Various media reports in the San Antonio Express-News indicated the owner and government officials in San Antonio were working behind the scenes concerning a possible permanent relocation to San Antonio. Hardberger pushed a strong verbal campaign to pursue the Saints. Other officials, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, had indicated they would also support a relocation to San Antonio, including using funding to upgrade the Alamodome, or possibly build a new stadium.

It is disputed in some circles as to the amount of discussions that happened between Mayor Hardberger and the New Orleans Saints. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Mayor Hardberger also encouraged Saints owner Tom Benson to sue the NFL and commissioner Paul Tagliabue to try to keep the team in San Antonio permanently.[6] No lawsuit was ever filed. Hardberger hasn't given up hope on another professional sports team even though the Saints have returned to New Orleans when he said, "Sometimes dates do lead to marriage proposals. We don't have to be a one-franchise town."[7] Hardberger goes on to say,"I'm going to support the county judge on this Marlins thing," Hardberger says. "But I have not changed my mind about the NFL. Baseball is a great game. But there isn't any doubt in my mind that, if we're going to take on an additional professional franchise, the great majority of people here would like a football team."..."I am absolutely certain that we will wind up with an NFL team in the next few years. It is coming, and if it's not the Saints, it will be somebody else."[8]

At the time Hardberger was first elected the city had been in talks with Major League Soccer to bring a franchise to the city as part of the league's continued expansion plans. Hardberger put an end to the talks, stating "Goodbye. That's what I would tell MLS," contending that the deal did not make financial sense for San Antonio.[9]

Hardberger was re-elected in May 2007[10] and completed his term in May 2009. One of his final acts as Mayor was to garner support to change the city’s restrictive mayoral term limits from two to four two-year terms.[11]

Today, Hardberger is widely viewed as one of the city’s most successful mayors. He captured 77 percent of the vote during his re-election in 2007 and left the mayor’s office at the end of his second term with an approval rating of 86 percent.[12] During his two terms in office he was instrumental in leading San Antonio’s response to Katrina and Rita victims, growing San Antonio’s park space with the acquisition of Voelcker Park and the new San Antonio River expansion, starting Haven for Hope as a new city facility for San Antonio’s growing homeless population, and setting the city on the road to being recognized as a green city as a result of its Mission Verde initiative.[13][14] Hardberger also was responsible for redeveloping Main Plaza to restore the city’s original downtown center of government and society (dating to Spanish territorial days) and for bringing on Sheryl Sculley as City Manager.[15]

After mayorship[edit]

In December 2009, in recognition of the former mayor’s leadership and foresight in championing quality of life projects, the City of San Antonio announced it was changing the name of Voelcker Park to Phil Hardberger Park.[16]

In January 2010, Hardberger became a shareholder at Cox Smith,[17] the largest law firm in San Antonio and one of the leading business law firms in Texas. He supports the firm’s Litigation,[18] Appellate,[19] Public Law[20] and Economic Development practices, and is actively involved in the firm’s external affairs and community relations.[12] Hardberger said he plans to continue working on issues surrounding the city’s River Walk expansion, development of the Bexar County Performing Arts Center and completion of Phil Hardberger Park.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baird, Mike (April 27, 2007). "SA mayor: Keep bayfront beautiful". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi
  3. ^ "Bess Scott Hardberger | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal". Lubbockonline.com. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  4. ^ "Copy of Littleton v. Prange". Christielee.net. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  5. ^ "Some Gay Marriages Legal in Texas". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  6. ^ MySA.com: Columnists[dead link]
  7. ^ MySA.com: Editorials[dead link]
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Major League Soccer ends talks with San Antonio". Usatoday.Com. 2005-06-09. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  10. ^ MySA.com: Politics[dead link]
  11. ^ http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/San-Antonio-Term-Limits-Proposal-Passes/1O5Sbca03EaizbHu7f52oQ.cspx
  12. ^ a b "Business development, quality of life, top priorities for Hardberger in his new role - San Antonio Business Journal". Sanantonio.bizjournals.com. 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  13. ^ "Hardberger’s impact historic, leaders say - San Antonio Business Journal". Sanantonio.bizjournals.com. 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  14. ^ "madeinsatx.com". madeinsatx.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  15. ^ Rodriguez, Ken “Privately courted Sculley expected to be the next city manager“ San Antonio Express News 29 Aug. 2005
  16. ^ [2][dead link]
  17. ^ "coxsmith.com". coxsmith.com. 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  18. ^ [3][dead link]
  19. ^ "Texas Appellate Attorneys - Cox | Smith". Coxsmith.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  20. ^ "Public Law - Cox | Smith". Coxsmith.com. Retrieved 2013-07-06. 
  21. ^ [4][dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ed Garza
Mayor of San Antonio, Texas
2005-2009
Succeeded by
Julian Castro