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Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Just a Thought" continues in La Prensa of SA, 6-15

Just a Thought: Maria Antoinetta Berriozabal
By Steve Walker

Continuing on my mission to write about local and national Hispanic icons for the past eight weeks with surnames that include Chavez, Martinez, Duran, Gonzalez, and a few more, this week I choose a female.

Of those I have written to date, only one has been female, that being State Senator Leticia van de Putte. It is only fitting I write about another Latina icon, my good friend former Councilwoman Maria Antoinetta Berriozbal.

Former Councilwoman Berriozabal served 10 years on the City Council representing District 1. She was the first Hispanic woman to do so in a major city in Texas. Setting a high standard for others who have followed her in that council district include Mary Alice Cisneros, Roger Perez, Roger Flores Sr. & Jr. and now Diego Bernal.

Since leaving the council my friend has continued to be active in the community and has even written a book entitled 'Maria, daughter of Immigrants."
During my unsuccessful Congressional run back in the 90s we were primary opponents in a race that was ultimately won by our other friend Charlie Gonzalez who I wrote about three weeks ago. It is amazing when you consider running for office can be an uncomfortable experience what with jousting with your opponents and attempting to convince the voter why you are better for the job without resorting to negative ads, comments and insinuations.

During that race there was no acrimony between us and she led the pack in keeping us all in line and campaigning on a positive note without rancor. She let us know it was about what we could bring to the table. She emphasized that we didn’t have to try to make our opponents look bad. I admired her for that.          

From that time Maria and her husband, Dr. Manny Berriozabal and I have been friends. Any time she or her husband is honored at various events I am always invited to come and cover the event in photos. I enjoy doing that. She always photographs well too.

When I ran into her at this year’s King William Parade during Fiesta, she introduced me to numerous people in the crowd while I was taking photos. She introduced me as her friend who was her political opponent in a congressional race. We laugh about it a lot that we survived politics and still are buddies.

She is one of the classiest women I know, and I know a few. I believe she is far from done in making San Antonio a better place. I hope I am there when she does it. I will keep my camera handy just in case so I can document it.

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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