Mayor Henry Cisneros acknowledged he has encountered marital problems and has a "very close" relationship with another woman, but the prominent Hispanic politician said he has no plans to seek a divorce.
"I don't know how it's going to come out," a subdued Cisneros told reporters Friday.The 41-year-old mayor announced last month he would not seek a fifth two-year term next year.
Asked to describe the status of his marriage and his reported relationship with a woman with whom he has worked on fund-raising campaigns, Cisneros said: "That's nobody's business. I'm saying that I'm a human being in addition to being mayor. And I'm saying that I'm not perfect."
Cisneros declined to explain the nature of the relationship, saying, "All I would ask for is some understanding."
He described the woman, Linda Medlar, 39, wife of a jewelry and coin dealer, as a "very intelligent, bright, attractive person" and said she "clearly has been very close."
Cisneros said, "She, I think, understands the great difficulty of my situation. That is to say, I am a public official with responsibilities and a sense of wanting to serve the community."
Medlar told the San Antonio Express News Friday that Cisneros is "the love of my life. I have never before met such a charming, talented man. Our rapport is marvelous and we hope to live out the rest of our lives together."
When Cisneros was elected mayor of San Antonio in 1981, he became the first Hispanic mayor of a major Texas city and emerged as one of the nation's top Hispanic leaders.
Cisneros expressed regret over published reports of rumors questioning the status of his 19-year marriage to Mary Alice Cisneros.
"I'm sorry these things got brought out in public," he said.
Cisneros said he needed time to resolve personal problems.
Though he said the future of his two teenage daughters and infant son, who faces major surgery in the next year for a series of birth defects, must be considered, Cisneros said "no decisions have been made" about the future of his marriage.
Cisneros cited personal reasons, including the need to spend more time with his son and the desire to seek a more lucrative job, when he announced last month that he will not seek another term as mayor - a position for which he is paid an annual base salary of only $4,040. He has supplemented his income mainly through speaking engagements.