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The Que Que

The Que Que: Domestic partnerships pass split Council, Milton Lee returns as Perry’s dump pick, ICE’s Secure Communities Task Force a bust, ACS shakeup

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Domestic partnerships pass split Council

Last week, with an 8-3 vote, Council approved a budget granting domestic-partner benefits to gay and straight city employees, capping countless hours of intense, fiery debate that roiled nearly every community budget hearing over the past month. LGBT advocates and several on council cheered the vote as a step toward equality. Mayor Julián Castro remarked, “There are not going to be any second class citizens in San Antonio,” while District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña said, “My vote is to take care of people. I want to send a message of respect, that each and every one of those individuals are valued.” Only David Medina (District 5), Elisa Chan (District 9), and Carlton Soules (District 10) voted against the proposal.

Some tried to frame their opposition as a financial argument, though new policy comes at a miniscule cost to the city, according to the city manager’s estimates. Castro aptly noted, “We have a $2.2 billion budget. … It’s ironic, then, that we spend most of our time talking about an item that does equal .014 percent,” or $300,000. But for the opponents on the religious right who had packed city meetings for weeks, the move marks San Antonio’s quick descent into moral decay.

Groups like the so-called San Antonio Family Association and an assembly of local pastors calling themselves Voices for Marriage already fuming over the San Pedro Playhouse’s staging of the gay-Christ-portraying Corpus Christi quickly latched onto the issue. Led by rallying cry that “Demonic forces are converging on S.A.” (courtesy of local pastor Gerald Ripley), the small but boisterous group of social conservatives hit nearly every budget hearing with cries of “blasphemy.”

George Rodriguez, president of the San Antonio Tea Party, decried the city’s “liberal social agenda” before threatening to spark a recall election drive, saying “there are morals and there is right and wrong.”

Local attorney Allan Parker with the conservative Justice Foundation even made an appearance before the council vote, making veiled threats of possible legal action. San Antonio joins four other Texas cities in offering domestic partnership benefits, none of which have been challenged in court for constitutionality.

 

Milton Lee returns as Perry’s dump pick

Remember when we suggested Rick Perry was looking for stooges to help turn one of his top funder’s nuclear dumps into a national enterprise? Well, he had to look no further than former CPS Energy CEO Milton Lee. Perry’s new appointments to the state commission governing the two-state Texas-Vermont Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, announced last week, brought in a slate of new faces who will help determine the future of radioactive-waste dumping in Texas — and how much Dallas billionaire Perry donor Harold Simmons will make on the state’s favored Waste Control Specialists’ site in Andrews County.

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