Friday, September 20, 2013

Castro & Cronies My Have Cut Themselves

San Antonio's Anti-Discrimination Ordinance has come under a lot of fire and heated debate through and since its passing. The repercussions continue as several elected officials in the city face ramifications including potential recall elections.

The ordinance that passed contained some key revisions prior to its final version. Yet, some portions of the ordinance may become a double-edged sword that those who opposed the ordinance may use against its proponents.

The controversial ordinance is not yet publicly available through the company contracted to publish San Antonio's official ordinances online. Municode still has the older version of the city ordinances listed under "current", and does not yet contain the Article X portion of Part II Chapter 2 that the ordinance created.The only official document currently available is a "fact sheet" circulated by the ordinances supporters within the city government.

Several versions of the draft proposal are still circulating, however, stirring further controversy. One version contains the following text under section 2-552 of Part II (code) chapter 2 (administration):

(b)     Prior Discriminatory Acts.

         No person shall be appointed to a position if the City Council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or handicapdisability.

(c)     Discrimination by Appointed Officials – Malfeasance.
        (1)  No appointed official or member of a board or commission shall engage in discrimination or demonstrate a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group of persons, or organization on the basis ofrace, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or handicapdisability, while serving in such public position.

      (2)  Violation of this standard shall be considered malfeasance in office, and the City Council shall be authorized to take action as provided by law to remove the offending person from office.

Another version of the draft removed paragraph (b). It revises paragraph (c) to read any act by "word or deed" while "actively serving in office". If this second version is the one that passed, it would make perfect sense. Under the original paragraph (b), Julian Castro and many members of the city council would be subject to immediate removal from office. So would several of their appointees.

Julian Castro has a very strong past affiliation with La Raza, an organization that seeks to make the Southwestern States from Texas to California part of Mexico. The group has made several attacks against non-Hispanic and non-Latino races. Castro's mother was rather high in the organization. Julian and his twin brother have both attended and participated in La Raza events. Castro has appointed La Raza members to various city offices.

Furthermore, under paragraph (c), if Castro received any campaign assistance from La Raza or made appearances at any of their events since taking office, he is in violation of the ordinance.

Considering the final, passed, effective version of the ordinance is not yet available to the public, it's unknown which version passed. It is highly likely that the city council, seeing the potential double-edged sword swinging back towards their careers, cut it.

The double-edged rule is one that cautions policy makers and legislators to be wary of what they enact lest those actions be used against them should an opposing party gain control. But this rule of politics is not the last of the woes for the ordinance's proponents.

Grass roots organizations within San Antonio are circulating petitions to recall Julian Castro and his allies on the City Council. The ordinance is a major catalyst for the efforts.

Members of the organizations do not oppose anti-discrimination laws. They purport that the new ordinance is discriminatory against certain religious beliefs. The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the federal government (and any local or state government) from establishing an official religion. That includes secularism and atheism. Prohibiting somebody from political office, or denying them a business license, because they have strong religious convictions is picking a religion of secularism or atheism, violating the second portion of that clause. That second part of the religion clause makes it illegal to restrict any tasteful,  free, public practice of any religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Druidry, Islam, or Atheism.

The law also infringes upon private property rights. Julian Castro has demonstrated a lack of respect of those rights, in the past. For example, he lobbied to have certain private lands confiscated and amended/annexed to the San Antonio Mission National Park.  This ordinance seeks to tell private business owners whom they can and cannot serve. They should be allowed to service the customers of their choice and let the market decide if any exclusionary practices make or break their businesses. Those businesses are, after all, their private property.