“Anti-Charity” Ordinance Passes

Well, that ordinance passed. The same ordinance states that the City’s public lands can only be used for charitable meals with permission. And that cops can ask for proof of permission, whether the owner complains or not. (At least that’s how I read it.)

For the record:

Mayor Annise Parker and council members Jerry Davis, Ellen Cohen, Wanda Adams, Ed Gonzalez, James Rodriguez, Mike Laster, Larry Green, Stephen Costello, Andrew Burks and Melissa Noriega voted in favor of the ordinance. Council members Helena Brown, Mike Sullivan, Al Hoang, Oliver Pennington, C.O. Bradford and Jack Christie voted against it.

I’m disappointed, but not surprised. I can’t say I was against it for the same reasons as most of those who voted against it, I just thought it was a bad policy that could have been greatly improved. We went from talking about dignity and safety to beefing up private property rights (and park policing), it seems to me. And I haven’t really heard a good explanation of it from those who support it, although I’m probably one of the few who would have been willing to listen (or debate it).

Is it a political career-ender for any of these folks? Probably not. But voters like me do keep count.

What this whole episode did do is engage a lot of people who may not have been active voters. Unfortunately, when they see people they thought of as “progressive” voting for an ordinance like this, it clouds people’s perceptions of those officials. And when you lump in people who haven’t been involved because of any mistrust of what they perceive as “the system,” well, the whole combination has the possibility of becoming something. I’ll leave it to them to define it.

But I’ll be frank. I’m not interested in a referendum on getting rid of any passed ordinance in 2012. I’m probably in Democratic 2012 mode, but I think pairing up with right-wingers–the same right-wingers who are passing around an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino petition to get a racist ordinance proposed on the ballot–is not a good idea. Like I said, I had my reasons for being against this ordinance and they didn’t match up to the right-wing rhetoric on the issue. I could care less about what they call “religious freedom,” I just want people who need something to have access to what they need, papers be damned!

I’ll chalk this up to a debate lost, and make my voting decisions in 2013. Needless to say, some of those Council members I’ve voted for in the past, but who disagreed with me, would still have my vote.

Kuff has his take on “take three,” of this saga.

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