News Roundup: Neverending Stories
Stickers, housing ordinances continue to attract debate
By the News Staff,
9:15AM, Mon. Mar. 23, 2015
In this week's News Roundup, a local lawyer positions himself in the middle of Stickergate; the Lege debates SOI ordinances, especially Austin's; and Sen. Cruz kicks off the 2016 presidential campaign season.
• Look at Me!: Austin DWI lawyer and publicity hound Adam Reposa, who has indirectly claimed credit for the "exclusively for WHITE PEOPLE" stickers posted on some East Austin businesses last week, is reportedly out of town at the moment, but on Facebook has promised a press conference sometime this week to explain his actions (or his claims). In two videos posted to YouTube, a shirtless (and then pantless) Reposa rants incoherently about racism and gentrification and something he calls "The Technology," and counsels viewers "not to give a fuck." In one of the videos (both shot by a collaborator), he's at home in his underwear, holding a cat; in the other (shot at night), he's shirtless and standing in front of Sugar Mama's bakery, one of the businesses originally tagged with a sticker as supposedly excluding people of color, under a nonexistent city of Austin "partition" program. Reposa is best known for bloviating internet ads hawking his legal services, and for a contempt of court sentence and three-year law license probation for making lewd gestures in court, among other actions. – Michael King
• Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, has offered an amendment that would protect Austin from a potential law barring cities from adopting source of income discrimination ordinances.
Lubbock Republican Sen. Charles Perry’s SB 267 would allow landlords to continue to refuse accepting renters who receive some government subsidies such as U.S. Housing and Urban Development Housing Choice Voucher program funds (commonly referred to as Section 8). Perry filed his bill a few days after Austin passed its SOI ordinance, which has seen a legal volley brought on by litigation from the Austin Apartment Association – the latest ruling by the 5th Circuit has allowed the ordinance to go back into effect for now. Watson’s amendment would exempt ordinances that were enacted prior to January 2015 – that means Austin’s measure would not be repealed.
“While it may appear to be a statewide bill on its face, it’s clear the bill is specifically targeted,” said Watson during a Senate Business and Commerce Committee hearing last week. “...The Legislature should not restrict cities that have already gone through a process and passed their ordinances. If it wants to pass a statewide policy, it should do so prospectively; it shouldn’t retroactively punish, or overrule or become an appellate court for a local jurisdiction that has already passed it."
The amendment passed with a 5-3 vote. The approved bill now moves to the full Senate. – Mary Tuma
• Still Diving: City Council will hold two more policy workshops today (March 23). The morning session (9-11am) will address "City Response to Citizens Request for Services," featuring speakers from the city manager's office, Austin 3-1-1, the Code Department and APD. The afternoon session (12:30-2:30pm) will address "Public Safety Service Delivery," with speakers covering a range of public safety issues, from police response to disaster response.
The regular meeting convenes Thursday, March 26 at 11am (work session Tuesday, 9am), and the agenda includes the return of the previously postponed construction manager-at-risk decision for the ABIA parking garage and the revision of the noise ordinance, as well as a few additional contracts of various sorts and a half-dozen zoning cases. – M.K.