WASHINGTON, September 19, 2013 — Following the successful recall of two senators in Colorado, another liberal elected official with an entrenched political family seems to be the next target after offending some Christian and conservative groups.
Over the summer, a non-discrimination ordinance (NDO) has been working its way through San Antonio, Texas’ city council. The mayor of this metro area of more than 2.23 million people is Julian Castro, whose identical twin brother is Congressman Joaquin Castro.
Their mother is Maria “Rosie” Castro, who helped establish the La Raza Unida political party in the 1970s, a party that, among other things, believes in a revolutionary nationalist unification of Chicano, Latino and Native American peoples of the southwestern United States. This group is identified with wanting to unify states from the southwest U.S. and join them with Mexico. The Castro brothers are Democrats, and some may consider La Raza to be a militant organization.
It is through this radicalized prism that Mayor Castro’s NDO is being viewed by concerned organizations, especially as rumors swirl that a potential Democrat nominee for president — Hillary Clinton — may be considering him for vice-president on her ticket. The River City Tea Party Patriots (RCTPP) learned of this ordinance which, as their president Brandon Burkhardt says, “does the opposite — [it] discriminates against Christians and conservatives alike.”
Pat Robertson, host of the Christian-based program “The 700 Club,” commented:
“This means if you speak out about your deeply held religious beliefs they’ll put you in jail or they’ll brand you some kind of a class three felon. This is terrible! You can’t have that. And it’s unconstitutionally vague — this vagueness, you don’t know whether you’re breaking it or not. That again is unconstitutional. So, this whole thing is outrageous, but that city council should be replaced.”
The RCTPP held protests outside of city hall, encouraging city council not to pass the NDO. Burkhardt says the RCTPP spent over 40 hours at city council over the period of two weeks, protesting, educating people and speaking at the hearings.
During city council hearings, each speaker was given one minute to speak, and could add up to two additional minutes if two friends gave their one minute away, according to Burkhardt.
The NDO passed through San Antonio city council on Sept. 5, by a vote of 8-3.
The day after the vote, the Bexar County Conservative Coalition (BCCC) and the RCTPP joined forces, Burkhardt explains. “We agreed that it would be best to go after the head of the snake rather than the tail, so we agreed on Mayor Julian Castro and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal.”
Weston Martinez, the president of BCCC, says that they have more than 3,200 signatures to recall Councilman Bernal. In an email to The Washington Times, Melinda Uriegas, Assistant City Clerk in San Antonio, confirmed that 5,377 valid signatures are required to hold a recall vote for Bernal. Uriegas also stated that 61,045 signatures are necessary in order to trigger a recall vote for Castro, and Martinez believes the group is on their way toward that goal. “There were 150 signatures collected last Sunday in only 1 ½ hours,” says Martinez. “This is a steady progression — not a quick hit.”
Martinez believes that there is real frustration with what he calls the “Castro regime” in San Antonio. “People are very unhappy with electric bills on the rise, water bills on the rise … the budget is insolvent and they gave massive pay raises.” He also believes that 75 to 80 percent of the thousands of people who spoke during council meetings were against the NDO.
Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott considered suing the city of San Antonio regarding its passage of the NDO. However, due to a small adjustment in wording in the ordinance that was passed, Abbott has decided not to pursue that lawsuit.
Regardless of Abbott’s decision, these grassroots organizations are working tirelessly to obtain enough signatures to force a recall vote for the elected officials who are behind pushing the NDO. The inspiring, gleam of hope from this story is that citizens are working together to rise up against what they perceive to be government overreach. Perhaps the events in Colorado will be only the beginning of concerned citizens recognizing that we all have the “power of the people,” and need only exercise it with focus in order to make a difference.
Requests made to several individuals for statements from Bernal and Castro’s offices were not answered.
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