San Antonio, Texas - During the Christian celebration of Holy Week, the nation will be looking at the San Antonio City Council for a potential revote on the airport concessions decision that banned the Chick-fil-A Restaurant.
SEE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S LETTER TO MAYOR NIRENBERG BELOW
Moving Towards Check Mate
In a brilliant chess move, Councilman Greg Brockhouse said, “I will move to amend the vote and call for a new vote to bring Chick-fil-A back to the airport. This motion to reconsider will be debated at our next Council meeting on April 18. If passed and added to the agenda, a vote to reinstate Chick-fil-A may occur on May 2. The removal of Chick-fil-A has embarrassed San Antonio. It does not reflect who we are as a community. We have a chance to correct this mistake by reinstating Chick-fil-A and sending a message that we are open for all, open for faith and open for business.”
There are allegations of religious discrimination and First Amendment Constitutional violations of Freedom of Speech. He was also the sole member of Council who sent a letter to the company, apologizing for the City decision. Mayor Nirenberg has singled this act as a political ploy of Councilman Greg Brockhouse who is campaigning for the position of mayor.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, has stated he based his decision on business, arguing that the city would lose revenue on Sundays when the restaurant closes for religious reasons. “There are many people in the community that are uncomfortable with Chick-fil-A,” Nirenberg said during a recent debate. “Have you ever tried to buy waffle fries on a Sunday? They’re closed! Fifteen percent of sales generated in the airport come on a Sunday.” Waffle Fries were not initially mentioned during his initial reasoning for the vote.
The North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce criticized the decision on Chick-Fil-A, saying it “compromised a business’s right to First Amendment freedom of speech and religion.” Brockhouse stated. “Now he’s telling Chick-fil-A, ‘Get out of the airport.’ Who’s next if you believe in the Lord? I don’t know.”
Some now broach the question, what about Starbucks? Starbucks is in the airport and supports Planned Parenthood so are they next?
The Conflicts Between Church and State
The Catholic Church added, “It is best in this circumstance that elected officials not restrict a restaurant chain’s right to conduct business,” San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said. “Let the marketplace decide, and consumers will select which businesses to support — or not support — with their dollars, as they always do.”
This 6-4-1 decision has had public scrutiny from the US Commission on Civil Rights, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, US Senator Ted Cruz, US Congressman Chip Roy, and the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. The ban has been said to violate Texas and Federal discriminatory laws.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) wrote on Twitter that the ban “has the stench of religious discrimination against Chick-fil-A.”
Since, Councilman Manny Pelaez of District 8 regrets and changed his “Yes” vote, the new voting tally is 5-5-1. Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran of District 3 voted to abstain. To achieve the simple majority vote, her vote is the tie breaker. Tupac’s famous song lyrics “All Eyes Are On Me” actually apply to her. After the historic vote there were many who commented on social media, who didn’t like her abstain vote.
Lack of Transparency and Consistency
According to Viagran’s statement provided by her chief of staff, she abstained on March 21, 2019 because “the process lacked transparency and consistency, and everyone involved - workers, businesses, and residents - deserves better.”
The vote was led by Councilman Robert Trevino, District 1, who celebrated on social media the 6-4-1 vote that removed the company from the San Antonio International Airport. He called it a major victory for the LGBTQ community, and, his district has the most people positively impacted.
The comments from the US Commission on Civil Rights Commission indicated the decision violated US Constitutional First Amendment Rights. If the Council refuses to acknowledge this major criticism, it could open the City of San Antonio and members of the Council up to lawsuits.
FUTURE ELECT-ABILITY DEPENDS ON ONE VOTE
Rebecca Viagran is rumored to have political ambitions past the Council. As a Christian, if she votes against a very popular restaurant, Chick-fil-a, her support in a very strong faith community may dwindle. Unfortunately, Viagran is at the center of the bull’s-eye. Does she protect the First Amendment of the US Constitution or does she advance the political agenda of the LGBTQ community? Does Viagran risk putting San Antonio in a financial loss position and guaranteed further attacks by her citizens?
Viagran has to make good within herself. Her district is mostly Catholic and home of the sacred missions. Her vote will be disappointing to some and celebrated by others. If Viagran expects to run for a higher office as Mayor or Texas State Representative or Senator positions, she will have to contend with a very heavily populated church community. Viagran’s decision is being looked at as the great blessing or the great curse.
Attorney General Paxton wrote to the City Council, “The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-Fil-A’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport.” He concludes, “There is no evidence indicating that Chick-Fil-A has ever maintained any policy or practice of discriminating against any group of people, and the City offered no such evidence as the basis of its action.”
“Our intention is to have a positive influence on our communities by donating to programs that benefit youth and education and are welcoming to all,” Rodney Bullard, executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation and vice president of corporate social responsibility, said in a statement. The company stated over $600,000 have been given local San Antonio students for their education needs.
Viagran’s vote will be on the largest stage of her political career. See SAObserver.com online breaking news, Stonewall Democrats send Reprimand Letters to their endorsed candidates, Councilman Courage, Palaez, and Mayor Nirenberg for “throwing the LGBTQ Community under the bus.”