April 18


War bond

Last spring, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus teamed up with Bexar County DA Susan Reed to implement a novel way to crack down on the South Side prostitution trade along Presa and Roosevelt. Prosecutors would ask judges to forbid people arrested for street-walking from returning to their old stomping grounds as a condition of bail or probation. Get caught inside the off-limit territory, and you could end up back in front of the judge, who could add additional penalties or send you to jail.


Entertaining Jack

In a large private room at the Magnolia Pancake Haus on Embassy Oaks, Jack Riccardi sits at the head of a long table comprised mostly of devoted listeners who've called or written in during his weekday broadcast of "The Jack Riccardi Show" on 550 KTSA Talk Radio. "The Riccardi Party Luncheon" is a golden and recurring opportunity for invited guests to meet the man Talkers Magazine annually lists as one of "America's Most Influential Talk Show Hosts."


Soules calls for a bigger, better Council

In 1977, San Antonio had a population of about 700,000 and 10 City Council members to represent it. These days, San Antonio has a population of 1.33 million, and it still has 10 City Council members. If my math isn’t failing me, that means Council members are expected to represent nearly twice as many people as they did back then. The worst indignity? They haven’t even gotten their 20 bucks a week in walking-around money bumped up to 40.

Even before new District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules launched his 2011 campaign, he looked at that rapidly expanding constituent-to-representative ratio and saw trouble on the horizon. After fourth months of campaigning and two months on the job, he feels even more strongly about it.


New bag, old tricks

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced plans Monday to ban the plastic bag from the state capital, pushing his formerly weird city clean out of super-freak territory, following as it does in the footsteps of humble Brownsville and South Padre, where the party never ends. Leffingwell has the declared support of two council members, and the head of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club gives the proposal a fair chance of passing. If he's successful, San Antonio will be a star of corporate cooperation in a constellation of South Texas resistance.

San Antonio's new Change is in the Bag recycling pilot program, which officially kicked off late last month (note the billboards), is managed by none other than the Texas Retailers Association, whose president spent part of this spring up in Austin, lobbying for Trojan Horse legislation. It looked like a recycling program on the outside, but contained a provision that would have killed any local bag bans in favor of its partial solution.


Long-term parking problems

In a recent issue of the San Antonio Current, Michael Barajas wrote in depth about the HemisFair Park redevelopment effort, which is on the verge of having a final master plan. Parking was mentioned once in the feature. After reporting that a chief problem for HemisFair is its “disjointed layout that isolates the park, and a lack of green space,” Barajas goes on to write that “parking woes also dog the park, according to the planners — a chief complaint after Luminaria was relocated exclusively inside the HemisFair this year.”

There is no indication that Barajas sees the monumental disconnect between these two statements, but I hope Andres Andujar and the other planners do. Take a second to look at HemisFair from above. If you ignore the Convention Center, parking lots are the single most ubiquitous feature of the park. They are the primary reason for the lack of green space, and contribute quite a bit to the disjointed feel of this sprawling downtown public space.


The Mick of time

At 11:55 p.m. on Friday, June 24, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that made the Empire State the sixth and largest U.S. state to legalize gay marriage only two years after a nearly identical bill had failed. Glow sticks waved and the anthemic "We Are Family" blasted through speakers in at least 10 percent of the country. In the Alamo City, the monumental news inspired even the lurkiest of gay advocates to change their Facebook profile pic to the rainbow version of the traditional "I love New York" logo. Where are those Donna Summer cassette tapes when you need them?

One of the many celebrants of the long-awaited victory was Rev. Mick Hinson of Metropolitan Community Church of San Antonio, who believes coast to coast equality may not be far away. This week, I met with him to chat about his life's work and to find out why, despite this rise of equality, he sometimes feels he got the middle seat on the plane ride to heaven.


Ramos says it's his party, and he'll file if he wants to

Here’s how things work in the world of Dan Ramos.

The ousted Bexar County Democratic Party chairman – who stubbornly refuses to accept his ouster – and his small cadre of supporters warn that the party is headed for trouble under recently installed chair Choco Meza because the Republican Party might challenge the legality of any slate of Democratic candidates filed by Meza. Of course, the only reason Republicans would think to do something like that is because Ramos is openly challenging Meza’s legal standing as party chair.

Chicken, I’d like to introduce you to egg.


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