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Councilman Carlton Soules Records B Session Because City Did Not Broadcast Meeting

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

He’s not a multi-media professional, nor does he have formal training in audio/visual technology.

But District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules had last week’s B session recorded and posted to his website because it was not broadcast on the city’s public access channel, TVSA.

On the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s “I Have a Dream" speech and the march on Washington, the San Antonio City Council discussed proposed revisions to its non-discrimination ordinance. Following the three and a half hour meeting, the council heard from hundreds of people who signed up to speak in support and opposition of the measure.

Soules has raised many questions over the ordinance. He believes there are many flaws that create vulnerabilities for the city should the ordinance pass.

But he also wondered why the city wouldn’t broadcast the B session.

"From a citizen's standpoint it's very important, and because of that, regardless of what side of the issue you're on, transparency is paramount,” he said.

“The city has never aired B session,” said a city spokesperson.

The spokesperson repeated the statement when asked if the city ever considered airing B session last week, or if It would air the council’s second Citizens To Be Heard segment where residents voiced their support or opposition to the proposal.

On his website, Soules broke down the video into segments by topic and by council member’s questions. He said it didn’t make sense that the city wouldn’t want as many people as possible to see such a widely debated issue.

“We've only had one meeting. We're only going to have one meeting where we actually debate this and discuss it,” he said.

The city council typically meets in a smaller room inside Municipal Plaza, where there are no cameras. The meetings have been taking place inside the large council chambers, which is equipped with cameras and broadcasting equipment, because of the interest from the public.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.