Judge Allows Fire Union Charter Amendments On Ballot
A Bexar County district court judge has ruled that the City Council may add three city charter amendments proposed by the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association to the November ballot.
Judge Cathleen Stryker of the 224th District Court sided with the fire union Wednesday afternoon. She denied a temporary restraining order requested by Secure San Antonio’s Future, a political action committee that opposed the charter amendments. The PAC was seeking to block the City Council from sending the proposition to voters.
Fire union attorney Chris Feldman says he’s pleased with the decision.
“This was an attempt by big moneyed interests keep people from having their voices heard in November,” he said.
The PAC filed its lawsuit last week against the fire union saying the union illegally obtained signatures using union dues to pay for the gathering of signatures by a petition gathering company. The union claims it did nothing wrong. The PAC claims the charter amendments would be damaging to the city’s way of governing; a belief also held by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
The City Council has until Aug. 20 to call for the proposed charter amendments to be placed on the November ballot. Its meeting Thursday is the last regularly scheduled opportunity to do so.
The union was seeking full injunctive relief from the lawsuit but the “injunctive relief” portion was crossed out of the judge’s order, meaning further legal action can still move forward.
“Overall, the case will still go forward and how the other side chooses to proceed is up to them, but the judge’s initial ruling today makes clear the city council needs to vote on this matter,” Feldman said.
Christian Archer campaign manager for the Secure San Antonio’s Future, said:“There’s still time to hear the legal arguments about the injunction that we filed saying that they broke the law which clearly they did.”
Archer says the PAC is deciding on how to move forward in the case.
“Our campaign has been preparing for a fight at the ballot box all along,” Archer said. “We were either going to defeat them at the courthouse or defeat them at the ballot box and we’re prepared to do both.”
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.