It was one of the last chances residents had to speak directly to each council member about a proposed revision to San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance.
More than 700 people – more than last week – signed up. After midnight, Mayor Julián Castro had those who had yet to speak line up so they could approach the podium quickly because the council will be back in the morning to hear from more citizens ahead of its expected vote on the matter.
In the days leading up to the San Antonio City Council vote on the proposed revisions to the non-discrimination ordinance, the steps in front of City Hall have transformed into a stage for supporters and opponents.
On Wednesday, two groups that disagree with each other had an event planned for the same time.
San Antonio's non-discrimination ordinance is not only attracting supporters and opposition from secular communities, faith leaders are also weighing in on the issue that would add gender identity, sexual orientation and veteran status to the list of protected classes in the city.
The proposal has been on the table for months, allowing ample time for dialogue and debate.
But the conversation will conclude on Thursday when the city council will finally vote on whether to add the three groups of people to the list of protections already in place.
James Stevens is responsible for releasing the recording that revealed District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan's view on homosexuality, but isn't sure what's next for him. And although Stevens hasn't got a lot sleep lately, he does still believe he did the right thing.
"I’m not seeking any notoriety. And in fact I think every interview I do is just hurting my chances at getting a job somewhere," he said. "But people do have questions and I’m happy to answer."
The San Antonio City Council dissected the city’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance during a marathon B session Wednesday before turning the microphone over to nearly 500 people who signed up to speak during the citizens to be heard portion of the meeting.
City Attorney Michael Bernard defined the ordinance for the council during a brief presentation. Mayor Julián Castro then went back over many of the definitions and used examples to spell out for the audience what the proposal would do if passed.
Groups on both sides of San Antonio's proposed non-discrimination ordinance have fought fiercely about the matter, which would add veteran status, sexual orientation and gender identity to the language already in place.
But now, no one is in agreement over the ordinance.
That is because the city's latest draft spells out in detail what will be a part of the ordinance and what will not be. It's what will not be included that has many previous supporters up in arms.
The process for screening Texas science textbooks has been contentious to say the least. Whether kids should be taught the "other" theories of creation in science textbooks is at the heart of the controversy.
Professor Michael Soto, a former State Board of Education member, explains how the board operates with reviewers along with documentary filmmaker Scott Thurman, whose documentary "The Revisionaries" took a critical look at the SBOE process a few years ago.
Cyber security specialist and former councilwoman Leticia Ozuna is in the business of secret-keeping. She knew it was only a matter of time before the remarks about her family that were made by Councilwoman Elisa Chan and her staff in a recording released by a former staffer became public.
Here's part of it, from the Express-News audio:
Jeff Bazan (former chief of policy to Chan): "That's why, for example, Councilwoman Ozuna is still married to that lady because that lady was born a man. So that marriage is still valid in the State of Texas."