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City Council will discuss whether to again consider the removal of Chick-fil-A from an airport concessionaire contract next week after Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) used a procedural move Thursday that will force Council to vote on whether to re-vote on the contract.
It will take a simple majority vote next week to get a re-vote on the City Council’s official agenda on May 2 – two days ahead of the local municipal election where Brockhouse is challenging Mayor Ron Nirenberg for his spot at the head of the dais. The vote has become a centerpiece of contention between the two candidates at mayoral debates, and several business leaders and organizations have voiced their concerns over the original vote. Attorney General Ken Paxton has called for an investigation into the vote.
Discussion next week will be limited only to whether Council should put it on the May 2 meeting agenda – not the contract or issues surrounding the removal of the fast food restaurant. If the vote makes the agenda, it would take a supermajority (two-thirds) vote to revisit the fast food chain’s removal.
At least one Council member, Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8), regrets voting with the 6-4 majority last month.
The motion to remove the fast food chain, launched by Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), was based on the company’s reputation for supporting anti-LGBTQIA groups.
Nirenberg, however, said he just wants to put restaurants in the airport that are open on Sundays and local.
Brockhouse wants to send a “nationwide message that we are an all-inclusive and welcoming city,” he said, adding that the decision to remove Chick-fil-A because of its religious affiliation and because it’s closed on Sunday was “egregious.”
“To make up for his complete lack of vision for the future, Councilman Brockhouse is fixating on a fast food subcontract to try and pump up his personal political ambitions,” Nirenberg said in a statement. “The Council will consider his motion next week, but it’s time to get back to important issues.”
San Antonio is not the only city to have misgivings about putting Chick-fil-A in its airport. The concessions operator for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport also nixed the fast food chain from its airport lineup citing Chick-fil-A’s political stances. In a situation similar to the one unfolding in San Antonio, representatives of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and Delaware North met Monday to revisit its options following a protest by Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo. However, concessions operator Deleware North held firm to its original decision.
In California, San Jose City Council rejected a contract extension with Chick-fil-A in the Mineta San Jose International Airport and voted on Tuesday to surround the restaurant with LGBTQIA flags to make it the “gayest Chick-fil-A in the country,” as Councilman Raul Peralez said.
Paxton filed an open records request with the City on Thursday, according to a news release sent that afternoon, which asks the City to provide available documentation of “communications between councilmembers, City employees, and third parties that discuss the inclusion of Chick-fil-A in the concessionaire contract for the airport. The request also seeks calendars, records of councilmember meetings regarding the contract, and any internal communications among city employees about the inclusion or exclusion of Chick-fil-A from the concessionaire contract.”