Follow the tracks
How deep the trenches must be dug when the soft dirt of injustice hardens into stonewall positions. As the Queque sat down to transcribe its conversations with First Assistant DA Cliff Herberg and pro-bono attorney for the defense Neel Lane in re: Bexar DA Susan Reed vs. needle-exchange programs, it found the self-same phrases typed up in the daily rag. Two (make that three) lawyers, circling the rhetoric, sound like this:
Herberg, for the prosecution: “You hear about the virtues of needle-exchange programs, but if they’re not doing it correctly, they can just add to the problem.” He’d like to see a “one dirty needle for one clean needle” requirement, for instance, which is just one reason he likes Texas AG Greg Abbott’s take on the legislation authorizing Bexar County’s pilot program.
Said Abbott May 5: “Because the Legislature has expressly demonstrated its ability and willingness to exclude otherwise criminal acts from prosecution under the Texas Controlled Substances Act — but did not do so here — this office can neither assume nor legislate such an intent.” The upshot: Participants in any such program would be subject to arrest and prosecution.
Lord, such a load of shit, replies the pink dome via Representative Ruth McClendon. “The legislature is not in the habit of passing laws to have people jailed for implementing their legislation,” she said. But, fine, she’ll fix that with a new bill in 2009.
The practical effect for the immediate future, says Herberg, is that the DA will most likely proceed with its case against three volunteers with the private non-profit Bexar Area Harm Reduction Coalition, who were charged with distributing drug paraphernalia earlier this year. `See “The damage done,” January 30`
But, he added, the most PR-friendly needle-distribution fugitive, Bill Day, needn’t get fitted for the orange jumpsuit. “I don’t think anybody expects Mr. Day to spend a day in jail.” And perhaps another ray of hope shines through the dark. “We have not heard whether Mr. Day plans to continue this conduct,” Herberg said, which could make a difference in how they proceed. “We haven’t heard anything except the intent to engage in illegal conduct, and we prosecute illegal conduct.”
Coalition lawyer Lane is not making plea-bargain overtures via the press. His clients, confident that the public, as well as virtue, is on their side, may prefer a trial by their peers to ad-hoc law-making by the county prosecutor, he says. “I think the question now is, is this DA going to exercise her discretion to punish people for doing the right thing,” Lane said. If she chose not to, “I think everyone would say that was a wise, even Solomonic, decision.”
“Remember, the AG is just giving his opinion, and he can be wrong.”
Inspired by X-News Editor Bob Rivard’s May 4 staff flagellation in the service of upscale downtown builders, Queque would like to take a moment to right its wrongs against the sainted developers without whom San Antonio would still be a dusty Catholic outpost manned by passive-aggressive natives and closeted friars. True, the Queque has not written much on the River North controversy, one-half being in a matrimonial way with the District One Zoning Commissioner; the other on the trail of sprawl-related shenanigans to the north. But like our favorite poet-president, we sinned in our hearts, taking some collegial pleasure in X-News reporter Greg Jefferson’s coverage of the intra-developer tug-o-war. And we have found occasion to nitpick other projects bankrolled by some of the same names.
Forgive us, for we knew not what we wrote.
First we wish to confess that not only is Big Tex visionary James Lifshutz a mensch who dressed up as a nun for fellow holy high-roller Steve Yndo in this year’s Cornyation, he is the incarnation of the 23rd bodhisattva, whose sacred mission is to restore the waters of the mother river, from her rude downtown introduction at the Jones bridge to the asbestos-riddled banks of the Eagleland Reach to long-neglected Hot Wells. If he is sometimes inscrutable, we direct you to the mysterious ways of our Lord himself. As Jesus said in Matthew 21:21: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Amen.
Too, we kneel in abject wretchedness at the feet of born-again sustainability apostle Ed Cross, bringer of green roofs and recycled rainwater. Who are the mere press to question the motives of these men just because they own a lot of land in some of the hottest reinvestment spots in the city? (In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:25) They do it not for themselves, but for the love of you, you miserable, ungrateful, doubting Thomases. Read the words of St. Bob the Apologist, and believe: “All are of good character, reputations earned over a lifetime.”
Be at peace. •