For the 99.9 percent of San Antonio's population that didn't attend Thursday morning's City Council meeting, things got a little heated between Mayor Ron Nirenberg and District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse.
On the agenda was whether to allow voters to decide whether the city should annex land around Lackland and Camp Bullis
, meaning if approved it would go on the November ballot. Nirenberg moderated over the discussion, calling on the different council members who wished to ask questions from Bridgett White, director of the city's planning department.
Nirenberg called on Brockhouse, who already opposes annexation, calling it a "money grab" by the city. The councilman, trying to put himself in the place of the average resident, had some questions for White, but ultimately interrupted White.
"The vote today is a foregone conclusion, Bridgett, so they can turn around and we can begin the process of grabbing this land," Brockhouse said. "That's what's happening.
That's when Nirenberg stepped in and asked, "Councilman, do you have a question."
Brockhouse replied, "Mayor, I'm afford the time."
"Do you have a question for the staff member?"
"Unless you're attempting to cut me off, sir, I'll be waiting," Brockhouse said, not backing down.
But neither did Nirenberg, who said, "I'm maintaining control of the meeting, councilman. Do you have a question?"
Then things got sassier.
"Maintaining control from what, sir?" Brockhouse asked. "I'm asking a question."
"We have a motion on the floor, so contain your conversation to the motion on the floor," Nirenberg directed.
"This is an unprecedented move to strike my ability to have a conversation regarding a subject, sir," Brockhouse said.
"We're going to keep the conversation moving about the motion on the floor, so if you have a –"
"What you have just witnessed is Mayor Ron Nirenberg at his best, right?" Brockhouse said, truly not holding back anymore. "Right there. Stifling the conversation with those who disagree with him if even talking with us in the first place."
Nirenberg, citing city council procedures, tried getting Brockhouse to move on, but the councilman maintained his stance that his comments and questions were related to the agenda item and his impending vote.
"Perhaps we should take it to the City Attorney," Brockhouse threatened. "This is unprecedented behavior out of the mayor of the City of San Antonio, but true to form nonetheless."
The councilman sarcastically said he should clear his questions with the mayor before meetings, but dropped the debate, going back to asking White questions. City Council eventually voted in favor of the motion. If residents vote in favor of annexation in the November 6 election, this would allow the city to regulate development in the area in order to protect military training and missions while also enacting an increase in property taxes for residents within a five-mile radius of the properties. If the vote doesn't pass, the city could still have limited control of the area due to Senate Bill 6 and related ordinances.
If you wish to watch the exchange in action, you can do so here
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