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Texas Supreme Court dashes PAC hopes of killing charter amendment election

September 5, 2018

The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon rejected a plea from the Secure San Antonio’s Future political action committee to quash the Nov. 6 charter-amendment election.

The court’s denial is the latest and final blow dealt to the PAC’s effort to keep voters from casting ballots on the initiatives.

“Secure San Antonio’s Future and their corporate special interests went 0 for 3, and whiffed. They struck out,” said Cris Feldman, a Houston attorney who represents the fire union. “We will hold them fully accountable for this incredible waste of time and money, and will seek every penny of our attorney’s fees.”

The legal wrangling began last month, weeks after the San Antonio Express-News reported that the San Antonio Professional Fire Fighters Association failed to disclose the money it spent on its “San Antonio First” campaign seeking signatures on three petitions calling for charter amendments.

The PAC sued in district court, alleging that the union illegally spent member dues on the signature campaign.

Previously, Judge Cathleen Stryker denied the PAC’s request for a temporary restraining order against the City Council, which last month officially called the charter-amendment election. The 4th Court of Appeals quickly rejected the PAC’s request to overturn Stryker’s ruling.

Christian Archer, the campaign manager for Secure San Antonio’s Future, said the PAC would not pursue a full trial in Stryker’s court and would focus on a campaign to defeat the initiatives. The three proposed amendments would: cap the salary of future city managers and place term limits on them; lower the threshold for signatures on referendum petitions, increase the amount of time allowed for gathering them and remove prohibitions against overturning utility rates, tax levies and appropriations; and give the union sole discretion to declare an impasse on contract negotiations and force the city into binding arbitration, removing its right to seek relief in the court system.

The PAC is planning to kick off its campaign at La Villita at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Josh Baugh is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | jbaugh@express-news.net | Twitter: @jbaugh

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