Too darn hot 

Pitch some woo

The entire City of San Antonio is having a Home Alone summer. With the Mayor away, assaults on the collective household abound, many of them advanced PR trench-warfare style: late afternoon before the weekend. First the breakup between SA’s elected leaders and AT&T’s God Pod, which announced its imminent and done-deal departure to DFW MySpace-style (the Council, it seems, were the last to know that we’d been bumped from Top Friends by those gauche gala whores to the north).

Then, just ahead of Independence Day, the City Manager dropped the long-awaited PERF evaluation of our local armed-forces tactics and demeanor (work needed, was the upshot, downplayed dutifully by Chief McManus: We only need to change 100 or so little things, and we’re golden!). `See the MashUp, for the Current’s eval.`

Break ev’ry rule

One good reason the Republicans’ real-cost-of-gasoline rollback may not see the light of day before the August recess is the FISA “reform” legislation the House giftwrapped for the Senate last month. Like an unopened box of Cracker Barrel’s holiday cheese-and-sausage selection, it ripened over the July 4 weekend, aided by a July 3 opinion from the West.

“Congress appears to clearly have intended to — and did — establish the exclusive means for foreign intelligence activities to be conducted `in 1978`,” wrote Judge Vaughn R. Walker, chief justice for the Northern District of California, eviscerating not only the Administration’s rationale for its post-9/11 warrantless-wiretapping program, but also a major Democratic apologia for supporting the FISA bill currently sitting on Capitol Hill. `See the MashUp, July 2-8.`

The New York Times noted that although Judge Walker’s ruling applies to a case against the governement, his court happens to be the one where all those telecom suits have been consolidated.

Blow my top

As long as we’re wo/manhandling the gavel, let’s revisit a local case that has not, as the City might have hoped, dissolved like so much cascarone confetti in the River Walk. Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid attorney Aaron Haas, who represents former River Walk vendors in a suit against the City’s restrictive downtown vendor ordinance, hopes U.S. District Judge Fred Biery will look askance at the City’s request for a summary judgment once he realizes that a key COSA witness is none other than disgraced former Parks & Rec Director Malcolm Matthews. Matthews was forced to resign last month following an Express-News story detailing his dissemblance over playground inspections and maintenance.

Haas says he believes depositions and affidavits in their case demonstrate that Matthews’ prevarications weren’t confined to slides and jungle gyms, and the plaintiffs plan to add this objection to their list of reasons the Judge shouldn’t let the City squelch their right to sell necklaces and sketch caricatures without further legal review. The recent developments, says Haas, just buttress their argument that the City’s “credibility should be open to question by the trier of fact.” Not to mention the City’s First Amendment acumen ... more on that soon.


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