by Anita Miller
Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell blasted a local attorney’s allegation that the city council violated the Texas Open Meetings Act over the summer, characterizing the whole matter a “non story.”
Attorney Chevo Pastrano urged the council and Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau last week to look into whether the law was violated by a council vote in August to change the name of a portion of FM 150 West from Rebel Drive to Fajita Drive.
The roadway had been named for the mascot of Hays High School. Mitchell’s suggestion that the change be made came on the heels of the Hays CISD’s decision to change the mascot, something that is still on the horizon. “Fajita Drive,” he reasoned, would honor Sonny Falcon, widely acknowledged as the inventor of the popular dish made from a cut of meat that many cooks previously discarded and was first sold in Kyle.
Council voted unanimously to approve the change in August.
Mitchell said Pastrano is notorious for using legal intimidation.
“This is a non-story about a unanimous vote that was well covered in the media and was ultimately reversed by council,” Mitchell said in an email after Pastrano’s call for an investigation. “Mr. Pestrano (sic) is notorious for using legal intimidation to bully elected officials into submission or to smear their name during an election season.”
“He’s been doing it all over Hays County this past year, attacking his enemies and defending his allies,” Mitchell said. “He will doctor information, as he has done already, to spin a story into something it’s not. He also protects politicians who do his bidding. Whatever you print, he wins, because his objective is not to uncover truth but to get his name in the paper at the expense of those he considers to be an enemy.”
Pastrano, however, wants the investigation to proceed, as he said he found evidence that council members discussed the action well ahead of its mention in the council meeting.
Pastrano asked for volumes of documents and winnowed down the more than 1,500 he received to mere dozens.
“Throughout July, preparations were being made for the name change with the acknowledgement that the change would be to Fajita Drive,” Pastrano wrote in urging the council and DA to act. “By late July into August before the ‘open meeting,’ the mayor was defending the name change to ‘Fajita Drive.’”
The district attorney said that, while he is “aware that an accusation has been made to law enforcement,” his office “will not be conducting a separate investigation …. I can’t make any further comment on the status of the complaint.”
Pastrano has continually pushed for the investigation, adding that he found that the ordering of signs with the new name had been discussed, right down to the details including design and price.
During the August meeting Mitchell officially suggested the name change and it received unanimous approval from council members. There was not a public hearing noted on the agenda regarding the name change.
Not long after the initial vote, Mitchell told the Hays Free Press/News Dispatch he had considered “Sonny Falcon Drive” but didn’t think many people would understand the significance of Falcon as the inventor of the dish.
After public outcry, the council voted, again unanimously, to rescind the change. Pending action by the school district the roadway will be called FM 150 West.