Austin City Council tackling Confederate symbolism and other social issues this week

The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer sparked a national conversation about public tributes to the Confederacy.
               
Here in Austin, controversial statues at UT came down under the cover of darkness, including Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
               
Speaking of Lee, there's a road named after him in Austin and city council recently got the ball rolling on coming up with new names for that road along with Jeff Davis Avenue.
               
"I don't want to remove history I just want to make sure that it reflects the true history of what really happened and what was going on at that time," said District 3 City Council Member Sabino "Pio" Renteria.

Renteria is bringing forth item 31 during this week’s meeting -- a resolution directing the City Manager to submit a report to council identifying city-owned Confederate monuments and memorials and discussing what to do with them.

"I would say that they should go into a museum, history center instead of being out there in the public ground, worshipping or looking up at them as heroes," he said.

So we know about Robert E. Lee Road and Jeff Davis Avenue but Renteria pointed out in the historic Clarksviille area of town, land originally given to freed slaves, there's a road called Confederate Street. 

"I want to see what's out there and to make sure that if it's a monument if it's the correct history behind it," Renteria said.

"It's a waste of time, it's a waste of money," said constitutional conservative Torin Archbold.

Archbold feels like the national conversation on this has been about erasing the country's quote "bad history."

"Which is not true.  They're trying to erase the bad history of the Democrat party.  And this is what needs to be recognized...everything that has been done that would be considered anti-black, racist has been done by the Democrat party," Archbold said.

Archbold would rather council get their priorities straight.

"It seems that Austin wants to take more of a national role in everything and follow some sort of national social agenda then actually deal with the Texans that are here in the city and I think that's a major problem for the council and the fact there's only one conservative on the council is an issue with me," Archbold said. 

Also on Council's Thursday agenda -- an item that adds immigration reform to the city's legislative agenda and Council Member Ora Houston's proposal for the city to observe Indigenous People's day in addition to Columbus Day. 

"We recognize the contributions that you've made to our community and we want to uplift them and honor them, this is not to take away Columbus Day.  A lot of people celebrate that, I think that's a great thing to do but there are also people that were here that we hardly ever talk about," Houston said.

Thursday's council meeting starts at 10am at City Hall. 

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