Two-and-a-half hours into Tuesday’s Victoria City Council meeting, the council voted to table the Victoria Public Library Advisory Board’s policy recommendations because of minor disagreements about specific wording.
The Juvenile and Young Adult Collection Development Policy draft recommendations will be updated and decided upon at the next council meeting, pending further discussion by a committee of three council members.
The sticking point rested on wording of two bullet-point recommendations on how books will be chosen for the library. The recommendations would deny selection of materials with content that “promotes gender dysphoria” and “encourages a child younger than 18 to consider elective procedures for gender transitioning.”
Some council members said while they agree such materials do not belong in the juvenile section of the public library, the bullet points should be reworded to say “introduces” rather than “promotes” or “encourages” because “we do not know an author’s intention when he writes.”
The advisory board is tasked with recommending policies, but ultimately the council decides on those policies.
Nevertheless, the council agreed with the advisory board’s recommendations, suggesting a few amendments in wording. Mayor Jeff Bauknight also asked that the document be reviewed to ensure it is in keeping with the Texas Penal Code.
At the start of the meeting, several local residents gave their opinions about the transgender discussion at the heart of the debate.
Harley Fisk asked that members consider whether children are prohibited from having “open and honest discussions with their parents on all aspects of their lives … and if they are not taught to trust us, they will look elsewhere to satisfy their curiosity. This could lead them to places much darker than the library.”
But Cindy Herman disagreed.
“My world view is a biblical worldview because I believe that helps humanity,” Herman said. “My issue is that life-altering decisions are being made by adults for children who may change their views when they become adults.”
Supporting children who say they are transgender and going so far as to allow a child to consider gender reassignment surgery is to “help Satan reclaim this earth for his purposes,” Herman said. She said she has no issue with adults who disagree with her view.
In other council business, members selected new members to the Tourism Advisory Board. The new members include JoAnn Welch, Brian Keith, Jennifer Heibel and Michelle Hall.
Members approved a professional services agreement with Madden Media Preprint for a tourism branding study designed to help sell Victoria to visitors. The cost of the services to the city is $57,500.
Members also approved the submission of an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant opportunity for the Off-Channel Reservoir Interconnect project for nearly $4.4 million. The city would be required to match the commitment with just over $1 million.
The awarding of the grant will not be known for at least six months.
At the beginning of the meeting, Warrior’s Weekend’s Field of Honor, 4802 John Stockbauer Drive, was awarded the Keep Victoria Beautiful Beautification Award. Col. Mike Petrash accepted the award.
Also, Benjamin Adrean, 17, of Victoria, was recognized for his Eagle Scout service project, which thoroughly cleaned up the entryway to the Victoria Public Library.