OUR VIEW: Great news! City council fightin for your right to potty

THE POINT: With crumbling infrastructure and water issues galore throughout the city, the Odessa City Council is wasting more time and likely tax dollars worrying about who uses which bathroom.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A version of this view originally contained an error. City attorney Dan Jones told the council he doesn’t believe the City will be able to dictate what happens within the Ector County Independent School District. Councilmember Denise Swanner said “if we could get all five entities on board, this would be awesome.” The OA regrets the error.

Yes, we are once again siding with City Councilmember Steve Thompson, who on Tuesday during an Odessa City Council meeting called another member’s idea about where folks can potty redundant.

Councilmember Chris Hanie’s bid to change city rules so that birth assignments will dictate who can use what bathroom, not only in city buildings, but also in Odessa schools, hospitals and colleges is, well, just silly.

The city’s current ordinance prohibits “entering restrooms of opposite sex.”

That is apparently not good enough for Hanie or most of the other “squad” members of the council with Mayor Javier Joven, Denise Swanner and Mark Matta signaling some support but also questioning if it would stand up to legal challenges.

Nope. Hanie and the squad seem to be on board with having some sort of birth certificate police to check on those using potties around town.

Hanie also signaled that God is on his side, so we suppose it is hard to argue with that.

But let’s give it a whirl.

Hanie’s proposal prompted a lot of discussion during Tuesday afternoon’s council work session. And, of course, local far-right puppet master Jeff Russell made sure to get in his thanks to Hanie for taking up this “worthwhile” fight.

Hanie brought his idea to the council because he said President Joe Biden bypassed Congress and wrote a law that will allow men to play women’s sports and he believes that will lead to men using women’s locker rooms.

“I now have granddaughters that are playing sports that are now threatened to have boys dressing with them. I am here to protect them. I was elected to do what my constituents say to do, but most of all, I do what my God says,” Hanie said.

Hanie said bills are started at the “ground level” and he reminded his fellow council members the City passed an ordinance banning mandates like those enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said folks who are not willing to step up and protect children are “not worth his time” and added if he sees a man in a bathroom with his daughter he would “remove” that man. No word on how he would back up what sounds like a threat. Would he call the cops or just handle it himself?

Maybe Hanie can police the potties? Lord knows the OPD doesn’t have the time or manpower to add this to the duties of our men and women in blue.

Thompson also questioned who would “police it.”

“Are you going to walk around with a birth certificate in your hand all of the time?” Thompson asked.

He also noted that unisex restrooms in city owned buildings must have floor to ceiling walls and doors that lock from the inside.

“Solves the problem, can’t just walk in,” Thompson said.

Hanie said that because the council allocates money to schools, builds roads and issues certificates of occupancy, “we should be able to control every bit of this.”

Whoa! What a crazy overreach. Control freak?

Joven said that as the grandfather of four girls, he is concerned, but he wants to make sure any ordinance changes will stand up to any legal challenges.

City Attorney Dan Jones told the council he doesn’t believe the City will be able to dictate what happens within the Ector County Independent School District.

Denise Swanner said “if we could get all five entities on board, this would be awesome.”

Awesome? Lord. The lunatics really are running the asylum.

Thompson said the council has other issues to address and “this is just a waste of time in my opinion.”

Bingo! What a waste. Are Hanie and the (soon to be up for re-election) squad members really this blind?

Infrastructure is crumbling around us. Water issues abound as well as roads that are just completely awful, but they want to worry about which bathroom someone uses?

Get a grip. We suspect most Odessans agree that locker rooms or bathrooms should be a place where no one has to worry about their privacy being invaded. But we also suspect most Odessans also want to drive down a road that won’t ruin their cars and also want to turn on a tap and have quality water come out.

We know the squad wants everyone to blame previous councils for the water, roads and the great trash service blackout of ‘24, but, like the potty issue, we aren’t buying it.

Previous councils could and should have done more to boost Odessa’s roads and water. But this council has mostly been in office for more than three years. Stop blaming everyone else.

Focus on the real issues that you are truly in charge of and make sure the water is better, the roads are better and that Odessa has enough police and fire coverage.

That is your job. Keep your noses out of the potty.