LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Lubbock City Council's balloon debate is over, but the outcome is a little different than expected.
One council member told NewsChannel 11 he planned to change his vote on the second reading of an ordinance that would ban organized balloon releases in the City of Lubbock. Councilman Todd Klein says he now plans to vote against the ordinance.
This change is enough to let the air out of the balloon ban. "Fact of the matter is, when you turn loose of that string in a balloon release, there's somebody else's litter," said Lubbock City Councilman Paul Beane at a council meeting last week.
Beane proposed the ordinance to ban mass balloon releases in the City citing litter problems, and the danger the deflated balloons pose to animals. Opponents of the measure said the council should not waste time on balloons when they have a budget to work out. "I thought it was ridiculous," said Councilwoman Linda DeLeon.
At their meeting last week, four council members agreed with Beane's initiative and passed the ordinance on first reading. Now, before the second and final reading, it looks like the vote will change. "I've had conversations with the public. I think that's part of the democratic process. They've overwhelmingly spoken," said Klein.
After talking with voters and researching the impact balloons have on the environment, he decided to switch his vote. "We have two readings for a reason, and there is a public input process, and it gives us an opportunity to continue to look at the issue," said Klein, who now plans to vote against the ordinance.
Klein's vote change gives the opposition enough support to defeat the balloon ban. Klein also cited inability to enforce the ordinance as another reason to vote against it.
Councilman Beane decided to pull the ordinance off the next agenda because of Klein's vote switch, killing the proposal. When we asked him about it, Beane said, "It appears the proposed balloon ordinance has gone the way of the Hindenberg."
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