Dissolving Austin? It’s on one legislator’s grown-up Christmas list.

Photo of The Editorial Board

The Texas State Capitol is pictured at dusk in on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, in Austin. A Frisco Republican filed a bill to dissolve the city of Austin. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

Smiley N. Pool, MBR / TNS

THUMBS DOWN: A new smart watch? A vintage cast-iron skillet? Holiday wish lists aren’t just for everyday Texans, state legislators are making theirs too. It’s that special time of year when they pre-file bills for the upcoming session. State Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, filed a bill that
would dissolve
the city of Austin and replace it with a new “District of Austin” that would report directly to the lieutenant governor and House speaker. And why not? For years, Republican leaders have reversed course on “
local control
” — once a clarion call of conservatives — seeking to preempt cities on budgeting, access to bathrooms, plastic bag bans, anti-discrimination ordinances and more. Perhaps it’s time to do away with the pretense of city government altogether. And doesn’t the People’s Republic of Austin deserve a comeuppance for their “San Francisco wannabe policies,” as Patterson
tweeted? Just how would he like the state to run its cities? His other proposed bills give us a clue. House Bill 643 would expand the definition of sexually oriented businesses, or SOBs, to include any venue that serves alcohol and hosts a “drag performance.” That could mean you can’t take your kids to trivia nights at BUDDY’S, which is hosted by drag queens. Christopher Barry, owner of BUDDY’S,
told Outsmart, “This is trivia, not a sex show.” A concert venue featuring Post Malone wearing a house dress might have to meet
the same regulations
as a strip club. So might a theater putting on Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” Oh, the cuckoldery! All the world’s a stage, no doubt, but we wish Rep. Patterson would treat the august chambers of the Capitol with the kind of respect real performers, however they’re dressed, treat their stages.

THUMBS DOWN: “Are you packed?” Twitter
lit up
with mockery of Sen. Ted Cruz, as snowstorms and heavy rains threatened parts of Texas, for flying to Cancun during Winter Storm Uri. The ongoing disdain hasn’t stopped Cruz from putting another presidential run on his wish list. In an
Emerson College poll out this week, Cruz came in with just 3.4 percent of support from voters asked who they would pick in the Republican primary, well behind Donald Trump and Ron Desantis, and just behind Liz Cheney’s 3.6 percent. Given Cheney couldn’t retain her own seat in Congress, losing in the Wyoming primary, Cruz would do well to focus on his own Senate seat in 2024. One possibility we don’t wish for is a primary challenge to Cruz from Herschel Walker, whose main residence, it turns out, is still in Texas, according to
his claim
for a homestead exemption on property taxes. The former football star is running in Georgia, facing Raphael Warnock in a runoff, but he’s called Texas his home for many years, only registering to vote in Georgia days before announcing his Senate candidacy.

THUMBS UP: And then there are the wishes we all hope come true — the wishes of those who come to Houston for lifesaving care. The Chronicle shared two of these stories this week: “Thanks,” the toddler said again and again to his physical therapists, after mastering the new word. Ripp Macek was playing on his family’s farm in El Campo when he was
run over by a tractor. At the emergency room, his parents were told that their son had skull fractures, a brain bleed and that paralysis was a possibility. Ripp was flown by LifeFlight to Houston, where he was stabilized and given a charity bed at TIRR Memorial Hermann for rehabilitative care. Barely able to speak before he arrived, he picked up the word “thanks” and said it to everyone as he gained not just the ability to walk but to jog. And then there’s Cameron Witsman, who was born 13 years ago in Florida with so many cysts in his lungs that his doctor said they looked like popcorn. His mother decided she would do whatever it took to keep him alive, which
led the family to Texas Children’s Hospital
in Houston where Cameron received a lung transplant. Now he tries to honor the anonymous donor by making the best use of his lungs, running in the 5K of the Transplant Games.

THUMBS UP: Quick, what do you do when a truck full of turkey meat, headed to Houston to supply the largest holiday charity meal in the nation, breaks down somewhere between here and Nebraska? An estimated 25,000 people are expected. “Their goose was cooked,”
writes the
Chronicle’s Dug Begley. Organizers of Big Super Feast Houston didn’t give up. They called around the country for help, but their wishes were answered from the Woodlands by Tanweer Ahmed, founder of PAK Foods. As the fifth largest franchisee of KFC, Ahmed was able to call his distributors and secure 9,000 pounds of turkey meat with just enough time for it to be thawed and cooked for the massive meal held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The event also provided clothing and vaccines. We give our thanks to Ahmed and all those who organized free meals.

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