Editors Note: There are multiple Lakeway Swap pages, this one has a blue banner and 16,500 members as of Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.
LAKEWAY, Texas (KXAN) — The Lakeway Swap page is well known in the area, bearing over 16,000 members, but recently it’s changed things up when it comes to being granted access.
Following last weekend’s protest downtown, the administrator of the page added an admit question.
Residents say the new question walks a fine line.
“I think it’s unacceptable to take a garage sale page that people joined under one pretense and has over 16,000 people,” said Lakeway resident Marie LeAnn. “To take that and turn it into something political, which many of us do not stand for, is not only disingenuous, but unacceptable.”
“I think it did a great job of proving what we have all be thinking for a long time, which is there is some racism — and it lives and breathes in Lakeway, Texas,” said Austin resident, Rachel Sill.
Rachel Sill has been a part of the Lakeway Swap page for years.
She recently recommended her friend join the group, but was stunned when he was faced with the new question outside the norm of verifying residence.
“Do you support Black Lives Matter, Antifa or Democrats….. Just in general Democrats?’ I thought that was very bold,” Sill said. “But when I consider a lot of the conversations that I’ve seen in the comments thread and the lack of diversity that I know exists in Lakeway, it’s not too terribly shocking, unfortunately.”
Prior to a week ago, the questions were geared at verifying a persons residence, like naming Lakeway parks. The page is primarily used to buy, sell or trade furniture or household products. Sill says recently she noticed political signs were being sold, and that started small debates within the group.
Rachel says she’s had back and forth conversations with the admin of the group, Marty Hale.
“He said something to the tune of: ‘If you are racist against whites, then we don’t want you in the group. If you don’t like it, then leave’ … Something with that rhetoric,” Sill said.
In an interview with Marty Hale, he made it clear that the buy, sell and trade page is not a political site.
At one point he did, however, have a post pinned to the top of the discussion page which talks about a “so-called” Black Lives Matter co-founder’s past criminal history. The post has since been deleted, and this is Hale’s response:
“We had a bunch of people hammer the site. We had a bunch of people who were in support of Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the Democratic Party, all trying to promote hate,” Hale said. “We just want to know: What are they going to try to put on this page? Are they going to try to push their agenda? If they aren’t going to buy, sell or trade, then we don’t want them.”
Hale says if you do answer yes to any of the above, then that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get access.
“If someone says: ‘Yes, I support Antifa,’ then we can go to their page and see if they are supporting hate crimes. If they are, then no they are not going to be on here.”