There’s something to be said for politicians who keep their campaign promises. Unfortunately, Mayor Ginger Nelson doesn’t appear to fit into this category.
On Tuesday, Nelson missed yet another public comment period after being a supporter of changing the public comment meeting time to noon. When the City Council made this change, citizens were promised it would result in increased listening and participation. To this point, Nelson has seemed to be completely indifferent toward the concerns of citizens.
Today’s public comment meeting marked the third time since the meeting time change that Nelson has not attended public comment. The thing to remember is there have only been five meetings held since the time change.
What’s even more interesting is Nelson frequently attends early morning hearings and 1PM meetings, while completely skipping the public comment meetings. In this way, Nelson is only attending meetings where public comment is guaranteed to be on City-selected topics, or meetings where public comment is not held at all.
When Mayor Nelson ran for office in 2017, she made grand promises about improving communication and citizen participation. She said she would “change the tone” at City Hall. I guess “changing the tone” means skipping the meetings so you don’t have to listen to citizens.
Life happens, and that is understandable. However, as I have said in the past, it is horrible for elected officials to attend certain meetings, while avoiding public comment on others. When a politician avoids meetings where the public is free to speak, while attending those where the public is barred from speaking, it appears the official has no interest in dealing with the people who pay their salary.
Amarillo deserves better, Mayor Nelson. Show up for work and do your job.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief