The Amarillo Pioneer

Amarillo's only free online newspaper. Established in 2016, we work to bring you local news that is unbiased and honest.

 

Editorial: City Council Fails Campaign Listening Promises

Coming just a day before Halloween, it seems the City Council was intent on giving Amarillo residents more tricks than treats this week.

On Tuesday, Amarillo City Councilmembers voted unanimously to approve a paid parking plan for downtown. Many objections have been raised by residents to the proposed plan, but the City Council still moved forward with the agenda, by voting to implement paid parking twice in downtown Amarillo.

First, let me say that I am not at all surprised about this action. I am not even outraged either. I’ve come to expect from this City Council a total lack of listening. When citizens raise concerns, they are pushed to the side or shouted down by Councilmembers. Occasionally, you may see members of the City Council show fake empathy, but it quickly disappears once a political goal has been accomplished.

Every City Councilmember is to blame for this particular vote. The vote itself is not the concerning part, but more the fact they failed to listen to citizens again. It’s clear to see when looking on social media that a large number of citizens do not support paid parking. Why did the City Council completely ignore this constituency?

It’s also rather interesting to me the lack of listening by the City Council, considering the fact that most the members of the Council ran on a platform of listening. Councilman Howard Smith even ran a commercial on his Facebook page during the election, talking about going on a “listening tour” of the City. Did Howard Smith stop listening after the election?

But, Councilman Smith is not the only person who should answer for the lack of listening they promised when running. Mayor Ginger Nelson talked about improving customer service and participation on the campaign trail. Not considering differing opinions does not fit this campaign promise, in the eyes of this writer.

Also, take a look at one of Councilwoman Elaine Hays’ campaign ads from 2017. In the ad, Hays talks about how she wants to improve the municipal government. It’s interesting what she says considering their decision to not listen to all citizens on all issues.

It is easy to divide a city,” Hays said. “But, it’s powerful when you can unite a city and that is what we have to do right now.”

With all due respect, Councilwoman, when you choose not to consider differing opinions raised by citizens, you are dividing a city. You are paid to be a representative for all residents, not just those who agree with your agenda.

Paid parking itself is not the issue. Listening seems to be the root of all the City Council’s issues. It’s time for the City Council to exit its echo chamber and start listening to ALL citizens. Amarilloans deserve better than a City Council that prioritizes its agenda over the concerns of everyday taxpayers.

-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief

City Council  Photo by City of Amarillo

City Council

Photo by City of Amarillo

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