Two years ago tonight, voters in Amarillo chose to reject five of seven bond propositions produced by the City of Amarillo. At the time, voters were being asked to give the City of Amarillo a blank check in many cases, and commit to taking on $300 million in new debt. In several of the contests, voters overwhelmingly rejected the City’s far fetched proposals and sent a message to the establishment that they were not ready to indulge government’s gluttony.
But, two years later, what does this election mean for Amarillo?
Obviously, Amarillo did not get saddled with $300 million in debt. While every member of the current City Council openly said they supported at least a majority of the propositions, the people of Amarillo did not. At City Hall, government had a major disconnect with citizens, which still remains today. Government officials today still work actively to ignore citizens and promote spending-heavy agendas. While City Councilmembers promised to “change the tone” when they ran in 2017, this is one thing from the Paul Harpole-era days that the Ginger Nelson-era City Council has made sure continues to exist, unfortunately.
At the very least, that propositions election showed the power of the grassroots. A political action committee set up to support the propositions spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting the issues. The group against the propositions spent less than $5,000. In the end, it wasn’t the big bucks which won that election, it was the grassroots educating voters about the true dangers of the propositions.
Still, today, local government entities continue to attempt to normalize their reckless spending. Millions of dollars get dropped here and there, while taxpayers get to foot the bill. But, 2016 showed that taxpayers, when they have their say, don’t agree with many of the priorities set up by government.
While the establishment turned back the tables in 2017, I hope that we will see the same check on City Hall’s power in 2019 that we saw in 2016. And let’s hope, just like in 2016, it will be powered by the people.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief