By Noah Dawson
By now, dear reader, you've probably heard of the story of the kid in Colorado who spoke out about his town's ordinance against snowball fights. Though only 9 years old, Dane Best's plea moved the city council of Severance, Colorado, and the ban was lifted.
It shouldn't have come as a surprise. It was a ridiculous rule, and the city, hearing the public, changed the rule. But, here in Amarillo, such radical ideas like common sense and effective government sound quite foreign.
When activist Kip Billups was arrested for clapping earlier this year, there was outrage across the city. Instead of realizing the mistake, the city decided it had been too lenient, with changes to the meetings eventually including a weekly reading of the rules of decorum, threats of barring individuals from speaking, and the end of public broadcast of public comment meetings.
When potential conflicts of interest were brought up by activist Mike Fisher regarding a land purchase deal, alleging the property had connections to Mayor Nelson, the mayor outright dismissed the allegations and refused to abstain from voting.
When many citizens spoke out about their concerns about trash pickup, the city responded with rhetoric and meetings that felt more like tools to shape public opinion than constructive conversations.
You know what? I'm tired of listing scandals involving our council nearly every week.
Maybe, unlike the kid from Colorado, we the people just aren't charming enough to move our council. But, unless Dane Best moves from Colorado down to Texas, our best hope is we the people. Our next city council election is in May. As important as voting in that election is, people need to step up and run. Our city deserves better than those currently sitting on the council.