It is quite interesting to watch the Amarillo City Council discuss policies related to public comment. For some reason, it seems that the egos of some elected officials supersede the rights of citizens.
As we reported last week, a resident was arrested after clapping during a meeting of the Amarillo City Council. We won't go into the full details of that event in this editorial, because you probably have heard what happened by now. However, the way that the City Council so nonchalantly discusses the events is what is really interesting and somewhat disturbing.
In watching the City Council, you would think that nothing happened the week prior based on the demeanor of its members. Maybe Mayor Ginger Nelson did not read the articles that were published nationwide creating a semi-scandal over her choice to have a resident escorted from the chambers for clapping. Or, if she did, perhaps she just doesn't care. Whatever the case, Amarillo has become the talk of residents from coast to coast because of the Mayor's poor judgement.
It's extremely disappointing to see the Amarillo City Council pat Mayor Nelson on the back for her choice to run the meeting in the way she did last week. I'm not defending any of the parties involved, however, it seems that Mayor Nelson let her ego get in the way last week and her poise went out the window. This should not be applauded by other members of the City Council. Instead, at least one member of the Council should show some resolve and challenge Mayor Nelson on why she did what she did. However, this would not fit into the Amarillo Matters playbook.
While I am critical of the actions of the City Council, I do want to give kudos to Councilmember Elaine Hays for asking questions over the enforcement procedures that the other members of the Council did not know to ask or did not want to ask. Semi-praise should also be given to Councilmember Howard Smith for his choice to draw a relatively thin line in the sand over shutting down public comment completely.
The rest of the Council does not deserve any praise.
We certainly hope that the members of the Amarillo City Council will eventually find the resolve or fortitude to stand up for what is right. Until that day comes, it will be up to the citizens to make sure that our local rights are protected for generations to come.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief