Mayor Ginger Nelson and her supporters' talk about political action committees and City Council meeting "disruptions" might be the funniest thing you will hear all week.
This weekend, Mayor Nelson released a video featuring a very calculated and well-written response to a letter penned by Representative Tony Tinderholt, of Arlington, which accused Nelson of possible violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Nelson said that the issue of the April 3rd meeting was not about "clapping" but rather about disruptions. The mayor then went on to tie Tinderholt to Empower Texans, an influential political group based in central Texas.
Oh, the irony.
In case you forgot (or were asleep through the first five months of 2017), Nelson was heavily supported by Amarillo Matters PAC, a group primarily funded by downtown real estate investors and supporters of those same investors. The group spent nearly $200,000 during Nelson's campaign, helping her cruise to victory over cybersecurity auditor Jim Lowder and artist Renea Dauntes. Now, Nelson, and her supporters at the Amarillo Globe-News and Amarillo Matters, want to talk about political committees owning politicians.
Honestly, it is not worth giving these people much airtime, but it is worth noting the response of Nelson and her supporters in the media. After Nelson received the letter, she received backup from the Amarillo Globe-News and a morning radio DJ. Other than the usual canned shots from Amarillo Matters, this was the extent of Nelson's support in the media.
Those in the media want to make this incident about the character of Kip Billups and the so-called "disrupters." The truth is, while Nelson wants to make this issue about "disrupters," there would not have been such a media backlash if Mayor Nelson had just presided over the meeting in the way of previous heads of governing bodies. Instead, she chose to let her ego flare up, and here we are today.
I still maintain my case that Nelson should just lick her wounds and apologize to Kip Billups, who was arrested after clapping in a City Council meeting. Nelson and the City Council should then discontinue the "clapping policy." This would be a real "tone change," as Nelson professed during the City Council election. Residents deserve to be treated with respect, instead of how they are currently being treated by the City Council.
Nelson could fix this problem today. However, she seems more interested in playing politics than finding a solution and trying to restore unity. Since Nelson won't remember what she promised at election time, let's hope that voters remember her actions come next election season.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief