What a difference just a few years makes.
As many of you may know, today marks three years since voters elected a brand new City Council in Amarillo. In that election, voters sent Councilmembers Ellen Robertson Green and Lilia Escajeda to the showers and put Elisha Demerson and Randy Burkett on the City Council. Voters also put Mark Nair on the City Council to succeed Ron Boyd, who did not run for re-election.
That was a very interesting election and is still extremely important to the climate today. Two years later, voters ousted Demerson and Nair, while Burkett, Lisa Blake and Mayor Paul Harpole chose to retire. It was said that that 2017 election showed that voters wanted change, but they were unsure of what type of change. I don't buy that argument, but that is an article for another time.
More importantly, it is imperative to understand just what type of impact that election had on the overall climate in Amarillo. For what was essentially the first time in recent memory, voters sent a trio of non-establishment backed insurgents to the City Council. This election also spawned the ability for voters to vote on bond projects, a form of the baseball stadium and to have some draconian regulations repealed.
That election was very important and the remains of what occurred at the ballot box in 2015 are still visible in Amarillo. Voters want change and many have talked about wanting to have more of a citizen-focused government, instead of having a Mayor who has people escorted out of meetings for clapping or who only shows up for photo ops instead of fulfilling the duties of her office in a timely manner.
It could be argued that if the 2015 election did anything, it increased citizen awareness. Voters made a change then and if they are serious about making change again, 2015 could serve as a road map for next year.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief