I was struck last night while watching the City Council over just how much disregard is shown for the citizens of this town.
Yesterday, I wrote an editorial about this same issue, but I want to address something different today. I want to address Mayor Ginger Nelson's attitude toward James Schenck during the City Council meeting.
James has been a constant voice at City Hall on many issues. I don't agree with James Schenck on everything, but he has been one of the few people who takes the time to sift through budgets and complex financial documents from City staff to get to the bottom of different issues. He has also been willing to share his findings with the City Council and residents during meetings.
However, when James spoke at last night's City Council meeting, he was treated poorly by Mayor Ginger Nelson, in the eyes of this writer. James was asking for a point of fact and Nelson refused to allow him to have his full time, saying that he had already used part of his time. The way that James Schenck brought this issue to the City Council would have been respected by previous mayors, even those like Paul Harpole. Why is Ginger Nelson the mayor who chose to show a total unwillingness to exercise respect toward other residents?
This has been the standard operating procedure at City Hall. Ignore residents until they cannot be ignored any longer, then attempt to discredit them. This is the operating procedure of the political elite and it is disappointing to see our elected officials exercise this kind of disregard to the people of Amarillo.
If you recall, Schenck speaks at Amarillo City Council meetings every week and was labeled a "stupid son of a b****" by a previous interim city manager during the public forums. For a City Council that promised to "change the tone," it is disappointing to see a resident like Schenck treated so poorly by Mayor Nelson. Perhaps it is even more disappointing to see Nelson, when called out for her disregard, tell Schenck that she's been "more than fair" to him during Council meetings.
The way James Schenck was treated and the way all residents have been treated by this City Council is most certainly not "fair."
James Schenck deserved to be treated better by Mayor Nelson. The people of Amarillo deserve to be treated better.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief