If you ever want to personally see a total disdain for taxpayers and citizens, I would suggest watching the City Council’s interactions with citizens during public comment meetings.
On Tuesday, several residents spoke at the Amarillo City Council meeting and, yet again, we saw exactly what “changing the tone” looks like to this Council. Several residents were scolded for making “personal attacks” against Councilmembers and city manager Jared Miller. However, when pressed on what a “personal attack” really is, Councilwoman Elaine Hays, who was presiding over the meeting, refused to answer. Then there was an instance where a speaker asked those who represent the citizens of Amarillo to raise their hands. Nobody on the City Council would participate in this exercise.
Plus, did I mention that Mayor Ginger Nelson skipped public comment for the second week in a row? It’s notable for the fact that Nelson did attend the tax rate hearing at 7am, but skipped her chance to hear from citizens on the City of Amarillo’s policies and procedures during the noon public comment meeting.
As I said last week, Amarillo is at a truly sad state of affairs. Right now, not one member of the City Council will admit that they are a representative of the people of Amarillo. However, all five of the incumbents seem to happily serve as representatives of special interest groups like Amarillo Matters. I guess it’s true that money talks.
Amarillo deserves much better than what has been happening to this point. In 2017, all of the now-incumbents ran on a platform of restoring trust and prioritizing communication. Today, it seems this City Council will be best remembered for citizens arrested during Council meetings and for their poor response to Animal Management & Welfare’s decision to euthanize a pregnant dog while it was in labor.
Communication, though, won’t be on this City Council’s list of accomplishments.
The City Council needs to change its policy on meeting times and recordings its meetings. It would also be helpful if the Mayor would actually show up for work.
Amarillo deserves better.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief