Why does Mayor Ginger Nelson care more about her donors than about the concerns expressed by the everyday taxpayer?
On Tuesday, it was reported that Amarillo Matters received a donation from a political action committee affiliated with the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. The donation was reportedly made to support lobbying efforts to attract the proposed Texas Tech veterinary school to the Amarillo area, as both affluent citizens and the City of Amarillo itself have been throwing tons of cash at the effort. Therefore, it is not surprising to see this type of donation publicized, as even though its sole purpose has been to defend downtown wishes, Amarillo Matters has duped many people into believing its purpose is actually to push the effort for a vet school. But, that’s a story for another time. What’s most interesting about this donation is the reaction from a particular person to the donation, in contrast to recent sentiments expressed or shown by that very same individual.
Mayor Ginger Nelson was quoted by a number of news outlets in Amarillo and Lubbock talking about the donation by the Lubbock group to Amarillo Matters. In fact, KAMR-TV showed Nelson at the press conference, singing the praises of the proposed project, while backing up Amarillo Matters all the way.
It is fine for Nelson to go to events like this, as she is the mayor. However, it strikes me as very interesting that Nelson chooses to rub shoulders with donors at events like press conferences on political donations, while ignoring the very real concerns expressed by her constituents. Take for example the recent meeting held over the Thompson Park pool closing. Nelson completely skipped the meeting and let City staff take the beating for her Council’s irresponsible actions. Councilman Howard Smith and Councilwoman Freda Powell stayed through most of the meeting, but refused to answer the public’s questions on why the pool was being closed, citing the Texas Open Meetings Act, even though a quorum of the body was not present.
The real thing to notice about all of this is the fact that Nelson seems to be completely indifferent to the concerns of average citizens. Whether it is the pool closing, animal shelter issues, or another one of a number of failures on the part of this City Council, Nelson has no problem ignoring citizens, while at the same time prioritizing her donors. It reeks of the same problems which plague governments all over this nation. Politicians like Nelson often place their donors on a pedestal, while looking down on the taxpayers who actually pay their salaries. Just because Amarillo Matters spent a ton of cash helping her get elected in 2017 is no reason for Nelson to place their interests above the concerns of average citizens. After all, Nelson wasn’t elected to serve Amarillo Matters, but to serve the people of Amarillo. However, in this case, just as in many others, Nelson appears to believe her top bosses are Amarillo Matters and her donors, with the people of Amarillo pushed aside.
Mayor Nelson needs to start treating her constituents better. There are already two announced opponents for Nelson, with many others likely to come. If Nelson refuses to do the job which she was elected to do, then I will be happy to vote for a new mayor come May, and I hope you will too.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief