Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Honor the veterans today

I know today is Veterans Day and, as many of you, I am grateful for the service and sacrifices these people made to protect our freedoms.

One of the most important freedom is the First Amendment, which guarantees our right to speak freely, publish freely and petition our government. While many on the national level rightly complain that the corporate oligarchy has captured the federal government, we sometimes overlook that local government can be a runaway train. Such is the case in Amarillo as the City Council is slated to vote on contracts related to downtown development. Chelsea Goss, my friend at ProNews 7, noted this upcoming vote on Daybreak. And if you look further back in this blog, you’ll find “Downtown Misdirection,” which also exposes the flaws in the City Council’s current approach to revitalizing downtown.

The link to Veterans Day? Many sacrificed for your right to tell the City Council your desires, even if it contradicts its misguided efforts. The City Council meets today at 1:30 p.m. in a work session in the council conference room in the city manager’s office suite. It is an open meeting and where the substantive discussion is undertake. It is also an open meeting and, despite the close quarter, the public can attend. Unless, of course, the council skulks off into an executive session charade under the guise of consulting with its attorney over the downtown development contracts. The City Council will then meet at 3 p.m. in its big chambers for the Kabuki dance of voting on that which they have already decided.

If your ministry today is to honor veteran by speaking up — pro or con — on this important issue, you now know where to go.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Globe-News is hypocritical and the City Council cowards

I’ve been a journalist for almost 20 years and in all that time I’ve never seen a community in which the newspaper of record was such a lapdog and so unwilling to do the real job of the Fourth Estate. It borders on journalistic malfeasance.

The City Council is on the verge of signing contracts for construction of a downtown convention center hotel and a parking garage with its master developer, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners. The councilors, led by Mayor Stiff Hair in all his arrogance, popped the plans on the community this past Wednesday. The one and only public meeting was last Thursday. The council and its cohorts have skulked behind the public’s back since 2010 and now, in less than a week, councilors plan to adopt contracts that break a string of promises to the taxpayers, citizens and voters of Amarillo.