IN THE HEAT OF THE SUMMER; THINGS GET HOT!
In the heat of the summer back in Washington, DC; most politicians would disappear; heck they would disappear even in the winter when Congress was in session.
Aaah; us locals would have the city to ourselves and the commute into DC would be a breeze. No hassles; no back up at the 14th street bridge; it was sweet!
In the heat of the summer in Lubbock; nothing much changes; we come and go as we please; life usually stays fairly balanced.
Except for the past few weeks when looking up from our bowl of cereal or cup of coffee; we see that the world has turned upside down for the councilwoman who seems hell bent on attaching herself to every popular cause out there in the hopes of salvaging her relevancy.
One thing seems clear; it hasn’t been easy being relegated to the minority side of the council; no pun intended; and standing on the losing sidelines.
Allow me a few observations; at the risk of incurring her wrath and that of her friend’s and supporters.
First; a new dog kennel in Clapp Park is not the end of the world. I acknowledge that it is a legitimate concern and cause of the day for Councilwoman Linda DeLeon. I also acknowledge the issues that residents are concerned about. If I were faced with the same thing in my neighborhood; perhaps I would exercise my freedom of speech and freedom to peaceably assemble also.
I would ask this though of the Councilwoman; when there was some concern out in the Guadalupe barrio about her new cement plan; she did not seem to want to explore the possibility of building it elsewhere. When former Councilman Victor Hernandez wrote a letter to a state agency that regulates environmental issues and air quality; I believe; she was adamant that she would build it anyway.
To be sure, her company; All American Concrete; is a private enterprise; but think about the unintended consequences of building a cement plant less than half a mile from residences? Cement dust; cement trucks tearing down the roads around there; cement trucks dropping their left over cement for the rest of us to drive over.
I think of the health consequences and wonder how the councilwoman can take up the cause of an area she does not even represent; while not having addressed some of the resident’s concerns about a cement plant? How would she have felt if a councilmember from another district would have organized a protest meeting in her district?
You cannot have it both ways.
Now she would be the first to point out that her business creates jobs and adds to the city’s economy. So will the kennel; why has she not acknowledged that point?
Next item; when Councilman Todd Klein tried to put up a marker at Aztlan Park to commemorate the antecedents of our Mexican American history; the Councilwoman went almost ballistic; as evidenced by the email she sent to other council members and the former mayor telling Klein to stay out of her district’s affairs!
Local pundits even speculated that she violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by doing so. So if it was taboo then, why is it now ok for her to go into Councilman Floyd Price’s district and hold a protest meeting? And don’t tell me she did it as a private citizen. She gave that up the day she won her election.
And don’t for one minute believe that Price was aware of the meeting and gave it his blessing. This past week I was told that he had no idea the meeting would take place; because Price told them so.
How’s that for our elected officials communicating with each other?
Either way one looks at it; the councilwoman is grasping for straws.
Another disturbing aspect is that she seems to be using at least two Catholic Churches for her crusades. Whatever happened to separation of church and state?
Now I understand that some residents may be upset with the new kennel. But sad part is that some of them paid no attention until the councilwoman showed up to convince them otherwise.
The political process and the right to redress and assemble peaceably is part of the constitution. But the process should begin with the people and end with the people. How can an elected official so publicly take sides? What about her constituents who are in favor of the proposed location.
What about District 4 residents like me who will make my views known to my council representative Paul Beane? Who represent the interests of those who are in favor?
The poverty rate in District 1 is about 20%. That means that 20% of the residents live below the federal poverty level. More than likely they are forced to rely on federal programs and food banks just to get by. When will we see some outrage from the Councilwoman against that? What about her home improvement projects with Home Depot; how many homes have been repaired and when will she publish the results of that effort?
On another matter…
The issue of teen pregnancy has reached epidemic discussion; I had no less than 5 conversations regarding this topic in the past week alone. Sometimes these are the issues that we all find hard to address; but it becomes necessary when we have so many cases of young teens getting pregnant by young boys who then throw caution to the wind for a second time and abscond; that means run away like cowards or thieves in the night.
Only to come back after the baby is born claiming parental rights. And they do so because the hard labor associated with the birth is over; now they want to step in and repeat the same action all over again.
A disgusting display of self centeredness and selfishness!
Now that is a general observation and I am sure there are some young boys who have stepped up to the plate and tried to be accountable; but they are not the rule but rather the exception.
The question is; when will we as a community wake up to the realities around us and begin to address the issue. Our former Mayor commissioned a task force to study STD’s and I was hoping the teen pregnancy rate; they never finished their report. The former mayor is gone off to soothe his damaged ego; and I guess the task force has disbanded.
The council members in district 1 and 2; where the majority of these teen pregnancies occur do not even take the time to address these issues. The churches do not seem to want to engage; at least publicly.
The local Catholic Bishop seems far more interested in building a new church out in west Lubbock than speaking out about these issues publicly.
When; when do we as a community start to look at the consequences and do something about it? Not as a governmental body like the city council but as residents of a city whose family values are touted every election cycle and sometimes on a daily basis.
In a few weeks we will begin to explore this issue in an in-depth way on the front pages of this newspaper. It won’t be pleasant; but then neither are the consequences.
And neither is what is happening to the young teens in our communities; here in Lubbock and the South Plains region.
One final word…
On the city budget and employee raises; here’s my suggestion; every city employee making over $65,000 but less than $100,000 per year gets 2%. Every city and Citibus employee making less than $65,000 gets 4%; and everyone making over $100,000 gets to keep their job. The largest raises go to the folks on the front lines earning the lowest wages.
Otherwise if everyone gets an across the board 3% raise; that means that folks like City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld get close to a $7,500 raise while the poor bloke earning $18,000 dollars a year gets $540 per year.
Let the highly paid employees share the pain this year; then perhaps this coming year they will manage their budgets wisely and make good common sense financial decisions; and get their just reward in the 2009-2010 budget.
OK; I think I’ve ticked off enough folks for this week…better boogie!