22 March 2010 at 10:19:36 PM
Doing other stuff this week then following the doings of local government but have to say that sometimes I am SO interested in what is going on that it's like getting mentally overstuffed and fatigued. I've always been the type fhat, when I'm interested in a subject, dive in fully, explore it exhaustively, and then come back up for air.
I said recently that I realized that I have been following and recording local government meetings for 5 years, not every single meeting, but pretty extensively (including getting audio when I wasn't in attendance). It took me several years to begin to understand how local government worked and to start asking internal questions about procedures. In other words, I didn't have much of an opinion, for the most part, as to whether I liked how local government operated or the decisions made, because I was ignorant to the entire process. In the last year or so, I have formed some opinions and am using time this year to explore whether my opinions are valid or not, or at least have merit. I'm going to list some of that pondering here, some of it is redundant thoughts I've had before.
- Why aren't gifts, trips, etc listed on some kind of ethics forms for local politicians? If, for example, an official is given a trip out of town, shouldn't there be a report that any citizen could view?
- Why doesn't every government entity that has a website list the meeting notices, minutes, copies of packet information given to all officials, audio from the meetings and check registers? The City, GRISD, and the Somervell County water district are very good at that, and it is much appreciated. They ALL should.
- Why are there ANY conversations held in executive session about matters that don't strictly meet the criteria for closed meetings? No one should ever hear about non-city business that the city might have some hand in except at a city meeting or by reading city minutes.
- Why aren't the bids always opened in open session OR done on a specific day with specific notice? The Commissioners Court does that and it's great and above board.
- Why isn't there a plan for Oakdale? Why is the man who is doing the plan apparently doing a lot of his work via Google Earth? And what the fool is taking him so long?
- Why is the CVB person acting as contractor for Oakdale and in what city meeting was it voted upon, openly, that that was a new job duty? Why hasn't the committee for Oakdale presented its findings to the city?
- Just because the government entities in the past have decided to subsidize the hospital (including the doctors if they don't make enough money) , expo center, golf course, etc does that mean it ALWAYS has to be that way? I've heard the argument about tourism and I don't disagree that you need to have places for people to stay and venues to fill. But seems to me like the hospital is way over what is needed in this community for what ought to be a community hospital (but apparently only makes money off Pecan Plantation in Hood County), no floor or penalties for bookings at the Expo Center and Ampitheatre, etc. People are generally against welfare, right? Except for those who are deserving? I've heard plenty of people rail against handouts for people who are on the dole. WHERE is the outcry about welfare for the Expo and hospital?
- And why isn't there more of an outcry about that 14 milion dollar certificate of obligation that the hospital no longer has to pay back? You know, the one Mike Ford pushed to start up before there was even a public hearing to see if the public WANTED to loan tax money to a private entity?
- One more on Pecan Plantation. It's my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, that the Pecan Plantation deal was made, not with Somervell County, but with GRMF, which at that point was a private nonprofit. Since it's been rolled into the SCHD, shouldn't there be some kind of public hearing about whether we WANT our tax money going to Hood County? Wouldn't that contract have had to be renegotiated?
- How come Congress has no problems and even makes excuses for earmarks, like the one that Chet Edwards got for GRMC? But the rest who apply for grants, etc, have to compete against others who ALSO are trying to get the grants and don't get to go to the head of the line with favoritism.
- Wny would anyone even consider moving the petrified wood houses that are by the Paluxy on Barnard to Heritage Park? Why would shops like lawnmower repair or feed stores even be, even initially, on a prohibited list? WHERE are the people who want SIDEWALKS on both Barnard AND 67????
Anyway, I do like the people in government and think, for the most part, that everybody is doing a terrific job, especially with the positions that are voluntary or pay very little. It takes a certain kind of person to want to be a public servant, and those that choose to run to better the community without some selfish gain deserve all the kudos they can get. That said, no one should be complacent about what their government is doing. Just sometimes I get a little burnt out:)
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