Factoids

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Abuse of Power

Abuse of Power was published in the December 10, 2010 Smithville Times. It included some rather amusing editorial additions.

At the last two Commissioners Court meetings, Judge McDonald, in his very affable manner, quietly announced a change in order of the agenda. The new order, moved the Citizen Comments which are routinely scheduled for the top of the agenda to the end after most other Court business had been tended to.

Citizens who have made the effort to come to the Courthouse to participate in their ‘representative’ government deserve better than to be sent to the end of the line. Some who come to speak take time off work to do so and lose income in the process. By adding an extra burden of up to an hour wait, the Court shows an insensitivity to and lack of respect for anything us ‘ordinary folk’ might have to say or the effort it takes to get there or the financial loss it might incur. It seems to be their not so subtle way of saying ‘go away and stop interfering with our usual bureaucratic routine’. It could also be interpreted as an attempt to silence opposition to the proposed Central Texas Airport.

Well, we will not be intimidated or silenced!

Keep in mind that even if the agenda is followed, each speaker only gets 3 minutes which flies by in a heartbeat. Go past three minutes and you are unceremoniously ‘terminated’.

The Judge has also noted on several occasions that the Court will not respond to questions during the comment period but that the Court will carefully consider what has been said. Well, after months of offering comments to the Court, there has been ZERO indication that anything we have presented has made one bit of difference. So please, either engage us in dialog or stop pretending that what we say matters.

The 381 Agreement which was only presented to the public as a fait accompli and the charade of Citizens comments illustrates a pattern that could easily be interpreted as an abuse of power.

As our elected representatives, the Commissioners are supposed to be working with us and for us. They do not ‘own’ the Court nor are they its ‘rulers’. But that’s exactly what it feels like from where we sit. An attitude readjustment from the Court is in order and overdue.

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