Observations from the Soapbox

As I spoke with someone last week, I made the prediction that former Wylie City Councilman Carter Porter would be campaigning soon in order to get his seat back on the city council.  Last May, Councilwoman Diane Culver unseated the poor sap.

It was no surprise when I arrived at the city council meeting last night that I saw Carter Porter sitting off to the side like Joe Cool with his mirrored aviator shades on.  Wow, was he afraid his fans were going to mob him?  Oh yes, one Pepe le Pewesque former council candidate Gilbert Tamez ran to him like a dog, well, um, like a skunk in heat.  Oh, but not before waving to me first.  I suppose he wanted to let me know, “Lookie who’s here!”  Then again, I will give Mr. Tamez the benefit of the doubt because we have chatted politely before and he seems to be a nice man, so perhaps he was just waving to me to be nice.

Nothing against Tamez, however he did make an unsuccessful run for city council before. Someone once mentioned to me that the only thing Tamez was missing was a sombrero and poncho.  Wow.  What a stereotype. I never quite saw him that way, but in my opinion council material he is not.  He is rumored to be a liberal and the last thing we need sitting on council is another liberal.  But hey, at least he is not walking around like a conservative in drag as we have with a couple of the other council members.  With Tamez, I believe what you see is pretty much what you get.  Jose Average.

As soon as people began filing in to the meeting, the sport coat laden Porter jumped up like a used car salesman and began his slick schmoozing shtick.  Say that real fast 5 times. 

I guess people might make the assumption that he was there in support of his pals in the police and fire departments who were getting awards from the Sons of the American Revolution. That is one group I can truly say I am uninterested in when it comes to that old cliché about men in uniforms. The only thing they were missing was the powdered wigs.  Despite that, it was a beautiful ceremony but I was sad my favorite Po Po man who always cheerfully stands in the back of the room did not get any awards. Shame, he seems like such a nice guy.  I was happy to see Officer Willis get an award because my son absolutely loved her at McMillan, but I digress.

I would venture to stab westward and say Porter was there to feel out the crowd for another run for council.  This truly puts me in all sorts of discombobulation. 

There is an element of followers who think I would be good for the council and they continue to harangue me to run.  Oh I can see it now; Mayor Hogue would have a coronary or possibly need to launder his boxers as a run by me for city council would bring him all sorts of intestinal distress.  In fact, I’m pretty certain I am already giving him a tiny bit of heartburn. 

I have had people say they will get a packet and fill it out with my name on it and even get the signatures.  I have some people who want me to get a packet just for giggles because the faux eye-browed Carol Ehrlich will hardly be able to contain herself, and the sheer speed of the gossipy call to Mayor Hogue would be noteworthy if not truly epic.

The last time Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth and I spoke, he said I should run for his seat on the city council.  Well there’s a novel idea. Can you imagine the look of surprise on Byboth’s pal, Councilwoman Kathy Spillyards' face?  I think it would be far superior to the look of perpetual surprise she had on her face last night from what I can only think was a Botox job or God knows what else.  Who am I to cast aspersions though?  I certainly enjoy my own makeup and Retin-A, but damn Kathy, you are a nice looking woman and you don’t need that other stuff. 

In light of the numerous requests I felt it only right to kick around the idea of a run for city council.  In a cursory family meeting about this topic, my famdamily said they would happily support it.  Well guys, that’s awfully sweet, but I still believe the best seat in the house for me is in the hot seat.  I may not be popular with certain members of the community, (you know who you are Library Lady with the hateful looks) but I’m not here to make bffs with anyone.  I’m here to keep the honesty flowing.  So I’m pretty sure I will continue to get nasty looks from certain people, but I chalk it up to ignorance on their part and I will continue to pat myself on the back because I must be doing something right in order to have opened up new thought avenues among the players in the city.  Hey, the Superintendent wouldn’t swap cell phone numbers with me and broach the topic of bonds (yes again) with me if he didn’t realize how poorly that could play out on my blog and within the community.  Another blog will be forthcoming on that discussion however, but I digress yet again.

Red Byboth told me, in one of those moments of wisdom that can only come from the bottom of a good bottle of beer or two, that people who are critical of the council should walk in council’s shoes.  As far as I can agree with that statement, I vehemently believe that if I were to run for council, there would be nobody willing to take my place as the blog girl, as I am commonly referred to (you know who you are).  This is probably the largest reason I don’t care to run for the council.

Also in my conversation with Byboth, he told me he was over his stint on the city council and though he would not resign because he owed his supporters the completion of his term, he was ready for it to end.  Frankly I agree that Red’s time has come, because it seems his business and the poor economy are getting in the way of his ability to serve the community in the way I think he wants to serve. He said he wanted someone intelligent and who cares about Wylie to run for his seat so he can happily go pursue his lifelong dream (don’t look to me for gossip about that because I will not be blogging about his personal business).  Though I am flattered Red finds me a formidable candidate, what I really think he hopes for is that if I were to toss my hat into the ring, his pal Carter Porter would run against me or against Bennie in order to keep the old red tide on that council.  Like a red tide at night, as thrillingly bioluminescent as Byboth may be, I think we can do better without.

However out of the other side of his face, Red also told me that if some moron who never attends council meetings steps up to run for his seat, then he will stay and run again.  I find this highly disconcerting because he has already missed 3 meetings since January due to his business (having missed last night’s meeting also), and he has already been caught numerous times texting during meetings, mostly due to his business.  Red is all sorts of fantastic as a citizen and a bar-mate, but as a councilman I think he needs to move on and get his sweet little self in order.

Since many people have approached me to run for council it begs to be asked, who is going to step up in my place and keep the council and candidates honest?  I don’t see anyone nipping at my heels so it is here I will remain.

While I’m posting these thoughts, I should also ask what makes a good council candidate?  Who is going to actually take the time to show up at meetings, learn a little something something and make the run?  So often I have people call me or write to me and tell me they want to run for city council or the school board.  My first response is always, “Show up for every meeting from here on out.”  Why do I say that?  Because it shows me as well as the community that the person who wishes to run is truly serious about it.  I think it is important for someone who wishes to run for council to know what exactly is taking place in those meetings.  One can learn a tremendous amount by observing the dynamics and relationships.  One can also prove themselves worthy by sitting in that audience and learning how things work for a year before they sign up, and more importantly before they speak up (which was the downfall of Mr. Dunn).  Sitting in at three council meetings does not a council member make, nor does it show you are serious. You have to learn to walk before you can run.

This notion then leaves me with the routine cast of characters sitting in city hall for council meetings month after month:  Library Ladies (oh hells no), Gilbert Tamez (oh dear), me (a card carrying conservative), Bill Baumbach (a card carrying liberal).  Will Carter Porter be joining us in the audience now?  That remains to be seen, but I have my suspicions about his appearance last night.

Could I have a meeting of the minds with Porter?  Possibly.  He claims to be a fiscal conservative, and he did try to push that stance at the February retreat when he complained about the travel portion of the budget.  He claimed that travel should be reduced as a measure of cost savings.  Though such a cut is a conservative idea, I am suspicious of that stance due to the reasoning behind it.  It appeared the underlying attack being made was against Councilman David Goss and Councilman Bennie Jones and some of the travel they did on the city dime.  Travel expense is in the budget because our leaders should further educate themselves.  However at the February retreat, Porter stated that his job was not to educate himself, it was to sit up there and vote.  Wow, now those are some words of wisdom to write on your steamy mirror at home after a shower.  My assessment of Carter’s discussion at that retreat was that it was more about who was hitting those funds up vs. who was not, than it was about actually attempting to cut the budget.

Why exactly am I on my soapbox about Carter Porter’s attendance at last night’s meeting?  He certainly has a right to show up as he pleases.  I suppose it is because I have election time on my mind and May is simply not that far away when time whizzes past the holidays.  I am highly concerned in moving forward as a city when we continue to have good old boys running the show.  I don’t think Wylie needs the same old cast of characters slipping in and out of seats and dragging the same old garbage bag along behind them.  I believe we need new blood. 

To back that statement up, I can point to the fact that people were very upset about Superintendent Fuller and the WISD school board, and the ramming of bonds down our throat in packaged and repackaged form over and over again.  The community seems thrilled that we finally voted the good old boys and girls out of the school board and what remains seems to be a good mix of minds.  I believe it is time to do the same with the city council.  It is time for the good old boys and girl like Spillyards, White, Porter, and Byboth to be removed and for some new blood to be instilled.  Because of this I dislike the idea of Carter Porter campaigning in October because he didn’t campaign in March and April and he lost his seat. We said Sayonara to Porter. I don’t think we need him back.

Is there anyone out there who is willing to do the work and put forth the effort into running for the council, or is everyone so fat and happy they are just fine with status quo, sustained spending, increased debt to pay for fire equipment and a 4th firehouse, the possibility of increased taxes to pay for it all, and all sorts of internal bickering and muscling?  Can we truly afford this and make it into 2014 without bouncing and skidding out of control?   At this point I’m not certain, but I can say that voting the old hats back on the council will definitely not do the trick.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results each time.