Here's the rub. If you hold a position on one of the boards and commissions here in Wylie, and you know something wrong is taking place, wouldn't you speak out about it? If you are watching the City Council meetings take place and are engaged in dialog with some of the leaders, wouldn't you tell others about what you saw or heard?
How would you get the word out to people? How would you let people know that in Wylie, what you are seeing is not really what you are getting?
Interestingly enough, there are truly only a handful of Wylie's citizens that get this concept. We are in the know. We have a gut feeling. We have heard stories or witnessed some sort of nonsense or other. If you knew your City was not being run the way it should be, wouldn't you want to improve it?
As a group of concerned citizens, how on God's green earth do we let people know that their City Council can do better? Much better, in fact.
How do we let them know just how much foolishness is taking place with regard to our taxpayer money, especially when the only newspaper in town writes at the pleasure of the mayor? Do you have a chance of getting those everyday people informed as long as no real stories are ever printed or as long as no real digging and reporting is taking place? The citizens of Wylie will continue to be fed those slick taglines that everything is coming up roses in Wylie and as Mayor Eric Hogue says, this is a community of people who are very involved.
Eh, who says? We have 43K citizens and only 700-1K routinely come out to vote. We have 43K citizens and 500 come for a street dance. We have 43K citizens and 48 come out for a candidate forum. We have 43K citizens and 200 come out for a 9/11 memorial service. This is not a community of people who care, its a community of people who are too damn busy.
Wylie is a community of young families who are so busy with their younguns they simply don't have the time or energy to be involved as part of their "civic duty". They can barely keep their heads straight with all the soccer games and dance lessons. The younger generation are leaving it up to the elders to decide, hoping or perhaps guessing they will have the wisdom to guide the City on a path of prosperity. Yet those 'elders' are all a bunch of good old boys and girls who have held their stranglehold on our tiny government for well over a decade.
Sadly the goold old boys on our City Council know and capitalize on this. They capitalize in the form of a well placed newspaper article in the Wylie News telling us there is a $173K shortfall in the budget. Then we read on and are informed of all the things we need such as shiny new red Quints that race out of the fire stations for every call whether needed or not. We need a 4th fire station that half of our City Council wants to get a bond approved for the building of it even though we don't need one. We don't ever read stories that point out the inadequacies of our Rec Center or that our wise Citymeisters opened up that Rec Center which loses money every day it is open. We aren't informed that the Rec Center was always deigned to lose money.
We don't get to read how our parks are in dismal shape, even after we paid out the butt for renovations and didn't quite get what we were promised. We only get a slick pic of the Media Hogue pitching out the first ball at the re-dedication. Oh it looks all nice and cozy, but in reality the parks look like hell.
The City can hardly handle the renovation of our City Parks, why did we hand them the running of our Rec Center? In fact I am going to give you an example of why the City should not be in the business of running much of anything.
Our wise city leaders that run that Rec Center made an error and refunded money to me that they shouldn't have and when I questioned them, they never responded.
Here is what happened: I paid a $100 deposit for the classroom for 2 separate days along with the rent of $60 per room per event. My total outgo was $220. I used the room for the first event and when the second event came around, I canceled it at the last minute so they could release the room to someone else rather than just not show up because I was not going to use the room after all. In fact, the contract I signed stated clearly that last minute cancellations would incur a fee of $50. That means of the $60 I had paid, I would receive only $10 back. Therefore I should have received back my $100 deposit (because there was no damage and I left the room as clean as I found it) plus the $10.
When I canceled the 2nd room rental, they told me they would not charge me the $50 fee. How nice of them. Do you know I received back a check from the City of Wylie for the full $220. They refunded the $60 I spent and actually used on the first classroom as well. As soon as I saw their mistake, I wrote to them and asked them how they would like me to return the $60. Do you know I never received any reply back?
I ask you: is the City in the business of losing money on this Rec Center? I can tell you that would I were to rent that same room from say, 24 Hour Fitness, they would have never made that refund error. In fact, I guarantee 24 Hour Fitness or Gold's Gym could run that Rec Center much more efficiently than the City of Wylie can. Have you ever watched a government run something successfully? Just look to Social Security and the US Postal Service for your answer. In my humble opinion, the City of Wylie needs to get the hell out of the Rec Center business and lease that albatross to someone who knows how to run it and can turn a profit.
I ask readers how can we possibly get this type of knowledge out to those citizens who don't pay attention, don't vote, don't show up for the forums or are part of the dismal 800 readers of the Wylie News that only receive the slick marketing stories?
I started this blog hoping to point out that our City leaders can do a much better job than they currently do. I may not always be right, I try to research what I write about, I have a fair assortment of readers, but with complete apathy in Wylie, how do you get people to pay attention?
Without attention, we get what we get and what we currently have are a group of 7 people sitting at the dais twice a month making detrimental decisions that will affect our home values and our way of life within the community. Sadly, I am afraid that it is only when our City leader's policies continue to kill our property values and render selling our homes as useless, will people take notice. Then it will be too late.
Was the drop in residential property values the last 3 years enough to get anyone's attention or are they falsely attributing it to the economy? Sure some of it is the economy but some of it is the enormously high tax rate we have in Wylie, and our Council's decision to ram low-income housing after low-income housing here.
Get your neighbors, friends, and family involved. Get them to watch the meetings online routinely so they know what is going on. It's budget time in Wylie and everyone should be watching. We can't afford 4 more years of the morons in the White House and we also cannot afford more years of crappy decisions being made by our Wylie City Council.