Every month that passes since I started this blog brings new rounds of comments from the armchair analysts in Wylie. Some people love me, some people hate me, and some people think I am some sort of screaming banshee radical. Whatever.
Of course people think I'm a radical because I don't sensor my words and thoughts, but those same people keep coming back to read this blog despite that. They don't like what I have to say because I tell it like it is and nobody wants to hear the truth about themselves or their friends or their family. They come back because they are drawn to the snarkiness. Everyone loves to see someone else get a verbal smack down. Given what I have written about the past year, do you think anyone in the city wants to hear that their tax dollars are being wasted by a bunch of juveniles that they voted in? As long as our Council refuses to dig into the budget and figure out exactly how Manson is getting the numbers she presents to them every year, they are legitimizing a broken process and ultimately approving a work of fiction that governs the citizen’s tax dollars. Yet I am the radical.
Every day the underlying theme and message in my blog is that I am telling people they are morons for voting these councilmembers in or for even supporting them. The only thing I can do is continue to blog about what is going on and the more people hear about it the more they will learn to think for themselves rather than believe what they are being told by the collective public relations firm that is our Wylie City Council, Mayor, and Official City Newspaper the Wylie News. Let’s face it, nobody wants to feel snookered so they would rather believe community leaders mistruths and smoke and mirrors routines because it is less painful than believing a blogger or bothering to attend meetings for themselves. Rather, I receive the title of radical, and those radicals spending your money without much thought to the struggles you endure in order to hand them their precious tax dollars are given a pass.
It is evident to me that, the key players at the city read my blog. They key players in the city do what they can to neutralize me by making up rumors or belittling me. I know the key players in Wylie read me because I received a phone call from the Rec Center apologizing for taking too long to get back to me regarding their error in returning the $60 for the room rental. Hmmmmmm.......
Does it scare people for me to say that the City of Wylie has outgrown people like City Manager Mindy Manson, Parks and Rec Superintendent Robert Diaz, and our Communications Officer. Manson has kept us afloat all these years, but with every budget comes a new degradation of funds, equipment, and means to pay for it all without bonds, playing swapsies with funds, and increased taxes which are talked about at every budget season.
Diaz seems incapable of heading up Parks and Rec, as we have weird programs thrust at us which require cutting Rec Center hours and inconveniencing taxpayers over children. The center loses money every day it is open. They cannot even fill an art class or even market the existence of it properly. Diaz seems incapable of managing park construction and we have now been twice bitten with Founders and Community Parks which both still look like crap.
My favorite Communications man, whom I can’t even bring myself to name because I absolutely love him to death, is either being led astray by his boss Manson, has not been given any real authority, or is just plain in over his head. I cannot name him because he is just the nicest guy you ever want to meet and I always enjoy talking to him when I see him. Yup, I absolutely adore him but I have to believe he is being led astray by Manson because he doesn’t really appear to hold any position of authority. Yet if he is the one truly in charge of the neon sign out front of City Hall which flashes a mere handful of stale messages along with the same old Facebook message that has been on there for a year now, if he the one in charge of the failed City Council meeting recordings, if he is the one in charge of marketing the City of Wylie, then I think he needs a little help.
Now I don’t have anything against Manson, Parks & Rec or Communications. I mean, why would I? I have had very little contact with any of them to be honest. In fact, these people are actually pretty decent as people go. I don’t have a personal bone to pick with any of them yet the truth remains however, that the City of Wylie can do a much better job and it all falls back on City Manager Mindy Manson.
When studying the current budget and budgets of yore, it is clear that spending always kept up with income. OK, OK, so the City is a not for profit entity. I get that. A city can be a not for profit entity but still plan ahead finding ways to fund necessary equipment, especially the big stuff. Think about it. When you buy a house, do you not plan on the roof needing replacing at some future date? Do you not give the a/c unit another thought and never get it checked out until it dies one hot summer day? Do you not bother to clean out your tub drains and just let the water get so backed up that you stand in a small pond with every daily shower? Of course not, you maintain what you have and you plan for future purchases. How you pay for them is another story.
Has our society become so infatuated with loans and revolving credit that we simply don’t bother to look to the future? I don’t buy that. I understand that people charge stuff because they want it now and they don’t want to wait, but reflect upon this: Do you aspire to retire owing money on your home and with credit cards charged up to the hilt or do you aspire to retire with a home that is free and clear and no monthly credit card statements requiring your attention? Are these the ramblings of a radicalist? If you think so, please shut off my blog and don’t bother reading it again because it is clearly over your head.
My ramblings, muses, and observations are based upon more than a year and a half of attending/listening to/watching Wylie City Council meetings. In fact, it took me eight months of attending those meetings, from October 2010 to June 2011, before I started this blog. I studied the activities of our City for 8 months before I came to the conclusion that the citizens have a large problem on their hands. It took me 8 long months to get over myself and my preconceived notions that those people we voted in to do our work did not have our best interest at heart, even in our tiny hamlet of Wylie. Is this the work of a radicalist? Please.
For every fantastic change that occurs in Wylie such as a theatre and hospital, an equally disruptive one occurs and as time marches on, our city leader’s folly will continue to become apparent and the only thing that will change it is for the voters to recognize changes need to be made, and to make them through their votes. In another 7 years when Wylie has big box stores, a Kroger that is nothing more than another Target, a Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, discount stores Ross and Rack Room Shoes, and every fast food restaurant you can imagine, but no real restaurants other than Chilis, with their nasty microwave bar food, and a series of B-level Mexican restaurants, are you feeling upscale or are you feeling a tad discount? The only good thing I can say about this is that at least these stores will help offset the residential tax burden. Or will they? They won’t as long as our City Council continue to keep our tax rate high, our residential property values low, and enticing and welcoming low-income housing projects. Is Wylie destined to be just mediocre?
We have Councilman David Goss who is such a fantastic Patriot. The Lone Ranger on council who has always stood for fiscally conservative policy. He has been battered and abused by his fellow Councilmen and women for years. It is clear there is no love-loss between Mayor Hogue and Councilman Goss. In fact, I have personally been told negative information by Mayor Eric Hogue, and former Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth about David Goss. They don’t like him because he refuses to go along with the crowd. Same reason they don’t like me. Frankly, Goss was shocked when I started this blog because, though I don’t necessarily state things the way he would, he recognized that finally someone was getting it. Finally someone saw what he saw and that our City Council members were nothing but a bunch of RINO hypocrites. It would appear he has finally had enough of the abuse and has stated he will not run again. This saddens me greatly because he has been one of the few truly sane members sitting up there that has never fed me a line of bull. He has been one of the few members on council that has actually read the budget.
We have Councilman Nathan Scott who is, well, one of those people who just wants to see his name in lights and help himself. Does the man even have a job yet? I wonder. He has the cutest damned kids you ever want to see, and his wife is such a sweet little thing, but he is really just a loud-mouthed bully that cannot stop talking and thinking about himself long enough to come to some sort of conclusion about what is best for the citizens. So far on council he has fretted over building an unneeded fourth fire station, he can’t wait to negotiate some municipal bonds, he spends his time worrying about whether the baseball association knows that the parks are unsatisfactory, and he was programmed by someone, probably Mayor Eric Hogue, to bring up a complaint two meetings ago about a Parks and Rec Board Member who called Parks & Rec Superintendent Robert Diaz to the carpet. In fact, his mention of a particular incident was so staged, I felt as if I was watching a Broadway show.
Scott delivered negative generalized statements about board members harassing the contractors who are supposed to be fixing our parks, with our tax dollars by the way but he neglected to mention that. A few minutes later, Mayor Hogue stands City Manager Mindy Manson up at the end of the meeting and admonishes her to make sure she brings it to Council’s attention should a board member ever “misbehave” toward our contractors or at meetings. What really happened is that Mayor programmed and lobbed Scott (this is why your liberal City Council members fought so voraciously to get him on council) who spouted off in the meeting about something that made no sense to the casual observer, thus grabbing the Nathan grenade at the end of the Parks & Rec work session and tossing it to City Manager Mindy Manson thus providing her permission to do what is in her power to get rid of dissenting Parks & Recs Board Members. In essence, he gave himself permission to get rid of one particular outspoken Parks & Rec Board Member. Now one must wonder why. Why? Because that particular board member may just have some plans to run for City Council and the last thing Mayor Hogue wants is another outspoken Goss on council. The last thing Mayor wants is anyone that doesn’t mirror his own image on council.
We have Councilwoman Kathy Spillyards. To be honest, I haven’t much cared for Spillyards over the years because I always saw her as a sort of “yes” woman. She is the bleeding heart liberal always willing to spend for a cause she holds near and dear rather than use common sense, or rather recognizing common cents. I saw her as the Bobsey Twin to Red Byboth because how Byboth voted, Spillyards followed. Yet over the last several months, I have noticed something, more particularly now that Byboth is far removed from council and Spillyards has to stand on her own two feet. Spillyards has pushed her seat as far away from Councilman Nathan Scott as she can get away with, without appearing like she’s playing footsies with Mayor Hogue. You know, this tells me a lot about the woman. I believe Nathan Scott’s past family violence arrest and problems with paying child support are truly a turnoff for her. I think she finds it so not copacetic, that subconsciously she tries to stay out of a swinging- arm’s length. I’m sure Kathy will look to Mayor for future votes because she will rarely be a dissenting vote, if in fact she has ever been. Still, I find her to be one classy lady and I am happy to see continued signs of that, if even on a subconscious level.
We have Mayor Eric Hogue who does a fantastic job as the mouthpiece for Wylie, appears to hold some true conservative and Christian values, and yet falls down vote after vote because he is afraid of changing status quo. As an outsider looking in, I cannot help but wonder is he truly a conservative? Is a liberal? Is he falling prey to a desire to not have his name mired by being on the losing team during votes? You really have to ask yourself this, and you cannot allow his perennial Wylie PR work to sway your opinion. You have to go back and study what he is quoted saying in the Wylie News versus how he actually votes. He sounds all conservative, but in reality he votes the opposite way. He sat during last year’s campaign with a sort of smirk because he knows he is unbeatable at the moment. He is unbeatable because he has such an awesome, friendly, conservative values sort of presence and nobody has ever questioned that. Yet if you study the votes, they don’t lie.
We have Councilman Benny Jones who ran on unfinished business two months ago. Benny’s goal since he was re-elected has been to further the cause of the Wylie Youth Council. Though a fantastic program, I am concerned he is dropping the ball with regard to the budget woes. As a person, I love Benny to death. He is funny, kind, and he cares what you have to say. As a Councilmember, his votes have been anything but conservative and that has always bothered me. Jones does not sway with Mayor. Jones does not sway with the masses. Jones votes the way Jones votes and it is usually with his heart. Is he conservative? You bet. But what saddens me is that his votes make him appear more liberal than his words and deeds do. I would be happy if I saw Jones toss as much of his energy into studying the budget and digging into some of the issues I brought forth in my past post, as he does into his Youth Council. At this very moment, the budget and not the Youth Council is what can make or break every citizen in Wylie. I would like to see it taken seriously.
We have Councilman Rick White. The guy is not stupid though he certainly acts it. White is the sort of androgynous councilmember. He’s not conservative. He’s not liberal. He’s not outspoken, or well spoken. He’s not really anything. He’s Mayor’s Yin to Nathan Scott’s Yang. The only difference between the two is that White keeps his mouth shut and Scott can’t shut his mouth. He is only really useful as a mouthpiece for Mayor Hogue and that became evident at the meeting where a new Mayor Pro Tem was to be voted in. We watched him yabba, dabba, doo his way through as he attempted to get the vote tabled until Mayor returned. Come on readers, think on this a bit. Is this a radical talking or am I pointing out our reality here?
We have Councilwoman Diane Culver who has really proved herself thoughtful and professional. When I heard she was running for council and I met her, I honestly thought she would be the one up there raising hell and telling people off. What she turned out to be is the voice of reason. I am a bit angry that she has stated she will probably not run again. I am a bit angry that she ran on a Code of Conduct, and she brought it to Council, but backed out of it. I understand her plight with the Code of Conduct because of what she is up against. Do you think if a Code of Conduct were voted on by this council that it would pass? Seriously. White has stated publicly that he believes they are all above reproach (ya right). Spillyards has stated publicly that she thinks the City Charter just about covers it (which it doesn’t), and Mayor Eric Hogue knows full well that the vote against it will be Hogue, Spillyards, Scott, and White against it thus removing it from his plate. Mayor would be happy for anything problematic to go away and just leave him alone to his fat happy self. In fact, when Culver and Jones brought the Code to Council, Hogue had it added to the agenda calling it a Code of Ethics rather than a Code of Conduct, which gives it a negative connotation. Every company has a Code of Conduct which tells you how not to behave. Even our City employees were given a Code of Conduct in 2010, but Mayor brought forth the term Ethics because nobody wants to be told they are unethical and I believe he used this term in hopes it would not be supported by the public and thusly it wouldn’t pass in Council.
Radical, conservative, whatever. I could care less what people think because I know that I am on to something. What I am attempting to show readers is that cities who vote in low-income housing, cities who continue to spend without cuts, cities that keep the property tax unproportionately high and continue to make residential property values plummet. Entities that operate without any Code of Conduct are subjecting themselves to, and tacitly accepting poor behavior as their standard. Cities that continue to support poor management will continue to battle unbalanced budgets. Cities who refuse to face the reality of our economy make stupid mistakes such as handing city employees a 2% bonus last year and giving them 5 furlough days and punishing the Police and Fire Department employees with a 1% pay cut the next year. A city who wanted to swap money from the Rainy Day Fund into the General Budget (this battle took place last year) in order to dole out bonuses is going to bankrupt our City. A city that hands non-profit organizations taxpayer money without doing due diligence and reviewing the non-profit’s financials is just plain dumb. Would you do these things in your own home? Does this sound like a City being run properly? Am I radical? No, just a realist.