Why I Started This Blog

I am of the opinion that Mayor Eric Hogue only remains mayor because city administrators do a great job of telling people that they cannot possibly hold down a full-time job while performing the part of mayor. This, of course, is simply not true.

The fact is, Hogue has made the position of mayor the Hogue Show. One where he orchestrates his pet project, magic, and attempts to direct influence over the local newspaper, but they don't seem to be getting very far these days. You see, the city screwed themselves in that arena after they created a position for the reporter and hired her on. Shortly after, they became unhappy with the new reporter. Now the Wylie News reporter has been relegated to the back 40 instead of holding a seat at the dais like they used to.

In the past, Mayor Eric Hogue would have made sure he attended a controversial city council meeting, but at the last meeting, where there was a planned tax protest, he was a no show. Why?

This was a complete departure from yesteryear's Hogue who relished an opportunity to mastermind the demise of an opponent, or at least shut them down during public discussion. Tactics used in the past include making "clarifications" while the citizen is speaking, so as to use up some of their allotted three minutes, and preempting a complaint because he knew what would be said from the form the person filled out. Another tactic is that after citizens speak without filling out the form, a staff member traipses after them asking them to fill out the form under the pretense of following up. In reality, they are identifying who the problem citizens are.

So instead of staying home and dealing with the protest, Hogue hid in Las Vegas and left Mayor Pro Tem Keith Stephens to deal with the protest. Hogue certainly did not have to attend the conference in Vegas. He could have sent someone else, or he could have let WEDC members represent Wylie. Then again, maybe he was visiting his magic pal David Copperfield again on the taxpayer's dime. It's no secret Copperfield has an ongoing show there and that magic is Hogue's pet project.

Why did Hogue not show up for something as important as a tax rate protest? Showing up for that meeting could have proved detrimental to his "legacy" should he read as uncaring, disingenuous or arrogant to the protesters, all of which were very real possibilities. Instead, he left council to their own devices, and they showed their true colors.

Some of the attendees told me that from the looks of the faces of those sitting at the dais, they felt the only ones who cared and took notes were Councilman Toby Wallis, DMV and Councilman Jeff Forrester. They felt like the others were totally disinterested in what was being said, including City Manager Mindy Manson. They felt let down, like council would be happy to show them the door and replace them with people who have the money and don't mind paying the high taxes. They did not feel like the majority of council were genuinely interested.

Was the citizen input really lost on them? What do they need to do to get their attention? Do they need to line up 100 people to speak? Council really had a prime opportunity to see first hand just how much their actions have hurt the people they claim to represent, and those who attended and spoke felt like they simply did not care.

The result is that citizens, who would rather spend their time coaching little league and attending their own functions are now forced to speak out against the steadily increasing taxes.

This is all part of the larger problem with city leaders. The prevailing attitude is that people are applying for these seats and running for council so they can work their pet project or add it to their resume. How does that help anyone but themselves? What do citizens need to do to be heard?

I started a blog.

Blog naysayers, who are usually friends of those I am reporting on, attempt to discredit me. They claim I complain but offer no solutions. I call BS on that. Through the years I have offered more solutions than I can count. The problem is, our city officials are under the misconception that only their opinion matters. They start out consulting taxpayers then they fall into believing their decisions represent what they "think" citizens want.  Their excuse is that if they don't hear from anyone then it's house rules. Soon, the freshly appointed or elected member slowly erodes into what's good for the cause, rather than what's good for the masses.

They also claim I should run for council or a board or else I have no right to complain. Through the years I have sacrificed more personal time dedicated to making the city a better place than any of those sitting on boards. The problem is our city leaders don't want to hear solutions which they did not come up with on their own. As with many politicians, they remain closed-minded, despite lip service claiming otherwise.

This dynamic led to the exchange I had with Kevin Finnell, a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustments, who sought me out through my blog's Facebook page. The argument he made is that anyone who complains isn't worthy of attention when they don't sit on one of the few, select boards.

By seeking a private citizen out to admonish, he does a discredit to the position. Authoring this blog is not an official public position. I was not elected or appointed to do this. This is my personal blog full of my personal opinions that are protected by the Second Amendment, I might add. The fact that he felt comfortably within his right to dress me down and even cuss, is a perfect example of the mentality we have seen displayed by many of Wylie's leaders.

The exchange with this board member is eerily reminiscent of when I was verbally accosted by a Planning and Zoning commission member.  Well at least the P&Z woman didn't cuss at me like this man did. Yet, this woman along with Mayor Hogue, is the reason I started this blog many years ago. It is one of the precursors to the city adopting a Code of Ethics. Perhaps the city should remind their board members of that.

The harsh reality is, change in Wylie is on the horizon. Wylie is too large to continue on with the good old boy, slap the back, handshake deals. It will be change where citizens step up and run for office because they want to help the citizens, not because of some special pet project. 

I started this blog to get citizens engaged, which is precisely what an actively engaged citizen looks like. Too bad this definition does not match that of city leaders.

Image credit: Austin Monthly