The “citizens to be heard” portion of the agenda at local government meetings has been turned into personal highlight reels for a small group of individuals in our community.
Don’t get me wrong. Those individuals have every right to share their thoughts, but the “three minutes of fame” time has been turned into circus time, which includes a little bit of what I call a few solid concerns, completely surrounded by personal accusations and attacks with the sole intent of some end, regardless of means.
The constant nit-picking to achieve success in personal agendas, under the guise of saving us from ourselves, will cost us in the long run.
Just wait. You’ll see, if it continues.
Shortly after Hurricane Harvey the target was on the back of Aransas County Commissioners and the County Judge.
Many of the internal changes made at the county level have been good. There’s no doubt, especially from this scribe’s standpoint, that the county is much more transparent. It is much easier covering commissioners’ court today than it was before Hurricane Harvey because backup material is provided on the County website.
Then the target was on the Aransas County ISD, followed by numerous months of targeting City of Rockport officials.
The current targets are on the County and the Aransas County Navigation District.
The target on County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills’ back is similar to the one placed on former Rockport Mayor Pat Rios’ back.
Some people just can’t get enough of kicking someone when they’re on their way out the door.
Just remember, the pendulum always swings back.
The makeup of the Rockport City Council and the City’s top management has changed a lot in the last year.
Commissioners’ Court will be led by a new county judge come January 1, and we will have a new commissioner, as well.
The school district seems to be humming along with its new school bond in hand, a stable full of teachers, and a full contingent of school cops, in spite of having to send millions of our tax dollars back to the state because we are considered a “rich” school district in the state’s warped way of equalizing school funding.
As someone who has actually been in the game covering all our entities for periods much longer than the past five years, I too have my opinion regarding each of their operations.
What I try to do in these pages is present actions taken, straight down the line, and assume you, the reader, have the intelligence to make your own decisions, based on elected officials’ actions.
It is also your responsibility to get in the game, read your local newspaper, and engage with elected officials
I think new Rockport City Manager Vanessa Shrauner said it best at a recent Chamber of Commerce luncheon when she encouraged the public to engage with City officials because you don’t want a handful of people influencing decisions that affect everyone.
The entity I’ve covered the least is the Aransas County ISD. I’ve always had a reporter that covered that beat. However, any time I have covered a school board meeting in the past 38 years, I didn’t have a problem getting the information I needed to write my story.
Trust me, there were some real
“exciting” school board meetings back in the day!
There are always periods of unrest, followed by periods of relative calm.
The ACISD is in a period of relative calm.
I’ve covered the City of Rockport the longest, and since the computer age, it has been the entity from which I can easily get the information I need. Have you ever looked at the size of the agenda packet on the City’s website? The constant calls for more transparency during the “get rid of everyone” period was actually quite laughable, in my opinion, when comparing the relative transparency of every entity.
The City is also the only entity where an elected official hasn’t told me how he or she thinks I should do my job.
I’ve covered Aransas County since just before Harvey, and as mentioned earlier, they have made a lot of changes.
County government is also different than the other entities because so many of the top positions in county government are elected positions. An elected official has less job security in the public sector than in the private sector in most cases, and that has to work on a individual, especially around election time.
The Town of Fulton used to be the entity that never seemed to be operating up to par in regard to information being easily accessible, or things being run by the rules, but Fulton has made a ton of progress in the way it operates.
The ACND has had its share of detractors, as well as defenders, who are at times the primary detractors for other entities.
Some of the ACND’s issues are self-inflicted. I’ve had this conversation with Harbor Master Keith Barrett, who I’ve known for many years.
The ACND must budget for, hire, and do whatever it takes to get into the modern age of computer access. And, they have to get this election stuff figured out.
Even with all the infighting, accusations, and name calling, which started about a year after Harvey, all in all we are very blessed with public servants who give their time to serve us. Some of them are paid well, while others get nada.
I wish the temperature could be turned down a bit, with the understanding tempers might flare from time to time. That’s the nature of local politics, here and everywhere.
We don’t have to like it, but it’s probably never going to change, no matter how much we dream.
Our greatest hope is that we can enjoy, more often, those times when all our government entities are in relative calm.
Everyone needs to check their motives before opening their mouth. If that occurs, we’re all a lot better off.
Until next week, have a good week!
Mike Probst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.