Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guest Editorial: Standing Up For Those Who Can and Do

The attached editorial by Mary Phinney is published as-written, with the exception of a couple of spelling errors. We all could learn something from these neighbors, if we would only take the time and make the effort to do so.

I am John Phinney’s wife. I appreciate his views on the current situation in Wilmer. He did not want to move from East Dallas; I did.
The Wilmer citizens and officials with whom I dealt before moving into the City’s ETJ were always very positive about Wilmer. It was only after we moved here that we started getting questions about why would anyone want to move here, did you know… And, from there on we got an ear full even from those that had up until I became a member of the community were positive about it.

So, for about two years, John and I took a stand that is best illustrated by the University Joke as follows:

A psychologist, sociologist, and anthropologist were sequestered on a hill over looking a valley where two tribes were battling each other ferociously.
The Psychologist said, “ I wonder what traumatic event occurred in the lives of these people to bring them to the battlefield to kill and maim each other in this horrific fight?”
The Sociologist replied, “ No, it is not a case not of mental depravity or illness but rather it is a classic case of the haves and have-nots becoming jealous and defensive.”
They turned to their companion, the anthropologist, who had remained silent.
Finally, the Anthropologist turned to the other two and said, “Wow! Look at those little buggers fight!”
He made no further judgment.

We have attended and will continue to come to City Council Meetings because we are both anthropologists and adhere to this quotation by Oliver Wendell Holmes, “"The Law is simply a great anthropological document." The Law is based on what has worked for humankind through test after test, trial and error, century upon century. And as one of the bloggers put it, he or she lives in the ETJ, as do we, the decisions by the Council affect us the same as if we lived inside the City limits.

If the Law, Codes, Regulations are followed, we are all on the same page and we all understand how decisions were made and where the decisions will take us. If we don’t follow the State Codes, Acts and Laws that govern City operations and management, we become mired in innuendo, blame, suspicion, wrong doing (deliberate or accidental), hints of bribery, and rumors of all the fore-going.

A working microphone would help as well as a better presentation method. The funds from the salvaged copper wire after lightening strikes on the water tower would pay for a simple and effective power-point projector. (Now, there’s a rumor worth chasing down and confirming its authenticity or squelching it entirely.) If the open mike is reinstated, at the very least, as the one anonymous contributor put it, a Councilman (or woman) would have an opportunity to explain to the audience how or why he/she chose to vote the way he/she did vote or plans to vote. This exchange between Mayor/City Council Member and the Citizen may not put an end to speculation about motive and/or reward for such actions, but at least the elected official would have given a public defense of his/her position before the rumors start.

There were five or six “anonymous” blogs about reading the “manuals”, Acts, and publications from the Texas Office of the Attorney General. The blogs contained some good advice and did not call anyone any names. They kept to the subject of the editorial or media release. If we educate ourselves about how City Government should operate, then, we can take an educated stand about those areas of concern and the issues where we know the Mayor and the City Council are taking short-cuts around, over-stepping, or even ignoring the State Law. If the Council and Mayor are ignorant about legal procedures then they can benefit from being educated by those they are supposed to represent. I particularly, agreed with the one blogger who said, “If everything is on the up and up, you don't need city paid spies/censors/relatives in the Administration Offices (See Nepotism Made Easy and Conflict of Interest Made Easy, OAG publications. Yes, I was surprised to find out these really are published by the OAG.) The Staff should be loyal to the elected officials as long as the elected officials are operating under the Rules established by the State of Texas.

There is really nothing wrong with controversy except when stupidity and ignorance are the guiding factors and once again I must quote Oliver Wendell Holmes,

“... the hydrostatic paradox of controversy. Don't you know what that means? Well, I will tell you. You know that, if you had a bent tube, one arm of which was of the size of a pipe-stem, and the other big enough to hold the ocean, water would stand at the same height in one as in the other. Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way. And the fools know it.”

Please stop the quarreling and begin thinking of your City and its future. Get rid of the problems---people or policies---it’s the City that should count.

Mary Phinney, B.A., CLP, CPI
Trail and Preserve Program
Dallas County
Citizen of the Wilmer ETJ


The Observer said...

Thank you, Ms. Phinney, for your article. The snips and snipes of various contributors mainly show the sense of frustration that most of us feel here in the City of Wilmer. We don't feel our elected officials have the City's interest at heart, but then, who trusts politicians? I, too, feel an open forum during Council meeting would be an excellent opportunity for the Council members to educate the public on why they do the things they do.

Thank you and your husband for taking an interest outside your home boundaries and coming to the City Council meetings. I look forward to your opinions on future Council issues.

Just Asking said...

Hey Joe, are you going to post the agenda for this week?