Saturday, February 2, 2008

The costs of Political Baggage, Demagoguery & Revenge in East Ft. Worth

First, let me define:

Demagoguery - " a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims especially for political advantage --demagogues who endanger the orderly processes of democratic government" The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus

I moved to East Ft. Worth in 2000 or somewhere close to that year. In the last 3 years or so, I have paid close attention to what goes on politically; from a neighborhood standpoint as well as from a City and somewhat District standpoint. There have been some very interesting observations. First of all, I never knew how "political" things can be at such a basic level as a "neighborhood." One would think that it would be easy to all band together at such a level. Not neccessarily true!

From what I can gather (and of course, it is my personal perspective - yes, I am aware of that), there is a small group of mostly older activists who do not really want any voices, especially new ones, speaking words that they don't want spoken and/or who may have different ideas, reasons, perspectives, political affiliations or opinions. This group has a long history with City politics that go way back probably to the 1960's. They can reiterate battles lost to certain politicians. committees, task forces, including sought after electable City Positions such as City Council and Mayorship, and appear to still hold those grudges to this day which keeps them locked in to a very narrow way of thinking, operating and "leading." Needless to say, the majority of new people who move into the neighborhood, like myself, who don't have those grudges nor share those spiteful opinions, or have that history of lost & won battles, find this counterproductive, and tend to be turned off from such baggage. This way of ruling and "leading" blocks any sort of "new order" in the neighborhood, blocks new neighbors from being "engaged" and involved in the betterment of the neighborhood, blocks the new ways of communicating with one another, blocks education and growth as a neighborhood and sector of the City.
Guess I shall give some examples of what I am referring to:

1. For 1.5 years I attended the Eastside Sector Alliance meetings where about one Saturday a month a handful of us sat around a table and discussed code issues, etc. I was even asked to serve as Secretary after about a year or so, never once did I vote, yet "position" letters were mailed to various politicians, people speaking to City Council in representation of the Alliance, etc. When I asked who was making the decisions for the Alliance as to what letters and representations to uphold, everyone looked dumbfounded. There were no ByLaws as the City didn't require them when this org was founded years and years ago. Turns out there were one, two, maybe three, maybe four people making the decisions w/out asking the 10-12 people who were sitting around the table month after month. Funny how it just happens to be this same group of people are the same group that runs the Neighborhood Association and and Eastside Neighborhood newsletter -- husbands, sons, wives, cronies included. These very same facts are what is most complained about by this group in regards to City politics, interesting how their way of operating is no different from their complaints of others. It was/is always enlightening to witness.

2. Today, I get an email stating the following:

"The meeting that was to be before City Council regarding the "High Impact" well permits including the one at Oakland @ E. 1st St was scheduled for Feb. 5th (this Tuesday) at 7pm but due to some strange reason (like too many people might show up at 7pm to protest) now has been changed to Feb 19th at 10:00 am!!! 10AM, Mayor Moncrief and City Council know there will be a lot of public protest due to this issue and the Mayor and Council does not want this type of attention the be televised with a lot people present. Having a meeting at 10am the Mayor and Council know most citizens are not as able to attend a meeting at 10:00 am. They know they are making poor judgments but the money is right. They do not want anyone to bring attention to the issues or them!!! "

Being that I'm not so sure that the accusation of the " Mayor & Council do not want this type of attention" was really true, I asked and got the following explanation from Councilman Danny Scarth:

"It sounds like someone is trying to spin this to suit their own opinion. City staff suggested the hearing be moved in order to allow additional time for notice because there was confusion with some of the original notices in the paper. As a matter of fact, Gary Hoggan and others suggested moving the hearing as well."

IMO, Demagoguery at it's best by Neighborhood "leadership." Funny how the the "spin" seems to always be the strongest when Mayor Mike or Councilman Danny Scarth are involved -- two individuals who won the elections over the wanna be neighborhood actvist involved in the aforementioned groups. Appears the revenge factor may play into the "spin" of politics on the Eastside and is put before what is actually "true" and/or "factual" in more topics than the High Impact Well at E. 1st & Oakland.

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