Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kathleen Hicks complains of the lack of Transparency in Government at City Hall

As I watched the pre-Council meeting on August 12th, 2008 and heard City Council member, Kathleen Hicks complaining about the apparent lack of transparency in government at Fort Worth's City Hall, I was a little amused. For the simple reason that I personally, have not found my councilrep, Hicks to be transparent in her way of governing District 8's business at all, at least not with me. Hicks mentioned something about not being aware of the specific budget cuts and moving around and merging of depts w/in the City. Perhaps it wasn't something that others felt she "needed" to know or that would interfere with her conducting business in her District. On a second note, it's really perplexing to me when Hicks and others complain about the "other Ft. Worth" meaning the "poor and oppressed" not receiving the free handouts (services) that they are accustomed to when I don't ever hear about any of those complaining politicians out beating the pavement for more responsible parenting, such as involvement in their children's education, especially during the early development stages of childhood; teenage safe sex practices and/or abstinence; child affordability; responsible dog ownership; importance of diet and exercise and how that relates to health problems; what a life of crime will get you, etc. Maybe Hicks and others who complain about lost services to "the other Ft. Worth," are doing it and I'm just not hearing about it. (and I'm not talking about appearances at meetings) -- I'm talking about beating the pavement as a "Community Leader." All I hear about is how much money she wants from the taxpayers to pay for the product(s) that irresponsible parenting brings to the table for the community and taxpayers of Ft. Worth. Where is the calling for more education and/or discussions for addressing some of the root causes of: Infant Mortality, Diabetes, teenage pregnancy, teenage high school drop out, the extremely high number of stray dog pick ups in her District, homelessness, etc.? Many of the issues she likes to fund heavily but not really address in discussion. Don't get me wrong, I believe in helping the ones who can't help themselves such as the elderly, handicapped, mentally ill, x-cons, addicts, poor, etc.; however, no free handouts for simply making bad choices over and over and over.

And BTW, speaking of Transparency in Government, where are the answers to my questions that I would think any councilmember, in any City, would not have to dig too terribly deep or take too terribly much time to come up with? I asked the following and am still waiting on the answers:

1. Is it true that the Gas Drilling Task Force voted to NOT record minutes to their meetings? If so, whynot?

2. Is it true that the City of Ft. Worth will not allow the GD Task Force meeting this Monday night (8/11/08) to be videotaped and shown on our City cable television channel? If true, what is the reason behind the decision and who made it?

3. Why hasn't all of the information from this past week's joint meeting of Ft. Worth City Council and Gas Drilling Task Force been uploaded to the City's website as promised by the city attorney? When will it be?

4. Have you personally studied and looked at the various State laws and codes regarding the City's authority regarding pipelines and gas drilling or are you relying solely on the City attorneys to inform you?

5. Are you pushing for a moratorium be placed on gas drilling and pipeline decisions until a Master Plan is configured and put in place in the City of Ft. Worth? If not, whynot? If so, what exactly are you doing and how are you planning to influence others who are paid with our taxdollars and who vote on such important matters for the City?

6. Have any District projects been promised to you by Chesapeake? If so, what are they?

7. Has any money been given to you or any of your bank accounts by Chesapeake or any other energy companies doing business in Ft. Worth?

8. Has Chesapeake or any other energy company employee taken and paid for your lunch or dinner? If so, about how many times?

9. Do you believe that money or the promise thereof has influenced any of your decisions involving any part of gas drilling in Ft. Worth?

10. Why do you believe that it is "a great compromise" for a high pressure gas pipeline to be moved from someone's front door step to the street" (as quoted in Star-telegram article on 8/8/2008)

It has always been difficult for me to ask questions of Kathleen Hicks, without her getting extremely defensive and huffy and down right rude. Maybe she thinks she is entitled to public service, for whatever reason, and is not to be questioned or criticized about her job. I hope not, because my belief is that NO ONE is entitled to a free ride or above being questioned or criticized.

People may read this and think, WOW, you have it out for Ms. Hicks. Not really, you could argue whether it's personal or not, but I'm here to tell ya. I'd feel the same no matter who you were if you were in a public serving position and had behaved in the ways that I have seen Ms. Hicks behave and say and do the things I have seen her say and do. Call it what you want to. That's your prerogative.


Kristin McMurray said...

This was a great post. I love that politicians like to be informed but expect us to be happy with the exact opposite.

If you get a chance you might want to check out along your line of interests.

Suzette said...

Thanks Kristin - Some call me "being negative" but I don't answer to that call because it is my belief that if we as residents paid closer attention to what our elected officials say and do, we might be in better shape as a community and our tax dollars would be put to better use and used more efficiently and effectively. I will visit the site you mentioned and thanks again for your comments and site address.

Lisa said...

Your last sentence is quite telling, and condescending if I may say so myself. Even though you may say you aren't out for Ms.Hicks I personally believe differently. Almost all of your posts are negative, and there are several that are attacks at this poor woman. I have worked with Ms.Hicks, Kathleen, whatever you want to call her numerous times, and I have found her to be great, even awesome if that word is allowed in your blogs.

All the things you seem to be complaining about Ms. Hicks works tirelessly day and night to help resolve, fix, or whatever is needed. I have had neighbors with code violations, I report them to her, and she has dealt with them without haste or hesitation. Also, to de-myth your term of "transparency" I will say that she is the MOST transparent council member there is. Anything you want to know, she will tell you whatever it is she does know, and will work to find the answer if it is something that she doesn't.

As for the budget, she like Frank Moss tirelessly argued with other council members to keep the programs you mentioned, and work to make a budget for the citizens of the city, not just for the citizens of the higher paid salaries. For the issue of drilling, Kathleen is one of the FEW council members to vote NO to almost every oil well, and I really don't understand why it is you feel the need to say such horrible things when she is on your side.

Ms. Watkins, in all honesty Kathleen is the best there has ever been, and I would support her in the decision to not be as "open" with you as with other people, because you have treated her with the least respect I have ever seen. Thanks for being a concerned citizen, but all in all, you have to remember that public officials are just regular people who take the time out of their lives to serve your city tirelessly, without compensation.


Suzette said...

Lisa - Evidently you and I have had very different experiences with Kathleen Hicks. As I have said many times before....I do not give alot of respect to titles. IMO, respect is an earned gesture. Thank you for reading and commenting.