Loud and Clear

350px-boll_weevil_monumentIn case you missed it…

At the end of my last blog post on this subject, You Can’t Please Everyone, I mentioned Take Back Enterprise had made a formal request to the city council and asked to meet with them. The city council and mayor have now responded to that request (I think) and their collective response speaks pretty much for itself. I did add a few thoughts and questions that occurred to me. Maybe they are some you have pondered as well. If you have any answers please feel free to share those in the comments if you can share publicly. If not you can always reach me privately at stansblog@roadrunner.com.

Quotes and Comments

“We are very transparent with what we do, and I do not think that it would be in the public’s best interest to meet with that group. That’s a small amount of people in Enterprise. They do not represent a majority of the public in Enterprise.”

“We are as open and transparent as you can be.” Councilman Al Miller.

Apparently to be able to meet with the city council in Enterprise you have to prove by some method, not sure what that is, your group represents the majority of people in the city.

“With a name like Take Back Enterprise, I don’t see any good that would come from a meeting with a group with the intent, obviously, is to divide this city.” Councilman Tommy Johnson

Obviously? I don’t think so. If you have questions about anything the council and mayor have done, partly because they are not being transparent, and ask those questions, you are making accusations and trying to divide the city?

“Most of this group are my constituents, two of them are here, so I’ll just say if y’all have any questions or need me, y’all are my constituents, so I’ll definitely listen and take it back to the council whatever needs to be done.” Councilman Rhett Marques

“I have met with my people in District 1 and they are satisfied with the way the city is being run.” Councilman Bill Cooper

“I don’t know how much opener the council can be.” Councilman Kirk Donaldson

Somehow, Council President Al Miller twisted this request for more information from the city into an attack on “the men and women who work for this city.” Take Back Enterprise addressed this twisted misconception in an Open Letter to all the City of Enterprise employees.

Missed Opportunity?

I believe the city leaders missed an opportunity here to try to bring the city together and, instead, chose to further divide the city. Yes, I said further divide and that does mean the city is already divided.

Positive news on some requests but…

It is encouraging that some of the suggestions Take Back Enterprise has made publicly, including more meeting minutes, budget information and, most recently, streaming and archiving of regular council meetings, are being considered and implemented by the city. I applaud both groups for initiating and making these changes and hope this collaboration continues. These changes would not have been implemented without the public requests made by Take Back Enterprise. Based on what I have seen so far, you will not see that mentioned in any press release from the mayor – another opportunity missed.

However, since we were told they were already being as transparent as they could be these changes are a little bit confusing. Apparently, they weren’t.

In any case these are encouraging changes headed in the right direction.

Divided? What do you think?

I wrote about freedom of speech being squelched in Enterprise a little more than six months ago in The Silenced Majority so I don’t need to repeat that here. However since the mayor chose to discourage free speech publicly in his letter you might want to go back and read that one too. If you didn’t think that was happening then you can see it for yourself now.

Warning, Warning

The letter below is from Mayor Boswell to the city council. In reading his letter I was not sure if the mayor was actually warning the citizens of Enterprise or if that is something he plans to do in the future. Obviously, I believe his goal in this soliloquy was to direct these comments to Take Back Enterprise and anyone else who doesn’t want to sit down and be quiet or you would not be reading this. As with the council comments I do not accept his premise here that anyone who speaks up and simply asks questions or dares to suggest improvements can be made has a goal of dividing the city.

Mayor Respnse to TBE_10-11-2015 2-06-04 PM

I understand the format of these meetings is the mayor and council discuss issues and sometimes those they invite or agree to meet with do the talking and others are there just as observers. However, there were two members of Take Back Enterprise sitting in the room when these letters were read so it seems like addressing them directly would have been common courtesy – another opportunity missed. Take Back Enterprise did address the mayor and council directly with their request. Mr. Marques was the only one who did address them directly as they are his constituents.

The mayor’s warnings confuse me. The fact he is making warnings at all concerns me. If I were one of those he warned I would probably be even more concerned.

Questions

Isn’t one sign of a healthy community the freedom to share ideas without fear of repercussion?

If ideas, actions and decisions are worthwhile should they not stand up to questions and scrutiny without accusing those asking the questions of trying to divide the city?

Do those in power have a monopoly on good ideas?

Regarding prospective businesses after they leave, he says, “One of the biggest things they look at is how the government works, how they get along, and how the community gets along.”

Wouldn’t more transparency in how the government works be beneficial for that evaluation?

Does a mayor warning its citizens to be careful what they say indicate there is no division within the city or does it create more?

Are these potential businesses looking forward to working with a city government that warns its citizens not to ask for public information that should be provided without asking?

Loud and clear

Whether I speak freely about this and state it here on my blog or not does not make the city any more divided, just as the mayor and city council acting as if this division doesn’t exist make it any less so.

In the 9/15/15 Republican Presidential debate Carly Fiorina was asked about Donald Trump’s comment about her appearance. Her response was one of the best of the night and I paraphrase. The people of America heard loud and clear what he said and are perceptive enough to understand what he meant. I believe that same response works for this situation as well. The people of Enterprise heard loud and clear what the mayor and city council said and are perceptive enough to understand what that means.

Until next time…

Originally posted on Peculiar Perspective on 10/16/2015