These comments define the corral that
contains much of what we've been talking about. Sure, we've been talking about water. We've also been talking about term limits. But.......what else?
We've been talking about Rowlett "officialdom's" communications toward citizens who ask questions regarding "officialdom's" behavior. If these citizen questions pose a thought contrary to "officialdom's" position on a matter, then it seems the citizen is criticized for not having the facts and is premature in their criticism.
Let's review a couple of things. First, where is the citizen supposed to get the information? Let's presume everyone is smart enough to know that all the information must come from the city.
It's been my position all along that the communications from city hall to the citizens is awful. Elected officials and some of Staff seems to be quite satisfied with themselves when they chastise citizens for not attending City Council meetings, thinking that that attitude has soundly corrected the citizen. In fact, such behavior only compounds the problem. The citizen doesn't feel corrected. The citizen feels angry.
Another thing. Any citizen can ask any question, any time, about any issue....no matter how dumb, ill conceived, or off target it may be. That is their constitutional right. It is the job of elected or appointed officials to answer those questions as accurately as they can....even the dumb ones (questions, not councilpersons).
Rowlett is a small town of 58,000. It's a good night if 30 people attend a City Council meeting. There is another group that watch City Council meetings on live feed, and another group that watch filmed meetings later. It all depends on schedules. I don't know how many total people watch City Council meetings, but I sadly feel that it's not enough. One of the positions on which I agree with "officialdom" is that our citizens do not "engage" with city business. Some are truly quick to criticize without knowing available facts. However, some know available facts and ask excellent questions. It is these citizens I defend.
What perplexes me is that often "officialdom" is quick to criticize with a chastisement toward a citizen when the citizen knows the available facts. The problem often is that the available facts don't answer the question. Some of the criticism I have observed over recent days is aimed at one of the more informed citizens in Rowlett. Folks.....that is very wrong. He should be answered with dignity. His most recent response to an elitist council member cited book and verse the comments made by members of council in a recent meeting he watched on live feed. He was told, in a rather curt manner, to wait for more facts.
Folks........here's the rub. He doesn't have to wait for more facts. He is entitled to ask any question any time he wants. That's the American way. If the council person doesn't have the answer to the question, that council person should tell the citizen that they don't know the answer, yet. They can give the citizen answers to any other salient facts, but if they don't know the answer to the question, just say so.
My problem with our current council is that rather than answer questions accurately, they launch into a long tirade of meaningless rhetoric, presumably thinking that it makes them look smart. It probably works on some people.
No one forced our elected officials to seek elected office. No one made them do it. The winners of elections aren't anointed with some kind of special lotion that empowered them with more smarts than they had before the election. However, they will soon begin to acquire more information than the general public. This comes with the territory. It is the timely sharing of that information the keeps the citizens informed and reduces the amount of "stupid" questions (as perceived by "officialdom).
Now, citizens don't get a bye on this. They have to exert some effort. Staying informed by visiting the city's website is a good place to start. However, to some of our senior citizens and others, this is not as easy as someone 30 years old.
As much as "officialdom" dislikes it, it is the right of any citizen to ask any question at any time, no matter how dumb it may seem. It is "officialdom's" duty to answer those questions as accurately as possible without disrespect. If that capability is beneath the dignity of any member of "officialdom," that member should resign. There is absolutely no room for some of the flippant, dismissive commentary recently made by certain officials. If its impossible to treat the citizens with respect, then get the hell out.