THE WEST LAKE HILLS SPECTATOR
Commentary and Discussion
May 12, 2008
Time to put down my electronic pen.
About 20 months ago, I decided that documentation of the political process in West Lake Hills would be important, and set upon the masochistic task of documenting and commenting on whatever I could find.
The primary objective was to take away the Big Lie from Urdahl to the extent I could and counter with documents.
It was an uphill task.
My rule of thumb in politics is that 50% of the electorate does not care; 25% focuses on narrow, often single issues; and 25% get into the details and ultimately divide their votes 50-50.
As clearly destructive as Urdahl is, it is also clear to me that he would have been tough to have beaten if he had run. If he had not shot himself in the foot by hiding for three months the decision of the LCRA not to provide creative financing to the sewer system, he might have been unbeatable in spite of his extraordinarily negative and destructive behavior.
Most people don't know and don't care. Ray Nagin was reelected mayor of New Orleans and Marion Berry was reelected mayor of Washington DC even after their abilities and characters were well known to people who were paying attention. Problem is, most people aren't paying attention, or are swayed by sound bites such as respect, open, and positive.
And it is continually interesting how destructive people attract fellow travelers - in this case, Amy, Cindy, Dave, and Katherine - who know what is going on, but hold their respective noses and go along.
I may not like it, but that is the way it is, and railing against it only creates excess stomach acid.
While the City is not where I would want it to be, it is ok.
The City's staff is a good group as is the City's police force. ZAPCO appears to be running well. The new Council holds promise. The City has good traditions firmly in place.
There are negatives:
The sewer system solution is fragile and will likely come apart several times before the system becomes sound.
The precedent has been set that residentials are secondary to commercials, and I do not believe that is what this town, at its most fundamental level, should be about.
The precedent has been set that the treasury can be raided. That is a very bad thing, but there it is.
The bad news is that our mayor-elect was responsible to a large degree for all three of these concerns.
And, while Urdahl will no longer be mayor, he will be here carrying out a Rasputin - like role.
There are things hanging fire.
The ethical complaints against Amy have not been finally dealt with. While her actions were, in my opinion, clearly contrary to law, it is not clear what the Ethics Commission will rule as punishment, if anything. While they always take their time to rule on complaints, they are outdoing themselves on this one.
There are several legal actions in the wind involving Mark. Again, it is not clear what, if anything, the authorities will decide to do with them.
And, of course, the sewer system.
If there is breaking, significant news, I will make a post to update you.
Quite a few people have expressed hope that this site will continue in other hands. It may - we shall see.
Thanks for all of your support, all of your suggestions, and all of your criticism.
Finally, I would like to express my thanks to, and admiration of, a group of "bastards," who are people of unusually good character and who care very much about this City. When making a list, you inevitably leave off deserving people, and there are people whom I do not know or do not know well enough that should be included, but will not be. But by not making a list, I would not be able to express my thoughts. So I will err on the side of being able to say thanks.
Any short list must begin with Jane Noble and Earl Broussard, who have fought the good fight against overwhelming odds. The City is much the better for their suffering. It has to include Dwight Thompson, a man who led the City well and who was unreasonably and excessively maligned. If a man is measured by his enemies, Dwight should be proud. The list also includes, in no particular order, Jim Pledger, Chris Yurkanan, Jonathan Schoolar, and Marika Schoolar.
Amy has taken a lot of criticism from me, and I remain strongly critical, but she should be thanked (definitely together with Earl and Jane) for having prevented the political dismissal of the City Attorney and the Police Chief by Mark and Cindy.
I will leave you with an insight Edmund Burke made many years ago, in which I strongly believe:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
Commentary on and discussion about the political landscape of West Lake Hills by a former long-time member of the City Council
Other topics and archives
Excellent project summary by LCRA on 6/28/06 - 20 meg file - 44 minutes