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Could Someone Please Explain?

AmarilloExposedApr 1, 2018, 10:20:42 PM
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At the last two City Council meetings, the City Council considered/voted on the following item:

PRESENTATION AND CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCE NO. 7724

(Contact: Sherry Bailey, Senior Planner)

This item is a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance adding a category

for Shooting Ranges (lndoor) to Article lV, Division l, Section 4-10-82, Table E

"Recreational and Entertainment Uses" and adding a definition for Shooting

Ranges, Indoor, and providing an effective date.

(Contact: Sherry Bailey, Senior Planner)

This item is a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance adding a category

for Shooting Ranges (lndoor) to Article lV, Division l, Section 4-10-82, Table E

"Recreational and Entertainment Uses" and adding a definition for Shooting

Ranges, Indoor, and providing an effective date.


When the item came up for consideration, Sherry Bailey approached the podium and explained that the change was requested by a potential investor.  She explained the lengths staff went to to accommodate this wealthy individual.  Other than that, she was light on details.  At one point, she mentioned someone named "Randy", although she did not give details about who "Randy" is, what he had to do with the process, or even what his last name was.  To support her testimony, Ms. Bailey stated that this had all been reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Committee and had been approved by a 7-0 vote.

A review of the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting minutes provides little additional useful information.

The City Council (with the exception of one question by Elaine Hayes) showed a remarkable lack of curiosity about the proposal.  There were no questions about the mysterious wealthy individual that City employees bent over backward to help, what the proposed investment was, where the investment was planned, who was involved....nothing.

But the most curious thing was that Council member Eddie Sauer (who has already admitted to conflicts of interest on issues under consideration by the Council) excused himself prior to the discussion/vote both times it was considered.  Mr. Sauer did not indicate why he needed to recuse himself, nor did any of the other Council members question him about his recusal. 

Citizens are left with any number of questions:

Who is it that requested these changes?

Can any citizen request such extensive research/effort/changes by city employees and the City council, or is this only a service provided to wealthy individuals?

Who is "Randy" and what did he have to do with the process?

Is the City Council privy to the answers to all of these questions (potential violation of open meetings act) or are they just incurious and/or incompetent?

Why is there so little detail in the minutes of the Planning and Zoning Commission?  Was the wealthy individual that requested these changes required to explain his request or did Sherry Bailey act on his behalf?  

If Sherry Bailey acted on his behalf, why are City employees testifying on behalf of wealthy individuals?

So many more questions.  With the way this City is being run, it makes one wonder what went on while Mayor Ginger Nelson was chair of the much lower profile Amarillo Economic Development Council and the millions upon millions of dollars at their disposal.

Perhaps the only way to begin getting some answers is for citizens to make use of the law allowing recording of public meetings by citizens.