Time to put up or shut up

Four of the five members of the Amarillo City Commission have filed for re-election, and the fifth one is expected to do so when she gets back into town.

Is this a critical moment? Sure it is. Elections always are critical for a community’s well-being. But this one might be more important than most recent elections. Commissioners have embarked on some big projects for the city and have made a few very tough calls. All of that has prompted some interesting gripes from the proverbial peanut gallery.

Thus, here is a perfect opportunity for some of the pot-shot artists to offer a change in direction, to campaign for an office with virtually zero material reward. Here’s the chance to offer oneself up for public inspection to have their ideas heard.

Mayor Paul Harpole and commissioners Ellen Robertson Green, Brian Eades and Jim Simms all have decided to fight for another two years in office; Commissioner Lilia Escajeda hasn’t yet filed, but my guess is that she will.

The city has made tangible improvements to its downtown district; it has strengthened its commitment to using cameras to deter red-light runners; it’s banned the use of handheld cellphones by motorists in addition to imposing a ban on texting in school zones.

Has the downtown improvement plan moved quickly enough? For my money, I am growing a bit impatient at the slow pace of progress. But that pace will pick up in due course, according to those who are working with the city on this endeavor. Time will tell if they are right.

The 2011 municipal election proved to be contentious. The 2013 election may prove to be equally so. But here is yet another opportunity for those who’ve been griping from the sidelines to step into the arena and provide some options for voters to consider.

Remember this, though. The job for which they would seek pays next to nothing: 10 bucks per weekly meeting. You don’t do this job for the money.

So, step up if you’re ready.

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