It’s official: ‘Change’ has arrived at Amarillo City Hall

Let’s call Amarillo City Councilman-elect Mark Nair the “man who brought change” to Amarillo municipal government.

Tonight he was elected to Place 4 on the five-man City Council. trouncing runoff opponent Steve Rogers.

So, what does “change” look like? That remains to be seen.

But here’s what we know. Two of the new guys on the council, Place 1 Councilman Elisha Demerson and Place 3 Councilman Randy Burkett campaigned aggressively against the “status quo.” That means, I guess, that they oppose some of the key policy decisions made in recent years by the council. The highest profile set of decisions involves downtown redevelopment.

Now we have Nair joining the new three-member majority that advocates change … whatever it means.

I keep hearing a lot of rumblings around town about “The Ballpark,” or the multipurpose event venue. Will there or won’t there be a citywide referendum to determine if voters want to build the MPEV? Why even put it to a vote? Well, it involves spending “public money,” derived from hotel-motel tax revenue, which is how the city intends to finance construction and upkeep of the venue.

Here, though, is the irony: The money comes from those who visit the city, not from those who live here.

But, by golly, there just might be a vote on it, just to gauge residents’ feelings about building it.

If voters say “no,” the council — while not obligated legally to abide by the result — would commit political suicide by ignoring it.

If the MPEV gets derailed, what happens to the downtown hotel being planned? Developers say the MPEV must be built for the hotel to proceed. Oh, and the parking garage — the third wing of this three-part package? Who needs it?

So, will “change” mean the end of this downtown effort?

Congratulations, Councilman-elect Nair.

Proceed with wisdom, young man.

 

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