I have been a vocal supporter of Amarillo Matters, a group of well-connected business and civic leaders who have formed a political action committee aimed at helping guide the city’s political future.
I endorse Amarillo Matter’s municipal agenda. I believe these individuals are motivated for the right reasons. I do not endorse much of the criticism that has been leveled at Amarillo Matters over the past couple of municipal election cycles.
As the saying goes, “When you insert the word ‘but,’ the next thing that comes out usually isn’t a positive statement.” So, here goes:
But . . . the group needs to be more transparent with the community about its membership and the leaders it has elected among those who have signed on to the PAC. The criticism of the PAC’s secrecy is a valid one.
I chatted the other day with one of the individuals who belongs to Amarillo Matters. I’ll keep his identity a secret here, because he doesn’t know I’m going to write about this matter on this blog.
However, I told this person that it’s imperative for Amarillo Matters to come clean. It’s critical that the group reveal who it is. Absent that total transparency, Amarillo Matters will expose itself to more of the cheap-seat criticism that others will fling at it.
This individual told me the members of the Amarillo Matters leadership are aware of the criticism leveled at the perception of secrecy. He said that those members have businesses they fear could suffer. They are concerned that residents might launch boycotts against them, this person said. The person with whom I spoke gave me some of the names of the PAC’s leadership. I know them all; I know some of them quite well. They are respected community leaders, indeed.
My response was clear: It all goes with the territory.
I still believe Amarillo Matters’ agenda is a noble one. Its mission statement and its vision for the community insist on high integrity and altruism. It endorses efforts to revive downtown; it is pushing hard for the proposed Texas Tech University school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo.
For the group, though, to keep its membership’s identity from the public it aims to serve actually undercuts its high-minded mission.