A couple of years ago a group of Amarillo civic and business leaders got together to form a political action committee dedicated — according to its mission statement — to the betterment of the city.
They called themselves Amarillo Matters. Some critics in the city spoke out against the group, suggesting some sort of nefarious motivation was driving the organization’s agenda.
But what has happened since Amarillo Matters came into being in 2016?
It endorsed a slate of City Council candidates prior to the 2017 municipal election. All five of the individuals endorsed by Amarillo Matters won that election. They all ran for re-election this year and, with Amarillo Matters’ blessing yet again, they all were re-elected.
How has the city done? Quite well, based on my observation.
Downtown’s district renovation has proceeded apace. They built that ballpark along Buchanan Street. The Amarillo Sod Poodles played baseball at Hodgetown, drawing huge crowds at every home game and, oh yes, they won the Texas League pennant after a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the fifth game of the championship series against the defending champs, the Tulsa Drillers. I know … Amarillo Matters didn’t have a thing to do with the Sod Poodles’ success on the baseball field.
Amarillo Matters’ mission calls for the development of “positive opportunities for Amarillo and the surrounding area.” Man, that sounds pretty damn sinister, don’t you think?
Yes, I questioned Amarillo Matters along the way, too. I wondered in an earlier blog post about the identity of the individuals who comprise its leadership. I called on Amarillo Matters to be more transparent and to reveal their identities to the public. The IDs have trickled out, but I will presume that some critics still contend that Amarillo Matters remains too secretive.
However, the result of the group’s mission is worth noting, too.
Amarillo has made tremendous progress over the past few years, even pre-dating Amarillo Matters’ emergence as a political force in the city.
Does a group of business leaders deserve all the credit for the city’s success? No. However, neither does it deserve the brickbats that some critics have hurled at it.
Amarillo has fared well. Amarillo Matters deserves some of the credit for the success that has come Amarillo’s way.