Pinehurst Texas document dumps on WikiLeaks
Editorial by Bobby Tingle
Attending the regularly scheduled meetings of the city of Pinehurst city council can be a refreshing experience. So far as I can tell, no one has dropped documents related to notorious activity of this group, or any of the individuals that are a part of it. I am very grateful.
After a year or so of those meetings, you get the impression the city is fairly stable financially speaking. Long-time City Secretary Debbie Cormier usually reports revenues and expenses are consistent with expectations. The city has between three and six months of reserves, which falls in the recommended range. She may warn the council not to be concerned about an item or two in the report. Generally, these fall in the category of an anomaly, some extraordinary event that probably won’t happen again. Her point has never been to hide something, but rather reveal that all is fairly normal.
The council appears to be operating within the bounds of the law. Long-time City Attorney Tommy Gunn, presides, legally speaking, over each meeting. When consulted, he has a quick response. I do not recall any interruption in proceedings due to some legal infraction. When council determines to proclaim this or that Gunn boldly and eloquently reads the proclamation for all to hear prior to a council vote.
Meetings are opened by Mayor J. L. “Pete” Runnels, (the J stands for Joseph) who usually gives brief and insightful explanations to the audience pertaining to this or that item on the agenda, why it is there, why it will be handled in the manner it will and so on. He was particularly helpful in this regard recently when four Cub Scouts attended the meeting. Runnells will inevitably call on Councilman Dan Mohon to open the meeting with an invocation. Mohon is undoubtedly the designated invoker. Designated invokers are much appreciated and in my opinion necessary. I have attended public meetings of a variety of sorts and I know from experience how important this person is.
Following the invocation is the pledge of allegiance to both the United States and the state of Texas flag. I have been saying the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag for a long time. My first experience with the pledge to the Texas flag was at my first City of Pinehurst council meeting. It is a nice touch.
Citizens are then given an opportunity to comment. Citizen’s comments are welcome but the council is prevented from acting on these impromptu requests. Council is limited to acting on items that are posted on the agenda according to the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Agenda items are next. The council routinely considers and votes on items such as insurance, forming advisory groups, applying for grants, accepting bids and a host of other issues related to the city’s effective operation.
Department Head reports follow. During this time, department managers give an update on the status of projects within their area of responsibility. These reports relate to the status of street repairs and maintenance or an update on garbage and trash collection procedures. The chief of police reports on equipment upgrades and generally puts us at ease in knowing there are no Pokémon Go or clown incidents. The fire chief reports on training of volunteer staff, provides update on calls his department has answered and is quick to praise his fire fighting team. The code enforcement officer recaps areas requiring attention and is known to organize groups of volunteers to aid those in need in the area.
They are a stark contrast to the disgraceful display we see on the national level. I have grown accustomed to the mainstream national media presenting biased commentary as news. Now candidates for President of the United States have sunk into the gutter. The last debate held Sunday night, October 16, 2016 was an insult to this nation. Here we witnessed debate moderators debating rather than moderating and the candidates calling each other names and trying to one up the other by reporting their disgraceful acts. The saddest of all is that the accusations made by each candidate about the other are probably true. I find it deplorable that either of these candidates were nominated by a political party of this nation to be a candidate for President of the United States.
I guess we get what we deserve. Let’s pray we will do better.
Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at email@example.com.