OUR VIEW: Surely elected officials have better things to worry about

THE POINT: Odessa Arts and Randy Ham are doing a stellar job of bringing art and culture to Odessa. Here’s hoping six hours of a rainbow flag doesn’t detract from all that progress.

We have certainly pointed out before in this space that there is a big difference between being an elected official and being a leader. We’ve also made it clear we believe there are no leaders on the Odessa City Council. Just elected officials.

There has been some social media noise about Odessa’s spire (located in the parking lot of Pinkie’s near 8th and Dixie) this last week. The spire, you might recall, is the old Cloth World sign that was re-furbished by Odessa Arts and has lights that come on at night. Those lights are often programmed to match certain seasons like Christmas or other events. For instance, during the beginning of the Ukraine war it was lit in the colors of that country’s flag.

Last week, for about six hours, the spire was lit in the rainbow flag during the last part of Gay Pride Month. A local conservative pretend news site (run by Jeff Russell, who is appointed to numerous boards by the non-leaders on the City Council) and the local GOP Chair Tisha Crow droned on and on in one of his “stories” about how this rainbow came just hours after the Odessa Arts received their annual grant from the city of more than $400,000.

Lots of hateful comments (which make all of Odessa look bad) were filtered through that FB post. Of course, as is always the case with that FB page, we can only assume many of the commentors are fake profiles used to shame or hate on anything that a small group of Odessans either wants to control or destroy.

Yep. Facebook trolls full of hate. Sure, there are some defenders but there is a lot of hate that makes us all look bad.

Some astute readers sent us a few screenshots recently. One, from Councilmember Denise Swanner’s Facebook included this (during Pride month):

“What does it mean that prides goes before a fall (Proverbs 16)

With Pride month being celebrated in the month of June! It has me thinking for sure!!

Scripture says Pride comes before a fall Let’s think on this.

Thoughts anyone”

Another reader sent us a post from Councilmember Mark Matta, in which he shared a post about an experiment on rats (the screen shot is unclear about who wrote about the experiment and it appears to be a re-post). The end of the post stated “We are currently witnessing direct parallels in today’s society..weak, feminized men with little to no skills and no protection instincts, and overly agitated and aggressive females with no maternal instincts.”

Here are a few facts:

  • Councilmember Chris Hanie has resigned from the board of Odessa Arts. It was announced in the city’s weekly propaganda newsletter created by their $155,000-per-year PR person. Please see that newsletter for all your photos of the mayor and councilmembers smiling needs.

(P.S. They like to proclaim that it is free. It is not free. Your tax dollars support this propaganda machine that exists simply to try and make the non-leader elected officials look good.)

  • The spire has been lit with the rainbow flag for the last three years, but only this year did it become an issue when it apparently inflamed the sensitivities of Crow, Russell and Hanie.
  • The spire is programmed once a year to handle all the various seasons. It can also be re-programmed by a company out of Midland like in cases of the Ukrainian flag.
  • Ham says the spire is funded by donations NOT by city grants.

Very likely the congenial and hard-working Ham has now made the hit list for the City Council — you know, the list where they run off anyone who is either smarter than all of them collectively and therefore a threat or anyone they just don’t like. Or maybe they just attack people through funding or a lack of funding?

Those attacks were carried out during the annual funding meeting where Teen Court and Odessa’s Meals on Wheels got the shaft.

We suspect Odessa Arts will be next.

For crying out loud, it was a lousy six hours of a rainbow flag. It wasn’t a drag show for kindergartners or a public parade of grown adults in the nude. Get over yourselves. If the City Council or the Russell/Crow faction are so worried about some lights then why not worry about that traffic light at 21st and Grandview that has been broken for more than six weeks.

Or how about the potholes throughout the city (still).

But, no. The latest struggle session has already started with demands for paperwork from Odessa Arts, which funds a number of things that actually make our city better, from public art to concerts.

All this over some lousy lights.