LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Odessa has been busy the last week

Just this past week in Odessa there was a lot to observe and learn about our city from 7/23 to 7/30. Friday evening (7/23) my family and I met friends at McKinney Park on Odessa’s south side where the City of Odessa and generous sponsors put on a great afternoon and evening family event with free snow cones, music, games for the children and a local doctor donated $1000 that was divided into $25 gift cards, and other prizes for the kids.

I was proud of my city that day as I had been all summer going to the various “movie in the park” promotions put on by the city.  That Friday afternoon at McKinney Park while the kids played tug o war and with music blaring from a DJ, I noticed Tisha Crow and another Ector County GOP Executive Board member with clip boards in hand, they were scanning the crowd and ready to pounce on a parent like a timeshare salesman.

They were wanting signatures for the petition that Tisha Crow and a “small group of vocal supporters” from the Ector County GOP had initiated to stop funding for much needed repairs for our city’s water supply. As I watched my daughter take part in a series of tug-o-wars, I thought “what would happen if the water system failed?”

Which neighborhoods would suffer the most ?

The following night, a warm and windy Saturday night, my family and I went downtown to an outdoor concert, a block party. The crowd was small but the promoters did as good a job of setting up the venue as I have ever seen. They had food trucks with a giant tent for people to be able to eat under shade. There were plenty of tables and chairs, security and a very ample amount of Porta Pots.

As we left we slowly drove by the new Marriott, we saw nicely dressed people coming and going. We knew several high school reunions were in town and the lights were on in a lot of the rooms, music was coming out of the pool area and It was obvious a good time was being had by all. My wife and I both commented on the “really cool vibe” coming from the hotel as we made our way home.

Sunday morning arrives and I’m reading the OA, (online… it’s the only way to go).

I had been keeping up with the tussle between UTPB, the City of Odessa and “the leagues and associations.”

It is now apparent that a park that my family and I frequent a lot is no more and the “leagues and the associations” want their equipment back. I have to say, I have been driving by the sports facility for over 20 years and taking my daughter there for 5 or 6 years, is it just me or did any body else know that the “leagues and associations” weren’t giving “10% to the big guy” like was originally agreed on 25 years ago between UTPB and the City.

The sports equipment is coming down now and I’m curious if the absolutely fantastic (and free) Jurassic Splash Park is in jeopardy. This is another place that my family and others proudly meet at… we’d even snicker that it was so much better than Midland’s Dennis the Menace Park ! Once again so proud of my city.

Next thing you know it’s Tuesday, the day of the showdown between the 4 independent minded members of the City Council and the remaining 2 Council members Matta and Swanner along with the Mayor, more commonly known as the Squad.

In those moments before the meeting started, friends and family members we’re texting and calling me asking  “are they gonna make it?” “Will they force a vote for a bond to be issued?” Then within minutes before the start of the council meeting Tisha Crow marched in and put down her petition, she not only had the required 2,923 signatures… she plopped down a whopping 3,245.

The Chairwoman of the Ector County GOP had done it… her and her followers had scared more than enough apparent voters and gave away enough free ice cream to pull it off. With her confidence spiraling Tisha Crow the “Squad Leader” defiantly confronted the City Council, as the Squad looked on silently. Curiously, Tisha Crow then stated at the meeting, she was for the repairs and wanted the Bond to pass…. And I’m thinking so the same people who scared voters to sign by coaxing them with free ice cream and by screaming “jobs, taxes, downtown “ will now be scaring them to vote yes for the Bond?

Here it is Wednesday and I’m learning that our city is in jeopardy of losing the wonderful ice skating facility that Odessans and people from all over West Texas and Eastern New Mexico have enjoyed for over 20 years.

Like a lot of parents my daughter took skating lessons and took part in a wonderful Christmas on Ice at the Music City Mall, I have logged a lot of hours on those benches and I have met people visiting from Chihuahua, Mexico, a mother that brought her daughters from Lubbock weekly and sometimes twice a week. I was always shocked at how many families were from out of town. Here again, I was proud of my city! 

I always considered how extremely generous the owner of the Music City Mall was to keep the ice rink open. It’d be great if our town could somehow help keep it open, maybe come up with something similar to the legendary Shrimpfest and or plead to local benefactors.

Next thing you know it’s Friday and at 4:27 p.m. breaking news!

The water petition has failed, apparently a lot of the people eating the free ice cream either do not live in the city or are not registered to vote…. Immediately there was celebratory texting and calling,  that went on for over an hour, yes, I was celebrating, because I like running water. All of this took place last week in Odessa, Texas.

Ronnie Lewis