By Sandy Milner Odessa
I wonder what the Odessa city council is trying to hide? They turned down a request to have a special election to elect an at-large councilman. Now, they are threatening to sue the organizers of an effort to gather signatures to force a special election, which is perfectly legal. They claim that an at-large councilman would disenfranchise minority voters, even though the five city districts would still retain their single-member representatives. The at-large position would simply represent the entire city. It seems they are afraid that the three-member voting bloc they have now would no longer be able to control the council.
The council also refuses to say how much of the taxpayers’ money was spent on the settlement of the harassment lawsuit against City Attorney Larry Long. This is supposed to be public information but they are fighting to keep it from the public. There also seems to be some perjury going on, since one of the councilmen first said he never saw the Human Resources report on Long’s harassment case, then later admitted that he had seen it. Another councilmember said that she didn’t know anything about it, even though the Human Resources department sent it to the Council.
And why won’t Malcolm Hamilton reveal his home address? Does he even live in District One? I believe a councilman is required to live in the district he represents, so why won’t he say? And, as I’ve mentioned before, why was he not censured for conflict of interest in the Weir Industries matter? He voted against giving Weir any incentives to open a big office here in Odessa, creating a lot of jobs, and it turns out that he works for a company which is in the same business as Weir. Is that not conflict of interest? Remember, for a long time he also would not say where he was employed, but the Odessa American tracked it down.
I have lived in Odessa all my life, and I love it here, but, I have to admit that lately I am thinking that our local politics are becoming like those of Chicago or Baltimore. And, we all know how crooked those places are. I just hope that when the 2018 City Council elections come up, that the voters remember all these things and replace a certain three members with some honest ones.