Dear Colleyville Citizen,
I love Colleyville. It is my home and I think it is one of the greatest cities in Texas. I have referred to Colleyville in the past as the “Star of the Metroplex”. Colleyville has always had great potential and I want to see the city live up to that potential. However, it appears that we are again at a place where citizens have a Lack of Trust in their local government. This is the biggest issue Colleyville government faces today. Trust is hard to earn and easy to destroy.
Colleyville elections are in progress for two city council seats and a citizen resolution on Glade Road. Much political rhetoric is being used to convince voters that the single issue facing Colleyville is the future of Glade Road. And the political operatives are aligning candidates for or against the Glade Road resolution.
Glade Road is not the real issue. The real issue in this election is whether you will elect people to office you trust to make the right decisions on your behalf.
Some elected officials have touted their accomplishments as “political stability and calmness” with “no public political differences of opinion” in the community. It is my understanding that the citizen petition and resulting resolution on Glade Road came about because a large contingent of Colleyville citizens felt they were not being listened to by those currently in office. The attempt to maintain public calmness and stability have come at a high price – citizens no longer feel they are being listened to nor do they trust the elected officials.
The broader issues of the city are allocation of scarce resources to the needs of safety (police, fire, etc.), infrastructure (roads, sewer, etc.) and amenities (parks, etc.). There will always be differences of opinion on these topics. There is always “give and take”. The processes that are used to address the “give and take” are critical. A good elected official can listen to citizens and give feedback so the citizens at least feel like they have been heard and understood.
Glade Road is an important issue, but I think it is a symptom of the citizens’ lack of trust in city government. It’s unfortunate that the Glade Road project has become such a big issue in Colleyville. It could certainly have been avoided. However, when citizens feel like they have not been listened to and the elected officials are not being transparent with information and processes, the Colleyville City Charter provides citizens a legitimate grass roots mechanism to address the situation through citizen referendum.
Colleyville’s Glade Road 10 Year Plan was deemed to negatively impact a group of Colleyville citizens. Bobby Lindemood and Elizabeth Zeitlin provided grass roots leadership to bring this to the elected officials and attempted to negotiate some changes to alleviate this impact, not to stop the project. It is my understanding that Councilman Putnam supported these negotiations and Councilman Taylor and Mayor Kelly did not. As a result 1000 Colleyville citizens signed a petition to bring the matter to a vote of the entire city. This is their right as citizens. Whether you are for or against this resolution, and no matter if it is voted up or down, the Glade Road plan needs to be discussed more and improved.
However, it seems that some elected officials are attacking the resolution and attempting to bias the election by using the power of their offices. This is alarming since it places the City of Colleyville squarely in the position of taking political sides in the public election concerning a citizen referendum.
In the precouncil meeting April 21st, the Mayor publicly released and discussed an opinion written by the City Attorney concerning the citizen’s Glade Road resolution – even though this was listed as an Executive Session Agenda item. This opinion is a “CONFIDENTIAL Attorney Client Privileged/Work Product” (duly labeled at the top). It is Executive Session material and should not have been released without the formal approval of the City Council.
I was told the City Council approved this release, however, I can find no evidence in city records that this was done. If not, this appears to be an ethical violation. In any case, the letter and the timing of its release creates the perception that the Mayor and Council are using their power to sway the public election on the Glade Road Resolution. In addition, I have been told by attorneys that the letter presents no basis in law, is opinion only, is non-binding on the city, and other attorneys could certainly offer a different opinion. However, most importantly, releasing this document without formal Council approval is a violation of the public trust at the least and possibly violates state statutes.
Personal agendas and non-transparent leadership kills public trust. It leads elected officials to attack anyone who dares to disagree, legitimate or not. It is dangerous to the health of Colleyville. It can damage Colleyville’s future as it has in the past.
So, I ask you to vote for the candidates that you can trust to represent citizens’ best interests through open communication and transparent leadership – not the candidate’s personal agenda. Elected officials work for you. Be sure to elect someone that feels the same way.
Richard Newton, Ph.D. P.E. PMP
Principal, LGRW LLC.
Colleyville, TX 76034