I confess JWT and I have shamelessly ignored this Blog of late. We'e been a bit pre-occupied with promoting the City Charter measures, not to mention the ever present reality of making a living and paying bills. We have a reprint of a Standard-Times article from Thursday posted this AM, and I will be posting a follow-up article on the appointed Chief measure later today.
Sunday seems a good day for reflection and less pressing matters. If you follow the S-T online edition with commentary, there have been a few of note this week. A local news story "Two teens arrested in drive-by shooting" has so far generated 134 comments. A cadre of posters using "325" in their screen names have posted comments that are astonishing in several respects. The 325 postings are raw street rage, obviously posted by people "up-close-and-personal" in their knowledge of events. Some have been deleted by S-T staff as over-the-top, but what is there is an insight into the "gangbanger" mentality. This is tribal ethics on display. By that, I mean an ethical outlook based on the notion that might makes right, private revenge for disrepect is acceptable, even admirable, and anything done to anyone outside the "tribe" is justifiable. Collateral damage to the innocent is unfortunate, but perfectly acceptable. It is a hard read for anyone accustomed to reasoned discourse, but it is illuminating as to the mindset of the people in that world.
I am one of the few posters on the site who self-identifies, most like the anonymity. I do not know if there is a connection, certainly could not prove it, but late Friday, while waiting a cab home from my local watering hole, a person I have never seen, never chatted with, never personally offended to my knowledge, came out of nowhere and punched me out. I still heal quick, but if you think grafitti is the worst symptom of the gang problem, you are dreaming. I am thankful he left his gun under the pillow.
In the "Cheers & Jeers" section, there was a short article about a truck which spilled waste oil for several blocks of Bryant Blvd. Just happens I was working that jobsite and was on the way to McDs for lunch when I saw that truck. By the time I got close to the trail of sludge, I was smelling "knock-a-buzzard-off-a-gut-wagon, and called 911. By the time I could get a fish sandwich, we had an officer directing traffic and two trucks of Fire Dept. personnel cleaning up. Less than five minutes, gold stars all around, great response guys.
Jeers section, I called last week to report the Bryant Blvd traffic lights had gone from fairly good sequencing to stop every two blocks mode. Bryant is a state highway, but the lights are controlled by city, both TXDOT and city confirmed that. So far, the best result is that I now get to stop even more often. I noticed a City Traffic pick-up sitting in the islands of S. Bryant Thursday, I guess they did attend to it, but so far, not well. Maybe they want to assure that the $180,000 worth of irrigated trees we are blocking lanes to put in, but are not yet there, are properly appreciated by the traveling public while we wait for the light to turn green. I mention that because the money for the water-sucking trees is about the amount necessary to sequence downtown lights. Which would you prefer, trees or good traffic flow? DUH!
Thursday, JWT and I met with WTOS, a local minority advocacy group that is well on the way to being a force to be reckoned with in San Angelo politics, speaking on the Charter Amendments. There was no vote taken, certainly no endorsement given either way, but we got a polite welcome and many thoughtful questions. Thank you, WTOS. By the way, if you have a civic group interested in the upcoming election, let us know. Most of the Charter Committee members are actively promoting the package, I'm fairly sure we could schedule a speaker for nearly any open date.