On Feb. 2, one of the celebratory activities for my 70th birthday was to write the members of Amarillo’s City Council about their failure in leading downtown development. My email came just days after we learned that WallaceBajjali Development Partners had cratered, disappearing in Joplin and Sugar Land. The city councils in both cities cancelled contracts with the firm. Click Read More to see what I sent to the councilors and follow this blog as I post the response I got from only one councilor.
Over the past week, several people have asked me how it feels to have been right allalong about Wallace Bajjali.
I am saddened at what the Wallace Bajjali debacle means for this city and its taxpayers and what it says about the arrogant character of this city’s leadership. Your delusions of downtown here have flopped — with a play on the word “here.” Because, as councilors, you would not “hear” people’s concerns, objections and suggestions.
As far back as 2008, when people came to you to defend their homes against your over-reaching design standards, the community saw how stone deaf you were to their needs.
As far back as 2008, you backed Melissa Dailey and Downtown Amarillo Inc. in setting the boundaries for those design standards.
As far back as 2008, when several knowledgeable taxpayers objected to your alliance with the Amarillo Globe-News, you turned a deaf ear. Of course, it was as clear then as it is now that this was done purposely to minimize your exposure to public scrutiny and transparency.
And it is that very lack of transparency that has led this community to rightfully question your integrity and your motivations in leading downtown revitalization. It is your lack of accountability and lack of humility in acknowledging, to date, your poor judgment that will continue the community’s questions about your integrity and motivation.
Your list of mistakes in this debacle is a long one and the hubris I saw as I watched the Jan. 27 City Council meeting, when you spun and sanitized what has occurred, reflects you have learned nothing from your mistakes.
It’s time for you to publicly admit who was right all along, take your licks and repair the damage you did to the city.