To the editor: Peter Gorman’s “Ethics: Chipping Away” (Aug. 15, 2012) brought back memories. I was formerly a member of the Ethics Review Committee that heard a complaint on Aug. 19, 2010, against certain council-appointed members to an advisory committee regarding gas drilling. The article is as sad as it is revealing. Nothing has changed in the way this city views its responsibility to be transparent to its citizens in the conduct of its business. That is the revealing part. The sad part is that nothing will change. According to Mr. Gorman’s article, even two longtime activists are “giving up on Fort Worth.”
Their hopelessness was evident during that hearing in 2010. Mr. Ashton and Mr. McBee were the personification of courtesy and respect as the case was presented, but it was clear that they believed no one was listening to them. Our committee carefully reviewed the facts presented and applied them to the provisions of the Ethics Code. Only one result could be reached: An ethics violation had occurred because the council-appointed members of the advisory committee were employees of the gas companies. The astonishment in the room when we announced that finding was palpable, on both sides.
As we left, the members of the Ethics Review Committee quietly said goodbye to one another, knowing that our service to the city was over. It took less than 48 hours for each of us to receive that call from the city. Mine came before the meeting to remove me was held, and I was told in advance what the vote would be.
Mayor Moncrief has been fond of touting his pride in the “Fort Worth Way” during his tenure in office. Fort Worth has many reasons to be proud as a community, but the revised Ethics Code under consideration is not one of them.
Rebecca C. Lucas, attorney at law
To the editor: Peter Gorman’s nicely done piece of journalism about the ethics (or lack thereof) with the Fort Worth City Council sure has its drama. It reads like a postscript to the tenure of our former mayor, Mike Moncrief, which was marked by narcissism, greed, and corruption.
Remember that he did things the “Fort Worth Way,” with pandering and intimidation. He has never stood on the side of honesty and integrity, and he’ll never change.
Clyde Picht, the old crusader for what’s right, had the best quote: “If you don’t have ethics in government, you have nothing.”
Another Heights View
To the editor: I am one of the 28 teachers at Arlington Heights High School who “fled” (“Leaving Heights,” Aug. 15, 2012). I was down in the trenches fighting the war against illiteracy when a reorganization occurred in the Fort Worth school district. When I was offered one of the new positions that had been created [away from Heights], I had to ponder long and hard. Heights is a very comfortable place, with involved parents, strong leadership, and history. Oh, the history!
In the end, I accepted a position as a biology network specialist. Another colleague did the same but for a different subject, and another returned to Heights after her gig in another city fell through.
I could go on explaining why these teachers left, but the point is: Principal Jason Oliver is a jewel. He is passionate, competent, and optimistic about the futures of Fort Worth students, as well as his teachers’ futures. He is also a trendsetter. Oliver initiated a program to raise the competitiveness of our students by means of a reading initiative in all subjects every day. To wonder if there is a mass exodus from Heights is only normal, but I believe other schools in the district had comparable percentages. I invite Mr. Oliver and the teachers at Heights to take a bow. Heights is good for now.
Deonna Littlefield Cloud
To the editor: I take exception to the letters in the Aug. 15 issue regarding the payday loan story (“High Interest in the ’Burbs,” Aug. 1, 2012). How insulting the writers are to imply that “poor” or “less fortunate” folks are somehow less intelligent than others. I know a lot of people with high incomes who are in over their heads with bad credit decisions. The size of one’s paycheck has nothing to do with the ability to understand a loan document. Should we also go after car dealers who offer financing for anyone with a job, regardless of credit rating?
These businesses exist because there is a need for them. If you put them out of business, you take away an important financial tool for thousands of hardworking people.
But to say these people are not smart enough to borrow money is just wrong. How dare you insult the working men and women who are just trying to handle their affairs as best they can?