The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

July 9, 2013

Keep your eyes open

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — To the editor:

As we approach negotiation time with L-3, our elected officials (city council) are stepping ever closer to an opportunity to maintain trust and demonstrate openness and honesty to the citizens of Greenville. Elected means entrusted, given trust with respect. Will our city council cherish that? Our City Charter makes it very clear regarding transparency and what the definition of “franchise” is — Sec. 122. The City of Greenville shall have the power by ordinance to grant any franchise or right mentioned in the preceding sections hereof. And “right” is a keyword as all throughout the charter it states numerous times “public places and all other real property of the City of Greenville is hereby” etc., etc.

Just a note, but if the city council is going to find some way to rationalize or justify conducting these negotiations secretly and deny that L-3 is a “franchise,” then it puts L-3 in a position to not be granted a 25-year lease and the city can do a year-to-year lease based on a yearly appraisal.

We are living in a time when trust is something our federal government has destroyed, and now trust is being questioned among our own local elected officials and L-3.

The division felt among our nation is now being localized, and having Greenville split into warring fragments serves no one, although it may financially provide for a company at the expense of others. Is it worth it in the long run? The last thing we need in Greenville is Chicago-style politics. Or worse yet our city council wants to play the “we need to pass it in order to find out what’s in it” game.

If one removes both the City and L-3 from what is really going on and simply reviews the process upcoming, they are left with something that is very important, and that is honesty, openness and doing what is of the best interest of our city and citizens. It is our airport. It does not belong to either L-3 or the city council. The city council is given full trust regarding our property, the leasing thereof, etc.

I read the report provided by Airport & Aviation Appraisals, Inc. and have been following closely the comments by concerned citizens, Mr. Steve Ramsey and others.

I hear the social chatter when out and about. It is upsetting to hear the pending mistrust developing toward certain city council members. It is upsetting to hear the statements toward L-3, which are negative in nature. Yet regardless of how one expresses concern, fear or worry, it all boils down to the same thing, which is again openness and honesty. No secrecy, as that fosters mistrust, anger and loss of respect.

The citizens of our great city need to keep their eyes open, listen to what our city council says, but more than that keep a very close eye on what they do as it is in the actions one finds truth. In closing I would like to simply say L-3 does not have the wealth to buy my self-respect or trustworthiness and I hope our city Council members feel the same way. L-3 needs to pay a fair share, and I agree with the appraisal in that L-3 needs to pay somewhere between $2 to $2.50 a square foot.

Mitch Vaughn