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“City Council expenses moot point”?

It seems Rich Macke, the publisher of the Port Arthur News, has a problem with an investigative report presented by Angel San Juan of KFDM 6 News.  Mr. Macke made his disdain for the report known in an editorial (and I use that term quite literally) in the May 2, 2017, edition of the newspaper:

City Council expenses moot point

The first thing that struck me in this so-called editorial is how Mr. Macke referred to the facts in the KFDM 6 News report as “allegations“?  I’ve seen the information describing the expenditures to District 2 Councilwoman Tiffany Hamilton, and know for a fact the figures stated were obtained from the City of Port Arthur in response to a request lawfully submitted via the Texas Open Records Act.  There isn’t any reason to believe those figures aren’t accurate, and for Mr. Macke to refer to them as “allegations” is nothing short of trying to make people think they’re nothing more than the figment of someone’s imagination.

KFDM Investigates:  Port Arthur city councilwoman’s travel expenses at taxpayers’ expense

As Mr. San Juan’s report states, in the 28 months Tiffany Hamilton has served as City Councilwoman representing the city’s Council District 2, she has amassed travel expenses totaling more than $31,000.00, for which she has received reimbursement authorized by City Council.  Yet there isn’t so much as a shred of evidence that what she supposedly came away from all those junkets with has actually benefited the City of Port Arthur, or its people, one bit!

Bamboozled by a Boondoggler

Now add to this that Tiffany Hamilton is seeking re-election to her District 2 Council seat.  I have people who live in Council District 2 who have proclaimed that the only time they ever see Ms. Hamilton is when she is running around the District, knocking on doors, looking for votes.  I guess the rest of the time she’s too busy gallivanting around the country to worry about such trivial things as appropriately representing the people of her district, or trying to work with the rest of City Council to address the needs of the community and learn the concerns of her constituents.

Let me say, at this point, that if the people of Port Arthur City Council District 2 re-elect Tiffany Hamilton to serve a second term, then they will be getting everything they deserve.  And if re-elected, I wonder what her travel itinerary will be then?  Perhaps there will be important mayoral conferences at various locations throughout Western Europe.  Or, maybe the Bahamas.  The Caribbean?  What about Hawaii?  I think y’all catch my drift.

Rich Macke can claim Council member expenses a “moot” topic all he wants to, and he can explain all day and night why.  However, people (especially taxpaying people) have a right to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.  Not everyone has enough time to spend reading the boring City Charter whether online or hard copy.  That privilege is reserved for newspaper publishers who obviously have time like that on their hands.  The rest of us are too busy trying to make a living to pay the taxes that the Port Arthur City Council seems to have no problem spending for council member travel in lieu of trying to accomplish such trivial tasks as repairing city streets, lighting street lights in neighborhoods darkened by hurricanes almost a decade ago, or trying to bring our sewer and water systems up to snuff.

And if the City Charter contains provisions allowing City Council to NOT set limits for reimbursement of travel expenses, then it needs to be changed.  Don’t give me this stuff that a certain amount is entered into the annual budget, in a community that’s trying to squeeze each and every penny out of whatever source it can just to keep its head above water, one has to ask why there is a provision in the annual budget for council member travel at all?  Yes, I can justify something pertaining to the government and operation of the city, but some of this stuff that Tiffany Hamilton has been going to is way out of line.  And it needs to come to an end … RIGHT NOW!

Now, in closing, allow me a moment to state clearly that the reference to Mr. Macke’s editorial was provided to me by a follower of the Jefferson County Beer Party.  Last I heard, if I wanted to read a single article within the Port Arthur News website, I would have to pay a subscription fee of damned near $10.00 per month.  Let me assure you that I’m not made of money, and I can find a heckuva lot better places to use that roughly $10.00 each month than spending it on a subscription to the Port Arthur News to read less than the whole publication.  This is the primary reason why I seldom use the Port Arthur News as a viable source of information.  That and knowing that Carl Parker is most likely as much a benefactor of the Port Arthur News as he is in the back pockets of so many of our elected representatives in government and appointed people in city administration.

Some (Most) things in Port Arthur will never change.

***** *** *****

The Jefferson County Beer Party received three (3) email responses from Mr. Macke.  They are as follows in the order in which they were received:

Ok I know who you are…
On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 4:01 PM, MJ Ponsegrau <countybeerparty@gmail.com> wrote:

For your reading enjoyment:

Response to Your Editorial

MJ Ponsegrau

Interesting read. However all your point seem to be fabricated.

Will share with you that readership is up, bottom line is up, and correct info that people other than yourself want is also up.
Have a great week.!
On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 4:57 PM, Rich Macke <rich.macke@panews.com> wrote:

Who are you?
On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 4:01 PM, MJ Ponsegrau <countybeerparty@gmail.com> wrote:

For your reading enjoyment:

Response to Your Editorial

MJ Ponsegrau

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