At the March 10, 2016 City Council meeting the Council went into a closed session and forced audience members out of the cafeteria room where the meeting was being held. While outside the building, people chatted about various topics to pass the time. Included among them was Pedro Orduno, the Chairman of the Committee to Incorporate Sandy Oaks and 1 time Alderman candidate.
Orduno voiced his opinions on what the city still needed. The list included hiring a City Manager, building a pavilion in the park, hiring security for the park, fixing the baseball field in the park, and redoing the volleyball court in the park.
When asked how all of that would be paid for, Orduno refused to answer. He did, however, say the following:
We need less complainers and more people who do action.
Orduno is no stranger to complaints. Many people voiced frustrations over how CISO conducted the incorporation vote in 2014. Complaints included naming the city after a community already in existence 3 miles away, only announcing the election 4 days before early voting began, and only sending out postcards to select registered voters. Complaints continued the summer when Orduno and Jim Clement formed SOPAC and purposefully chose not to announce the deadline to run for office to the community, going back on their promise made before the incorporation vote.
Complaining is Patriotic
The thing about complaining that Orduno doesn’t understand, is that it is patriotic. Complaining is the reason why the United States exists: A bunch of colonists disliked how the British Crown was treating them and they complained (with muskets).
Complaining is a fundamental part of having freedom. When a person doesn’t like what their neighbor is doing to them, they have every right to complain and voice their frustration. The black slaves in the 1800’s had every right to complain about their servitude.
If Complaining is integral to freedom, then it’s certainly apart of a strong republic, where everyone’s issues can be, and should be, heard by the government. Otherwise that government wouldn’t be serving the people best, it would only be serving itself.
United States Government Is Based On Complaining
The biggest complainers out there are those in the US government. The US has 3 branches of government to keep things in balance. When the President does something that Congress disagrees with, they complain. When the Congress does something that violates the constitution, the Supreme Court complains.
Without this system, a President could act as a king and disregard the law. The Congress could do the same and remove basic rights from people.
There’s a term for people who dislike those who complain. They’re called tyrants.
Most people who dislike complaints are those who do not want to be wrong, do not want to be questioned, and do not want resistance.
Orduno is a great example. As a board member of the WPPOA, he received an official request to view WPPOA documents to prove that he and Jim Clement were elected and that they really do represent the WPPOA. He ignored that request, violating state law. Providing those documents would mean creating an opportunity for someone to question his claim of being a board member. It also puts into jeopardy his wish for the city to take on the WPPOA park.
Of course Orduno is tired of the complainers. He’s tired of them because he doesn’t care about them or anyone else in the community.
Pedro Orduno (and others) complain about complainers (see what I did there?) because people who complain inconvenience him. He has admitted that he moved to where he lives so he could be near the community park. He wants the park to have features and amenities that other city parks in San Antonio have, with pavilions and grills, and baseball fields and security. In order to achieve this desire he needed to force the area into incorporation with or without the consent of the community.
The problem is that Orduno doesn’t understand the importance of a budget and doesn’t understand that the city doesn’t have enough money to provide even the most basic of services. After nearly 2 years of being a city, the roads are worse, the animal control is worse, and people have less money. And those people have every right to complain.
Complaining Drives Progress
Complaining changes the current status of situations. When people vote for a new candidate to take political office, they’re actively complaining against whomever is currently holding the office.
When someone in San Antonio complains about a pothole and that pothole then gets fixed, the complaint brought progress.
Complaining is a natural part of the process of democracy where different sides voice what it is they like and dislike. Progress is never possible when lines are drawn and people cannot come together. But common ground can be found when different sides listen to the complaints of their opponents.
Never Good Enough vs Valid Complaints
It’s true that for some people, nothing will ever be good enough. There are some people who will gripe and complain no matter what. There’s also people who will never really care either. But that doesn’t mean that anyone who complains should be lumped into a category of people who shouldn’t be listened to.
The group of people that will always complain no matter are a very small minority. How then, can one tell if a complaint is valid? By having a discussion, communicating, and most importantly: listening to what people have to say.
The problem, however, is that a tradition of ignoring the community’s wants has been established. It started when CISO ignored people when they first started the incorporation process. Both Orduno and Clement have claimed that more people were involved in the early incorporation efforts and that eventually it was only them and Rabe who were involved. The reason why less people cared was because the prospect of becoming a city became less appealing when the suggested land area shrunk from 9 square miles to only 2.4 square miles. CISO ignored the fact that intelligent people did not want to become a city with very low property values and almost zero commerce/sales tax revenue.
The tradition of ignoring people has continued through to the city government, which was established mostly by CISO through SOPAC. People who voice complaints are ignored and even chastised for questioning the actions of the City Council.
An example is the contract for trash collection. The City Council of 4 people forced a contract on a city of 4,000 people without ever letting those people vote on the issue. They didn’t ever bother to mail out notices that the conversation was being held and they conducted the meeting at a location 8 miles outside the city limits.
Brown Shirts and Brown Noses Do Not Build A Better Community
Orduno isn’t the only one who is tired of complainers. Since incorporation, people who are pro-city have been joining two different groups.
The first group are the Brown Nosers and comprises people who applaud the City Council on every issue and actively ignore any complaint made. The City Council approved an illegal amount of sales taxes, so the Brown Nosers praised the city for doing a good job. The Council regularly violates the Texas Open Meetings Act, so the Brown Nosers praise the city for doing a good job.
There’s nothing wrong for being proud of a Council member or the city government when something is done right. But to praise people and groups for cutting corners and breaking the law is wrong.
The second group are the Brown Shirts. These people believe their primary purpose in support of the city is to attack any person or idea that questions the city or the City Council. Brown Shirts take to social media websites and verbally abuse those who express opinions and complaints that call into question the city’s effectiveness.
For example, Mayor Micki Ball attacked a wheelchair bound, disabled veteran who wasn’t happy that Tiger Sanitation skipped her on the March 19th bulk pickup. Multiple people complained about how Tiger passed up hundreds of piles of trash, but Ball needed to attack a single person.
The problem with the Brown Shirts and the Brown Nosers is they’re doing damage to the community. In fact, nothing is damaging the community more. These groups are exclusive to pro-city people and one would think they would want a strong and successful city. But having a strong and successful city requires listening to complaints and not ignoring them.
The Browns Do The Most Damage
The Browns do not realize they are doing financial damage to the city. They are choosing to ignore liability and legal issues which can land the city in a court room. The result of a court battle would be tax payer money spent on attorneys and damages, as well as worse roads and less city services.
For example, Mayor Ball has encouraged people to roller-blade on top of the old mini-golf course in the park. If someone gets seriously hurt while doing this, the city may have to pay damages because the Mayor encouraged it. A single incident could suddenly take a large chunk out of the city budget.
The Browns represent a product of the continued effort by entities at power to ignore complaints, exclude dissenting opinions, and arrogantly assume that only a few select people know what its best. CISO, SOPAC, WPPOA, the City Council: they all avoid complainers and they have all suffered because of it.
Complaining about legitimate issues and having an open discourse about them breeds success for the community. Those who ignore complaints are tyrants and will only damage the community and those who live in it.