Commentary: Islanders, A clerical error called your Bluff and they got it right

Matt Briscoe 
The Southside Light

Late last week it became obvious that a pretty serious clerical error had occurred when a local proposal to increase tax rates on some area residents in order to buy equipment was left off of the ballots in 3 North Padre Island precincts. A paperwork signer (aka lawyer) contracted to the Nueces County ESD 2 somehow didn’t do his job by verifying precinct maps and demographic data prior to the ballots being approved, printed and distributed. Obviously the Nueces County Fire Commissioners didn’t check him, either. But forget all of that—the issue really isn’t with that, is it? The issue lies with the residents of North Padre Island and their reaction to the situation and similar questionable situations before. 

Tonight at 5:00 pm the ESD will hold a meeting to not have the votes for this race counted. That should take care of that aspect at least. The lawyer, the Fire Commissioners and those responsible for the outdated maps will likely never be dealt with—and here’s why I say that. 

In simple reasoning it’s just easier to complain than to act (and it’s cheaper.) 

I’ve decided I am not going to the little dog and pony show this evening because what are we going to learn that we don’t already know? Nothing. 

Will people suddenly resign? Will the lawyer hand a check back to the taxpayers? Will we learn anything about the outdated maps that we don’t already know? None of that is likely to happen and as of 3:00 pm nobody has filed legal paperwork to demand answers and accountability from those responsible for this mess. There won’t be an independent investigation from an outside firm and there won’t be anymore information given than what we already know. 

But as far as the matter goes itself, the Bluff called the Island’s Bluff so to speak. You see, the Island residents are the ones to complain here and they have been. But the truth is, that’s about all they’ll do and here is why I say that. It’s because taking action means you have to zip your mouths and get to work. It also means that you have to ante up some money for expert lawyers who will challenge a case in court for nothing more than the pleasure of proving a point. You’re not going to do that and the Bluff knows that. 

You see, you can raise a lot of money and you can talk about political clout all you want but if talk is all you do then what do you think is going to change? It’s not going to get you elected to the school board or city council and it’s not going to do anything but fuel a fire that doesn’t need to fueled ...unless you're finally going to ante up the legal fees to prove your point. 

I don’t for one minute believe that this was done intentionally by anybody and I believe it was a clerical error combined with a lack of administrative oversight. It’s typical lay politicians doing what they do. But until the day comes when those who are complaining are willing to ante up and stop those who are being slothful and careless, you don’t really have much to complain about—except how cold your Winters in Michigan were. 

Now for a long time I’ve been a proponent and defender of the Island and their interests and I’ve challenged some decent people who in their hearts believe that they are doing the right thing. Well, they may not be idealistically in line with me and they may have tried some dirty nasty name calling and attempted some below the belt personal attacks at me directly for questioning them—but that’s politics and that’s what armatures do when you challenge them. They can’t be at fault for that. But you can be at fault for having ideals and not doing what it takes to further them and you bear much of the blame for true activism. Nobody likes to hear an activist complain, but when they work their tails off and take things to the courts and present their cases they end up with a little bit more respect at the table. 

And that, my friends, is how I’m calling it because that is how I see it. 


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