It was coincidence. It had to be. The day after I call the City of Amarillo to check on the process for how the city mows the grass along highway medians (Interstate 40 and Interstate 27), the exact location of a picture I took to show overgrown grass/weeds was mowed.
If the power of the press is truly that great, I have not been wielding this power properly for my benefit. (Let’s just say if the power of the press was this strong, my tax bill would be significantly less.)
As proof the city is not just sitting around and watching the grass grow, perhaps it is appropriate to describe how Amarillo gets the grass cut along highway medians. (Overgrown grass and weeds along the highways is a common complaint this time of the year, unless there is a drought.)
Granted, there are some areas of town where the grass and weeds along the highways are an eyesore, if not an embarrassment. And logic would dictate that getting the grass cut would be simple. However, when it comes to government, nothing is simple, not even cutting the grass.
It isn’t really fair to criticize the city for unkempt grass and weeds, at least along the highway medians. The state of Texas — through the Texas Department of Transportation — is responsible for the upkeep of foliage along these areas.
According to City Manager Jared Miller, the city has a deal with TxDOT for four mowings a year, and then TxDOT contracts out the mowing work. Miller said the city has three additional mowings scheduled at a cost of $87,000 — more or less $29,000 per scheduled mowing.
And as Miller pointed out, it is not as easy as the city just calling up TxDOT and requesting the grass be mowed along highway medians in the city and this being done the next day; it takes a little time to get it done.
Some Amarillo residents are quick to complain when the grass gets too high, and their frustration is understandable when the city has a policy limiting grass length on private property.
However, be patient. The grass will be cut sooner or later. The problem is the slow and illogical way government operates, not necessarily the grass.
Thinking out loud
As a reason for pay raises, Amarillo Police Department Sgt. Norman Fisher, president of Amarillo Police Officers Association, mentioned APD having to compete with Lubbock for new recruits and retaining officers in a recent Amarillo Globe-News post (Amarillo police raises may mean tax hike or cuts in other city departments, July 12, amarillo.com). I’m wondering how much competition Lubbock can be when the Hub City is having to advertise for police recruits on billboards in Amarillo. (Lubbock is doing just this on a billboard on Interstate 27 near Hollywood Road.)
AGN Media Director of Commentary Dave Henry can be reached by email at email@example.com.