Ever since The Daily News declared its endorsements for Galveston City Council and mayor last week, we’ve been peppered with questions about the thinking behind our selections. Well, in the spirit of transparency, here we go.

While there are many personalities involved in politics, we made every effort to eliminate any preconceived notion or potential bias from outside influences by inviting each and every candidate to spend time here in the offices of The Daily News. And to their credit, nearly every candidate took time out of their day to join us for a personal 30-minute session.

During those meetings we asked questions about their visions for the city of Galveston and where they would like to see the community move. And, as expected, we received a few interesting answers. We believe each to be sincere and passionate about the offer to serve. This, for a community, is a good thing.

But there was something else we were looking for: civility.

Galveston city government has suffered through a protracted period of conflict, distractive behavior and all-around (to use a term from a council member) dysfunction. Too much time has been spent arguing, pointing fingers and keeping us from moving forward.

Like a pot of gumbo with a few of the wrong ingredients, this current recipe needed changing.

Our community cannot afford to lose another two years to a self-described dysfunctional body. To be honest, the timeline is even longer if you consider how long it takes projects to come to fruition when tied to government entities. We need everyone to play nice and understand this is not a place for personal accomplishment.

These are positions of servitude to the public. We’ve a reputation to rebuild — one where mudslinging and taking cheap shots at others will not be acceptable. We need to get down to business — and fast.

Don’t get us wrong — passionate people will argue and disagree. Galveston still faces many difficult decisions. But at the end of the day, an agreement will be made, and the body of government will need to move forward without negative inferences or personal attacks.

So, when the dust settles, we want what is best for our community. Come to the office ready to serve the people’s business with the respect it deserves or stay home.

(12) comments

Miss Priss

Love it!

Susan Fennewald

How sad for Galveston. A little history from my persepective: Before the 2008 election, the Galveston City council usually voted unanimously on everything- even when it was in opposition to the wishes of the residents. The classic example was when 500 residents showed up to register comments against the Marquette plans – but council passed it unanimously. Another example was when residents spent hours working as a community on the Height and Density plan – and then a unanimous council gutted it at the last minute, making all their work meaningless. That was when opposition candidates, including myself, ran for city council – in an attempt to have the council represent the residents.

Since then, council has been divided. But they were still civil –up until the last session.

Galveston has diverse residents –it needs diverse representatives who can act civil.

E. Beeton, and the minority opposition councilmembers, have always been civil even though they lose most votes. It’s the majority members who have been unable to maintain their civility in the face of other views (even when their usually getting things their way in the end).

So – you’ve now endorsed the status quo.

Norman Pappous

Good for the Daily News to supply our schoolchildren with such a fine example of intellectual inconsistency.

Previous year's endorsements actually embraced members who stood up against the status quo - even if disruptive. Maybe Leonard needs to read the endorsements of 2008, 2010, and 2012.... Especially 2012 when they endorsed two of the most disruptive current members on council.

As for consensus - smfennew, below, has it right. There has been a lot of consensus on council when the citizens got the shaft and the old guard got the money. Know where else there is a lot of legislative consensus? North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan etc etc etc....

The Daily News is entitled to endorse their choices but their reasoning is intellectually bankrupt.

Michael Culpepper

I agree with Ms. Fennewald on this one.

Jeff Smith

...and I completely agree with Mr. Pappous. Endorsements made by the GDN are usually personal endorsements for their own agenda and visions. If they don't get what they want, regardless of what the people want, they editorialize their angst every Sunday for months.

Ron Shelby

Someone will always be unhappy with whomever gets endorsed, or doesn't get endorsed.

I'm fed up with a congress that can't agree on things anymore, and feel the same way about a council following a similar path.

Logic says that over time, bad decisions shake out and the good ones remain in place. Following a path started by previous councils (status quo) is not always bad. But the status quo set by the current council....really needs to change. Find some middle ground.

I'd definitely be up for seeing all city council positions become city-wide, then the "not in my backyard" people wouldn't be constantly stalling what needs to be done for the good of the city as a whole.

Steve Fouga

"I'd definitely be up for seeing all city council positions become city-wide"

Or at least more of them. One at-large position is not enough.

George Lee

I was really interested in finding out the paper's endorsements, but after reading this specifically vague sensitivity class missive, i only learned something about bad gumbo ingredients. So it's about civility and consensus, is it? There are two reasons for the nasty behavior and childish acrimony, and one is gone. Consensus is a meaningless word and generally an ineffective way to govern anyway. The paper chose tapioca over gumbo. Makes me long for Dolph Tillotson! Norman and Susan nailed it. Let's hope voters watch and listen then make their choices independent of the "endorsements" so obviously dictated by the old entrenched machine here. Things are more like they are today than they ever were before.

Albert Redmond

Well said, and I agree.

Steve Fouga

George Lee says: "Consensus is a meaningless word and generally an ineffective way to govern anyway."

Yes. Consensus happens when there's an easy decision to be made, or when there is a strong leader and weak followers. I'll take 4-3 or 5-2 majorities any day. Then I'll know someone is thinking, or at least representing constituents.

Civility happens when adults or well-brought-up children interact. It should be a given. I think George has it right; we're at least 50% more likely to enjoy civility in the Council chamber, and if our luck holds, 100%.

Jarvis Buckley

So you think marching in lock step is the way to go? Is that what GDN is saying?

Steve Fouga

Looks like Jim Yarbrough will get to bring consensus to the Council. Congrats and Godspeed, Mayor Yarbrough!

Congrats also to Terrilyn Tarlton. What an excellent representative for our district!

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