As most of you know, Baylor, Scott & White recently offered the city of Waxahachie its old facility near Getzendaner Park. In response, the city accepted the donation at its Jan. 6 council meeting. Sitting vacant for just over five years to-date, the facility and the land surrounding it now has the potential to become something special for Waxahachie. I applaud BSW for its community investment and the city for realizing the possibilities. Intuition and a hefty dose of creativity with respect to such a large space facility presents an exciting opportunity for the city.
Sadly though, whether in Waxahachie or across the globe, there are always those compelled to see dark clouds in an otherwise blue sky. We have a few here and, for reasons that seem to be grounded in inescapable negativity, I’ve come to believe not much can or will change them. As I’ve said many times before, despite the flood of nasty reactions from such folks when I have, complaining is not worth the breath it requires if there is no genuine attempt to help change what the complaints are about. Showing up at a city council meeting, by example, simply for the purpose of ripping the council or mayor or anyone else within earshot, will never solve a problem. Might make the complainer feel better, but it won’t solve a single problem. If solving a problem is the intent then so should be the willingness to step up and do something about it.
Before I get deluged with a boatload of “how dare you” or “come at me, bro” type responses, I appreciate the desire people have to be heard. I write a weekly column, after all, and enjoy expressing my views about all kinds of issues … reactions notwithstanding. People who attend council meetings and thereby weigh in on matters important to them are valued if, in fact, their reasons for doing so include wanting to make a difference. No one should ever be called out for that. However, as has been the case for me for years, expressing opinions publicly subjects such opinions to any number of responses. Same goes for people who, as in this case, stand before council and spout an array of false claims. Society is already overwhelmed with unchecked claims about any number of issues, claims that should be, must be, set straight.
That said, one of Waxahachie’s usual faultfinders, a man with obvious disdain for city leadership, decided it would be a good idea to stand in front of the city council recently and enlighten the rest of us as to why the donation from BSW is, rather than a gift, a “boondoggle.” Attempting to bolster his claim were all sorts of assumptions that had to have come from a mixture of voodoo math, wild theories and colorful machinations. Nothing stated to support the notion that the old hospital is somehow a liability for the city was, or is, true. Anyone can make up a narrative to support his or her claim and, in this case, that’s exactly what happened. Making matters worse is that these claims appeared as a “guest commentary” in the other paper in town without any verification or vetting of what was submitted. It’s the kind of content you won’t see in the Sun if for no other reason than, instead of being honest and real, it was simply an unbecoming tactic to mislead citizens and disparage people.
Upon hearing the word “boondoggle,” I decided to look it up rather than rely on my own slang interpretation. Used as a noun, boondoggle is intended to mean “a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.” Take out references to the federal government and you get the sense of what was meant here. Frankly, it’s offensive to both BSW and the city to suggest a transaction like this between two Waxahachie institutions is somehow a “boondoggle.” Such a suggestion is more the creation of someone with personal contempt for a city and the folks running it than anything bearing truth. For that, a response is warranted … in my view.
No media outlet – big or small, national or local – should enable folks to disseminate lies. If a person chooses to express an opinion based on verified facts, then I’m all-in but not until then. We’ve sent back many a letter to people asking for the sources of their claims. Some respond, some don’t, but no letter based on falsehoods should run. Better yet, we ought to hold people to standards that require truth and veracity in the claims they make. In failing to do so, people of Waxahachie run the risk of believing, buying into and acting upon matters that impact lives.
As for the donation of BSW’s facility to the city of Waxahachie, rest assured the only “boondoggle” is the one coming from those who’d rather live under a dark cloud than a bright, blue sky.
Scott Brooks is the publisher of the Waxahachie Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.