The political tactics of deception and retaliation by elected officials against disagreeable speech expressed by residents in the Fort Bend County, Texas city of Missouri City have reared their ugly head yet again.
(photo credit: City of Missouri City website)
In an article shared by the Houston Chronicle from the Houston Community Newspapers is the headline “ Missouri City mayor calls for state to investigate animal shelter volunteers” reporter Kristi Nix writes Missouri City, Texas Mayor Allen Owen called for taxpayer resources to investigate some of the city animal shelter volunteers under the ruse (my word, not the reporters) of finding expired over-the-counter medications in the shelter.
“Missouri City Mayor Allen Owens recently called for state officials to investigate a group of animal shelter volunteers after donated medicines were found to contain “alleged controlled substances” and expired over-the-counter medications, according to a city news release.”
The shelter volunteers, previously praised by the city for their work caring for the animals, contend they are being targeted for asking for more resources at the shelter, namely a part time staffer to answer the phones and greet visitors to the shelter.
“The conflict between city officials and shelter volunteers reportedly started after volunteers launched an email campaign a few weeks ago to lobby Mayor Owens and the city council to hire a part time staffer to answer phones and greet people who came to the shelter to adopt a homeless pet. Currently, the shelter is open by appointment only. Volunteers say phone calls to the shelter often go unanswered.”
Crying poverty (to set the stage for imposition of a tax rate increase in the city IMHO), Mayor Owen say the city budget is strained by Hurricane Harvey repairs and to qualm residents’ concerns, city manager Anthony Snipes assured everyone the state investigation is not punitive in nature.
“The City’s intent in requesting a state investigation is not punitive but an opportunity to educate both staff and volunteers for the betterment of animals throughout our community,” city manager Anthony Snipes said in a news release posted on the city website.
In addition, city officials allocated $3,000 for additional security cameras at the shelter and animal control officers were outfitted with body cameras,
Several who spoke at Monday’s council meeting alleged Owens and other city officials seized the medicine in an act of retaliation against those who have spoken out against elected officials on social media and in the community. Others criticized city officials’ unwillingness to increase funding the city’s animal shelter.
However, this isn’t the first time Mayor Owen and his Buckeroos called for using government resources in retaliation against residents for challenging his leadership and leveraging social media to express views & speech he disagrees with.
In an October 14, 2013 article titled “Social media use increases, council member complains & orders police chief to monitor residents” I reported on then Missouri City Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Wyatts order to then police chief Fitzgerald to surveil resident’s social media communications used to meet, educate and propose improvements to the city while Mayor Owen cried poverty & chastised residents for “running their mouths about it.”
“Missouri City Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Wyatt, upset by the increased social media use among Missouri City-area residents, ordered the police chief to monitor the residents use of their electronic communications. Wyatt’s order to the Missouri City Police Chief was given after more than 50 area residents spoke during the public comment portion of the October 7th city council meeting.
“Jerry is upset over law-abiding citizens use of social media as a forum to meet, educate each other and propose plans to improve Missouri City. And Mayor Owen is so angry residents are questioning his leadership (1:11:30 minute mark) and claims there’s nothing to cut, that he is fear mongering by threatening cuts to sidewalks, street repairs and park maintenance, and the potential for lower bond ratings while admonishing them for “running their mouths about it”.
Why do I refer to the animal shelter volunteer investigation as a ruse?
Texans took to social media stating they take outdated aspirin without side effects and “Outdated meds have been tested five years after expiration and been fine, and are certainly not illegal for animals”.