I truly love Mason – I was born and grew up in San Francisco. Joined the United States Air Force and went to Alaska for 40 years. What beauty in both places!
Came to Mason to marry and settle down for the rest of my life with my wife, Carolyn Airheart, who is a fourth generation Masonite and truly has loved this city and aspired to make it a better place for its citizens. I am, however, troubled about our beautiful city. Our citizens are very open, people minded, and concerned about making sure we live in a community blessed by our efforts. I read the City Corner religiously and grimace when I see its author, our mayor, "race" up the hill to his home each evening at speeds exceeding the lawful limit with total disregard for the very people who put him in office to protect their interests.
My heart sinks when I see the both our junked vehicle and nuisance ordinances continually violated by a City Commissioner who was privy to the wording and approved both and had the audacity to try and change the ordinance, based upon Texas State statutes, so he would be excluded from "cleaning up his act" disregarding families who have to look daily at the constant accumulation of junk around his business. I further slip into disbelief when another City Commissioner is advised of several of her properties being in violation of the dilapidated building ordinance and replies that she has been "trying to sell them".
If you were cited for a violation of either of these, you would be given a set amount of time to come into compliance or would possible face court time. The ordinances are written to uphold State laws and no one is exempt from their dictate. Know this, ther are citizens of this city who have been cited for these same violations and have had to appear to court to face those charges. Do we as citizens of one of the most beautiful communities in the State of Texas wish our elected officials to degrade our efforts?
I see Mary Beam every day the sun shines out in her garden tending to her flowers and lawn and weeds. Just a few blocks away a City Commissioner runs a bonafide junk yard without a permit to do so and in plain sight of the majority of travelers who come through this city of ours. This property is so congested with vehicles it provides a traffic hazard to people trying to drive onto Ft McKavett Street. Does it take a serious accident at that corner to shut his operation down?
Does it take a child getting off a school bus near another Commissioner’s dilapidated building to be bitten by a rattlesnake from that building to bring us into action?
When do we say "Enough". Our Mayor and the Commissioners are the "business cards" for Mason. Under the Government Ethics Act they have a responsibility to the public that they adhere to the law before they start passing that law on you. The State law deals very harshly with those elected officials who violate it. I used to hold that issue very high when I worked for the City but lost what pride I had when the Mayor decided to give preferential treatment to a citizen who was, and is, running a puppy mill in clear violation to our zoning ordinance because that citizen happened to be related to one of our city employees. What about the people who have turned in the noise complaints and have to listen to the noise everyday of their lives? What happened to their voice? Since I left the City, I understand the City has buried all code enforcement complaints to be opened by some future race as a time capsule. I was also told Mason is dirty town. Do we want to be known as a dirty town?
I remain a citizen who truly loves Mason. Next week, I want to address a letter to the editor on our water hydrant system.
John "J.C." Copeland, former Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Mason