Thursday night, Lubbock voters had their first chance to discuss and share concerns about the city's pending $300-million bond package, but some shared very different opinions about the effectiveness of the meeting with NewsChannel 11.
The newly formed group, Listen Lubbock, organized Thursday evening's meeting. It was billed as a chance to generate discussion about city issues and come to a consensus about the current bond election up for consideration.
Some citizens we spoke with say they left feeling their voices weren't heard, while others say it was a good opportunity.
"I was really disappointed," Kelley Jennings said.
"I think it's good input," Larry Simmons said.
"The most important thing tonight is we're listening to people, and what their thoughts are on the bond recommendation," Listen Lubbock Chairman Greg Bruce said.
Thoughts among those in attendance varied.
"The main reason we came was because we found out that northeast Lubbock is only going to be getting $2.4-million of the bond package, where southwest Lubbock is going to be getting over $55-million, and we were just wondering what was the reason for that," Mary Harris said.
"When you consider the auditorium and the coliseum were built in the 50's, it's time for that to go. I think we've got to have good facilities in order to bring some of the things that we need to bring in town," Simmons said.
There's a lot of things here, a lot of superfluous kind of things that I have a lot of questions about," Jennings said.
Group members organized the 'listening sessions' into small groups, each table focusing on a specific project. Discussion leaders, including members of the citizens advisory committee that made the $300-million pitch to city council, answered questions, and took concerns, though some who came to the meeting tell NewsChannel 11 they felt like their voice was not heard.
"I don't think this meeting will help any at all. I just...we talk, but nobody ever listens," Leo Flores said.
So, we asked folks how they think the meetings could be improved.
"I really don't think they come to these meetings with a real open mind. They come to express their opinions and try to get people to agree with what they're doing," Harris said.
"The unfortunate thing about meetings like this is a lot of people that don't even use the facilities we have now come to put their input in on these, which is negative input. We need more people that use these things to come in and vote on this," Simmons said.
"The confidence factor is at an all time low here. We've got to get back on track, and until they do that, funding for all these things they want is not going to happen," Jennings said.
The group tells us they plan to take all the written suggestions, and notes taken by discussion leaders to the city council. They also plan to place them on the web so all Lubbock voters can read them.
Listen Lubbock is scheduling five other listening sessions, and we'll let folks know when those are, once the time and dates are set.
Council members are expected to vote on this issue next week. That vote could change things dramatically or not at all. We'll also keep folks up to date on that.
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