• August 21, 2014

Killeen council talk on funding memorial leads to shouting match

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:30 am

A discussion about redesignating funds in order to benefit the Nov. 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting memorial led to a shouting match between Mayor Dan Corbin and former Mayor Tim Hancock at Tuesday’s Killeen City Council workshop.

Hancock requested the city look into allocating approximately $27,000 left over in a Killeen Volunteers Inc. fund toward the memorial.

He originally went before the council last month requesting city staff look into whether it has jurisdiction over those funds and could legally allocate them to the memorial.

The funds were to go toward a fountain to mark the city’s 125th anniversary in 2007.

After a lengthy and sometimes heated discussion, Corbin proceeded to take a consensus of the council regarding the funds.

Hancock interrupted, and a shouting match ensued, with Corbin yelling at Hancock, “You’re out of order. Everybody just keep quiet.”

Corbin requested a Killeen police officer present at the meeting “escort them out if they’re not going to be quiet,” referring to the crowd, which had became unruly.

Hancock fired back at Corbin, saying, “You can’t make me be quiet.”

Hancock then retreated and stayed at the meeting after agreeing to remain in order.

In a 5 to 2 consensus, council members denied redesignation of the funds.

Council members Jonathan Okray and Steve Harris favored using the funds for the memorial.

The intense debate resulted in Corbin calling for a five-minute break in the meeting.

After Hancock’s initial comments requesting the KVI funds, former Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Gilmore — who served on the committee that raised money for the city’s 125th celebration — said the money should be used for the intent it was raised for.

“I raised that money, with a committee, in good faith that we were going to do something for the 125th birthday celebration,” she told the council. “That’s on you. ... if you decide to give this money to another entity that was raised under the pretense of doing a monument for the city’s 125th birthday celebration.”

City Attorney Kathy Davis said the city has the authority to allocate the money to the memorial.

The discussion sparked debate among current and former council members, with tensions rising as the discussion continued.

Councilman Steve Harris said he believes “with the circumstances,” residents would be OK with the city redesignating the funds.

“I don’t think the citizens would mind that memorial being built,” he said. “In my opinion, I don’t think a lot of people would (mind) being that we are a military town and we would be showing our support.”

Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone said she agreed with Gilmore that the funds should be used as intended.

“(The money) was raised for something for our city, and this memorial is for the people who were killed at Fort Hood and none of them were city residents; (it’s) not the same thing,” she said. “I would prefer to see the money go (toward) what it was raised for.”

After the five-minute break, Councilman Terry Clark said the discussion made him sick.

“The council has pulled into a discussion that is politicizing the deaths of American heroes over $27,000,” he said. “That is making me ill to my stomach. That’s bothering me.”

Following the council’s decision, Hancock told the council, “I apologize for asking you to support soldiers.”

Corbin, along with several members of the audience, responded to Hancock, saying “That’s ridiculous.”

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11 comments:

  • Alvin posted at 7:24 am on Fri, Feb 21, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 168

    This is my opinion and my opinion alone.
    Well apparently nobody is concerned about what is being done to our - yours and mine, Constitution, “United States Constitution”
    Art. 4 Sec. 4 Par 1

    “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government” [Not a democracy.]

    Pledge of Allegiance - “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands...”

    If you haven't been paying attention, and I surmise that the bulk of you haven't, there has been a number of articles written about the Oncor Electrical Transmission Company, the Smart Meter and now it comes to light, the DOE. People have protested the 'New Smart Meter' and just what the new meter is doing for each of you.

    Some people have resisted the 'New Smart Meter', trying to eliminate it. So the PUCT has arranged for a conciliatory gesture that will allow the people of Texas 'to opt out' of the program. The only thing is 'it will cost you between $445.92 and $685.95 initially and Oncor Electric Transmission Company, with the highest rates, $23.76 each and every month', compliments of Oncor Electric Transmission Company.
    This is an excerpt,
    ERCOT: Turn out that light before the grid does it


    DALLAS (AP) - The operator of the electric grid that lights most of Texas has asked customers to use less electricity because of the extreme cold.
    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas urges conservation through noon CST Friday. ERCOT also warned of an increased risk of rotating blackouts in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas amid high demand for power.
    Some Central Texas schools , including the Austin Independent School District, canceled classes Friday due to weather and road conditions. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University in San Marcos delayed opening until noon.
    Oncor (ON’-kor) on Friday reported nearly 1,000 customers without power in North Texas, where scattered snow left behind icy roads.
    Forecasters issued a winter weather advisory for Central Texas and part of East Texas.
    End of excerpt.
    Now do you ever ask yourself the question, 'Why are the Retail Electric Service Company's saying the more you use, the less per kilowatt and the PUCT saying people should reduce their consumption'. Seems to be contradictory in nature don't you think?

    People in California are really 'up in arms' to see this 'wrong righted'.
    Just so you will know.
    End of my personal opinion.

     
  • Alvin posted at 10:53 am on Thu, Feb 20, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 168

    As to the question of who is responsible for seeing that the money is used for it's intended purpose, I think it would reside with the responsible part or parties. If that is not a city chartered event then the trustees should be the responsible party, both for save keeping and reporting purposes.
    But I woulf like to introduce to you another, much more critical event that started in 2009 and carries forward to this day. It has to deal with the Smart Meter introduced in 2009. At that time, I questioned some of the Oncor Electric Transmission people, who I thought were in a supervisory/management position about the dual capability of the meter. I ask them 'when do you expect to transmit a signal from the central organization to an individual residence' to which they stated 'it would be against the law to ever transmit or send a signal'. I then ask 'then why does your meter have that capability in the first place' to which all I received was blank stares and/or muted answers. Just recently I ran across an article in which the DOE has signified they are getting ready to introduce 'signal transmission to the masses'.
    I look on that as a Socialistic endeavor. They are getting ready to introduce a form of 'behavior adjustment, control the electrical power to individuals without their consent. Big Brother has arrived.
    Our country was founded upon the 'Republic Concept' of national organization, not a Democratic foundation. The Constitution declares and demands that as one of our freedoms. When you went forward, plowed forward, they went against that tenant of our existing Constitution.

    United States Constitution

    Art. 4 Sec. 4 Par. 1

    “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of Government” [Not a democracy.]

    Pledge of Allegiance - “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands...”

    I for one do not like the direction our Government is turning. If anyone is interested, let it fly.

     
  • Viktor posted at 10:22 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Viktor Posts: 316

    If Timothy wants the money let him have his own fundraiser for it. Yes it's going for a great cause but that doesn't mean he's entitled to just get it.

     
  • overseer posted at 9:26 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    overseer Posts: 45

    Good point on the money being raised specifically for something for the city. In this case, a monument of some unspecified sort. That is true. Question is, whose responsibility was it to ensure the money was used for the proper purpose. Are the committee members to blame since they forgot all about it? It was said that the money was not in the city's account but a nonprofit type for KVI. How do you raise money and forget about it for 7 years? Also, well said that when a soldier rents, leases or buys a home in the city they are technically, participating as a citizen of the city.
    From what I heard and understood, the money in the KVI account, as it is referred, was raised for a monumental structure for the city. The money for the desired structure is contained in a separate account as stated from yesterday. So, the question now remains, do you use the KVI money for the fountain, I think it was, and combine it with the $16000 in the other account or have more fund raisers to add money to the 16 for the building and placement of the first intended monument? If you can ever get ahead of recordings, you can hear the entire meeting. Yes, sometimes it may be like listening to cspan on the radio but, you will hear everything in context. Also, I share your concerns about contributions. There should be some way for citizens to receive updates on funds acquired the community contributions. There has to be a better system.

     
  • Alvin posted at 7:26 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 168

    I only know what I read in this section of the newspaper, so in reference to what Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone said, ; 'The money was raised for something for our city, and this memorial is for the people who were killed at Fort Hood and none of them were city residents; (it’s) not the same thing,” she said. “I would prefer to see the money go (toward) what it was raised for.' Doesn't she think that the soldiers killed on that day and in that spot are to be considered 'residents of the city? Do they not, at least some of them, rent/lease/purchase homes in the city of Killeen? I have read excerpts from some of the city council meetings in which I failed to understand just what she was alluding to. In my opinion, this case is some more of just some more of where is misconstrues.
    But you have alluded to 'Since the money in the KVI account was not designated for anything specific.' Wasn't the money raised for a specific 'KVI fund'? Wouldn't the city be required to 'hold that for that purpose and that purpose alone? If not, then how do we account for these monies if every one can 'dip into the bucket' as he or she feels it necessary? What is a citizen supposed to think about this in regard to 'if I contribute – is the money going to go where I want it to go or some place else unbeknownst to me.
    And one other thing, these past 2 weeks there has been quite a turmoil that developed by the Mayor calling for a vote when people had their hands up. That is a case where the patrons of the city

     
  • overseer posted at 4:01 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    overseer Posts: 45

    @Alvin

    I try to give Councilman Harris the benefit of the doubt that he didn't try to speak for "all" residents. I want to think he knew that all residents would not agree due to the challenges that were already before the council that were against the monies going to the SM. I, from looking at his track record in voting and statements he has made throughout his time on the council, thinks he knows better than that. I do recall him saying something about all citizens not agreeing but he believed a majority would. Well, that goes back to his opinion but still the question remains, should the council have tabled the topic and had a public hearing to decide. I think that would have been great. Let the citizens, not a few people decide what the money should go towards. I dare say, there may have, possibly been citizens that wouldn't have wanted the money to go to neither project. Since the money in the KVI account was not designated for anything specific.
    I agree with you on the money sitting there for that long and it never being assigned a specific task but, this just tells of the forgetfulness and the confusion of councils past. This council is still basically new and it seemed, except for some extensive research and politicking by some after it was brought up; no one ever even knew the money existed until the former mayor asked about it.
    I definitely respect your opinion on what the money should go towards which is why I still think a public hearing should be held during one of the council meetings so interested citizens can voice their opinion. Hey, the money is pretty much fair game as long as it goes towards "SOME" monument or fountain. :) By the way, shouldn't there be some city records or minutes of these meetings available somewhere to help squash all of this altogether?
    Oh, I have to ask now - since you didn't like his words - what did you think of Councilwoman Blackstone's comments about the soldiers not being citizens anyway? Does anyone have an opinion on this statement?

     
  • Alvin posted at 1:16 pm on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 168

    @ overseer: First, I would tend to disagree with the statement made by councilman Harris; 'he believes “with the circumstances,” residents would be OK with the city redesignating the funds'. I do not think the councilman should have voiced the opinion the 'all' citizens would be n favor. There is a difference between voicing a singular opinion, -I – and voicing the apparent issue as stated- we – residents would be OK. As to your statement, 'The monies were to go towards "SOME" type of memorial', I would have thought the 'plans', over 4 years now, it should have been agreed to as to 'what were the plans'.

    I must say that I stand by my comments of 'what type of monument/memorial' to effectuate the memory of those slain, and I still contend that the very building in which they were killed seems to me the best to 'honor the fallen'. As I understand it, the military is building a structure, on the ground where the old one once stood, to honor those that were killed.

    But I have to agree, councilman Clark's statements were sort of 'melodramatic' in nature. But this is only 'my opinion'.

     
  • overseer posted at 11:43 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    overseer Posts: 45

    I will start off by saying that this discussion was a "doozy". I will also say that Councilman Harris' statement about people not minding the allocation of the $27,000 was his opinion; I for one, welcome his opinion. Do I agree or disagree with it - I am still pondering over it. The reason why is this - as stated by the lady who stood in opposition of the money being "re-allocated" and the Mayor himself, "The monies were to go towards "SOME" type of memorial, fountain and etc." Councilman Harris and Okray were not wrong in their thoughts of giving this money to the soldier's' memorial. Here is why.
    The paper left out the fact that it was already established that the money directly allocated for the fountain sat in a separate account that contained $16000. The monies in the Killeen Volunteers account was not allocated for any SPECIFIC monument. The money that was raised for the fountain was still there. With this, the funds would not be "re-allocated". They would've been given a specific allocation. I believe that those who wanted to give the KVI money to the soldier's memorial fund was legitimate in thought because of this fact. Harris even asked the question that if the $16000 was still available, what it would be the problem of the $27000 going towards the SM. In my assessment, it would not have been wrong but, should the council have, with this knowledge, decided to table the discussion pending a public hearing? Even with Harris' suggestion to split some of the money since there was no specific designation for it was rejected by the majority of the council. I have to say, with the council fully knowing the truth about these funds and their "designated" and "undesignated" purposes, it did kind of remind me of the political shananigans occurring on the federal level. I will resist commenting on Councilwoman Blackstones' statement about the soldier's "not being citizens anyway" even though their presence is the literal life blood of Killeen. I didn't quite understand Councilman Clark's statement about it turning political. If anything, I think he may have exposed himself as the possible politician in the room.

     
  • Dawn posted at 8:29 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Dawn Posts: 9

    Well said Eliza. I agree with all you are saying. In addition-once all memorials are placed-I would hope the cost to maintain them are also in the plans when building them. There is no bigger disappointment to see a memorial built and to come years later and see it looking broken.

     
  • Alvin posted at 7:21 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Alvin Posts: 168

    To Former Mayor Tim Hancock and the Killeen City Council

    A shouting mach ensued between mayor Corbin and former mayor Hancock resulted in mayor Corbin telling the former mayor to 'shut up and keep quiet' with the former mayor shouting 'you can't make me be quiet'. Well I would say to the former mayor, 'has your 3 minutes expired?' I seem to recall that the former mayor was a stickler on 'getting your 3 minutes worth'.

    As to the assenting votes, I disagree with your assessment Mr. Harris that 'it would be OK with the city re designating the funds'. I for one is not OK with his assessment, so 'don't put words in my mouth if you please'. As to Terry Clark, stating 'it made him sick, that politicizing over the deaths of American Heroes over $27,000.00, that was making him ill and that was bothering him'. If I may ask a question, 'Why do we, collectively, seem to think that we can only 'Honor the fallen' by tearing down a perfectly good structure and then building a monument to replace it in order to 'honor the fallen?' Why do we always 'tear down to rebuild'? I believe that the existing structure, converted into a hall with all of the appropriate vessels to memorialize the Soldiers who were killed and/or wounded that day. In my mind, we are 'overusing' the word 'Hero' to such an extent that it becomes meaningless. I agree with former Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Gilmore — who served on the committee that raised money for the city’s 125th celebration — said the money should be used for the intent it was raised for. “I raised that money, with a committee, in good faith that we were going to do something for the 125th birthday celebration,” she told the council. “That’s on you. ... if you decide to give this money to another entity that was raised under the pretense of doing a monument for the city’s 125th birthday celebration.”

    City Attorney Kathy Davis said the city has the authority to allocate the money to the memorial.

    I disagree with the city attorney, the city should not be afforded the opportunity to 'pick and choose' where funds are allocated, when a course of action has been established.

    I personally believe that the former mayor is/was wrong in even suggesting such a course of action and disrupting a city council meeting with such a frivolous action as this. If you feel that strongly, then you should tender that amount yourself.

     
  • Eliza posted at 7:07 am on Wed, Feb 19, 2014.

    Eliza Posts: 710

    My main question in this situation is,
    with the city's anniversary being in 2007- (approx. 7 yrs. ago) Why has a fountain not been built , the reason the people were told that the money was collected for ?
    There's been 2 different Councils and 2 different Mayors in the meantime -
    But the city fountain has not been further discussed during that time period that I remember .

    As much as I Honor the names of the Soldiers and Civilians who died in the slaughter on Ft Hood,
    I also Honor the people who donated money for a cause (the fountain) that the public was ask to give money toward.
    And feel that project should be continued and the promise kept of building it.
    There is no reason it should not have been done so before this time.

    It was stated yesterday that Ft Hood is going to place a memorial themselves, at the location these men and women were at the day their deaths happened.

    No one can speak for them of course, but,
    I believe with the majority of these people who died having been military,
    They would much rather be memorialized on the ground they died on.