I had the distinct pleasure today of watching Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole pull his punches so tightly he almost hit himself in the face.
He stood before the Rotary Club of Amarillo and talked about all the projects that are on-going throughout the city that have nothing to do with downtown redevelopment. But then he would remind Rotary Club members that, yes, there’s this thing called downtown revitalization that’s got him all fired up.
Indeed, he seemed wired tighter than a cheap watch today as he blazed through his luncheon program talking about highway improvements, Loop 335 expansion, utility installations, drainage excavation, improvements to interstate access.
But you see, state law is kind of quirky. As mayor, he is not allowed to advocate for issues that are set to be voted on in an election. He presented himself today as mayor, which meant only that he could give us information about downtown revitalization.
You could tell — heck, it’s been all over the media — that he’s solidly behind the effort to revive downtown Amarillo. The package that’s been presented will proceed with a downtown convention hotel and a parking garage. During his presentation today at the Rotary Club meeting, Harpole showed slides of what the downtown district will look like when it’s done. He believes a key component to the city’s effort remains the multipurpose event venue — in its proposed configuration, which includes a ballpark.
But that state law prohibited him from proclaiming loudly and proudly what he really thinks of the MPEV.
That’s OK, Mr. Mayor. I got the message.