, Port Arthur, Texas

February 20, 2013

Area's leadership problem still growing

Anthony McDaniel
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — I am often asked lately why I have not been writing.  My response to this question is that I make every effort to be a reasonable man.  When I began the street campaign I was responded to by the council with, “We would love to repair all the bad roads in Port Arthur, there simply is not enough money; nevertheless, we are definitely working on it but it will take time.”

Upon the arrival of the new city manager, Floyd T. Johnson, I e-mailed him several pictures of horrendous roads in our community.  I then had a discussion with him that gave me the impression that this would be a priority concern; hence, the wait.  Since that time I did notice that the corner of Austin and Thomas Blvd was repaired.  I called to commend the city manager on his efforts; unfortunately I’ve not seen additional efforts relative to street repair.  Suddenly it occurred to me that Austin Ave. is the road most commonly used to get to downtown where many of our officials must travel for work and meetings from other areas in which they live, and are accustomed to significantly better road conditions.

American Insurance Group was redefined in the Kirwan articles in 2009 this way: “Arrogance Incompetence & Greed is the definition of AIG, and everything that so-called company supposedly stands for. This is a present-tense comment because this problem is not only still here, it's growing!” — Jim Kirwan.  Sadly, in a city overflowing with churches, we experience this same type of leadership right here in our own community.  Cronyism runs rampant in our school district, with administrators with poor performance and increasing salaries, tired retirees who refuses to relinquish position to the next generation.  All of this is at the expense of the children in our community who cannot create a complete sentence on the high school level; nevertheless, they are able to acquire athletic scholarships to be further exploited for their physical abilities while intellect hibernates.  That is until that unfortunate injury that leaves them oblivious to the real world structure and incapable of maintaining a reasonable standard of living.

I recently interviewed a group of students in a humanities class who expressed that they had no knowledge of what humanities was.  Several of them further explained that they did not register for the class; they were placed in it for the necessary credit.  Others stated they took the class because they were told it was easy.  The classroom appeared as though it had been hit by a tornado.  The students in the class were working on creating a model community as though they were on a deserted island and had a month to complete it.  Keep in mind these are high school students being taught by an elderly teacher who should have probably retired some time ago.  How many years have gone by with this standard being upheld?  I further asked about student government. The students were in agreement that this was an area dominated by the Asian students.  The extent of its functions was fundraisers.  When I asked about activities, the students stated, “Every time Mr. Rice (Memorial High school principal) requests something for the students (unless it is free), we receive a denial from administration due to funding so he doesn’t bother to ask anymore.”  Wouldn’t this make the phrase “It’s about the children,” commonly used by administrators and board members, an oxymoron?

I want to close leaving these thoughts with you:  Why are teachers being bombarded with data reports to the point of frustration, while administrators only account with flowery fluff?  With all of the lawsuits our district is getting, why don’t we hear any follow up?  Are we settling out of court and having the litigants sign gag orders, burning up our 2 million dollar liability insurance coverage?  What happens when our district becomes “high risk” making our coverage options slim at best?

Here is another excerpt from that Kirwan article discussed earlier:  “However, the enablers are the AIG leaders who, as New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo revealed Tuesday, signed those bonus contracts a year ago to reward the very people "principally responsible for the firm's meltdown."

See the similarities?


Anthony McDaniel of Port Arthur is founder of Concerned Young Citizens of West Side Port Arthur. Contact him at