Praying for the victims of scandal mongering in WO

I went to church this morning to pray for our community and for those who have become the victims of the ongoing scandal campaign against our water company. This week was particularly nasty on NextDoor. I see your anger and your discontent and I am sad for you. It must certainly detract from the joy of living in Windermere and divides our community. In particular, John and Rae, I’ve begun praying for you, and I will try to do so daily, like I do for many others out here.

The Catholic Church defines scandal as:

an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. the person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor‘s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual deathScandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.

Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”85 

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Respect for the Dignity of Persons

Scandals in Windermere are being created daily by ongoing misrepresentations of truth. Here’s just some of the baseless accusations of what we saw this week on NextDoor:

  • “70 k on deposition training.” Come on. Really? I spent three or four hours with a Lloyd Gosselink attorney in November 2019 learning about depositions. I’ve never been deposed before and I was going to be deposed the following week after serving on the Board for only six months! Training for depositions is standard corporate practice. The deposition would be about events that occured 3-4 years before and about which I had no involvement. I was not on any earlier water company boards. Any volunteer would get the same sort of help from any other organization. The attorney probably charged the water company their hourly rate, like $300 per hour. That’s a lot, no doubt, but remember: no lawsuit, no depositions, no costs. Talk to the plaintiffs. When the water company deposes them, they will ask their lawyer for the same type of training. Standard practice. The water company won’t be paying for that.
  • “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” Response 1: It may have felt like half an hour to the person but it wasn’t. The Zoom meeting recording is still being processed, and I will post it when ready, but I am willing to bet the time we spent talking about PIA requests will total 5-8 minutes at most.
  • “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” Response 2: The discussion about PIA requests provided transparent information to Board members and ratepayers about the number and costs of PIA requests. Does the person want transparency or not? I guess when it involves them, they don’t.
  • “The Texas Public Information act was enacted to bring transparency to organizations like ours, when there is none.” There have been 29 PIA requests in 2020 alone, following on 46 in 2019. All have been fulfilled, except for those deemed to contain attorney-client privileged information. You can download the report here to see a listing of the PIA requests as presented to the Board.
  • “WOWSC avoiding open meetings” The water company has held 11 open meetings this year. See the agendas here. The POA has held four. Water company members are encouraged to attend by Zoom from the comfort and safety of their house to prevent the spread of Covid. As our agendas say, “This is in full compliance with the Office of the Governor’s March 16, 2020 proclamation temporarily suspending certain open meeting statutes in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic and statewide disaster declaration.” We were glad to see that two members of the POA Board attended by Zoom. One seemed to be really enjoying her wine from the comfort and safety of her beautiful home!
  • “The WOWSC board spent the better half of an hour disparaging me due to my PIA requests.” Response 3: Our transparent open meetings occur for Board members and ratepayers to learn about what is going on with the water corporation. In this case, the water company Board needed to be advised of the mounting costs for responding to requests for unredacted attorney invoices, on three different occasions. This goes back to Oct. 9, 2019 when I read a statement about why the attorneys advised us on certain actions. Volunteer Board members have a high duty to follow the advice of attorneys. Again, please read the statement about these invoices on Page 5 of this document. It explains why they can’t be released due to ongoing lawsuits against the corporation.

The type of rancorous and demeaning comments we are seeing on NextDoor are being caused by this ongoing scandal mongering campaign of a few people.

Truly, to those victims who are angry and lashing out because of the scandal mongering, I am praying for you! And I am praying for those who make the scandals too. It is why I created this page and am now responding on NextDoor.

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