By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
KYLE – As this booming town reaches into the 21st century, plotting its landmarks and adornments, it’s safe to say a statue in honor of Hays County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) will not exist among its future treasures.
The judge has riled city residents by excluding Kyle from a coming tour of Hays County towns for her “Community Voices 2008 Program.” In the course of Thursday morning’s meeting of the commissioners court and a Thursday evening Kyle town meeting about transportation planning, one stumbled into a half dozen conversations during which Kylites bashed the judge for her oversight.
Kyle residents simply don’t understand why the judge would announce a tour of February town meetings without including the county’s fastest-growing and most dynamic city, the city that’s on a collision course with becoming the county’s largest melding of permanent residents. Kylites are puzzled that a city growing six-fold in the last eight years doesn’t merit the judge’s attention.
Buda is on the list for a Feb. 4 meeting (6-8 p.m.) at Hays Hills Baptist Church. Dripping Springs is on the list with a Feb. 11 meeting at city hall. Wimberley is on the list with a Feb. 18 meeting at the town’s community center. San Marcos is on the list with a Feb. 25 meeting at the Activities Center.
But Kyle is nowhere on the list.
Once again, Sumter’s tone deafness about the Interstate towns is coming back to bite her. Evidently, she believes Buda and Kyle are the same place because they share a commissioner’s precinct and a school district. Maybe she thinks she’s got it covered because she’s going to Buda – and not even Buda, but west of Buda, the wealthy part.
Little things mean a lot, and gestures of this sort are rife with bad vibrations. For at least three generations, the energy between Buda and Kyle is a force of cooperative rivalry. Buda and Kyle are two towns most likely to say about each other, “Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.”
That doesn’t mean Buda’s issues are Kyle’s issues, or vice versa. Sumter compromises her chance of being an effective judge for this part of the county to the extent that she misses the difference.
“What’s important to me is making certain that the forums offer the opportunity for a true exchange of information,” Sumter said in her press release announcing the town meetings. “It’s not enough for me to talk to the citizens about what the county has been doing or what plans are on the drawing board. It’s just as important for me to hear what the citizens have on their mind.”
She might try telling that to the citizens of Kyle. At this point, they wouldn’t believe her.