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2015-12-17

Kunz resigns in fit of candor

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Although she never served in an elected capacity, city resident Toni Kunz has for years been a tireless promoter of both the municipality and county. Most recently, she served as chairman of the city's planning and zoning commission and as a member of the economic development corporation.
That was until she resigned from both in a searing, "but-the-emperor-has-no-clothes" letter dated Dec. 3.
Interestingly, Kunz's reasons for stepping away from public service were eerily similar to those of the Courier for stepping away from covering city "goings on" for the last seven months.
In her resignation letter, Kunz wrote: "Thank you for the opportunity to serve my community; however, I am unable [to] continue to serve at the pleasure of a Council for which I have grown to have very little respect. For the sake of the residents of the City of Bandera, I hope you learn to support, instead of sabotage, those trying to rebuild this city that has been neglected and ignored for too long."
In a later email to the Courier, Kunz elaborated on her decision.
Reiterating that her resignation from volunteer positions with the City of Bandera had not been easy, Kunz also noted that through collaborative efforts, headway had actually been made in attempts to rebuild the city over the last two years.
However, Kunz indicated that "personal agendas of the current mayor and councilpersons" had recently sabotaged this headway.
"I am ashamed of how our elected officials conduct themselves daily and in an open forum," Kunz wrote on Friday, Dec. 11. "For instance, Councilman Jim Hannah appears to take pleasure in making slanderous and unsubstantiated remarks about city employees in open forum that affect their lives and careers - and the Mayor responds by saying, "That's just Jim."
Kunz also referenced a longtime criticism of city officials - their inability or unwillingness to enforce city ordinances across the board.
"They act as if they have power to make up laws and ordinances as they go and they refuse to address situations that may become confrontational," Kunz wrote. As examples, she noted city officials "choose not to reprimand city employees or cite business owners who have volatile or headstrong personalities."
On the other hand she added, officials "don't have any problem reprimanding or citing individuals who are not likely to push back."
Former Councilman Glenn Clark, now a member of the economic development corporation, brought up that same point at the EDC meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The agenda item in question was "Request for funding to repair-replace containers and-or funding for aesthetically pleasing fence enclosure at the City Yard and budget adjustment to City Council."
Speaking about the need to hide storage containers located at the Bandera City Yard on Cypress Street, Clark had asked, "Is [City Inspector Mike Armstrong] going to enforce ordinances covering eyesores in the middle of the city or just some of the ordinances or for just some of the people?"
Kunz indicated that previously Armstrong had asked P&Z what should be done about the containers, which, although prohibited by an ordinance, have proliferated throughout the city, including the yard. Apparently, P&Z members will recommend to city council either to modify the ordinance with a grandfather clause or make a unified decision on how to address current offenders, according to Kunz.
"[The city] hasn't had a code enforcement officer in quite some time. Like so many other things that have not been dealt with, it has become a bigger issue," Kunz said.
She continued, "Personally, I believe we need city personnel and elected officials that are knowledgeable and fair and do not waiver from situation to situation."
Kunz also emphasized, "Please know, my resignation is not acceptance that there is no hope we will get through this, it is merely a break." In an earlier interview, she said, "I'm not going away. I'm going to be around."