Meeting Draws Hundreds of West Texas Leaders

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - Texting and driving, litter and plastic bags and saving water. These are issues that city councils and county commissioners across West Texas have been debating about for years.

But on Friday night at the Odessa Country Club, individual borders will be gone, replaced by officials from the cities of all 25 West Texas Counties, talking about these topics and more.

Attending officials like Midland City Council member John James said how the talks go could pave the way for future city ordinances.

"Craft some legislation that applies regionally or is it that just 'Midland, you better go on your own' or 'Odessa, you better do it on your own because that's not what my community is interested in,'" James said.

Odessa leaders attending said they couldn't meet with NewsWest 9 on Friday but they did say they had no specific issues that they would decide on.

Some local political leaders said certain issues up for discussion, like a plastic bag ban, don't need the government's help.

"What a plastic bag ban will accomplish is food prices are going to skyrocket," Libertarian Party of Ector County Chairman, Ben Farmer, said. "The paper bags that the restaurants would have to use are something like a hundred times the cost of the plastic bags. If you don't think that's going to affect you and I, of course it will."

Farmer said other issues should be handled by the government but texting and driving and littering should be fixed by the people.

"Neither of these problems are problems we need government to solve," Farmer said. "Texting and driving isn't a texting problem. It's a distracted driving into other people's stuff problem. Don't drive into other people's stuff and don't litter. Easiest thing in the world."

However, when it comes to saving water for the future, talks could come about how to work together as an entire region to make sure everyone has enough.

"When we talk about one hundred years worth of water, that becomes regional, how you pool your resources, financial and otherwise, to serve the region best," James said. "I think these will be the beginnings of those discussions."

NewsWest 9 will have more details on the issues discussed in the meeting tonight on NewsWest 9 at 10.