At first those reading the local paper may have gotten a false impression if they read the headline about recently retired Liberty city councilman Mike McCarty’s neighborhood. Casual readers who just browse the headlines or the first couple of paragraphs of a story may have missed a really good example of how to try and be a good neighbor.
The story covers the public interaction that occurred between Mike McCarty and two people who live in the Forest Hill Subdivision that is adjacent to what has been pastureland since before any of us were born. Readers can surmise that the drama that takes place appears as a news story because Mike McCarty is a very determined and very popular candidate for Commissioner precinct #1 as his second bid to defeat Democrat incumbent Todd Fontenot has a very real chance of continuing to tip the balance of that court towards conservative leadership and away from the good ole boy system that has run the court for decades.
While the headline to the story appears negative, further examination gives readers a hint of the Mike McCarty most of us know. Mike is a nice guy and a problem solver, along with someone who is very community-minded. This story has some of the facts in it that reveal those aspects of his personality.
For those of you who haven’t lived here forever, the Forest Hills subdivision was built years ago and when it was built there was a pasture right next door. The pasture had cattle. Since those days that land and a new herd of cattle are owned by Mike McCarty. Over the years the cattle are often run out of the low lying areas by floods and when it is wet like that the cows congregate closer to the fences adjacent to backyards of Forest Hill homes.
So when some in the neighborhood are concerned about the flies and the smells and the dog barking from the McCarty farm, what would you say a good neighbor should do? As was implied earlier, the headline of the story in the paper may smell bad, but Mike McCarty is a good neighbor and a problem solver who cares about people. He didn’t simply say his land has been a cow pasture as far back as anyone remembers. He didn’t simply say every time the police have come to listen to complaints about dogs in Forest Hills, they have heard nothing from his canine.
No. Mike told looked the people who had concerns right in the eye and told them although he had never heard from any of them, he had recently administered all of the current products and technology to resolve the issues he had heard people were having. He put out product that would not only stop the propagation of flies, but because of his efforts there should be fewer flies. He put out a product cattlemen are using to make the odor of their pastures more pleasant. He incorporated his knowledge of how the oilfield muffles loud engine sounds and put up a long muffling fence between the dogs and the neighborhood. What a great guy! He spent thousands of dollars before anyone said a word to him.
Most of us have had neighbors that would have done nothing. Or if they had spent all of this money and then were confronted in public, they would have been uncooperative. But Mike listened to the problems and committed to adding more fence to muffle any dog sounds that neighbors were hearing (even if police were on record more than once saying there is no dog barking). And he has some other ideas of how to try and improve the community.
Notice please that Mike McCarty was proactive from the start. Then notice please, he also responded with great concern and kindness when people spoke with him in person.
In many ways, the paper’s account of this is not a news story. But if it is a news story because Mike McCarty is running for Commissioner then an analysis of all of the facts should lead readers to be more likely to vote for him after they read the entire story.
If reporting the incident in such a public way was meant to be anything negative, it backfired!