Friday, May 20, 2016

Rangers


Well today the cat got let out of the bag.  No more secrecy.  The Rangers will be staying in Arlington for the next 37 years!  Right?  Not so fast.  The Rangers will be staying in Arlington if the voters approve the continuation of the 1/2 cent sales tax after AT&T Stadium is paid off.  The purpose of the sales tax continuation is to buy ½ of a new retractable roof stadium for the Rangers to play in for those 37 years.

Why the urgency since the Rangers have a contract to play here for the next 8 yrs?  The Rangers were being pursued by our friends from the east.  Dialogue from a billionaire was started and overtures were made that perked the ears of certain people in local government.  Although we had been talking to the Rangers for a few years,  this accelerated the process.   We had formulated a partnership with the Rangers,  and the Cordish Group for Texas Live, and a new 300 room hotel.  The new ballpark will be an extension that will perpetuate the synergy at the stadiums for decades to come.  However more additions to the Texas Live project might be added in the future.

What would happen to the old ball park?  The City and the Rangers are in discussions concerning the future of Globe Life Park.  Some signature elements could be preserved like the fa├žade, and the Center Field Office spaces.  Some Retail could remain and or be added.  But most likely an office development, some parking features and/or possibly the extension of Texas Live will be Globe Life’s future.

What is the timeframe for the building of a new Stadium?  With the Rangers providing the initial funding as early as 2017, the hope is that construction will start in that year, with play starting in 2021.

Why not just put a roof on the existing ball park?  In order to roof the existing stadium it would cost around $900 million, and I’m certain that it would look terrible like the Mariners Stadium in Seattle.  Essentially it looks like a huge erector set sitting off to the south of the field, hideous!  This new domed/retractable stadium will serve the Rangers fans for decades to come in air-conditioned comfort or when the weather is nice the roof will be opened.

Before I close I wanted to add that the $500 million expenditure for the stadium will return $2.53 billion to the community over the course of paying off the bonds.  Anytime I can spend a buck and get five in return it’s probably a good thing.  I like 500% on my money even if it takes 30 yrs.

Remember that the future of the Rangers is in the hands of the people.  A “YES“ vote will keep the Rangers in Arlington, where as a “NO” vote will send them to Dallas.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Campaign


I guess I should make a comment on the elections.  The citizens of Arlington have chosen well, in that they have reverted to incumbents that are leading this city and school district down a path of progress to the future and improvement of our city and education system.  The two incumbents on Council that were unopposed are probably the most critical thinkers, and the best legislators, that currently sit on this panel.  It will be a pleasure for me to serve with them for another two year term.

Jamie Sullens is a consummate professional with her heart in the right spot concerning the education of our children.  She was also unopposed on School Board.  But John Hibbs did draw an opponent.  He ran a good campaign and was retained with a 75% victory.  One must remember that the school board has won the award of best school board in the state of Texas.  So the voters have decided to continue down that path of excellence.  

Seat 7 on the City Council was won by the best candidate in the race.  Victoria Meyer did a good job in her campaign.  She presented herself in a professional manner and was well prepared at each candidate’s debate. She invested in her campaign by putting out signs and getting her name recognized. Her opponent wore shorts, T-shirts and flip flops to the debates, and although seasoned due to numerous failed campaigns, did not put on a campaign at all.  Yet he still got 27% of the vote.  I find this peculiar at best.  1674 voters cast their ballots for this candidate, and I will never know why.  That leaves my race.

I feel blessed that I have tried to hold town hall meetings every six months to open lines of communication with my constituents.  Turn outs have been beyond my expectations because people want to know what is happening in their community.  What is happening in your community affects you on a daily basis and it is important that there be open dialogue and understanding.  I believe that this understanding is what drove me to a 69% victory over my opponent.  North Arlington is realizing the effects of capital investment at its best.  All the bulldozers and cranes are a sign of progress and redevelopment in our community.  I believe that my record of trying to knock down old crime infested slum apartments and building a new class of living experience is evident.  Property values are in fact on the rise.  The North is running on all cylinders.  Yes we have problems, but we are on the right path to solve those problems, and I thank you for allowing me to pursue those solutions for the next two years.

As an addendum I will add my opinion.  Saturday morning I witnessed the aftermath of a horrible accident at Center and I-30.  What I saw was a small car crushed from the rear.  Two people were still inside the car and the fire fighters were on their way.  The people were taken to two different hospitals in Ft. Worth with life threatening injuries.  The reason that I bring this up is the increase of accidents since the red light cameras have been removed.  In six months the accident rate has gone up 25% in those 19 intersections where the cameras were installed.  For me, this was the reason to keep the cameras, safety!  I have personally observed an increase in running red lights in Arlington.  I am certain that you have seen it also.  So be very careful, and look out for the other guy, because he isn’t looking out for you. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

General Motors and Arlington Commons

I haven't posted in awhile because the campaign for re-election has been taking up most of my time.  I apologize and hope to get back to a better schedule after Saturday.  I wanted to give you some good information about a few projects in our city.  The Dallas Business Journal gives awards each year for the best business deals in the Metroplex.  This year Arlington received to very prestigious awards. 


First was General Motors, won the Best Community Impact Deal.  Their $1.4 billion investment to their Arlington plant will have a remarkable influence on the economy of Arlington and will allow them to hire another 500 workers.  This ripple effect will contribute to the betterment of our community and will stimulate the local economy.  It will also insure that your kids and their kids will have jobs at General Motors for the next 40 yrs.


The other award was given to the Arlington Commons for the Best Suburban Multi-Family project in the Metroplex.  This is a $250 million project that has torn down over 700 slum/crime infested units and will be replacing them with a high end living opportunity for the people of North Arlington. This investment in our community combined with the $7.5 million dollars to upgrade Roquemore Elementary, the $5 million to upgrade Parkway Central Park and the $1 million in renovations for the strip mall on the south side of Lamar is crucial to the improvement of the Lamar/Collins Overlay.  This will increase the property value of the surrounding homes while decreasing the crime rate in the area.  I find it interesting that my opponent in my race for re-election is against this project.  Her opposition is based on the increase in occupancy, stress on sewer and other community services and the narrowing of Lamar.


An increase in occupancy, cannot be counted simply as the number of door knobs.  Some of the families that lived in the old apartments had 10 people living in a two and three bedroom units.  The new apartments will only be 1 and 2 bedroom units and the cost will be very high, reducing the number of section 8 occupants.  Larger and newer sewer  conduits are currently being installed, but what is more important is the calls to service by our police and fire departments will be reduced because of the reduction in crime in the area. 


Lastly, lets talk about the narrowing of Lamar westbound to 1 lane.  This is clearly depicted in an attachment included in the original 380 agreement dated 2013.  This didn't happen as an after thought nor the location of the leasing office, as my opponent states.  Just because she cannot look at an enclosure and understand what it is telling you, does not mean that it is not included in the document.  This was the original intent, because the developer is trying to create a sense of community within the development.  The most important concern of the citizens is dealt with in the agreement.  If the city decides that the traffic is too congested, then the developer must return the street to two lanes westbound at his own expense.   I attended both the Town Hall meeting and the Council meeting, dealing with this issue.  After understanding what the developer was trying to accomplish, an overwhelming majority of citizens were in agreement to try the reduction.  I voted in accordance with the majority of citizens in attendance, and the Council vote was unanimous.  My opponent did not and still does not listen to the citizens.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Opinion Arlington Question 2


Opinion Arlington has asked this last question of the candidates;  A constituent has e-mailed you a point of view, backed by facts, on an agenda item you have or will vote in the opposite way. He asks for a response. How do you respond to the e-mail?  The following is my answer.

Constituents constantly come to me with their opinion on issues contained in our agenda.  Some of the reasoning is tilted some is honest.  This question is best exhibited by the narrowing of Lamar and I think that it is the difference in the choice of candidates in this race.

I received emails from constituents against the narrowing and I asked the developer to hold a town hall meeting concerning this issue because of the number of citizens concerned about this specific item.  Now realize that the $250 million that the developer is contributing to this neighborhood is sizable.  But to get my support he must show that the citizens must be supportive of his plan, or he doesn’t get my support.  His town hall was well attended, over 200 people.  After his presentation 75% of the people stated that they were in support of the plan.  This is a fact that is undisputable.  Some people stated that only Viridian people were the majority.  This is not true.  Many residents were from Park Way Central were in attendance.  I know this because I know the people that were there.  Some Viridian residents were but nowhere near the majority.  But Viridian people vote in the North also.  Some people that were brought by my opponent don’t even live in District 1, but they voted also.  The next evening at Council the Mayor asked for a show of hands that were in support.  The count was 60 for and 3 against.  I was at both meetings and the overwhelming majority was in favor of the plan.  The Council voted unanimously in favor of this issue.  They listened to the people, and so did I.

The difference is although this plan was very controversial, the majority supported the plan and I voted accordingly.  My opponent would ignore the will of the people and vote as she wished.  I will not!  When the RLC’s were voted against I abided by the will of the people and voted at Council to remove them although I thought it was wrong.  Facts prove that I was right.  Over the last 6 months accidents at the 19 intersections have increased by 25%.  More people are running red lights and more of our citizens are going to the hospital.  I personally believe that Obama was a bad choice by the people also, but I have abided by the will of the electorate.  That is the difference between the two candidates for the District 1 seat.  You will make the choice, but don’t do it because of RLC’s, that is a thing of the past.  Consider the facts about who listens and how they will vote.   

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Opinion Arlington Question


Opinion Arlington is a cyber opinion piece that is the brain child of Buddy Saunders.  Mr. Saunder’s ideas are in direct opposition to progress in our city.  Both he and web-helper Richard Weber set a negative narrative to any improvements to our city and in the same breath fail to acknowledge the good works of Council.  I truly don’t know how people can go through life with such pessimism. 

Weekly they put out a question for candidates and it illustrates my point concerning their negativity.  Here is the lastest:

The Arlington Commons-Phase I is at 63 units/acre. In addition to the corporate welfare deal, the developer requested Lamar Blvd be changed in the TDP (Thoroughfare Development Plan) from a six-lane major arterial to a three-lane major arterial. What are your thoughts regarding the TDP? What are your thoughts regarding high-density apartments?

Here is my answer:  Your term “corporate welfare” isn’t accurate in any form.  The word is “commerce.”  Arlington has all the tools that any other city in the Metro Plex has, but when used in  conjunction with Arlington you deem them “Corporate Welfare.”  The Council has set the table with a 380 agreement in this instance. The same as it did with General Motors.  The result is commerce to our city that raises the corporate tax base and relieves our citizens of a tax increase.  The tax rate has remained the same (.648) since 2004.  What you fail to understand is that without this agreement the slum/crime infested apartments would still be there.  The 380 agreement in place allowed $250 million in investment capital to be put into the community.  This investment has already spurred $1 million in redevelopment to the shopping center across the street.  The GM “corporate welfare” will assure a $1.4 billion dollar investment in the Arlington plant while the newer Shreveport Plant will be closing.  Again this commerce will supply jobs and raise the corporate tax base for the next 40 yrs.

Now let’s talk about the Thoroughfare Plan.  In the original 380 agreement dated 2013, one of the attachments specifically shows that the linear park will run the length of the project from Center St. to Rolling Hills Country Club.  It clearly illustrates that westbound Lamar is narrowed to one lane.  The reason that the Thoroughfare plan was amended later  is that traffic studies had to be accomplished.  Then they had to apply for the amendment to the TDP.  It wasn’t because of parking required for the leasing office, as my opponent claims.  If it is found out that traffic is problematic then the city will require the developer to remove the parking and re-establish the second lane of traffic, at his own expense. 

Lastly, let me discuss the difference in my opponent’s views on this subject and mine.  A Town Hall meeting was held by Mr. Kembel, the developer of Arlington Commons.  Over 200 people attended and were educated as to his goals for the project.  At the end of the meeting over 150 people sided with the developer in a straw poll.  Then the next evening at Council over 60 people were in agreement with 3 against.  Council’s vote was unanimously in favor.  I listened to the people and voted accordingly.  My opponent would disregard the majority and vote as she pleases.  I refuse to participate in Mr. Saunder’s pity party.  He has already endorsed my opponent, therefore we know his allegiance.  I will answer the questions on this forum.   

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Town Hall Meeting


Thursday evening I had a Town Hall meeting and it was well attended by about 130 citizens that wanted to be informed.  We covered many subjects, and one of them was the Senior Center.  Now Mr. Saunders was in the crowd and he asked the question about how the Senior Center was coming along and what ways could be used to pay for the center:

  1.  The Senior Center has been designed.  There has been interest by developers to put senior living around the center and this could be a prime example as to how to build a senior living complex for other cities.
  2. Where will the center be located?  There is about 25 acres at the Pierce Birch site on Green Oaks across the street from the Fire Department Training center
  3. How will the center be paid for?  There are three options:
    1.  Certificates of Obligation could be used.  To issue certificates like these it would require a simple vote by Council, and the bonds would be floated and paid for through normal debt retirement.  I don’t favor this option because it doesn’t give the people an opportunity to voice their opinion concerning having a Senior Center.
    2. General Obligation Bonds:  This is simply a bond election.  It would be put on the ballot and the people would decide if they want their tax money to be spent on a Senior Center.  This is a good option.
    3. Lastly, a ¼ cent sales tax would be voted on to fund an Economic Development Corporation.  Which simply means it would go into a fund and a committee of citizens would decide where the money would be spent.  This ¼ cent would equate to $14.7 million annually.  The cost of the Senior Center would be $37.7 million.

Mr. Saunders then tells people how I support a road diet.  The truth is hard to come by with Mr. Saunders.  I explained that the narrowing of Lamar was in the 380 agreement dated 2013.  You can plainly see on a diagram that Lamar westbound is narrowed.  After a traffic study was completed Mr. Kembel approached the city to amend the Thoroughfare Plan.  This was met with resistance by some people like Mr. Saunders and Kelly Canon.  A Town Hall meeting was held by Mr. Kembel to explain what he was trying to do.  Over 200 people were in attendance, and after they heard the plan for the linear park, and the fact that if traffic is a problem he had to return the parking to a second lane for traffic, he posed one question.  After hearing the plan how many people support the narrowing?  75% of the people in attendance were in favor of his plan.  Then the next evening at Council, the Mayor asked those in favor to stand.  Over 60 people stood in support and 3 were in opposition.  The Council voted unanimously to approve the plan.  I voted to support the people!  That is the difference between me and my opponent.  You can put whatever spin you want on the outcome, but we live in a democracy.  Ms. Canon would have disregarded what the people wanted and done what she wanted regardless of the desires of the citizens.  That is the difference between the two candidates.  You will have a choice on May 7th.  I hope you pick the one that listens to you the people.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Parker What Are You Doing?


With this posting of the blog, I just want to update you on the activities that I have been attending over the last month and a half.  First is the ground breaking of Champions Park, which is located on the Northeast corner of Collins and I-30.  This is planned to be a restaurant and retail project.  Current LOI’s include Torchy’s Tacos and Tokyo Joe’s.  Greenway, the developer, is very tight lipped concerning other occupants in the area.

The next ground breaking was over at Arlington Commons.  This is the apartment project along Lamar next to Rolling Hills Country Club.  They are building in a rapid pace to try and get their first tenant into Phase 1 around June of next year.

Following that was the ground breaking for the I-30/360 interchange.  This is a four year project that will cost the state an estimated $254 million.  A much needed addition to our city, and an off ramp that will allow increased access to the Great Southwest Industrial Park.

D.R. Horton is going great guns with their project and has been moving dirt for the last six months.  They are starting to pour concrete, and I am very impressed with the rate that project is taking shape.  But just down the street we had a ground breaking ceremony for the new Aloft-W hotel.  They are located behind BFF Asian Grill and Rio Mambo .  This is going to be a 135 room hotel with a modern decor.   We are very fortunate to land this project because Aloft-W hotels are very particular as to where they are located.

Now if that isn’t enough, you may have read in the paper that the North Point Development Corp. has purchased the Six Flags Mall.  We will wait to see what happens there, but I am looking forward to seeing what becomes of this project.  I know but can’t tell.

Lastly, there were two ribbon cuttings that I attended.  One was for Stein Mart on March 10th.  They have a bright new store located in the old Best Buy space.  This gives residents a new shopping opportunity and gives Stein Mart a facelift in the process. 

The other ribbon cutting was the new virtual reality ride at Six Flags.  This is really innovative, and is called the Revolution.  It utilizes the Shockwave Rollercoaster’s sensations and couples them with a visual scenario through the use of virtual programming.  You are placed in the backseat of a futuristic fighter.  Where you look is where the guns point, much the same as my old fighter did back in the day.  To shoot you tap the side of the goggles.  It is your job to save the world by shooting the enemy invaders, and you are in a very bogey rich environment.  The last scene is coming back aboard a carrier.  I can assure you it is nothing like landing on a carrier but they use the breaking of the coaster to simulate the arrestment aboard ship.  Hey it’s a kick in the pants, and the use of technology to spice up an old ride is worth the wait in line, several times over.
So that's what I've been doing when I'm not in Washington or running a campaign for re-election.  Oh yeah, since I'm running for re-election, I'd like to ask you to vote for me on May 7th.  Till then check out my website at electcparker.com, it's interesting.