Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Well the weather outside is frieghtening, rain with a chance of snow.  But it is still Christmas Day and that means that it is special.  I don't know what your religious beliefs are concerning this day, but it is our tradition, at the Parker household, to surround ourselves with loved ones, eat, drink and be merry then we exchange gifts.  When I was in the airline industry, I worked almost all Christmas'.  So we celebrated on different days other than the 25th of December.  Our tradition was always to symbolize Christmas and in doing so to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and not just to have Christmas because it was Christmas.  Our gift giving was meant to embrace the spirit of the three wise men's generosity.  To me this captured the Spirit of Christmas, and I search for this feeling every year.

When we gather as a family this Christmas, my hopes are that you have the same blessing.  When you gather this year in the name of our Savior, please give thanks to those that are not as fortunate.  There are brave young men and women who are away from home this Christmas.  They are sacrificing so that your freedoms can endure.  These remarkable individuals are so deserving of your respect and recognition.  Please include them in your thoughts and prayers.  Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, and Happy Hanukkah.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last City Council Meeting of 2012

Tonight we voted on approving a new drill zone within the existing drill sites on two different well locations, both well south of district 1.  I visited both sites yesterday and noted that they looked like industrial complexes in a residential area.  I noted on the staff report that they were supposed to have masonry walls on both sites and there were none.  The reason for this is that they were operating under the old ordinance for gas well drilling in Arlington.  That ordinance stated that the masonry walls were to be constructed after all wells were completed.  Since they were requesting at rezoning for the drill site they now have to comply with the new ordinance that states construction of the masonry walls had to be accomplished before the first well is drilled.  I stated my concerns to Cliff McCoskey who was the spokes person for the gas company.  Luckily the operator was at the meeting and I had him state for the record that masonry walls on both sites will be constructed by the end of the first quarter, with drilling operations estimated in July.  Knox boxes were installed and I observed them on site, and surveilance cameras will be installed by the end of the week.  All of my concerns were met and I voted for the new drill zones to be approved.  The operator is on record and I believe that he will comply fully. 

The other concern that I had was with a zoning request by an existing apartment complex.  This complex was constructed in 1964 and the smaller of the buildings had burned to the ground.  He was not in compliance with current zoning because his building was built before this zoning was required, thus operating in a non-conforming status.  Essentially he was asking us to grant him privileges outside of the current ordinance.  We voted not to hear his request.  He should never have been before the council to begin with, and his request was simply wasting our time.

Lastly, several citizens voiced their opposition concerning a house located at 612 Crown Colony.  It is a seven bedroom house that is vacant and rented on short term options.  It has become animal house, with parties, drinking and behavior that is considered disruptive to the neighborhood.  The owner doesn't care and is unwilling to meet with the neighbors and discuss their concerns.  Bill Adams is the next door neighbor and he has lived there for the last 30 years.  He has had enough and will put his house on the market on 1 January.  Citizen outrage was obvious to the council.  They are appealing to the councils sense of decency to do something about this problem.  To this point I have carried their water and introduced the problem to the Community and Neighborhood Development Committee.  The next step will be a citizens initiative to circulate a petition for more participation on this issue.

Friday, December 7, 2012

48 hours

Yesterday morning I testified at a hearing concerning the Forest Hills apartments.  It was to consider 5 of the 10 buildings on that property uninhabitable.  The proceedings were over at 7:30 last night and they started at 11:00 in the morning.  I had to leave after my testimony because I had to drive to Round Rock for an energy symposium for this morning.  The ruling of Judge Milner is that 4 of the 5 buildings were ruled Dangerous or Substandard Structures and the owner was given 60 days to make the structures safe.  If not, then a demolition request will be requested.  We have made great strides in code enforcement and crime reduction.  Gangs have been relocated, bike patrols have been established and neighborhood crime is down because of the code enforcement officers and the police patrols.  If you see them be sure to thank them. 

The symposium was very informative.  It dealt with how power gets to cities and in what forms it takes considering the different types of power.  Wind, solar, nuclear, hydrocarbon and coal.  They all have different characteristics and different shelf lives. 

Now let me entertain some of the comments that are taking place on another media.  This blog is still taking comments.  I will not deal with certain elements that do not like my answers to them.  It is one thing to ask a question and receive an answer, but if the answer isn't one that you personally like I'm very sorry but that is still the answer.  Now I have explained in detail why it is impossible to reclaim an apartment complex and put single family homes in its place.  A certain individual simply doesn't have the capacity to understand this concept, no matter how many times I have personally explained it to her.  I have spent hours explaining this concept to her without success.  I have also spent an extreme amount of time explaining my vote on a development project in south Arlington.  She didn't like that answer either.  I will be more than happy to answer everyone else's questions on this blog, that is what it was made for.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dec 4th City Council Meeting

You may have noticed my absence at both the afternoon and evening City Council Meetings.  The reason for my absence was that I got something in my eye on Monday afternoon and for the life of my I couldn't get it out.  So the only time that the Doctor could see me was 3:45 that afternoon.  Now I feel like I have a log in my eye and everytime I blink, it feels like I'm scraping a groove in my eyelid.  I had attended a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce in the morning and all Committee meetings up to that point.  When I left for my appointment it was my intention to attend the evening meeting.  But the Doctor informed me that I had a metal sliver enbedded in my eye and he couldn't remove it at the office, so he sent me to the emergency room.  That is when I knew I was going to miss the evening meeting and I informed the office of such. 

Now let me inform you of the meeting at the Chamber.  An apartment developer from Jacksonville, Florida was in taking a look at our apartment situation.  Of course I directed him to the President's Corner area and he was very interested in the prospect of tearing down these apartments and building others.  I confessed that it was a challenged area.  He stated that, "where there are challenges, there are opportunities."  I like this guy!  There are several people just like him that are voicing interest in the Overlay Area.  You never can tell when something might just happen.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Tonight was the opening of this years Christkindl Christmas Fair.  Last year it only ran for 4 days, but due totally to last years success it is now open for 17 days.  Essentially this is an extention of the Christkindl Fair in Munich, Germany.  The effort to bring this celebration to Arlington has been brought about from an idea that Sheri Capehart had in her experience with our sister city in Germany.  It is a lovely festival located on the north side of "The Ballpark at Arlington,"on the Road to Six Flags.  There is shopping for unique items that are made in Germany and then there are some local venders also.  The food and drink are worth the trip alone.  And if there is a little one, that needs their picture taken with Santa, a builder at Viridian has constructed a Santa House that is beautifully apointed and fills that square nicely. 

My wife and I, after eating of course, went shopping down the mall and found some ornaments that were handmade, and therefore not cheap, but will make wonderful gifts for our grown kids.  My wife found the perfect wrapping paper for a friends birthday and of course some Christmas paper for our gifts this year.  Lastly, a great gift possibility for our daughter.  There was music throughout the night, and old friends to talk to.  Entertainment is scheduled throughout the evening for the next 17 days.  I think that if you want to eat, drink, shop or browse it will be time well spent.  My suggestion is to enjoy the fair and get into the spirit of Christmas.   

Monday, November 26, 2012


I can only hope that each of you had a great Thanksgiving.  Now that the turkey carcass has hit the curb and been taken away, it is now time to think about the next big event, which is the celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commonly known as Christmas.  That's right Christmas, not the Holiday Season.  This is going to be the only post concerning this topic.  But I have this feeling that, as a nation, our moral fabric is being challenged. 

This country was founded on Christian values.  The founding fathers in the first Continental Congress were mostly ordained ministers in some capacity.  It was during this time that the Bill of Rights or the first 10 amendments to the Constitution was established.  The inalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness were written down.  The fact that the Creator made all men equal was established by law in this country.  And the simple statement of "In God We Trust" was put on our currency.  Now the new dollar coin that is being minted has "In God We Trust" removed.  The simple fact that marriage isn't between a man and a woman is being challenged in several states. There is an element in our society that is working to dispel our iintrinsic values.

But Christmas is a time of celebration, not a point of contention.  It is intended to be a time of year that people come together and give to help their fellow man/woman.  Not go to court to remove nativity scenes.  Each year I search for the spirit of Christmas, and most years I find it.  When it does finally hit me, I am humbled by its goodness, I am grateful for the experience, and lastly I am appreciative for those away from home preserving our way of life.  So please take the time this Christmas to seek out the Christmas Spirit and accomplish an act of kindness toward your fellow man/woman.  Put the meaning back in our country of "In God We Trust."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Union Pacific Track Replacement

The Union Pacific Rail Road will start replacing the north track starting from west to east.  They will reach the city limits of Arlington on January 16th and finish the project on the 24th.  Bowen, Davis, Cooper, Center and Mesquite will all be closed at one time.  Collins, Stadium and Great Southwest will also require closing.  However Union Pacific has indicated that they will make special provisions to reopen Bowen and Davis prior to closing Collins and Stadium.  Once closed all streets will remain closed approximately 4-5 days.  Due to the width of Cooper, it will be closed for 7-8 days.  Green Oaks, Forest Edge, Fielder, West and 360 will serve as detour routes during the project.

Essentially UP will be removing all ties and gravel beds.  They will be installing concrete ties, a new gravel bed and new rail.  During this project regular train schedules will use the south track.  City Staff is working with UP and their traffic control contractor, RoadSafe Traffic Systems, to minimize the impact on the City and its traffic congestion.  Hey I'm just the messenger here.  They didn't ask me.

Since we are talking Rail Road, let's discuss the below grade crossing at Stadium.  If you aren't up on this issue, then let me summarize.  The initial estimate for a sub grade crossing (going under the track) was $15 million.  It ballooned to $20 million shortly thereafter.  Then UP stated that they wanted to be able to add a 3rd and possibly a 4th track for future expansion.  That, and apparently some Federal requirements that weren't taken into consideration on the initial bid increased the cost to $35 million.  Right now we are in the educational phase of the process.  I asked the question why did we pick Stadium Way to invest in?  Why not Collins or something with more traffic and a bigger benefit to the traffic/train problem?  The answer was that, there isn't enough room between Abrams and Division to make the grade passable on Collins.  They would have to move the intersections at both Division and Abrams.  Now I understand that trains are a problem in Arlington.  There are about 30 of them a day and they cause havoc in our north/south traffic.  But when you consider the amount of money it would cost to drive under a track when 360 is less than a mile away, then I question the civic value of the project.  The jury is still out and I need much more information on this issue. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

College Park District

Last night was really a special evening.  It was the dedication of the new College Park District.  This project was concieved and finished in a five year period.  Mr. John Hall was the operations and hands on planning guru for the project.  I believe that some 300 million dollars was put into the project and it has just turned out beautifully.  The city provided 18 million for the parking garage.  First Baptist donated some land to make the deal complete.  It allows students the opportunity to have more of an On Campus experience instead of a Commuter Experience that has prevailed at UTA for some years.  Numerous donors were recognized and the finishing product is one that everyone in Arlington can be proud of.  After the dedication and the reception that followed, the crowd went over to listen to Seth Meyers at the College Park Center.

Seth Meyers has been with Saturday Night Live for many years and is part of the UTA speakers program for this year.  His standup routine is one that is entertaining and up to date concerning the current events that our nation is experiencing.  All in all a great evening of entertainment and a remarkable night for the city of Arlington.

Today is Council Day and I have Committee meetings and other obligations throughout the day.  I will report what I can on a new entry tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sapphire Project

There has been considerable concern about the apartment project down by UTA.  This project has been termed the Sapphire project.  The apartments will sit between Center and Mesquite and be bordered on the north by Mitchell and on the south by Hosack.  Now the project itself was approved in December of last year.  The developer came to the city and asked for a tax abatement of 2.1 million dollars of a 5 year period.  During this abatement time frame they would receive three times the current tax, or $21,000 a year.  I was asked by one individual, why are you considering this.  The following is my reasoning.

First I feel that the current apartments that occupy this entire city block are in such sad shape that the city is only getting $7,000 a year in total tax revenue.  The taxes on my house alone are $7,500.  So I feel that this property is ripe for redevelopment. During the abatement period the city will receive $105,000 instead of the current $35,000, which is a good deal for the city.   This developer has a 2.1 million dollar delta between borrowed monies and development costs.  After the abated period the taxes will rise to over $2000,000 per year.  Now here is the kicker.

The city of Arlington has what is known as the Housing Incentive Program.  What this program does is allow the home owner to receive money back on improvements accomplished to his/her property that increase the tax value of their property.  You can receive 10 times the tax increase up to a maximum of $5,000. 

Now the developer is sinking 41 million dollars into this project and it will increase the tax base of the property considerably, to where the annual tax bill is over $200,000.  2.1 million is only 5% of the total expenditure and if it is amortized over the five year period the numbers are very close to the Housing Incentive Program percentage wise, that is offered to every citizen in Arlington.  I realize that 2.1 million is larger than $5,000, but I also realize the $41 million is larger than anyone is going to be willing to sink into their house.

I think that this is a good investment for the citizens of Arlington.  There is no expenditure out of the General Fund or Capital Budget to redevelop this property.  All it costs is what each citizen is able to receive themselves through the Housing Incentive Program.  That is why I support the project and incentive package as proposed.

Monday, November 12, 2012


This weekend was busy to say the least.  I cooked for the Men's Breakfast on Saturday, at our church.  While I was there I got a few TXT messages, concerning acitivty in North Randle Mill Park.  It seems that one individual had taken it upon himself to clean up the park and reconstitute it the way he wanted it.  The problem with this idea is that neighbors living adjacent like to enjoy the serenity of the park on Saturdays with tranquility, and not hear a wood chipper running at 0800-1200 on their day off.  Plus they might like the natural state of the park they way that nature intended.  So this problem had to be dealt with.  In so doing I missed an engagement that I was supposed to attend, and I apologize.  I hate it when I get wrapped around the axle and conflict results in me being a no show.  After that I got to perform some domestic tasks around the house and prepare dinner for some guests.  Hey how about them Aggies?

Sunday was Veteran's Day and my day started with supporting my Rotary Club and putting out flags at 0600 in the morning.  Then to Church and teaching Sunday School to twenty kids.  But Veterans Day kept ringing in my mind.  Where is the consideration.  I know, I will attend the festivities at Veteran's Park today.  But little was given in support of this holiday.  Maybe my spirits will be lifted today.  The only consolation was to watch a bad Cowboy team beat a worse Eagle team.  It was like watching the battle of the cellar.  Well, for those of you that can attend there is a ceremony at Veteran's Park today at 11:00 to appreciate the service of our Veterans.  If you can attend I hope to see you there. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Day

Just a note concerning the results of the election.  The people of this nation have spoken, and what they have said is that they want four more years of the same leadership and policy that they have experienced and that this is the direction that they want our country to proceed.  Although it is not in my DNA to agree with them, it is within my fabric to respect the result.  I wish that there could be more of that type of understanding in our local politics.  So often there is a my way or the highway mentality by the citizens.  This is recently demonstrated by the opinions concerning the smoking ordinance supporters.  It's either no smoking in 100% of the city or you're and idiot.  I realize that there is a lack of understanding and compassion concerning the opposite side of  the aisle, but that is why Washington has failed to become effective in governing our country. 

Last night at the City Council meeting it was demonstrated again.  I asked the realtor representing the Eastern Star Home if he would accept a clause in the contract stating that upon completion of the sale the home would be torn down.  This was the middle ground where a compromise could be reached.  With that being unacceptable the stay of demolition was extended to December 22.  I have a feeling that the status of the Eastern Star Home is not the determining factor of the sale of this property, as much as the price that the bank wants for the land.  That being said, the process will run it's course and I am positive that the wrecking ball will hit the side of that structure on the 23rd of December.  The Council has given every opportunity for a saviour to appear, and now its time to stop talking about the dog.  The last breath of this structure will be taken in six weeks.  Although miracles do happen

Another topic of concern was the Sapphire project, which is defined as an apartment complex between Center and Mesquite streets near UTA.  Here is the reason that I supported this project.  This will be a 5 story steel girder structure and its construction will be formidable.  The decision before the Council was to abate 5 years of taxes once the structure was complete.  In other words it was an incentive package.  The current properties on this land are apartments that yield $7,000 annually in property taxes for the entire block.  During the abated time the properties will pay $21,000, or three times the current annual rate.  The land owner wants us to partner with him in deferring $2.1 million in property taxes that would not be collect unless the structure is built.  This will occur over the first 5 years of existence, while he pours $41 million into the project.  After that the tax base increases to its normal rate.  I have met with John Hall, who is in charge of planning and development for UTA.  This project fits in nicely with UTA's planned expansion to the east.  They intend to fill in the area north of Mitchell, between Center and Mesquite up to First Baptist.  In the overall spectrum of concerns for this project the positives out weigh the negatives overwhelmingly.  That was what was before the Council and it passed 5-3 with Mr. Glaspie absent. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Town Hall Meeting

Well the turnout was about 100 people and the people in attendance were very much involved in their community.  Chief Leland Strickland of the APD started the ball rolling stating that although crime was down in North Arlington there is still the problem with personal crimes in the neighborhoods.  That being the case he has instituted programs such as bike patrols, "walk the block"and increased the patrols in the problem apartments.  I must say that the combination of these efforts and that of code enforcement have put certain problem properties in jeopardy, and it is totally due to the the property managers inability to provide an acceptable place to live.  It is the difference between having quality managers and owners versus the opposite end of the spectrum.  Walgreen's was also addressed, and the fact that we have not arrested any kids yet is not an accident.  We have opened faith based organizations for use after school and given every opportunity for them to move from the Walgreen's property.

The Fire Fighters were there in force.  They brought bomb robots, a bomb sniffing dog, and went over the most recent fire in the Forest Hills area of Arlington.  Assistant Chief Dave Carrol did a great job and was very informative.  Mike Bass went over code enforcement and where some of the properties stood in the Dangerous and Substandard Structures and Nuisance Abatement Program.  He stated that the Forest Hills apartments currently had 5 structures that were under DSS consideration.

Lastly Kieth Melton with public works went over the Lamar repaving project, and stated that it was a 10 million dollar project to expand from 4 lanes to 6 lanes from Collins to Stadium Dr. and that the project was going to take about 2 years to complete.  He talked about several projects that were in the works and were going to be in play throughout the city. 

Lastly I tried to answer the question why don't we tear down the apartments and put up single family dwelllings.  I tried to point out that the reclaimation of property drives up the lot price so much that it makes the individual houses too expensive to buy.  They will simply move down to Viridian and buy a much bigger house for the same money.  I was cornered after the meeting by a lady that wanted to know why I didn't support the smoking ordinance.  She stated that I got more letters from those want smoking banned so why didn't I support her position.  I told her that I didn't want to remove someone elses right so that I could impose her views.  Business owners have rights also and to impose her views would remove their rights permanently.  She stated that I got more letters from people supporting the ordinance so what kind of a representative are you that you don't listen to the people.  I said I'm a representative that doesn't want to regulate everything and everybody.  Property owners have the right today to make their properties smoke free.  The Rangers have solved their smoking problem without the use of the ordinance change.  Besides all the letters were the same form letter simply forwarded.  They just had different names on them. 

I gave her the cat anaolgy.  If I go into her house or place of business and she has a cat, do I have the right to tell her to get rid of the cat because I have an allergy to cats.  It's a health hazard also.  She couldn't rebut that analogy.

Well that's it.  I think that the crowd was very involved.  Good questions and good answers throughout the night.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

30 October Council Meeting

Yesterday's events were interesting to say the least.  After the Executive Session I went into a meeting with the City Manager concerning possible help from the city on a turn around that a company had requested on 107th st..  When I came out of that meeting I found out that the Smoking Ordinance vote was going to be taken off the agenda.  News to me.  Apparently, Mr. Rivera, that had brought the ordinance forward, had a change of heart and wanted it removed from consideration.  He brought the motion to the floor and it was then removed from the agenda.  So the smoking Ordinance remains unchanged.

The Division Street Corridor Strategy has been a hot topic for many months and we have had several meetings and presentations concerning the improvement of this area.  There are many problems concerning this project.  First is to what to do with all the utility poles in the area.  If the city makes the expenditure to bury them, there is only an aesthetic value in the expenditure.  There is no return to the city, so it is a hollow expense only updating our city to please the eye.  Secondly, would be the used (pre-owned) car lots that also are not pleasing to the eye.  What's a mother to do, since they are making money in this economy?

The consulting company retained by the city has come up with some good alternatives to be adopted in certain areas of downtown.  Mixed use with retail below and lofts above, retirement home facilities, and a pre-owned auto mall trying to group the used car community and consolidate it in one area.  Also under consideration would be the widening of the sidewalks to make this area pedestrian and ADA friendly.  I am pleased that we have adopted this policy.  I think that there are some very good opportunities available to update the downtown area.

There was a zoning case before us concerning the apartments in the Windemere area.  That was continued because of the inability to complete an inspection of the fire breaks in the attics.  This will be accomplished this week and reconsidered next week.  The thought was that since this was a rezoning we should take a look to make sure that the fire breaks were in tact because this is a safety of life issue.  We lost an entire building at the Spanish Terrace apartments because the fire breaks were damaged.

Hope to see all of you at the Town Hall Meeting tomorrow night at 7:00 at the New World Methodist Church on the corner of Rocky Canyon and Davis.  Adios!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

City Wide Prayer Service

Just to let you know that there will be a Prayer Service at UTA tomorrow at 5 pm until 7 pm at the College Park Center.  This is a nondenominational, nonpartisan gathering.   The hope is to appeal to the faithful in the community prior to Election Day, that the Lord's will be accomplished.  Churches participating are Fielder Baptist, Grace Community, Pantego Bible, and Crossroads of Arlington.  People are asked to bring a non perishable food item.  I will be there and my assigned prayer will be for the Fire Fighters.  No participants will be recognized or introduced.  The doors will open at 4:00 pm Sunday and all are welcome.  All prayers will be limited to 1 minute.  For those that can't make it tomorrow I will be reciting the following.

Prayer for Fire Fighters

Father – As you save our spiritual soles from the flames of eternal
damnation so to do the fire fighters here on earth save our mortal
lives from fire through their unselfish acts of heroism.  So Father I
take this opportunity to lift them up to you as a community and
recognize their tremendous bravery.  I ask that you keep
these courageous men and women close to you.  Just as you have
kept the 343 fire fighters that ascended to you on 9-11.

            Father I pray for the Fire Chiefs and Station Captains of this
great nation, for their leadership and wisdom, so that they might be
able to operate and maintain their departments effectively. Give them the
knowledge, understanding and training required to maintain their professional resolve
when the fire alarm sounds.

            Lastly Father I pray for the safety of the individual fire
fighter who is in harms way each and every day.  I pray that you
accompany them into the burning buildings that they bravely enter,
and that you give them the compassion required to rescue each
survivor in peril.  Whether it be from a fire or a medical

            I ask all of these things through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Smoking Ordinance

In posting my view on this ordinance let me first state that I am not a smoker.  I grew up in a house where both of my parents were chain smokers and I hated the smell of burning cigarettes.  That being said I am not for approving additional restrictions on smoking in Arlington.  Here is the reason why. 

If Governor Perry wanted to make the state of Texas non smoking he would.  If any business owner in Arlington wanted to make their establishment non smoking they could do that tomorrow.  The Rangers did just that at the stadium.  There were people smoking near people eating food and they put up "No Smoking" signs in that area and then designated specific smoking area and posted the appropriate signs stating such.  They did this without additional restrictions imposed by the city.

Business owners have rights also and I will illustrate by using a cat.  If I own a business and I like to bring my cat to work in my building that is my right because I own the building.  Now if a citizen walkes into my building and has a cat allergy does he/she have the right to make me get rid of my cat?  NO.  The citizen has the right to not go into that business and can select another business to patronize.  That is their right.

I am not in favor of removing the rights of business owners or building owners or home owners, by imposing my standards on them.  In other words if I have a choice, I will not exercise my rights to remove the rights of others.  The current smoking ordinance was revised in 2007 and it leaves the choice of smoking or not to many business owners.  I don't believe that it is the place of the city to remove the rights of citizens.  We are regulated enough.

Now you will say, "what about the employees that work in bars."  They can exercise their rights also.  But a job is a temporary position.  Removal of that property owner's rights is permanent.  That is why I cannot support this ordinance.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Strategic Planning Meeting

Last Wednesday the City Council met in the UTA Planetarium for a four hour meeting concerning the City's needs, reaching into the future for the next 5-10 years.  It was a workshop session that had us identify factors that not only affect our city but also exist on a state and federal level.  In other words we were asked to consider all the factors that local government could face with consideration to all levels of Societal Trends, Political Factors, Economic Climate, Industrial Trends and Technological Factors.  We were also asked to consider what the Citizen Expectations were and also our Employee Expectations.  Then we were asked what our challenges were for the future in trying to attain these goals.  What supports success and what will be the obstacles confront us.  After about three hours we then voted on the top five goals that the Council should be pursuing.  These are the results:

                                            1.  Continue to focus on the Entertainment District
                                            2.  Economic Development
                                            3.  Update the Comprehensive Plan for the City
                                            4.  Intensify Code Compliance/Public Safety
                                            5.  Articulate and address Future Vision for Housing

Entertainment District-Arlington has become a destination city with events where people come from all over to see and participate.  The proximity of DFW, Dallas and Ft. Worth contribute to this venue.  We certainly want to promote our events and the attraction of new complexes such as a destination hotel etc.

Economic Development-It is important that the city invests within itself.  Once that happens then other investors will consider development of the city and as an end result our collective tax base will increase.  Which means your houses will be worth more.

Comprehensive Plan-The current comprehensive plan was update and adopted in 1992.  That's right its 20 years old.  We need to adopt a new plan for the city and we need to make sure that we update that plan in a more timely fashion.

Code Compliance/Public Safety-2/3's of our general fund is consumed by our requirement to keep our citizens safe.  We need to make sure that we have at our disposal the most progressive and advanced equipment and the best trained personnel to keep us safe from harm.  Also it is imperative that we maintain a certain set of living standards for our community.  These standards have to be modernized as technology evolves.  It is important that the city reconstitute itself, and maintain its stand of living through revising/complying with updated code.

Address Housing-apartments, that four letter word, are truly a dilemma in our city.  Planning and Zoning from the past has been very detrimental to the makeup of this city.  There are way to many apartments and I know we would all like more single family dwellings.  This however is impossible, due solely to the cost to reconstitute and develop the land.  To get an apartment building back to raw build able land cost millions.  67% of all the door knobs in District 1 are multi family.  Amazing isn't it!  The city simply doesn't have the funds to buy up all the apartments and give the land to developers.  As a Council we need to look at each project and insure that it benefits the city now and 30 years from now.  It can be done and it needs to be done right from this point forward.

Well this is the kinda stuff that I do in my spare time.  Just thought that I give you some insight as to what down the road looks like. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Week

Last week was interesting to say the least.  Our City Council meeting was unusual for several reasons.  A smoking ordinance vote was postponed because of a lack of understanding as to what the Council was trying to accomplish.  That being the case, the vote was delayed until the next meeting.  I think that much of the confusion was between the Mayor and Councilman Rivera on his reversal on certain aspects of the ordinance.  It is my view that the ordinance as it stands is current and applies to both sides rights.  Then there was the Eastern Star Home that is in such disrepair that it had a demolition permit to be decided upon.  A partial stay was granted until Nov 6th for the Landmark Commission find either a solution or a White Knight to rescue it.

Then there was a Strategy and Planning meeting the following day.  The Council was tasked with looking 5-10 years ahead in an effort to confront the foreseeable problems that the City will face during that timeframe.  It took on a workshop type atmosphere, and was informative as to how the City Staff and Council viewed the obstacles of the future.

Now some of you are concerned about the kids being back at the Walgreens.  Walgreens isn't doing their part.  In order to empower the police to invoke criminal trespass THEY (Walgreens) have to pick up the phone and call it in.  No calls have been received as of yet.  So I have another meeting on Friday to instruct them on procedure.  I look at it as the calm before the storm.  The police and Chief Strickland have done everything they can do unless Walgreens complains.  Once that happens arrests will be made and results will be seen.

That's all for now.  I am at a high school reunion today.  Remember when students were welcomed to a drug store because we behaved properly?  Well those were the good old days.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Town Hall Meeting

Hi Folks, I haven't posted because we were out of the country for a week and just got in yesterday afternoon.  I had put out a request to the Pastor of New World United Methodist Church that we would like to have a Town Hall Meeting and we wanted to utilize his church for the event.  It took about a week for the reply so I am getting this our a little latter than I wanted to.  THERE WILL BE A TOWN HALL MEETING ON 1 NOVEMBER AT 7:00 AT THE NEW WORLD METHODIST CHURCH ON DAVIS. 

The format will be very much the same as the Action North Mtg. that we had about a month ago.  Police, Fire, Code and Public Works will all be represented.  Then if you have any ammo left, you can take some shots at me.  It is always a pleasure for me to get out and meet you guys in person, and put a face to the email.  My plan is to announce an Apartment Meeting in early December.  I hope to have some positive news for you concerning this subject.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

National Night Out

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting most of my neighbors at the celebration of National Night Out.  It was a great evening of community and mingling with all of you and discussing the things important to your neighborhood.  I was glad to be able attend about 7 of the get togethers.  I got to ride around with our Deputy Chief of the North Leland Strickland.  Anytime that I have opportunity to be exposed to him it makes me a better person.  We are so fortunate to be able to have him as our Chief.  Also, each party that we visited was welll represented by both our Police Officers and our Fire Department.  It was not only refreshing to see our public service people out in the community on a personal basis but it was also great to see the neighborhoods out in support of each other as a community.  We all love Arlington, and the reason is not the fact that it sit between Dallas and Ft. Worth.  The reason is because of the people that reside in Arlington.  Last night was a perfect example.  What a remarkable evening. 

My apologies to the people at the Baltic area get together.  We were running just too late and I was told that you guys were buttoning up by the time we were heading over to you.  I missed you guys this year.  There was just not enough time in the evening.  I know that Police was their because I talked to Assistant Deputy Chief Brian Johnson and he said you were well represneted.  Scouts honor I'm there early next year.

I did want to put out that I will be having a Town Hall get together toward the end of this month.  Time and Place to be announced.  Also, we are going to be having an Apartment Meeting concerning the progress at the Lamar/Collins Overlay.  This will be held at the Convention Center like the last one, either the last week in November or the first week in December.  Stay engaged, my hope is that you will be pleasently surprised as to the progress that is being mad.  Hey, thanks again for a great evening.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


I am trying to establish an incentive program for the kids a Rocquemore Elementary.  I have enlisted the help of two very dynamic personalities in that area to operate the program, Deanna Palla and Dara Wandel are my two pit bulls that are co-ordinating the project.  They have met with Evonne DuPont, the principal of Rocquemore, and will implement the program through her.  Last week Dara and I met with Mr. Mike Walker who is a property manager that oversees about five properties in the Lamar/Collins Overlay area.  He is one of the good guys and is putting funds back into the apartments to make them better and offer a Good living experience to his occupants.  Mike is not only very willing to participate he will solicite participation by other property managers in the area.  This next week I will also meet with Pam Dawson who manages Lincoln Square.   I want to discuss what incentives the businesses at Lincoln Square can bring to the table.

Essentailly the program will be set up to entice all family members to put the education of children on the front burner.  Property managers will look at report cards and reduce rent for the students that have broken out of the pack in the areas of academics, citizenship, and attendance.  Businesses can contribute coupons such as free ice cream and complimentary food and services.  We need to engage the community in supporting the education of our children.  This program is an attempt to do just that.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Walk The Block

Yesterday was interesting.  First off there was a solution to a potentially dangerous problem that was affecting traffic on Center St..  The Summit School lets out and there is usually a line of cars that extend out the front of the school.  Now Center has a blind curve, and as you come around that curve at speed, cars could be stopped, thus creating a serious situation.  Large signs were placed before the curve stating, "Stopped Traffic Ahead" complete with flags etc..  This should stop the problem or at least alert drivers that there is a problem up ahead.

Walgreen's on Davis seems to be working as a drug store again.  The grace period is over and the kids that can't get it in there head to stop loitering will get a free ride downtown, starting Monday.

Last night I participated in a "Walk the Block" exercise with the Arlington Police.  My guess was that we had about 10 officers and we covered all of the Presidents streets.  The purpose was to talk to the neighbors and find out what their perception of the Police force was in their area.  Discuss problems of the past and the current level of presence of Police activity.  It was the people's opportunity to vent to the Officers that protect them on their beat.  It was a great exercise and I want to thank Chief Leland Strickland for initiating and implementing the program.

This morning I will be down at the Farmers Market on Front St. from around 9:30 till around noon talking to people and supporting the Market in their effort to bring fresh produce to the greater downtown Arlington area.

Hey it's going to be a great weekend in Arlington.  The Rangers need some wins, the Cowboys and Bears on Monday night, and if you are a frog fan TCU is home, and the Ryder Cup is on for the Golfing Guys.  Enjoy the weekend and remember that the National Night Out is Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Sept. 26th

This morning I started out with a staff meeting concerning Greater Southwest Industrial Park.  It was noted that we have spent 20.8 million dollars on Randal Mill and Ave F refurbishment.  We are going to spend 66 million on Abrams and various streets in the industrial park.  Three other streets are being included in the next bond ammendment.  The GSW park is huge to the commerce of the city and the 18 wheelers that travel those streets are really destroying them.  We are really fighting an uphill battle in this area.

My next event was an enlightening lunch with the President of the Chamber of Commerce Steven Zimmer.  We talked about several issues but his main points were mobilization and redevlopment.  It was interesting listening to the concepts that the Chamber would like to implement.

Then it was off to the Luraco Company to essentially listen to them describe how they need help in the area in front of their building, to allow the 18 wheelers dock in their facility.  To be honest I didn't think that their road was all that bad but the area that the 18 wheelers use to dock is pretty messed up.  Andy Nguyen, the County Commissioner was there and he pledged to utilize his manpower if the city would supply the materials.  This could be a win, Nguyen situation.

Then it was off to the Walgreens at Davis and Lamar.  Most everything was quite today.  There were only about 6 students out front of the store today.  I told them that an announcement was made at school and that flyers went out at school and that this week was a grace week.  Since two of the kids were 18 I informed them that next week they would be going to jail and the rest could go to Juvenile Hall for parent pick up.  They moved on.  Next week the fun will really begin.

Lastly I met with a group of concerned neighbors at Brenda Langly's house.  I briefed them on items that the Council is working on and they seemed genuinely interested as concerned neighbors should be.  A myriad of subjects were covered and the major theme was to stay involved and stay observant in the neighborhood's activities.  I'm looking forward to National Night Out coming up next Tuesday.  It should be fun.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Operation Mend

We give to several charities and one of them is Operation Mend.  I know, you've never heard of it.  My wife found it and I am glad that she did.  Last night we attended an event sponsored by T. Boone Pickens, who is a supporter of this effort, at the Dallas Country Club.  I was way out of my league.  Mend is essentially a group of specially skilled surgeons from UCLA Medical Center that take horribly disfigured soldiers and gives them new faces.  They coordinate with Brookes Medical in San Antonio to find candidates for their surgeries and then start the slow process of giving them an identity that they can live with.  Some soldiers simply can't cope with their disfigurement and take their own lives.  Mend also does surgeries on hands and fingers to get them working properly again.  All of the soldiers were in vehicles that went over IED's (roadside bombs).  These guys were the survivors, and to listen to them speak of the long road to recovery will literally tear the heart right from you chest.  I met some remarkable heros last night, some surgeons but mostly warriors doing work to preserve your liberties that have suffered unbelievable injury, that are getting their lives back together.  Look it up Operation Mend. 


I am going to post twice today for two very important things that happened yesterday.  First I had a meeting at Lamar High School with several people.  Notables were Principal Harmin, Chief Strickland, and Jamie Saenz (District Manager of Walgreens).  Essentially the problem was the kids at Walgreens.  We kicked the can around a little, I listened and then I had had enough.  I told Mr. Saenz that until he states without question that he doesn't want kids on his property, the problem will continue.  That is when he finally stated "no kids".  Principal Harmin stated he would make the announcement on Monday that Walgreens will be off limits and send out flyers that parents were not to pick up their kids up at Walgreens.  The Police will spend this week, with spiritual leaders, telling the kids that facilities will be open to them at local churches in the area if they want to utilize them. 
Starting next week kids that are at the Walgreens will be told to leave in front of a Police Officer, if they return for a period of one year they will be taken to Juvenile Hall or if they are 17 jail on criminal trespass charges and their parents can pick them up there.  Mr. Saenz has stores next to High Schools all over the state and Louisiana and this is the only store with a problem like this one.  I told him that until HE empowers the police there is nothing that can be done.  He finally got the message.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Looking Forward and Looking Back

I haven't posted for awhile because I have been on a little tour of the hill country with the wife.  We don't get out much and it was enjoyable to spend some actual wife time for a change.  We visited Llano, Fredricksberg, Lukenbach (population 3) San Antonio, and Austin.  I needed to get out for some R & R.  I have a very busy week planned with meetings all afternoon and tomorrow evening.  Then a full Council Day on Tuesday and meetings on Wednesday concerning the Walgreens, to include their district manager, the North Police Chief and Principal Harmin.
While I was away a dear friend of mine passed away.  We call it flying west in the aviation industry.  Dave Nimmer was my backseater in 1976, a life long friend for the last 37 years, the Chairman of the Norfolk Republican Party for 6 years, Kiwana's President in Norfolk and he was my campaign manager.  Dave and I have literally traveled the world together.  At 8:00 pm on Friday evening his battle with cancer ended.  He will be dearly missed and I am a much better person for having him as my friend.  I will attend his memorial service in Norfolk.  Via Con Dios Amigo. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This morning is the 11th anniversary of 9-11.  There are only 3 days in my life where I can tell you where I was when something happpened of significance.  The Kennedy Assination, drawing my draft number, and 9-11. 
Luckily I was home on that day and not flying.  I was a Captain for TWA LLC flying 767's based out of New York, but I was off that day.  A guy that I went through Navy flight training with, was the Captain who's aircraft  hit the Pentagon.  His name was Charles Burlingame.  The world changed that day in many ways.  Your lives changed.  Heros died, and the never ending war on terror was started.  In a few minutes I will start putting up flags in service of my Rotary Club, but more in rememberance of those who died that day.  It reminds me of people jumping off the World Trade Center just to end their lives quickly.  It reminds me of the Firefighters who lost their lives trying to save others.  It reminds me of the families that have lost mothers and fathers.  And it also reminds me that no matter how long it takes, the resolve of the United States is backed up by the true warrior spirit that rests in our military forces.  SEAL Team Six is in my thoughts today and my heart swells with pride.  Bin Ladin sleeps with the fishes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gene Patrick

Last night I was informed that former City Councilman Gene Patrick had passed away.  I had talked with Gene just the day before and although he was having some trouble with his current round of chemo therapy he stated that he was bouncing back.  Gene truly loved Arlington.  He will be missed very much by his family, friends and his community.  I will miss his honest candid nature and his wealth of knowledge concerning the city of Arlington.  Rest in Peace my friend. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday 5 Sept

Today was interesting.  Yesterday I found out that Gene Patricks Escalade was stolen out of his drive way.  There has only been one car stolen out of beat 220 in a year and it was his.  We never have crime in Forest Hills.  I have plenty of items in motion but the one that I seem to be working on the most is Walgreens, on Davis.  Today we had our first fight.  Two girls, one pregnant at age 15 got into it.  The police were all over it and were on the scene quickly.  We are going to task the SRO at Lamar as a resource.  Our North Arlington Police can't baby sit the kids after school.  They have a job to do and people should be responsible for their kids.  Usually it is all over about 30 minutes after school lets out.  We are going to redeploy the HEAT team and see where that brings us.  Also on the crime front we are addressing the area between Lamar and I30.  Hopefully there will be some success on this issue.

I got to play a little host tonight to about 40 Germans from out sister city.  It was  a great evening and the Germans will be here for about 10 days enjoying the culture of Texas.  We have a ton of activities planned for them.  They are truly nice people, and it is a pleasure for us to have them here.

Tomorrow is huge, I have to check out a sink hole that is encrouching on a citizens home, lunch with Jay Buris of the entertainment district, and an evening East Arlington Renewal Meeting with Sue Phillips.  8:30 am to 9:00 pm.  All interesting and it never stops.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Council Meeting

The only real issue that was a little sticky for me this evening was the Truman Drill Zone modification.  Originally, it only had 68% approval of the people from 300-600 ft. from the well head.  If you have less than 70% it requires a super majority of the city council.  Chesapeake addressed this problem and got 71.4% and took the requirement from the city council.  What was big for me was that they got all of the residents to approve, and that was important in how I looked at the special use permit SUP.  The site has been operating successfully and complying with the three stipulations imposed upon them by the council.

The second item was one of a no smoking ordinance.  Essentially the committee recommended that smoking be banned in sexual oriented businesses, public parks, pool halls, and night clubs.  It will go to council in that form and be voted upon soon.  The one question that is outstanding is the Rangers Ball Park.  Currently people smoke near the exits.  If they were to ban it from the Park the smokers would have to leave the building and walk across the street.  We are awaiting feed back from the Rangers as to how to best deal with this problem.

It was said that there was not police presence at the Walgreens today.  Since I was in meetings all day I was unable to see first hand how bad the problem was.  I did tell the Police Chief that citizens were very grateful for the police work that was being done concerning this issue.

Good Night

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

I trust that your Labor Day Weekend was remarkable.  There are always things to do on Labor Day.  The concerts at the Levitt downtown are always a hit.  Bruce Robinson & Kelly Willis on Saturday and the Pentanonix on Sunday.  The crowd was over 12,000 just on Sunday alone, and of course the performances were very entertaining.  Patti Diou does a great job at the Levitt and the entire crew that promotes the event is priceless.

If sports is your thing, then how about ESPN College Game Day being at Jerry World this weekend.  Michigan and Alabama were on the card for our pleasure, right here in North Arlington.  Or how about them Rangers.  Although they weren't at home the played great baseball.  And if you don't know who Jurickson Profar is, I'm sure you will be hearing about him for many years to come.  They are 3 games up on the scoundrel Oakland A's with a month to go.  Go Rangers!

I'm looking forward to another great week.  I feel revitalized after a long weekend.  See you out in town!

Friday, August 31, 2012

First Week Of School Update

Ok haven't posted in a day or two.  Been a little busy.  Some people want to know where 1010 Collins is.  Well it is at 1010 North Collins, and if you haven't been reading the papers there was an event there that caused a real problem.  Over 500 kids were at this place when fights broke out and a teenage girl was thrown to the ground by a police officer.  The officer was investigated for excessive use of force, and as far as I am concerned he was well within the confines of the law in doing what he did.  If parents were a little more involved at home then the police wouldn't have to use force at all.  Essentially one Howard Beckerman is the owner of this establishment and he realizes that he made a mistake in renting to the kids parents for $4,000 for the evening because it has caused him major problems with the city that he doesn't want.  The city is working with Mr. Beckerman to ensure that he remains within the parameters of a banquet hall, which is how he is operating.  If he operates under the parameters of a nightclub then he has to get a special use permit or SUP.  That requres council approval.

Now I am also looking at a residence at 612 Crown Colony that is renting by the day on VRBO (vacation rental by owner).  This guy is ruining a neighborhood for a couple of bucks.  I have called the owner 3 times with no return call.  The Assistant City Manager has left 2 calls with no response.  Essentially we want this type of activity stopped and if we have to write an ordinance stating that you can't rent your house for less than 30 days, like Ft. Worth, then we will write the ordinance.

The movement of kids through Walgreens has been very good.  I talked with Mark Thomasson, the store manager, on Wednesday and he is very pleased.  For some reason parents still seem to think that it is ok to pick up their kid at Walgreens and the parking lot is full of cars driving through when school lets out.  I don't know why they can't figure out how to pick up their kids at school, or what makes them so special that they have to clobber the parking lot for about 15 minutes.  Anyway that problem seems to be working out ok.

Concerning the 100% inspection for the Forest Hills apartments.  Code Officers have found 3 buildings that might be listed under the Dangerous and Substandard Structure ordinance.  The end of the 30 day housing inspection result is coming to an end and David Zapasode will be back in the office next week to see where we are in that issue.

I am trying to get the parents of kids in the overlay apartments to get involved in their kids education.  In that effort I have asked Deanna Palla and Dara Wandel to approach apartment management to donate either funds or gift cards to kids that distinguish themselves in academics, citizenship and attendance.  There is a hiccup in the program in that the management teams that are in place in these apartments are very temporary.  That causes a real problem.  I am up for suggestions.

That's all for now, have a great weekend.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Day

Today I had an opportunity to have breakfast with Kathryn Wilemon and we talked for about 1:45 just to try and get to know each other.  She is a very nice lady and a genuinely good person.  After breakfast I had a meeting with a Mr. Beckerman from 1010 Collins.  Essentially he is running an establishment without the proper permits and he has gone out of the scope of his special use permit.  We came to a temporary conclusion to try and get him through the weekend and at that point he will have to revert to the banquet hall mode to continue his business.  He cannot operate as a night club or a bar.  This was all caused by the fact that he rented his facility out to a group of teenagers and fights and riots started.  This reflects poorly on the judgement of Mr. Beckerman, and the continued operation of 1010 Collins.

After that I went down to the Walgreens at Davis and Lamar and we had another good day of moving teenagers out of the store parking lot.  The store manager Mr. Thomasson is very pleased with the current situation.  We must be making a difference.  I told one kid to pull up his pants and he did it.  Amazing what a little guidance can do in a teenager's life.

Lastly I had to put out a little fire concerning some guys that work for the Veterans Administration and an incident that happened this weekend.  Really these guys are good people and they just need to get a little more friendly with the neighbors in the area.  Having four grown men live in a house is a little intimadating to some of the neighbors.

Tomorrow is another day with coffee with Deanna Palla, lunch at Grace Community Church, and then watching the Japanese all stars play a local team at Randle Mill Park.  Another full day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

28 August

Today was very interesting.  I got up this morning and started to get a few complaints concerning a house in the area that neighbors were complaining about the comings and goings etc.  I took care of this just a few minutes ago.  It seems the neighbors have concerns.  There are 4 middle aged to older men that work for the Veterans Administration living there.  They work very hard to try and help Veterans coming back from war to adjust and find a place in life.  The men work 16 hours a day 4 days a week and they sit in their garage with the door open and smoke their cigarettes because they can't smoke in the house.  They try to not to bother anyone but one of the individuals that doesn't live there went nuts and set fire to the Veterans Van.  He is in jail and going to prison for a few.  I had a good time at the Cowboys luncheon.  That was nice.  I went through about 10 emails concerning 1010 Collins.  I will be meeting with Mr. Beckerman the owner tomorrow concerning the proper permits required for him to continue in business.  I also stopped by the Walgreens on Davis to ensure that there was a even flow of kids from school to home.  We had three cruisers in the parking lot.  Everything seems to be progressing smoothly there. 


Well a lot of you have asked for a place to go where you can see what is happening in our community. This is what my neighbor and I have come up with. Since I can't even log in properly he has drug me by the nose into the computer age.
At the city council we are currently going over the budget, because it has to be approved before the fiscal year that starts 1 Oct. Ergo the town hall meeting tonight and the one last week. Essentially, your house value went down last year 1%, so your property taxes will be a little less. Unfortunately for business owners their values went up by 2 1/2%, so their taxes will rise a little. The big news is that sales tax has been remarkable. For the first time in Arlington history we will go over the $50 million range. As a matter of fact we are looking at $52 million in sales this year. So the budget has a 3% raise built into it for all city employees. I don't believe that they have had a raise in 5 years so it is well deserved in my opinion.
I am glad that you like the site and we will soon be able to post here and it will go to facebook automatically. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Welcome to the Arlington District 1 Blog.

This site has been set up to discuss the issues pertinent to the North District of Arlington and items before the City Council.  I will be able to monitor your comments and publish those of subjective content.  I look forward to posting information and keeping my constituents informed as best I can.