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.