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.