Thursday, January 31, 2013

Team Arlington

I just wanted to let you know that I just got back from three days in Austin.  It was enlightening in that the subjects that were before the 83rd Session of State Government are very much the same as those considered at the Council, Water, Education and Transportation.  Obviously Education is dealt with by AISD.  We had an opportunity to meet all of the Senators and Representatives that have districts touching our city.  Everyone was there, they were all very pleasant and accessible, and answered all question.  The process of governing at this point in the Session, (before Committees were assigned) was a little convoluted.  Actually it was boring.  But as things pick up I'm sure that interest levels will rise, and tempo will increase.

While I was gone there were three shootings over on 360.  Apparently, three residents of Grand Prairie came to our fair city to deal some drugs.  Essentially, a man was going to buy some drugs and he didn't like the way things were going so he shot the other three people in the car.  One of the victims is in serious condition with a gun shot wound to the neck.  The other two are doing OK.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rocking Horse Drill Site

Last night there were some sparks concerning an item on the agenda.  The item concerned a modification of the Drill Zone at the Rocking Horse drill site.  Now a modification of the Drill Zone does two things.  First it takes the existing Zone which is encompassed within the pad site an it turns it to accomodate the site to accept additional wells.  In doing so it takes the operation of the site from the old drilling ordinance and puts it under the more stringent restrictions of the new ordinance.  In my reading concerning this issue, I noticed that there were three violations at this site in the 4th quarter of last year.  The violations were:
  • Security Camera - the security camera has not yet been installed
  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP) - the EAP is not located on the site in a Knox Box
  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) - the MSDS is not located on the site in a Knox Box.
I drove to the site and noticed that a Knox Box had in fact been installed at the site.  I questioned Linda Gerhardt (Chesapeake) to insure that the proper documentation was in the box and she stated that it was.  The last remaining item was the camera, and she stated that it was on back order.  My reading also concluded that everything would be satisfied prior to the issuance of a gas well permit.  Chesapeake is going to come before Council in the first meeting in February to request a permit.  I would suggest that the camera be installed prior to that time.

There were 10 speakers against the issue and almost all of them were advocates against urban drilling, that did not live in the neighborhood.  Speakers from as far as Dallas and across town in Pantego were commenting on this site.  Essentially, one person that lived in the neighborhood spoke for and one against the Drill Zone change.  Another point of contention was a Day Care Center located 359' from the pad site.  The Day Care Center had in fact signed a waiver and parents of children were contacted to let them know that a drill site would be there and not one parent pulled their child from the center.  The pad site has been operating for two and a half years without incident and except for the camera is in full compliance with the city drilling ordinance.  Therefore, I voted in support.

One accusation that was made during this discussion concerned jet fuel fumes at DFW airport and how unsafe the air was at DFW.  I told the citizen that I had flown out of DFW for 32 years and I asked her, "how do I look?"  She was stunned and stated that it takes years to get cancer from fumes.  I told her that millions of people go through DFW every year and that thousands work out there and that she was the only person concerned with the fumes.  I take exception to people making unfounded accusations in an effort to support their views.  I believe that she also stated that there was a Hilton at the airport.  Actually, there are two Hyatt hotels located there.  The modification of the Specific Use Permit (SUP) was approved 5-3, with the stipulation that a masonary wall be constructed 90 days hence.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Texas Land and Cattle

Yesterday was a good day for North Arlington.  Last night was the Grand Opening of the new location for Texas Land and Cattle on Copeland Rd.  The event was kicked off with a remote broadcast of The Hard Line, which is the 3:00 - 7:00 pm sports talk show on AM radio station 1310 the Ticket.  A silent auction was held and their guest was Hall of Fame, Dallas Cowboy Offensive Tackle, Rayfield Wright.  Mr. Wright is a very engaging individual and was so gracious to my wife and I.  We enjoyed the conversation very much.  His wonderful benevolent foundation has helped over 50 kids gain financial support through college. 

The food at TLC is really remarkable.  I don't see how they can provide the amount and quality for the price.  If you haven't had the pleasure of this experience, I certainly suggest that you give it a try.  I don't think that you'll be disappointed.

On another note, the Neighborhood Walmart that just opened on Wednesday has pledged $1,000 to help the Rocquemore Elementary kids program.  Ms. Vandal wants to contribute to the community and participate in the process of uplifting these at risk kids.  Another major contributor is Best Buy.  Shaun Ogdie is the store manager, and a native Arlington resident.  He has contributed two Kindles, pledged to take the families of the top performing girl and boy to dinner, and he has also stated that any apartment complex manager that participates in the effort to uplift these kids will recieve 20% off all appliances that are purchased for the complex.  We have been gratified and blessed by the generosity of some of the businesses in our community.  I am certain that through the works of good people in our community we can turn our neighborhoods into something that we can all be proud of

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The New Walmart

Yesterday was the opening of the Walmart Neighborhood store on Collins.  As I entered the store I was struck by the beauty of the floors.  They were not only polished but they were acid etched and presented a clean, light atmosphere.  As I proceeded through the store I was also impressed by the quality of their produce.  Everything was displayed in such a way as to appeal to the consumer.  The aisles were very wide and allowed for ease in shopping and comfortable two way traffic with other shoppers.  The store is well laid out and although signage is a little small, items were grouped in a logical fashion and easy to find.  I think that you will also find that the prices are very reasonable as well.  The wine area had a wide variety of choices, from reasonably priced labels to a few moderately priced bottles.  I didn't spend much time in the cosmetic area, because gray is the new me, but it looked to be extensive.  There is a pharmacy. and if the problems over at the Walgreens on Lamar become to great this is a welcome alternative. 

As I was standing in the front near the registers, I was talking to the store manager a Ms. Vandal.  In a short period of time several people were concerned that there was no deli.  She replied that the store was ramped up with product in three weeks.  That is a record I guess, and that the deli would be open in about three months.  The foot traffic in the store was moderate, especially since word of the opening wasn't well publicized.  But my experience was one of a pleased consumer.  I think that this store is a welcome addition to our community, and the traffic of consumers alone will benefit the storefronts that are currently vacant in that shopping center.  Before you pass judgement, give it a try.  I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lamar High School

Yesterday morning at 8:45 I was informed that Lamar High School was on lock down.  The reason for the lock down was that a student informed the School Resource Officer SRO that another student had brought a gun to school and had made a threat concerning utilization of the weapon.  The student in question was described as an African American male with wavy hair, dressed in an orange shirt with a backpack.  This situation was not a surprise to APD because their leadership had taken the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary seriously, and set into action certain protocols that were to be implemented in case of such an incident. 

The school was locked down and five inspection teams set out to question students and find the individual and weapon.  A gun sniffing dog was utilized to inspect locker and common areas.  After an extensive search no gun or individual was found.  The student that made the original accusation was questioned and determined to be credible, sincere and believable.  Students were kept on campus for lunch, and parents were allowed to pick up their kids at anytime of the day and return them home.  Lock down was lifted a little after 2 pm, and students were returned to class.

The search and incident will continue be on the forefront of the APD's agenda.  The safety of our students and schools is paramount.  Students that consider this style of behavior will be dealt with sternly and swiftly.  I consider the actions of our APD to be proper, professional and ongoing until tangible results can be accomplished.  I have every confidence in Chief Will Johnson and the North Chief Leland Strickland to keep our students safe.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Union Pacific Track Repair

This is just a reminder of the scheduled closures of the railroad crossings in our city. 
Union Pacific (UP) began work on their track renewal project in Fort Worth on January 4, 2013.  The project includes replacement of the north mainline rail, crossties, and rock ballast, as well as, the renewal of each roadway crossing.  UP expects to reach Forest Edge Drive in Arlington on January 16, as it moves east.  Below are the anticipated dates of closure for the roadway crossings in Arlington:
Street Name
Bowen Road
Davis Drive
Cooper Street
North Center Street
Mesquite Street
Collins Street
Stadium Drive
Great Southwest Parkway

Each roadway closure will last 3-4 days to replace the pads and approaches, except Cooper Street which will remain closed for 6-7 days due to the width of the roadway.  UP has committed to have Bowen Road re-opened before Collins Street closes, and Davis Drive re-opened before Stadium Drive closes.  Operations are expected to be completed in Arlington on January 23, with the exception of Great Southwest Parkway, which is expected to be closed for approximately two weeks due to UP’s work schedule.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Folks I just want to say thank you for coming to this blog and reading it.  To date there have been 4185 views and I have posted 38 articles.  The average viewers per post is 110.  I thank you for being interested in your community.  Please feel free to comment on the contents of this blog.

10 January

Yesterday was very interesting.  First off was a United Way meeting.  Fascinating statistics on Tarrant County.  I wish there were numbers specific to Arlington but that was not the case.  Although the briefing was interesting there was little to report that actually affected Arlington.

Then there was a CDBG street project briefing concerning a street makeover off of center just north of Pioneer Parkway.  Not too interesting.

Lastly was the Firefighters graduated a new class of cadets last night.  (21)  I was impressed with the quality of individual that our fire department is getting as new hires.  The leading graduate was a Marine with two tours in Iraq.  Although he had no fire or emergency medical background, the fire department gave him a chance and the city of Arlington benefited in a big way.  What a remarkable individual!  Of the 21 cadets, I would say that about half of them had already been responsible in saving a life.  They have only been in the program for six months.  Graduation day in any category is a good day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January 8th

The day started off for me with a meeting of the apartment managers in the north.  There were 13 properties that were represented at this quarterly meeting.  The reason that I was there had to do with a program associated with Roquemore Elementary students.  This school is listed as academically unacceptable, and the level of parent participation in the students education is not adequate.  Roquemore doesn't even have a PTA.  Addressing the apartment managers was an effort to get the property owners involved in recognizing the importance of education in the students lives, that live in their complex's.  If we can get the property managers to knock off a few dollars of rent, because of a good report card or perfect attendance, then we can inspire these students to continue to achieve.  We are also approaching local businesses in the area for their participation.

Then it was off to City Hall for a Council Day.  Meetings at 12:45 with Chesapeake Oil and Gas, and the Meditation Center Buddhists and a committee meeting for Community and Neighborhood Development.  The topic of the Committee was Short Term Rentals in Arlington.  Because of the Super Bowl this subject has caused some problems in the last 3 years.  Essentially the behavior of the renters at these properties has affected the residents in the neighborhoods.  One 30 year resident is putting his house on the market because of this problem.  The fact that we have a successful entertainment district in Arlington also contributes to this problem.  The Texas/OU weekend was the worst example of offensive behavior, and disregard for neighbors that we have seen so far.  Forty cars jammed the neighborhood streets with at least two students per car.  The party lasted for two days.  It was a mess, but the owner of the house could care less.  He continues to rent the house to anyone with money.  Our efforts in committee are three fold.  1)  Identify all properties that want to rent their houses for less than 30 days.  The city will request that these properties be registerd with the city and obtain a permit.  2)  Insure that if they are operating as a hotel in a single family dwelling that they pay the 27% hotel tax to the city for that privilege.  3)  Hold the owner of the property responsible for the behavior of the renters through legal means and then revoke his/her permit if this behavior continues.  Of course this is all subject to Council approval.

Following this Committee Meeting we had our afternoon work session and an evening session.  What was significant about these sessions was the brief by the Fire Chief on a Citizen Emergency Notification System.  Sometimes this is called a reverse 911 system.  Essentially, to date the technology is not sufficient to successfully accommodate our needs here in Arlington.  Chief Crowson was unimpressed with the level of effectiveness of the available systems.  Other cities that have adopted these systems are apparently not satisfied with the effectivenes of their capabilities.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The New Year

Well except for the bowl games the holidays are over.  I'm rejuvenated and excited about the prospect of getting back to work as usual.  It's January 1 and the Cowboys are all snuggled in at their homes watching the playoffs like the rest of us.  Kinda perennial!  Well there is plenty of issues to tackle.  We have a new Superintendant of AISD, so education and it's improvements in our city is at the top of the list.  Our neighborhoods have improved, and crime is on the decline.  Chief Strickland and I will work together to ensure that this trend continues.  Also, David Woodruff will be sworn in today.  I hope to team up with him in making our neighborhoods safer.  We are making headway with the Dangerous and Substandard Structure/Nusiance Abatement Programs.  Forest Hills apartments are being taken to task.  They will either be brought up to standard, or removed.  Four of their 10 structures are currently on the clock.  Also, a Multi-Familyinspection ordinance is in committee.  It's purpose is to make living standards better in the apartments that we currently inhabit.  And lastly, there are a lot of new projects in the works for North Arlington.  These are under executive priviledge at the moment, but I hope to share them with you in the next 3-4 months.

2013 could be a very good year for North Arlington, and I am fortunate to be able to represent you in these developments.  I continue to strive for transparency in my responsibilities to you.  Feel free to call, (817) 691-8582, email,, or comment on this blog concerning issues of interest to you.