Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15th Meeting

This afternoon two important things happened.  The first was another discussion on either a Senior Center or a Mega Multi-Generational Center.  I am running up against a brick wall in my support of a Senior Center, and the reason is money.  It would seem by limiting memberships to only seniors we would be out membership fees from other possible people under age 50 that would want to use the facility.  That delta in money coming through the door is the total reason that most Council Members find it hard to back a Senior Center, Operational & Maintenance costs.  (O&M)  It will take an overwhelming amount of emails, and a concerted effort by seniors to write to their entire Council to convince them that this is what needs to be done.  They know very well my position concerning this issue.  I will continue to work from the inside but I need your help from out there.

The second important thing that we accomplished was to select a new City Attorney.  This is the second most important thing that the Council does.  The last time was 26 years ago when they selected Jay Doegey.  Jay retired on 1 December and the selection process required a very tough decision between three excellent candidates.  When all the dust settled, Teris Solis was the attorney selected to head up the city office.  I said that this was the second most important thing that we do.  The first is selecting the City Manager.  We also select the City Auditor and the City Justice or Judge.  Teris was an in house selection.  I felt that if the other candidate would have been selected there would have been more turmoil within the legal office.  I’m certain that Teris will do a remarkable job and that she will serve the city well.  Congratulations Teris.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

City Center

Yesterday was a marathon session of the city council.  We started with committee meetings at 10:00.  Then went to the afternoon session at 12:30 and talked about how Parks and Recreation functions and their cost recovery philosophy.  This is a precursor for our discussion about a Mega Center vs. a Senior Center.  I feel this will be the bone of contention about the Senior Center.  Mr. Randolph feels that he will never recover the Operating and Maintenance costs (O & M) from a Senior Center, and that a Mega Center will have a broader base for membership fees.  This discussion will continue over time and it is up to the citizens to write their Council Representative and let them know what they would like put on the ballot for the May election.
The next item that was discussed was the new building that will be replacing the current library property.  I have my concerns about this building but I am very supportive of the project.  This building will start the renovation of downtown Arlington.  The building will have retail, office, residential and will incorporate parking for the library and city hall.  It will be designed and operate like the one in downtown Addison.  Addison’s model has been operating for the last 20 years, and been a success over time.  The developer is ready to go and it should be complete in the next three years.   The project will be called City Center.  This project is a public/private partnership.  The public aspect is one that will designate the land for this project and lease the parking component for the city’s use.  The private part will be the 29 million dollars required complete the project.  There is already interest in business’ who want to lease space in this building.
The last point of interest in the afternoon session was the fact that I was able to move up the repaving of Avenue H one year in the bond package.  So Greater Southwest will be repaved in 2015, Avenue H in 2019 and Avenue E in 2020.  I think that this schedule will fit nicely with the 360 and I30 exchange that is being planned.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Catch Up

I want to apologize for not posting on my blog in a long time.  As some of you may have heard I had an operation on my neck and it was extremely painful.  The recovery was such that I really didn’t want to do much except try and heal.  We did have an election during my convalescence, and I was very pleased with the Republicans taking the Senate in a mandate from the American people.  It will certainly be an interesting new year.

On the city side of the fence, the apartments on Lamar seem to be coming down at a moderate pace.  The asbestos abatement makes going a little slow.  And the agreement with Mr. Kembel had to be redone.  The reason for this rewrite is that the County cannot accomplish the writing of a 380 agreement.  They simply don’t have the personnel in the office.  Therefore, the city  had to redo the 380 agreement into three abatements of ten year durations.  That was the real reason for the rewrite.  All the financials remain the same, however some of the durations were extended to ensure success.

On another subject, Jay Doegey is leaving the city as City Attorney, at the end of this month.  We are currently interviewing replacements for him.  Jay has been here for over 26 years and felt now was a good time to take retirement.  I certainly have enjoyed working with Jay and wish him well as he follows his personal pursuits.  We will interview three more applicants on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Endorse Cole Ballweg

Yesterday was the first day of early voting.  The polls were very busy and hopefully this is an indication of increased interest in our city, state and country.  Although I do not live in the 94th House District I have gone out of my way to endorse a candidate in that race.  I consider myself a Regan Republican.  Fiscal restraint, smaller government, with open business horizons.  That is why I have taken a stand against the radical extremist candidate Tony Tinderholt.  Mr. Tinderholt will solve the immigration problem at the Mexican border by invading our neighbor to the south.  “I think we should go across the border and stop it.  It’s really sad to say that at some point what’s going to happen on the border is going to be bad.  And people are going to die.”  I’m sorry Mr. Tinderholt but it doesn’t have to be that way, and that is why I can't support you as a Republican candidate for office.

In another unrelated incident, Mr. Tinderholt was in support of the radical group Open Carry Tarrant County.  They wanted to go into our streets with semi-automatic rifles and have conversations with drivers waiting at red lights.  They also wanted to bring those same weapons to City Council meetings.  Although I listened to all of the participants talk in support of this issue, when I talked Mr. Tinderholt screamed above me violating the same First Amendment Rights that he professed to hold sacred minutes before.  Although he later apologized, it was indicative of the type of representation that he will take to Austin if elected.

As a viable alternative I have endorsed Cole Ballweg in this race.  He has received every endorsement that is available except for the Tea Party.  Cole has endorsements by the Arlington Police Association, Fire Fighters Association, Teachers Association, and the Star Telegram.  Cole is not a bleeding heart liberal as some people would paint him.  He is articulate, well versed and knowledgeable on the issues that Texans are currently facing.  Cole is a small businessman that has family roots that reach deep into Arlington’s history. 

This is an important election.  I expect my republicans to maintain the House majority and gain enough seats to take the Senate majority.  I expect Greg Abbott to be our next Governor, but I can’t in good conscience support Tony Tinderholt.  VOTE FOR COLE BALLWEG!! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Town Hall Meeting

I have been out of the country and then my computer was down for some time.  So I apologize for not posting recently.  We did have a storm and then National Night Out, so there was some interesting things to write about but I am sorry that I was out of commission.   What I would like to inform you about is the fact that I am hosting a Town Hall Meeting this week.  It will be at Lamar High School, on Wednesday the 15th at 7:00 pm.

The subject matter will include, the introduction of our new North Police Chief Jeff Petty.  He will discuss his observations of the district and where the challenges rest in crime in our neighborhoods.  I will touch on developments of new projects, and the status of old projects.  Also I will try to explain what some of the items are that you will see on the ballot this November. 

I try to hold these Town Hall Meetings once every six months.  The citizens of District 1 have always turned out in great numbers , because you are interested and involved in your  community.  I think that you will be intrigued and informed at the work that is being accomplished to improve the quality of life in North Arlington.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

IAFF National Memorial Service

I was very fortunate to be invited to the International Association of Firefighters National Memorial Service, this weekend in Colorado Springs.  Each year the Firefighters assemble there to intern and pay tribute to those who have given their lives in the service of others.  This year 169 Fire Fighters had their name placed on the granite wall.  Thousands of Firefighters from all over our country and Canada were in attendance to pay their respects.  Unfortunately Arlington has four names that were already on the wall, obviously we would like to keep it at then number for a long time.
Also in attendance were over 280 bagpipers and drummers that gave the ceremony a traditional Scottish flair.  Their artistic abilities were remarkable.  In the older days Police Officers were normally Irish, while Firefighters were Scottish.  So the musical groups were heavy on Kilts’, bagpipes and tradition.  The ceremony lasted two and a half hours, and I felt very privileged and honored to have been invited to this event.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend I strongly suggest it.  The Arlington Firefighters are consummate professionals, and represented our city well. 

Please watch this video, 19 of the 20 Hot Shots names were put on the wall because of the Prescott fire: http://gazette.com/multimedia/video/3797283812001

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Red Light Cameras

Yesterday afternoon at the work session there was a discussion concerning the operation of Red Light Cameras in our city.  The subject was brought up by Robert Rivera.  He continues to take positions that are controversial because he is running for Mayor in the May election, if Mayor Cluck doesn’t run.  All indications are that Mayor Cluck will run again.  So we discussed the liabilities and attributes that Red Light Cameras bring to our city.

All Red Light Cameras installed on or after January 1, 2008 required pre-camera data be captured for the eighteen months prior to installation,.  Of the active red light cameras online, 14 red light cameras were installed after January 1, 2008. The variances between the pre-camera data and 2013 current data is significant.  2013 Red Light related camera crashes, when compared to pre-camera crashes, are down 75% (106 to 27). Subsequently, right-angle crashes are down 58% (50 to 21) and rear-end crashes (56 to 6) are down 89%.  Therefore, data shows the safety of our citizens has been improved by the installation of these cameras.

I have received emails that state that the city has tampered with the duration of the yellow light in an effort to increase the number of violations.  This is not true.  Every yellow light in this city has been set at 3.2 seconds as a constant.   Violators state that tickets are being issued by a company in Cincinnati.  This isn’t true.  Each violation is reviewed by an Arlington Police Officer and he issues the ticket for the violation. Some people are concerned about the revenue that is collected.  The revenue from these cameras goes to the camera company, the State of Texas, and also to the City of Arlington.  The money that goes to the city is used to fund 28 additional officer positions on our police force. 

If we were to get rid of the cameras that are currently in place, and maintain the same level of surveillance, it would cost a million dollars.  That would be calculated by 23 intersections and three daily shifts would equal 69 officers, plus the 28 officers that were previously mentioned wouldn’t be employed, due to lack of revenue.  The City would have to outfit them with cruisers and place them at each intersection.   Then violators would get a ticket for running a red light that would cost them $250 instead of $75.  The difference is that if an officer issues a ticket in the field that is a criminal offense, while the camera issued ticket is a civil offense.

Now I personally don’t like the Red Light Cameras, partly because I have gotten two tickets for rolling right turns.  But I saw the video, and I broke the law.  Therefore, I paid the ticket, as I should.  But when you look at the safety statistics, accidents are down.  The prime directive of Government is to keep their citizens safe, therefore, I have to vote to keep the cameras in place for that reason.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Animal Turn-In Fee

There seems to be some concerns about a pet drop off fee at the Arlington Animal Shelter.  This fee is proposed in the 2015 Budget, and it seems to be the only concern of our citizens about the budget.  Now the reason for the fee is that it takes money to accept a citizen’s pet and care for it until the pet is either reclaimed or euthanized.  There will also be an expenditure, for the purpose of hiring an animal abuse investigator.  This investigator will respond to calls where animals are observed being in abusive environments.

Now there has been some citizens that have stated their collective concerns about individuals simply dumping their pets at schools or open fields etc..  I get your concern and I have weighed your emails against other factors, and I have come to the conclusion that I support the collection of the fee.  The following are my reasons:

1.  When an individual accepts the responsibility of pet ownership, they have made a commitment to that pet and their family to give the animal a good home for its entire life.  This responsibility cannot be taken lightly, and should be made good because of the inability of the animal to care for itself.  Therefore, there should be some penalty when that promise is broken. 

2.  If someone decides to turn in their pet there is a cost to the city.  That cost to the city is one that is passed along to the tax payers as a whole.  Why should I or anyone else be saddled with the financial burden of caring for the pet that you have turned into the city.  Therefore, you should pay for the cost of turning your pet over to the city.  Again, you broke the promise.

3.  Our society is made up of a spectrum of people.  Some are responsible individuals and some are not.  This is true of our society as a whole, and not just Arlington residents.  Therefore, we will always have the type of people that simply release their pets into the city, without regard for their requirements of care.  This is a sad statement but true.  This will happen if there is or is not a fee.

Studies have shown us that the utilization of a fee structure for turning in a pet, in other cities, has not resulted in an increase of stray animals.  I personally am a dog lover.  I have had German Short Hair Pointers my entire adult life.  When the day comes to say good bye to these members of our family they die in my arms, and are still loved to this day.  They are brought home and buried in the same yard they use to play in throughout their life.  It is a sad day, but they are paid the respect that they deserve for their constant love and devotion.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Arlington Bucket Challenge

Yesterday afternoon when it was 100 degrees, the Arlington City Council made good on the challenge by the AISD school board members.  You can see that it is much more cerebral to do it in this manner than at night, like they did.  As a matter of fact I was dry before I got to the truck.  You might notice that Michael Glasby doesn't get wet.  He has Mayor duty.  Also Robert Shepard has on girlie colors.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Council Meeting August 19th

Yesterday afternoon was a little interesting.  First, because a child was hit at the corner of Brown and Collins a school crossing was proposed and passed on the first reading.  My concern about this crossing is that traffic would be limited to 35 mph north of Brown on Collins all the time, even when the school zone is not in affect.  This concerned me because Collins/Brown is a major thoroughfare in our city, and I didn’t want to see further congestion in Arlington.  Normally changing this wouldn’t be a big deal, but since FM 157 is a state road, then we have to comply with state regulations.  I coupled our efforts with the traffic staff and we were able to remedy this situation, while complying with state regulation, without much change.

The second item of interest is that I put the subject of a senior recreation center on the floor as a future agenda item.  What I am trying to accomplish is to put this subject to the voters on the May 2015 ballot.  Funding for this center would be a 1/8th or 1/4 cent sales tax increase.  This would allow the center to be paid off in 3 yrs. or 1 ½ yrs. respectively.  The Citizen’s Bond Committee had little interest in this subject because it was not on the Parks Master Plan and of course who presents to that committee, Parks and Recreation.  So I will try to get this subject on the ballot for the people to decide if they want a facility like the Summit in Grand Prairie.  I want you to know about this subject and get organized and vocal if this addition to our community interests you. 

Last night there was an issue concerning a storage facility in the south 360 area.  Planning and Zoning put certain stipulations on the development and Councilman Shepard added to that list.  The vote was unanimous with the stipulations in place, however it is unclear whether the applicant will want to comply with those requests.

There will be a budget town hall meeting this Thursday night at the South Police Station at 6:00.  I suggest that anyone who is passionate about next year’s budget be there so that our City Manager Trey Yelverton can explain the budget and answer all of your questions.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I want to thank all the people that either phoned the office or sent emails to Council Members, either in support of a Senior Center or in support of Hugh Smith.  Yesterday at the afternoon session of the Council Meeting, I had the support of the community to fund a senior recreation center in the west or northwest.  The problem is that between Kathryn Wilemon and me, we simply came up short on horsepower.

Let me just say that in my opinion, the arguments against the senior center were hollow.  The fact that there wasn’t a study done is moot.  The fact that we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to put the center is irrelevant.  We were there to fund projects not build them.  Dr. Cavazos doesn’t know where he will put the natatorium, but he has the funding for it.  That’s how bond issues work. 

The real reason for the defeat of the senior center is that it was not previously on the Parks Master Plan.  You see the Parks Department presented the senior center to the Citizens Bond Committee.  The Parks Department’s job is to fund the projects on the Master Plan and get them off the books and funded.  If someone comes along with a need that is higher than those on the Master Plan, it simply gets paid lip service, and projects on the Master Plan get promoted in the funding process.  That is what happened yesterday.  The fact that $50.2 million in capital funding went to two recreation centers in the east and southeast is of little consequence.  The fact that the utilization of Hugh Smith is abysmal, and that the Parks Department is hoping to return 49% at best in Operations/Maintenance costs was disregarded. The needs of the city and our seniors went neglected, again. 

We elevated the discussion of a senior center to the surface.  Now it is time to put it back on the table in a context that will be supported by the voters.  It will not set next to the bond election on the November ballot.  But we will bring this subject back to Council for the May election and I hope to allow the voters an opportunity to hear your voice again.    

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hugh Smith or Senior Center (2014 Bond Issue)

The time to determine the contents of the 2014 Bond Issue is at hand.  The Citizens Bond Committee has spoken and what they have determined through hours of diligent work is that the Bond Issue will be 193 million dollars.  In that 193 million, 133 will be for roads.  Of the 60 million that is left over, two large capital projects were selected to be accomplished.  1)  25 million for a recreation center in the southeast area of our city.  2)  25.3 million for a 67,000 sq/ft combination East Library and New Hugh Smith Recreation Center, in east Arlington.  This was the original plan for the Bond package until it got to Council.

When it got to Council, Jimmy Bennett proposed an additional year to the issue and the total increased to 242 million for a four year period.  The increase of 49 million will all go to roads, although this was not Jimmy’s plan.  So we still only have the original 60 million for capital projects.  One year ago I proposed a Senior Recreation Center to be constructed in the west or northwest, where majority of our seniors reside.  This center would be like the Summit over in Grand Prairie.  Right now we allow the YMCA’s to accommodate the need for our seniors at $30 per month.  I recognize this need and I’m trying to do something about it, but the Council needs your input.  So contact them.

My plan is to cancel one dead end road project at 5.4 million, cancel the energy efficient street light bulbs at 3.0 million and a parking lot renewal for River Legacy Park for 1.0 million.  If we do not move fire station one we can save another .4 million and take .3 away from the 25.3 for Hugh Smith and that would give us 10.2 million to knock down Hugh Smith and rebuild it to a size commensurate with it’s utilization.  The new library would go away until other funds could be located to add it to the construction project or we could partner with AISD as Dr. Cavazos has urged because they will be constructing a new library a couple of blocks down the road.

Then it would be my intention to take the 25 million and construct a 60,000 sq/ft Recreation Center for Adults that would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 per month for membership.  In the first year that the Summit was built, membership was 6,000.  It has been in existence for four years now and the membership has stabilized at 5,500.  It is a remarkably active and vibrant facility, and something that our seniors deserve.  In the last four years Euless, Grand Prairie and Irving have all met the need of their seniors by constructing Senior Centers. North Richland Hills has given the seniors lip service with their Multi-Generational Center.  Possible locations would be either a location central to downtown, Dottie Lynn area or Randol Mill Park.  With this location and the need of our seniors in Arlington, I would estimate memberships around the 8,000 level.  Please contact your City Council and let them know what Your desires are for this Bond Issue.    

Monday, July 21, 2014

Arlington Commons

It has been a little time since my last post for a couple of reasons.  1)  The Council is on vacation and doesn’t meet during the month of July, 2)  I have been on vacation for the last two weeks out of the country.  But as soon as I returned I had to find out what was going on with out apartment project on Lamar and report any progress.

I met with Bob Kembel this afternoon and got a one on one concerning his progress.  The asbestos abatement team showed up today and the long process of dismantling Huntington Chase has begun.  Each piece has to be removed, bagged, have Kembel’s name on it and placed in a special landfill.  This process will require that the demo of Huntington Chase take about 45 days and that is the bad news.  The good news is that the relocation of residents is ahead of schedule.  There is only one apartment that will require eviction in Huntington Chase and they will be gone on 1 August.  The Pointe and Country Wood will have their residents relocated by the end of August.  There is more asbestos in the stucco of the Pointe, so that will take even longer to get to the dozers.  All in all, construction will be moved back 90 days to the end of March.  Progress is slower than anticipated but the relocation process is running ahead of schedule.  Some additional news that I just received is that Mr. Kembel originally planned this project in the $160 to $178 million range and because of the upgrades and increased quality of the materials it is well over $200 million.   I have seen the architect's renderings and the project is extremely nice.  This will be a quality addition and redefine this neighborhood.

The Arlington Commons project is moving ahead and I’m positive that you will be pleased with the result, once Phase I is complete.

On a completely different subject:  The Mayor had a hip replacement this morning and is resting comfortably.  The operation was a remarkable success and we look forward to him getting up and around in the very near future.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ditto and TXDOT

Yesterday was very interesting and some things happened that you might not be aware of, so I will try to explain on this blog.  The afternoon session was of particular interest because some posturing was accomplished that was at my district’s expense.  Two weeks ago Jimmy Bennett suggested that the City’s Bond package should be extended from 4 yrs. to 5 yrs.  This was an effort to increase money available for roads and also to include an additional 12 million for the redevelopment of Ditto Golf Course.  Now I brought out that the city enjoyed over 140,000 rounds of golf last year.  46,000 were played at Ditto and 36,000 were played a Terra Verde.  Golf Advocate Magazine rates Terra Verde as the 7th best course in the Metro Plex, and the Texas Star course in Euless as 4th, while Ditto is ranked 42nd.  The expenditure of 16 million, 8 for the course and 8 for the clubhouse/banquet facility, would allow for tournaments to recoup our expenses while bringing the course up to top 5 status.  Then Ditto was dropped from the bond package alltogether, in exchange for more roads.  But I was assured that financing would come from elsewhere, and that this project would be funded because it is shovel ready.  This is yet to be confirmed, although people are working in earnest.  I will explain as much as I can this evening at the Ditto Citizens meeting starting at 6:30 at Sherrod Elementary.

The second thing of interest was the fact that the city started the process of purchasing the TXDOT property at the northwest corner of I-30 and Collins.  This property has been held by TXDOT for decades and they have finally decided to remove it from their property roles.  The City feels that this property is premiere and something very special should occupy that space, and we are proposing a simple land for cash exchange.  The City would like to entice businesses to invest in the land north of I-30, alluring people to come early and stay late.  This concept will require business offices, and leisure commercial establishments to coexist.  Once this transaction is complete and the land is wrestled from the state, we expect to be approached by developers of every level, hawking concepts from apartments to missile silos.  That is why it is important for the City to be able to control what establishments go on this property and the extent of their quality.  I am very excited for the North because TXDOT is finally on the move, and something good is going to happen there.  Call me an optimist.

Oh, and just as a side note, this site has gone over 31,000 views in a year and a half. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Narrowing Abrams St.

The narrowing of Abrams St. has been in the minds of the Downtown Arlington movement for several years.  It has to do with a term called “walk ability,” and making downtown a “destination.”  But the reality of the situation is that the Downtown movement only wants “walk ability” as it pertains to the government building area of downtown.  When it impacts businesses, they want “on street parking.”  So which is it to be, “walk ability or on street parking.”  Therefore, I see the argument as being a bit disingenuous. 

Now staff has done some great work when you add the information that was received through an independent study.  The study went to the effort of taking a look at the delays that would occur if the street were narrowed to three or four lanes.  The study’s conclusion was that four lanes, without dedicated left turn lanes, would take longer to transit than the three lane option with a dedicated left turn lane.  They are the pros and I am just a recipient of the study’s information.  As an engineering student I realize that passing any element through an aperture, water, sand, nuts and bolts or traffic, depends on the size of the aperture.  If an orifice is 4inches wide it should take 25% less time to pour a gallon of water through, than if the aperture is 3 inches wide.  Therefore, if lanes are 10 ft. wide, it should take less time to pass the same amount of traffic through a 40 ft. orifice than a 30 ft. orifice, even with traffic turning left without dedicated lanes.  That is simply physics applied to a common solution.  So I don’t buy the fact that a four lane scenario will take longer to transit than three lanes. 

Now let’s take a look at the problem as it applies to the situation.  I have walked the streets and looked first hand at the area in question.  I have noted that the setbacks on the north side of the street are significant enough to put pavers in and enjoy walk ability/the destination of downtown.  The problem is the south side of the street.  If we took out the center, or fifth lane, it would allow another 10 ft. that could be added to the sidewalk on the south side to increase the “walk ability” aspect and still have 40 ft. for traffic to transit.  But the study shows that this is the scenario that will cause the longest delays to transit. (Discussed above)  So this is the dilemma as I see it, and reasoning behind my decision to select the four lane option.  I think that drivers are people too and they pay just as much taxes as pedestrians.  Therefore, I will vote for the four lane option.     

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Council Meeting 10 June

Just a few notes concerning yesterday’s Council meeting.  During the afternoon session a poll was taken of the Council concerning the narrowing of Abrams street.  Throughout this exercise I have noted a definite bias toward narrowing Abrams to three lanes.  It had been stated that the four lane option was going to be the slowest option due to traffic turning without designated left turn lanes.  Sorry but my engineering background simply couldn’t shake this statement because it defies every law of physics known to man.  I simply couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that having a larger aperture would slow down the flow of anything.  Also, when given the presentation, the four lane option was void of any streetscape like the other two options.  Kinda like those commercials that are in black and white until you own the product, then everything is in color.  So I felt that I was being steered into a certain mindset.  I was the only dissenting vote. 

In the evening session, I was also the only dissenting vote concerning extending the Linebarger contract for another three years.  Linebarger has been the company that the city has employed to collect our delinquent taxes for the last six years.  My reasoning was that I felt that a healthy competition was in order combined with an audit of past accounts.  It would give us a clearer picture of the account and its status.  I requested numbers about the Purdue firm but staff did not provide an apple much less an orange to compare the two companies.  Therefore, not having the proper information, I was not in support of extending the contract on the faith of them doing a good job, in the future.

Of the most interest was the issuing of bonds for the new library, Council chamber, and Center St. Bridge.  This was the most important vote of the evening and I think the best utilization of city funds.  You have to remember that the other options were 40 and 30 million dollars to rebuild on the existing property.  This is a twenty million dollar project with a public private building being built on the old site.  This other building will return the property to the city tax rolls also.   For some reason Councilman Rivera abstained from the four votes taken on this subject.  There was also a resolution voted on relating to a public/private interest concering a new building where the old library stands.  I supported all these votes because I feel that it was the best utilization of citizen’s monies and showed fiscal improvement over the other options considered for the new library.

All in all I think it was a good night for the City of Arlington.  Oh, and I was designated as the new Deputy Mayor Pro Tem.  Maybe not a great night for Arlington after all.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Open Carry?

I might as well weigh in on the topic of open carry. Through the military and governmental shooting courses and Command and Staff War College courses I have been taught a few things about tactics.  But one of the simplest concepts to grasp in this discussion is that concealment of firepower is extremely important.  If it wasn’t then why would the Department of Defense spend billions of dollars each year on camouflage?  Concealment is the tenant that gave you the Constitution, to include the Second Amendment.  What?  Parker you’re nuts!

Let’s take a step back in time to the Revolutionary War, where the rag tag Continental Army with inferior firepower went up against the most powerful force in the world, the British Army.  The British Army practiced open carry.  They would grab their rifles, put on their red coats, and line up in the streets in a show of force and march down the road.  They were confronted continually by the Continental Army that were concealed at various junctures along their path.  The author of the Art of War, Sun Tsu stated, “He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.”  Through this tactic the Constitution and the Second Amendment were born. 

Over the course of history there have been several instances where the concealment of firepower by inferior forces has overcome the odds and prevailed.  General George Armstrong Custer is another example of open carry that just didn’t work out.  Sitting Bulll and Crazy Horse used another tactic of Sun Tsu’s without their knowledge.  They used a village of squaws and children to draw Custer to attack at that point.  Knowing he would attack at that point they waited.  “All warfare is based on deception.”  How can you deceive anyone by showing all your cards at once?  Surprise is essential to victory! 

So let’s take an active shooting situation by today’s standards.  In threat analysis, you accomplish three things as rapidly as possible.  1)  Define the threat.  2)  Neutralize the threat.  3)  Move to the next threat.  If in a shooting scenario an individual is brandishing a firearm, he is a threat.  Open carry doesn’t consider concealed carry as a threat, simply because he doesn’t have the knowledge of
another firearm in his presence.  Concealed carry neutralizes open carry at the moment of his choosing simply because open carry does not have the information to formulate a complete situational scenario and “define the threat.”  Concealed carry moves to the next threat. 

I will leave you with this last thought.  Deception or concealment is essential to effect surprise.  The utilization of these tenants are more likely to secure victory.  Brandishing a firearm, (open carry) tactically speaking is a mistake that renders undesirable consequences.  But don’t take my word for it, ask Sun Tsu, George Washington and Custer.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Liberal vs Conservative

In the last two days I have been called a “liberal” by two minor news outlets, which I find humorous and completely false.  It seems that my voting record of late is liberal in nature.  Interesting since these votes were all 9-0 votes, but my vote is singled out to be the liberal one.  It would seem that being a twenty year veteran, an avid hunter that has hunted in several different countries, gun owner and reloader, doesn’t count for anything any more.  They would have you believe that my eight years of service for I.C.E. in the fight against terrorism is something to be discouraged.  On the contrary, this is an effort to pigeon-hole me because I don’t agree with the ultra right wing.  Just because Attila the Hun and I aren’t bridge partners doesn’t make me a liberal.

I have stated before that I am for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, a stronger military, and I’m against anything Obama, Reed and Pelosi.  The fact that I don’t adhere to the theory that Secretary General Moon is knocking on my door trying to push Agenda 21, doesn’t make me a liberal.  Now certain elements of our community would love to paint me in that light, but it is for their own ulterior reasons that they do so.  It isn’t because it’s true or false. 

Now let’s examine this a little closer.  When I was running for office there were two options for the library.  One was $40 million and one was $30 million.  The option that I voted for was for $20 million.  The second aspect of that vote considered the Council Chambers.  If we kept the current chambers it would cost $3 million to bring it up to ADA (American Disability Act) standards.  This must be done because it is federal law, there is no choice here.  Let’s break it down further.  If little Johnny spent $40 million for a new library and another $3 million to refurbish an aging Council Chamber, that would be $43 million.  If little Joey spend $20 million for a new library and another $6 million for a new Council Chamber that would be $26 million, who would be showing the most fiscal restrain?  The vote was 9-0 and I’m the liberal, I’m also Joey, go figure. 

Now I have stood up to Open Carry Tarrant County.  This is a group that has been kicked out of Jack In The Box, Chick Fillet, and Chipotle.  They have been disavowed by Open Carry Texas, and distanced by the NRA due totally to their actions.  They have disrespected our laws, our Police Officers, and threatened several citizens to include a radio host.  My vote was to ban all weapons in Council Meetings and to not allow the distribution of literature in our busy thoroughfares.  The votes were 9-0 and 8-1 respectively, but my vote was the liberal one.  This post is simply an effort to illustrate that the press can print whatever they want and it doesn’t have to be true.  I am a Reagan Conservative, not a right wing whack job, and certainly not a liberal.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Council Meeting May 27th

Last night was an uneventful meeting in comparison.  All of the recently re-elected candidates were sworn in.  I was fortunate enough to have my lovely bride of 39 years at my side to celebrate the occasion.  It was also noted that a metal detector was positioned at the front entrance to screen people entering the Council Chamber.  This is a result of a group that wanted to bring guns to council meetings.  It proved to be a non event last night.

One item of note was the issue of red light cameras.  My personal opinion is that if a vote came up tomorrow to remove them from our city, I would support it.  But since we do currently have them, and if you are caught on video running a red light, then I believe that you should pay the fine.  I have been caught twice by these cameras and I paid the fine both times.  I didn’t think that I ran a red light but the video showed without a doubt that I did.  Therefore I paid the fines.  If you do the crime, then pay the fine.

Last night we voted 9-0 to block car registration if you have outstanding red light fines.  37,000 people have outstanding warrants for red light violations.  Although I don’t like the cameras, I cannot condone violating the law without some retribution.  That is why I voted in favor of this ordinance change.   

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Well today is Memorial Day, and it is always a very special day for me.  On this weekend 12 years ago I pedaled a bicycle from Austin back to Arlington, and in doing so celebrated our fallen heroes.  It is at this time each year that we salute those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we may enjoy the freedoms that make this country so remarkable.  I know we have plenty of problems here in America.  But I was free yesterday morning to attend the church of my belief.  I am free to speak my mind on any subject without the threat of imprisonment.  I am free to move about this great country without restriction.  And lastly I am free to pursue life, liberty and happiness, as long as I conform to the laws of the city, state and nation.  For some of you it may not sound like much, but imagine not having just one of those freedoms, much less having all of them removed.  That is why it is so important to take the time to remember our fallen. 

Memorial Day was first celebrated after the civil war.  Brother against brother for the purpose of gaining freedom for individuals that didn't have freedom.  Sometimes it's hard for me to imagine the rag tag Continental Army and our founding fathers deciding to fight the largest force on earth for the purpose of gaining freedom.  Then of course, consider the Greatest Generation coming together to beat back tyranny in WWI and WWII.  Korea, Viet Nam, Kuwait, Desert Storm I & II and now Afghanistan were all examples of America suiting up to preserve Liberty and the Freedoms of other people.  I am very proud to have served my country and when my time gets short, I would like to be surrounded by those at our National Memorial Cemetery in Grand Prairie

This morning at 6:00 my Rotary Club will put up flags to commemorate Memorial Day.  Police Chief Will Johnson and I put 61 flags in front of houses this morning and will take them down this evening.  This morning at Moore Cemetery on Davis, there was a very moving service.  I had the privilege to listen to Sgt. Stephen Jackel.  He told the story of how his Abrams troop carrier was hit by an IED and how he later lost both legs.  A woman once asked him, after suffering such injuries, would you let your son or daughter join the military?  He stated, “Why wouldn’t I?  To serve your country to preserve our freedom is the ultimate duty.”  What a remarkable young hero.  But heroism can be simply standing a good watch, because they are watching over us, and protecting us.  Do you ever consider that when we are having a lunch of BBQ or burgers, that there are troops standing watch in the middle of the night on the other side of the world?  Have you considered that there might be a firefight in the Hindu Kush or that Navy SEALS might be in the Crimea as we sleep? I hope that you take some time out of your day to attend a service or event, and remembered to say thank you for their sacrifice.  God Bless America.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Burton or Shelton

Been out of the country for a few days and I guess I should sit down and write this post.  We are in the middle of a run-off election for the State Senate race of district 10.  Your choices are Konni Burton or Dr. Mark Shelton.  I am endorsing Dr. Shelton and I will post several reasons why I have come to this decision:

Konni Burton supports Open Carry Tarrant County.  That’s right, the rifle toting right wing radical gang that goes around scaring everyone in Jack-in-the-Box, Chipotle, and Chic-filet.  They have disrespected our police officers, threatened their families, made remarks concerning my family, violate First Amendment right for others and disobeyed our laws.  She is also associated with the ultra right wing Tea Party.  Is this the type of reasoning you want to send to Austin?  Mark Shelton is not in support.

Konni Burton opposed the school bond issue that passed by 72%.  Do you think that Tarrant County will get any state funds and representation for educating our children? Mark Shelton is in support of education for our children.

Konni Burton is opposed to high speed rail.  She stated this on television.  10 billion dollars of private money will build this project and it will go from Houston to Dallas, but Burton will not support it continuing to Ft. Worth with a stop in Arlington.  No support from her here either.  Mark Shelton is in support of this project.

Konni Burton is against the 50 year water plan.  That’s right, people are coming to the metroplex daily and we are going to have to plan ahead to get water to them.  There is a pipeline from East Texas lakes to Tarrant County and she will go to Austin to stop its construction.  So much for forward thinking.  Mark Shelton is in support of this project.

Konni Burton, while being against encouraging economic development, and not supporting projects like AT&T Stadium and the Ballpark at Arlington, she holds out her hand to take money from Empower Texas PAC ($55,000) and Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC ($25,000) and Texans for Education Reform PAC ($10,000).  She has no problem taking PAC money from special interest groups.  If elected what do you think they will want?  Shelton’s money has come from Alice Walton (Sam’s daughter) and the Texas State Realtors ($25,000) each.

After the looking at the platform and the overall representational thinking of the candidate, I look at the campaign.  Shelton signs are down or missing all over the County but the Burton signs are untouched.  This is a dirty, cheap political trick.  Although it might not be Burton doing it personally, I’m sure that it is her supporters, and I can’t condone that type of behavior in Arlington or in Austin.

I’m going to the polls today and voting for Dr. Mark Shelton.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Council Meeting May 13th

Tonight’s meeting was a complete reversal of the one on April 22.  Last meeting was disrespectful, loud and obnoxious.  This meeting was subdued and polite in comparison..  First off I want to thank all the citizens that showed up to support the views of the majority of the residents in our city.  Your attendance in support was appreciated.  I removed the issue of the street’s ordinance from the consent agenda, so that Council could comment and also to force another vote on the issue.

My comments had to do with the reason why litigation is running rampant in the U.S.  It would seem that common sense is not common, and everything has to be on paper so the validity of a view can be challenged in a court of law.  Everything has to go to court these days, so that a judge can tell us what the prevailing sentiment is on a certain subject.  On April 22, Council had to legislate that if a hand gun is illegal to bring into a government meeting by law, then common sense would state that an AR-15 with three times the fire power would also be illegal.  Again, common sense is no longer common, ergo litigation.

This week we answered the question; is it safe for citizens to go into the street and have a conversation with a motorist, in traffic, and pass out literature with or without a gun.  The vote was 8-1 and now this is illegal in the City of Arlington.  The group “Open Carry Texas” thinks that this is a violation of the First Amendment.  The Council decided it was a safety issue.  There was only one outburst the entire evening.  That was by their leader, Mr. Watkins, yelling that the United States is not a democracy it is a Republic.  I believe that Mr. Watkins is inaccurate.  I think that there are only two Republics left in the United States.  That would be Oregon and Texas.  The group also read from the book of Luke, stating that Jesus Christ would be arrested in Arlington, and also hid behind charities not being able to collect funds in the streets.  They also stated that Firemen are in the streets collecting for Muscular Dystrophy.  I explained to them last week that city employees have a waiver signed my Governor Perry giving them an exemption.  The city cannot override state mandates.  I would also mention the eloquence of Councilman Jimmy Bennett for his comments concerning the mechanics of the Constitution.

But common sense prevailed at the end of the day.  The ordinance was amended and OCT threatened to sue and violate the legislation on the 24th when the modification goes into affect.  I cautioned them to obey the laws of Arlington or face the consequences of their decision.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Just a note to say that I appreciate your confidence in me to represent you for a second term.  As you know I have retired twice in my career, and therefore I have the time and energy to devote to the citizens of North Arlington.  I would hope that you have seen a difference, due to my efforts in the past two years.  If a change has not been apparent, then I have been remiss, so please feel free to direct my efforts in other directions.

During the last two years I have only voted for one apartment complex, the Arlington Commons on Lamar.  I believe that if we are going to have additional apartments in our city, we need to hold the developer’s feet to the flame, and get a good quality product.  In this term I have also discouraged three other developers not to approach us with apartment projects in the north.  One of those instances was as recent as last Wednesday.

I still have a vision for a retirement community in the Lamar/Collins of North Arlington.  This is my next project and I hope that I have the horsepower to get this accomplished.  This will be my prime objective for this next term.  The TXDot property is coming into play by local entrepreneurs, Mega Hotel on the cusp, Fortune 500 Company to settle in our district, and Glory Park discussions on the horizon.  All of these projects are exciting and viable possibilities for the future of our community.  Other projects are out on the fringe, and you have a group of remarkable people working to make North Arlington the place to live and play in the Metroplex. 

I feel very privileged and honored, that you have entrusted me with your representation of these vital improvements to our city.  I am humbled by your confidence and belief in my leadership capabilities.  I know that I can’t please everyone, but I sleep well at night knowing that I have served my constituents to the best of my capacity.  You have shown your trust and confidence in me by allowing me to run unopposed.  Thank you for the privilege to serve.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Throughout this last week, the citizens of Arlington have turned out in tremendous numbers to support my stance against Open Carry Texas here in Arlington.  OCT's actions in the last Council meeting were such that, it was obvious that they couldn’t care less about the First Amendment nor the Second Amendment.  They were simply an unruly gang, stomping on the rights of others for their own benefit. 

Encompassed in their pursuit of happiness, they have proceeded to taunt a women’s group that was for gun control.  They have disrespected our police officers by calling them thugs, they have violated our laws and been cited for that.  They have disrupted a public meeting of the City Council, and deprived me of my First Amendment rights while denigrating my marriage of 39 yrs.  Enough is enough.

This is a gang pure and simple.  But what is disturbing about this event, is that candidates for the House of Representatives and the State Senate have knowingly aligned themselves with this gang mentality.  Both Konni Burton and Tony Tinderholt have lead the assault on our way of life here in Arlington.  Their brazen disrespect for the sanctity of the Council Chamber and local government, have led me to do something that I have never done in my life.  As a conservative Republican, I am supporting a Democrat for the race in the 94th state congressional district.  I have met with Cole Ballweg several times and I have found him to be an intelligent, respectful small business owner here in Arlington.   I know that he has the demeanor to go to Austin and work across the aisle in such a fashion as to be appreciated by is counterparts.  With the outbursts of Cole’s opponent last Tuesday evening, I can assure you that Mr. Tinderholt cannot even control his temper and respect city government, much less that of a state venue.  Sending this individual to Austin is simply a mistake.

Mr. Tinderholt’s emotional imbalance is a matter of public record.  But beside his inability to keep his temper under control and his personal life in check, he has gone out of his way to support a gang and champion their cause.  Please don’t tell me it’s free speech, because it isn’t.  If that were the case he wouldn’t break the law by disrupting a government meeting of the Council, interrupting someone else while they are exercising their freedom of speech.  That would be hypocritical.  Mr. Tinderholt has already alienated himself from the City of Arlington’s government, please don’t send him to Austin and embarrass the citizens of Arlington at the state level.  Vote for Cole Ballweg. 

I have also supported the campaign of Republican candidate for State Senate Mark Shelton.  Konni Burton is of the same ilk as Mr. Tinderholt.  She is also in support of the Open Carry Texas gang.  But with Ms. Burton you can also assure yourself that there will be no state funding for high speed rail from Dallas to Ft. Worth.  Both Kathryn Wilemon and I support Mark Shelton for State Senate.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Last Tuesday night Open Carry Texas was at the Council meeting in force.  A candidate for the 94th district of Texas Congress made a scene.  He states that he is for the First Amendment of free speech, and then in the next breath denies the free speech of others.  In my opinion he was simply grandstanding for the Open Carry Gang.  The drama of the situation was very obvious, the level of understanding was disappointing.  The Council voted to limit people in our streets, 1) selling items, 2) soliciting donations or asking for money, and 3) distributing literature. 

The yelling that Mr. Tinderholt did asked what about city employees in the streets?  I stated over his screaming that I would address that issue.  I told him that Arlington is a "Home Rule City" and that we had the right to make ordinances and laws that did not violate state statutes.  I continued that the Firemen have an exception signed by Govenor Perry that allows them access.  Tinderholt screemed again that "it's a loophole."  "You are passing this on a loophole," and then removed himself before police could arrest him.  He then left, followed by minions from the Open Carry group, just like he had planned.  This is what followed on facebook:

  • Conversation started Wednesday
  • Tony Tinderholt
    Tony Tinderholt

    Charlie, you and I can continue to be disrespectful to one another or we can try to do what is right for the people of our city. I am a far right Conservative Republican and I represent a very Conservative constituency. I want to work together. ..but if this isn't possible, I can deal with that as well. Regardless of what you want, I will be the district 94 representative and I feel that it's important for us to work hand in hand to support Arlington.
    • Tony Tinderholt
      Tony Tinderholt

      I respectfully apologize for getting frustrated; howeber, the city is skirting a very fine line that will most likely result in a court case that neither of us wants.
      Consider meeting with the mayor and I Monday. I've had a meeting scheduled with him for over a month...it's a lunch meeting
      And again..mi apologize for stepping on you while you were talking at the meeting! Let's agree to disagree...but move forward with Arlington residents in mind.
      Oops...I apologize....phone typing is not my best skill
      • Thursday
      • Charlie Parker
        Charlie Parker

        FacebookFirst off let me state that I have already dealt with this issue on another string. When have I been disrespectful to YOU? I am a conservative also, but I am not a not a drama queen. It was apparent and remains apparent to me that you are not in control of your actions. Therefore I and I'm sure other Council members will keep you at a distance. You've shown us your true colors Mr. Tinderholt. I really don't care if you become King of Texas, I don't have to work with you and I won't. If I was the Mayor I would cancel lunch. Good luck in the election, bring on the lawsuit.
        • Tony Tinderholt
          Tony Tinderholt

          You are an ignorant and very arrogant man!
          • Tony Tinderholt
            Tony Tinderholt

            I also told him that nobody wants an expensive lawsuit that I...As a taxpayer....will have to pay for...and that their illegal implementation of this ordinance will cause someone to surely file a lawsuit
            Nice response when it's taxpayer dollars for the lawsuit...
            • Tony Tinderholt
              Tony Tinderholt

              The word Conservative is used far too often these days when it's only a few of us that actually fit the bill.
              • Charlie Parker
                Charlie Parker

                FacebookYes and you are such a scholar.
                • Tony Tinderholt
                  Tony Tinderholt

                  Texas has what is called a preemption law that does not allow any governing body below the state legislature to enact arms control laws. Ordinances are very expensive - those tax $s could be better spent right now when budgets are tight. But i am sure that using tax $ for a second lawsuit doesnt bother you either!
                  • Thursday
                  • Tony Tinderholt
                    Tony Tinderholt

                    Remember your conservative core...you spoke very well...1st ammendment is important
                    • Charlie Parker
                      Charlie Parker

                      FacebookMr. Tinderholt the freedom of speech that I was speaking of was the freedom that you enjoyed. Also the same freedom that you denied me. That is the freedom to address the city council and state an opinion. Mr. Leblanc denied that opportunity with his vote. He was the only one that did. Standing in the street is an apple compared to that orange, so please don't let your little gang try to compare the two events. If you do then you are only demonstrating the lack of cerebral cortex that is rampant in your constituents. Don't make that mistake. The comment about my wife is only evidence of the lack of mental capacity within your gang. The spineless attempt to devalue a marriage of 39 years, of which I'm sure YOU can appreciate, is a desperate attempt broken logic and despicable behavior. This has been demonstrated throughout your treatment of our police officers, city council, and now my family. If you continue to saddle up with these vermin, your political future may be very short. I have only heard disparaging remarks about your actions last Tuesday. You have some serious damage control to accomplish.
                      • Tony Tinderholt
                        Tony Tinderholt

                        First of all...This is NOT my gang. I am not affiliated with them. I support the constitution and you and the city council are trampling on it. That's all...and i agree....no wives....that is sad.
                        I only got involved on behalf of the police department to keep this group from antagonistic behavior....and it worked a little
                        • Tony Tinderholt
                          Tony Tinderholt

                          Actually. ..amongst TRUE Conservatives...they applauded Tuesday night. Your group that you hear from are establishment people who don't like it when someone stands up for the people...they want the government to have MORE power.
                          Remember, this is not my group
                          Your career is actually at risk Charlie. We already have 3 solid people lined up to tackle you next time. Trust that they will be fully financed! I do agree that your Family is absolutely off limits and that is beyond disrespectful.
                          • Friday
                          • Charlie Parker
                            Charlie Parker

                            Good I beat 7 good men to get here. This is not a career. I represent the citizens of North Arlington because I want too.
                          As you can see for yourself this is not the type of person that we should send to Austin to represent us.
                          Here is another bit of wisdom.

                          Tony Tinderholt I was not there last night in support of open carry or their group. I was there to try and stop 1st ammendment rights from being stolen. Not a very intelligent way to talk about a constituent as an elected official Mr. Parker. Remember, I am still a constituent as is the man you chastised in the meeting. I was thoroughly DISGUSTED when you...A representative of the people, told another person in the meeting that "this is a one way discussion". Who says that type of thing to constituents?

                          The PEOPLE will hold you accountable for allowing government employees to continue to hand out or collect materials on the street while the public is not allowed. If this were a safety issue, you would have petitioned the state to fix the loophole at the same time. This is the type of governing that steals rights from citizens. I agree that what the Fire Department does is a great thing and that you will play the "that is state law" card. I am confident that you will still allow it to happen.

                          As for your comments concerning Diane Patrick; you are unhappy that you have someone that will tell the truth and stand up to you for citizens rights versus someone that will do exactly what you want. People like you are the problem. The ESTABLISHMENT never likes it when people know the truth or when someone stands up to you. I do not represent the City Council I represent the constituents of the city of Arlington Texas district 94 . I will be with you when it's right and oppose you when it's not.

                          Note that I removed myself from your circus of a meeting that doesn't listen to the people whom they are supposed to represent. Yes, you pretend to listen to 2 minutes from each person, but your consistent votes against what you here is apparent.

                          Also, I encourage you to watch the video where the Mayor stated toward the end that he didn't remove anyone. Rest assured Mr. Parker, we will ENSURE that you run OPPOSED next time with FULL financial backing from all of our affiliated organizations. We need to ensure that people like you are stopped from serving in higher positions. We need someone that is respectful to constituents and a True SERVANT to we the people.
                          If you watch the tape of the meeting Tuesday evening I never say that this is a one way conversation.  Instead I said that,  "I guess freedom of speech only goes one way around here."  Referring to the fact that Council listened to their time at the microphone and they would not let me speak.  The bottom line is Tinderholt has alienated the City of Arlington from any cooperative effort, in an effort to side with Open Carry Texas.  Actions speak much louder than words.  The above comments and his actions on Tuesday night tell me everything I need to know about this guy.  Don't take my word for it.  Watch the video, then vote for Cole for the 94th Representative of the great state of Texas.