Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Council Meeting 2 June

Tonight was an very interesting meeting.  Let’s start with the good stuff.  The Chick-fil-a is going to expand.  They are going to tear down the store on Collins and buy the building to the east of their property and demolish it.  This will allow for an expansion  and increased parking.  Carmenza Moreno will continue to use her parking lot to benefit charitable organizations by using it for event parking on Sundays when Chick –fil-a is closed.  She is investing heavily in north Arlington and it is much appreciated.  We need more business owners like her.

Next was a senior living facility by Grey Star.  This will be a much needed 176 unit complex across the street from the Highlands shopping center.  This is an untapped market and these types of facilities need to be replicated throughout our city.

The third item was a bail bonds issue that was very difficult for me to decide.  The Unified Development Code, UDC, was adopted in June of 2014.  In January 2015 an individual put in for a bail bonds business in an area next to the jail.  The current zoning under the new UDC does not allow this use.  But the certificate of occupancy was issued by the city.  In March the city revoked the CO, bringing attention to the zoning error.  The applicant had spent tens of thousands of dollars and now had to shut down his business.  So he appealed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, P & Z.  The vote to deny was split 4-3.  So he appealed to the Council to hear his case.  The lawyer for the applicant pointed out that the attorney opposing the case was in fact a part owner in a bail bonds business.  I can’t tell you how polluted it made the case for me.  I had decided that I was going to rule in favor of the applicant, but when I heard this it made my decision very easy.  The vote was 8-1 in favor of the applicant.

Lastly, was Kelly Canon and Richard Weber.  Mr. Weber stated that the minutes of previous meetings were illegal because Citizens Comments were not televised nor were the comments published in the minutes.  Kelly Canon stated that she was taking this issue to the State Attorney General because we were conducting illegal meetings in violation of the Open Meetings Act.  Ms. Canon gave us a sheet that stated that a “deliberation” is being conducted and needs to be recorded either by video or in the minutes.  That’s all well and good except that there is no deliberation!  The Council cannot not speak because the subject that the citizen brings before us is not on the agenda, ergo no dialogue and no deliberation.   The purpose of Citizens Comment is to allow access to the entire City Council at one time in an effort to hear any subject that is on the citizen’s mind.  If there is something that can be fixed, we send a staff member to the address to solve the issue.  The problem, according to several Council Members is that certain people were using the city videos to post on You Tube to further their issue, without Council D-E-L-I-B-E-R-A-T-I-O-N.  The definition of deliberation is – a verbal exchange during a meeting between a quorum (a lot of Council Members) of a governmental body and a person.  Well we had the person, and the quorum, but no exchange.  The right to address the Council is covered under the 1st Amendment and I love to hear from the citizens in case we can do something for them.  There is no right to be on TV.  It is a shame that certain folks abused the privilege to further their personal agendas.  They can still post on You Tube but they have to make the recordings themselves.     


  1. Isn't Ms. Cannon campaigning for your council seat?

  2. It would appear so. In a previous email she stated that she could not attend all the meetings. If she is going to do my job, she will have to be able to attend all the meetings and then administer the duties of office on a regular basis also. Just this morning alone I met with the North Chief and one of his Sergeants concerning drugs and prostitution in a certain area of the district. Lunch with another council person, then some work on Dangerous and Substandard Structures. Now I'm clearing emails. It all chews into your day. I put in about 25-30 hrs a week, plus read anywhere from 300-1200 pages to get ready for a Council meeting.

  3. For many years, Citizen Participation was recorded and included within the broadcasts of city council meetings. The practice was discontinued at the behest of the previous mayor, who also reduced citizen speaking time by 33%, because he had no respect for the general public, especially if a member of that public had an opposing opinion.

    The courtesy of televising Citizen Participation should be resumed immediately; doing so causes absolutely no detriment to either bureaucrats or citizens. Many people are interested in what issues their fellow residents may bring to the table in this Participation segment, and perhaps some well-needed, thought-provoking issues that are currently ignored might be approached this way.

    I know you fully realize that Citizen Participation is the ONLY method available to *perhaps* receive a reply to an issue, as it has been well documented that most council members ignore email messages, rather than acknowledge and reply to them. Hiding behind the Open Meetings Act by refusing to answer public queries or comment only serves to perpetuate skepticism and mistrust between the general public and those who purport to 'serve' them.

    I ask you to reconsider the courtesy of recording and televising Citizen Participation, doing so would certainly go a long way in rebuilding a congenial relationship between council and citizen, rather than maintaining the current adversarial one that exists at this time.

  4. Anonymous, I wish you would have enough confidence in yourself to post your name, even though I think I know who you are. First you draw some assumptions that are simply leaps of logic that aren't true. If the Mayor reduced the speaking time to 2 minutes and removed broadcast from Citizens Participation then why are you writing me instead of the Mayor? The truth is that there is no strained relationship with the citizens and Council. That I believe to be a mistruth stirred by a few malcontents in our city. Many cities in Texas don't even have a Citizens Comment, however I believe it to be valuable. Citizens Participation is the only way for a citizen to voice his/her issue in front of the entire Council. Although the Council can not respond because the issue is not on the agenda, we can still hear it and take it for action once adjourned. The citizen with the issue couldn't care less if they were on TV. This is only important to a select few that want to use the event as a conduit to further their personal agenda. This is why Ms. Canon, Mr. Saunders and Mr. Weber keep the TV issue alive. The city isn't a vehicle to promote individual agendas via broadcast.
    You might want to ask yourself, why was this removed in the first place? The reason is that a few wanted to take the segment and post it on You Tube to advance their single issue to others. That is not the purpose of the segment, nor is it to be used for individual gain. So the Council did what they thought best, not for the individuals that misuse the segment, but what was best for the City as a whole. I would be in favor in bringing back the broadcast if you could assure me that it wouldn't be posted on social media. If that is the case then let's do it. Then as soon as it is posted it is gone forever. That would last about a week don't you think? Because it is people like you that want to use this in an adversarial manner, not the average citizen that wants a problem fixed by Council.

  5. The main #1 reason for wanting recording of citizen participation is so the content can be reviewed. For example at this June 2 meeting there was an officer, part of TMPA (Texas Municipal Patrolman Association) that was talking of a position in the police department. I would love to be able to review his comments.


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