Wednesday, August 26, 2015

25 August Council Meeting

Yesterday’s afternoon workshop was very lengthy and also very interesting.  I started in a Municipal Policy Committee meeting.  The primary subject had to do with Pay Day Loans.  Essentially there are two avenues to take on this subject.  The first is a land use issue.  This is an area that the city can currently take a stance.  It was my suggestion that the city move ahead to utilize our zoning capability now.  The Unified Development Code will be amended to reflect another use of “Alternative Financial Establishments.”  These businesses would have to be in a standalone building, and cannot be within 1,000 ft of each other.  They have to be 200 ft from residential homes and at least 500 ft from major highway entrances.   Although current establishments will be grandfathered in at their current locations, the above will establish strict guidelines for new applicants.  The second avenue will be business guidelines.  Since the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is currently looking at guidelines concerning these businesses, it would be foolish for a city to establish policy that would be overruled by their decisions within the year.  So this avenue is closed to the city, for the time being.

The other area of interest had to do with the budget and the wages for sworn and staff employees.  Trey Yelverton is trying to establish city employees’ wages at a level commensurate with the amount of work expected of them.  I pointed out that there is a discrepancy in the manning level of the fire department.  We have the lowest number of firemen per capita of any department in the metroplex, by a wide margin.  Looking at a manning document provided to me by the AFFA union, it was noted that the fire department was only manned properly, at the 84 man level,  44.5% of the time.  Then I compared the overtime numbers to the rest of the metroplex, because that would be the only place that manning could get its solution to the equation.  Sure enough, Arlington is second in overtime per capita, in the metroplex.  Ft. Worth was number one.  So I submit that this is an equation out of equilibrium, and not the proper way to man a fire department.  Now I am aware that the people that work the overtime are doing the job and working for their pay, and that is appreciated.  But the numbers are way off the charts, and they were brought to me in a book supplied by the AFFA.

The last item is the fact that Trey is trying desperately  to get sworn positions up to a 75% level over the next 5 years, while simultaneously getting staff to 50%.  This disparity is untenable.  I pointed out that turnover is very low with sworn positions, and that the employees that are leaving are mostly staff positions.  Therefore, the inconsistency in percentile ranking is a flawed hypothesis.  What monies that are to be distributed need to be targeted strategically in an effort to maximize their affect in certain categories and maintain job satisfaction. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chief Will Johnson's Decision

After the statements given by the officers associated with the incident, Chief Johnson had enough information to make a determination.  Chief Johnson then applied the facts that were brought out in that testimony and weighed those against department protocols.  Termination was the only conclusion that he could make.  I thoroughly support his position on this issue. 

I have received letters not supporting this decision.  Those letters do not consider the facts that Chief Johnson has at his disposal.  Although termination was the result of the process, I can assure you that he made this decision based solely on violations of department stand operating procedure and departmental protocols.  He did not consider pressure from other sources, and those pressures did not affect his judgment, concerning the career of one of his officers.

The article in the Ft. Worth Star that questioned Chief Johnson’s decision highlighted the comments of a  Union called AMPA (Arlington Municipal Patrolman’s Association).  This Union is very critical of Chief Johnson’s position in an effort to garner rank and file support for an upcoming election.  There is no place for inflammatory rhetoric in this incident.  The Union that currently represents the Arlington Police Officers  APA (Arlington Police Association) wants to consider all of the facts before making a determination.  I ask you to please consider the unfortunate incidents in other cities, and be appreciative of the way that Chief Johnson has handled the events of this instance.  Again, I totally support Chief Johnson’s decision.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

D. R. Horton Comes Home

Last night I supported the relocation of D.R. Horton’s headquarters to Arlington.  We have been in negotiations for the last 2 yrs.  trying to get him to come back home.  Last night the final piece fell into place.  I must say that I had my reservations about giving a billionaire $5.5 million to entice him to our city.  The Horton complex will be located on the I-30 west bound frontage road, between Progressive and the IHOP.  The reason for the move is to get out of downtown Ft. Worth and take advantage of Arlington’s location and our easy access to DFW.

Horton will be given $1.83 million a yr. for the next three yrs.  This money will not come from the taxpayer’s pockets.  This was essential in order for me to support the move.  The money will come from some gas funds from the city’s side of the ledger, not the ATF’s.  Then Buzz Pishkur, Arlington’s  Water Department Director, will sell purified water to other cities to make up the difference.  This line of revenue was the brain child of Buzz and Trey Yelverton our City Manager.  I couldn’t in my mind justify the movement of taxpayer dollars, directly to Horton.  That doesn’t work for me.

Horton has already started to do work at the site.  He will start to move dirt in the next couple of weeks.  The campus will be a collection of buildings that will house America’s largest home builder’s new headquarters.  Housing 350 employees initially, they are required to stay at that location for the next 20 yrs.  If they expand to 500 employees they only have to stay for 12 yrs. and will ensure that the city gets it $5.5 million back.  The campus is currently planned to encompass 165,000sq/ft.  Welcome back home to Arlington D. R. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dave Lieber Article

Yesterday, in the Dallas Morning News a Mr. Dave Lieber, a self-appointed Watch Dog wrote a biased article about me with an extremely negative theme.  Mr. Lieber did this on purpose.  That is the article that he wanted to write from the beginning, and he did.  He wrote this article around contents from two individuals. 

The first was a Ms. Musser.  Ms.  Musser wanted to know if the city of Arlington had a policy or an ordinance concerning e-cigarettes.  I simply stated that we had discussed the issue and had not come to a conclusion concerning the subject at this time.  Ms. Musser wrote back, “I hope that you are not taking money from the e-cigarette industry.”  My integrity was questioned by a slanderous and liable remark made by a lady I had never heard of before.  My reply was on target, “Excuse me!  I don’t take money from anyone.  Don’t ever e-mail me again.”  I was being accused of being on the take by industry from someone I’d never heard of or talked to before.  She stated that I was “overreacting a little.”  I replied again on point, “I give all the money I make at this job to veterans.  To insinuate that I take money to sway a decision in any way is repulsive.  If that is how you think government works then your opinion has no value to me.”   I stand by this comment.  Just because I am an elected official doesn’t mean I am a target, and I’m sorry Mr. Lieber if you think my comments are to honest for the accusing constituent to digest.  If you are going to accuse someone for being on the take, then stand by for a response.  I think that is deserved.  Ms. Musser knew exactly what she was implying and made the statement without corroboration.  She should be ashamed of herself for implying such an act.  But I’m the villain.  Nice job Mr. Lieber. 

Next would be me calling a study sent to me on RLC’s (ancient history).  I called the study “garbage” because it was done four months after the RLC’s were removed from Houston.  This was an old article written in the Houston Chronicle that Ms. Canon sent to me, trying to justify her position.  The pertinent article from the same paper was done four YEARS after the cameras were taken down.  This article showed fatalities up 40% and accidents up 117% in the same city. 

Now let’s continue the discussion concerning Ms. Canon.  Ms. Canon has lied to get people to sign her petition.  She has knowingly lied to newspapers concerning RLC’s being a violation of Constitutional Rights, and she has perjured herself making the same statements under oath in Austin.  Mr. Lieber, you can respect this type of behavior all you want, but I cannot.  Canon wanted the collection of violations prior to removing the cameras forgiven.  Guess what, that violates the Constitution of the State of Texas.  I think that is enough said about Ms. Canon.

I have tried to be as transparent and as open a representative as possible.  This blog speaks to that fact.  I have given town hall meetings every 6 months.  Gone to various social clubs to speak and give information.  Given leadership lectures at UTA, for Professor Saxe.  I have accomplished all the things I said I would do in my campaign, in just three years.  Gangs gone, Prostitution and Drugs down 90%, no gun shots at President’s Corner at night.  Also accomplished the following:  apartments down, property values on the rise, TXDOT property in work with Trammel Crow, Arlington sign to be installed this fall on I-30, Lamar repaved and Brown soon to be.  I have fought hard to get a Senior Center on the ballot in November/May, benefitting 54,000 seniors.  And on the daily side I have responded to each of your emails to try and correct what you see wrong with our community.   

So please Mr. Lieber don’t just take a couple of emails and judge a body of work.  If you wanted to write about an individual, not a politician, who works hard for the people of Arlington, you could have.  It just takes you doing a little more work.