Friday, May 20, 2016

Rangers


Well today the cat got let out of the bag.  No more secrecy.  The Rangers will be staying in Arlington for the next 37 years!  Right?  Not so fast.  The Rangers will be staying in Arlington if the voters approve the continuation of the 1/2 cent sales tax after AT&T Stadium is paid off.  The purpose of the sales tax continuation is to buy ½ of a new retractable roof stadium for the Rangers to play in for those 37 years.

Why the urgency since the Rangers have a contract to play here for the next 8 yrs?  The Rangers were being pursued by our friends from the east.  Dialogue from a billionaire was started and overtures were made that perked the ears of certain people in local government.  Although we had been talking to the Rangers for a few years,  this accelerated the process.   We had formulated a partnership with the Rangers,  and the Cordish Group for Texas Live, and a new 300 room hotel.  The new ballpark will be an extension that will perpetuate the synergy at the stadiums for decades to come.  However more additions to the Texas Live project might be added in the future.

What would happen to the old ball park?  The City and the Rangers are in discussions concerning the future of Globe Life Park.  Some signature elements could be preserved like the fa├žade, and the Center Field Office spaces.  Some Retail could remain and or be added.  But most likely an office development, some parking features and/or possibly the extension of Texas Live will be Globe Life’s future.

What is the timeframe for the building of a new Stadium?  With the Rangers providing the initial funding as early as 2017, the hope is that construction will start in that year, with play starting in 2021.

Why not just put a roof on the existing ball park?  In order to roof the existing stadium it would cost around $900 million, and I’m certain that it would look terrible like the Mariners Stadium in Seattle.  Essentially it looks like a huge erector set sitting off to the south of the field, hideous!  This new domed/retractable stadium will serve the Rangers fans for decades to come in air-conditioned comfort or when the weather is nice the roof will be opened.

Before I close I wanted to add that the $500 million expenditure for the stadium will return $2.53 billion to the community over the course of paying off the bonds.  Anytime I can spend a buck and get five in return it’s probably a good thing.  I like 500% on my money even if it takes 30 yrs.

Remember that the future of the Rangers is in the hands of the people.  A “YES“ vote will keep the Rangers in Arlington, where as a “NO” vote will send them to Dallas.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Campaign


I guess I should make a comment on the elections.  The citizens of Arlington have chosen well, in that they have reverted to incumbents that are leading this city and school district down a path of progress to the future and improvement of our city and education system.  The two incumbents on Council that were unopposed are probably the most critical thinkers, and the best legislators, that currently sit on this panel.  It will be a pleasure for me to serve with them for another two year term.

Jamie Sullens is a consummate professional with her heart in the right spot concerning the education of our children.  She was also unopposed on School Board.  But John Hibbs did draw an opponent.  He ran a good campaign and was retained with a 75% victory.  One must remember that the school board has won the award of best school board in the state of Texas.  So the voters have decided to continue down that path of excellence.  

Seat 7 on the City Council was won by the best candidate in the race.  Victoria Meyer did a good job in her campaign.  She presented herself in a professional manner and was well prepared at each candidate’s debate. She invested in her campaign by putting out signs and getting her name recognized. Her opponent wore shorts, T-shirts and flip flops to the debates, and although seasoned due to numerous failed campaigns, did not put on a campaign at all.  Yet he still got 27% of the vote.  I find this peculiar at best.  1674 voters cast their ballots for this candidate, and I will never know why.  That leaves my race.

I feel blessed that I have tried to hold town hall meetings every six months to open lines of communication with my constituents.  Turn outs have been beyond my expectations because people want to know what is happening in their community.  What is happening in your community affects you on a daily basis and it is important that there be open dialogue and understanding.  I believe that this understanding is what drove me to a 69% victory over my opponent.  North Arlington is realizing the effects of capital investment at its best.  All the bulldozers and cranes are a sign of progress and redevelopment in our community.  I believe that my record of trying to knock down old crime infested slum apartments and building a new class of living experience is evident.  Property values are in fact on the rise.  The North is running on all cylinders.  Yes we have problems, but we are on the right path to solve those problems, and I thank you for allowing me to pursue those solutions for the next two years.

As an addendum I will add my opinion.  Saturday morning I witnessed the aftermath of a horrible accident at Center and I-30.  What I saw was a small car crushed from the rear.  Two people were still inside the car and the fire fighters were on their way.  The people were taken to two different hospitals in Ft. Worth with life threatening injuries.  The reason that I bring this up is the increase of accidents since the red light cameras have been removed.  In six months the accident rate has gone up 25% in those 19 intersections where the cameras were installed.  For me, this was the reason to keep the cameras, safety!  I have personally observed an increase in running red lights in Arlington.  I am certain that you have seen it also.  So be very careful, and look out for the other guy, because he isn’t looking out for you. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

General Motors and Arlington Commons

I haven't posted in awhile because the campaign for re-election has been taking up most of my time.  I apologize and hope to get back to a better schedule after Saturday.  I wanted to give you some good information about a few projects in our city.  The Dallas Business Journal gives awards each year for the best business deals in the Metroplex.  This year Arlington received to very prestigious awards. 


First was General Motors, won the Best Community Impact Deal.  Their $1.4 billion investment to their Arlington plant will have a remarkable influence on the economy of Arlington and will allow them to hire another 500 workers.  This ripple effect will contribute to the betterment of our community and will stimulate the local economy.  It will also insure that your kids and their kids will have jobs at General Motors for the next 40 yrs.


The other award was given to the Arlington Commons for the Best Suburban Multi-Family project in the Metroplex.  This is a $250 million project that has torn down over 700 slum/crime infested units and will be replacing them with a high end living opportunity for the people of North Arlington. This investment in our community combined with the $7.5 million dollars to upgrade Roquemore Elementary, the $5 million to upgrade Parkway Central Park and the $1 million in renovations for the strip mall on the south side of Lamar is crucial to the improvement of the Lamar/Collins Overlay.  This will increase the property value of the surrounding homes while decreasing the crime rate in the area.  I find it interesting that my opponent in my race for re-election is against this project.  Her opposition is based on the increase in occupancy, stress on sewer and other community services and the narrowing of Lamar.


An increase in occupancy, cannot be counted simply as the number of door knobs.  Some of the families that lived in the old apartments had 10 people living in a two and three bedroom units.  The new apartments will only be 1 and 2 bedroom units and the cost will be very high, reducing the number of section 8 occupants.  Larger and newer sewer  conduits are currently being installed, but what is more important is the calls to service by our police and fire departments will be reduced because of the reduction in crime in the area. 


Lastly, lets talk about the narrowing of Lamar westbound to 1 lane.  This is clearly depicted in an attachment included in the original 380 agreement dated 2013.  This didn't happen as an after thought nor the location of the leasing office, as my opponent states.  Just because she cannot look at an enclosure and understand what it is telling you, does not mean that it is not included in the document.  This was the original intent, because the developer is trying to create a sense of community within the development.  The most important concern of the citizens is dealt with in the agreement.  If the city decides that the traffic is too congested, then the developer must return the street to two lanes westbound at his own expense.   I attended both the Town Hall meeting and the Council meeting, dealing with this issue.  After understanding what the developer was trying to accomplish, an overwhelming majority of citizens were in agreement to try the reduction.  I voted in accordance with the majority of citizens in attendance, and the Council vote was unanimous.  My opponent did not and still does not listen to the citizens.