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Arlington Spectator: Even California Citizens Know How Bad Road Diets Are

2015-11-20-03

http://www.opinionarlington.com/?p=8695

Four members of the Arlington City Council are up for reelection this coming May. They are city-wide, at-large members Jimmy Bennett and Robert Shepard, and single member district representatives Charlie Parker (north Arlington) and Sheri Capehart (southwest Arlington).

Last year, RINOs Bennett and Parker both campaigned and signed their names in full support of the Democratic challenger to conservative State Representative (District 94), Tony Tinderholt.

All four of these council members greatly prefer the special interest buddy over the citizens in their votes. The Lamar Blvd road diet is just the latest example.

 

From The Arlington Spectator, Volume 8, Number 46, Monday, November 16, 2015

Richard Weber, Publisher of the Arlington Spectator

Game Schedule

  • Tuesday, November 17, City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, 9:30am, 10:30am, 3:30pm, 6:30pm.
  • Thursday, November 19, AISD School Board Meeting, AISD administration bldg, 1203 W Pioneer Pwy, 7:00pm.
  • Thursday, November 26, Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • Tuesday, December 1, City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, TBA.

Arlington is a city where citizens are relegated to being spectators rather than players. The SPECTATOR helps citizens know what is happening on the field. Only the few on the in-house team are allowed to play ball in Arlington. The SPECTATOR helps citizens understand the game.

From the Locker Room

 

Council Update

The city council met this past week for their regular meetings on Tuesday. All council members were present at the afternoon meeting. Robert Shepard was absent for the evening meeting.

 

Committee Meeting – Last Week

The noon committee meeting saw the council members in favor of giving code enforcement more power, and more work (probably leading to more positions and more tax dollars) to require businesses to make more repairs (and therefore costs) in the name of beautification.

The second half of the committee meeting was spent receiving an update on the very expensive watershed studies.

 

Afternoon Session – Last Week

The afternoon session started at 1:30pm in executive session. The open portion of the afternoon session was scheduled to begin at 3:30pm. It did not begin until 4:40pm. This is the third meeting in a row where the open meeting started more than an hour late.

The afternoon session began with a discussion of the evening agenda items. They planned to make a minor adjustment to their payday lending ordinance, requiring the preferred language to be English, Spanish, or Vietnamese.

The federal legislative agenda and the library strategic plan were discussed. Transportation and drones were included in the federal agenda. The new pack-and-stack library is still planning to break ground early 2016.

 

Evening Meeting – Last Week

The evening meeting lasted for over two hours. The two gas drilling executive session items failed. With approximately 20 registered in opposition (about 8 speaking) on various cautions regarding the drilling at the city’s water supply (Lake Arlington) and other issues. The first item was denied, 7-1, with Bennett in favor. The second item was denied, 6-2, with Bennett and Parker in favor. [for more analysis, see Executive Session Analysis further down in this section]

The consent agenda saw no discussion with its 8-0 vote.

The airport development plan passed 8-0 with one speaker and one non-speaker opposed. The modification of airport ordinances passed 8-0 with no speakers.

The public hearing for the tattoo shop was continued again. The additional houses on Kelly-Perkins passed 8-0 with no speakers.

One speaker opposed the special use permit for a location on Hastings. It passed 8-0. One speaker opposed the special use permit for 113th Street. It also passed 8-0.

The ordinance to abandon an easement passed 8-0. The ordinance to limit payday lenders saw about 20 people in support (seven speakers) and 2 speakers opposed. It passed 8-0.

Citizen participation saw two speakers. The first announced Happy Hailey Day on Thursday. The second speaker spoke of a plan to train people for needed skills.

 

Executive Session Analysis

Since the denied items were executive session items, the city supplies very little data. These executive session items were for lease agreements, not an ordinance to allow drilling. The first one included Lake Arlington. The second seemed to be south of Lake Arlington Baptist Church, a fairly good distance from the actual lake.

What I do NOT know…

1) If price of the deal had been a factor? If a better deal is offered, will the vote change? Bennett did not mind the price. Parker did not mind the price on the second item.

2) Will there still be drilling? This was only the city’s lease and nothing to do with a drilling ordinance. So will the drilling still occur? The city not signing the lease does not mean they cannot drill.

 

Council Meets This Week

The council will meet on Tuesday of this week. They start at 9:30am as the Arlington Tomorrow Fund Board. 10:30am is the first of four committee meetings stacked on top of each other. The afternoon session starts in executive session at 12:30pm. The open session is scheduled for 3:30pm. The evening meeting starts at 6:30pm.

 

Committee Meetings

There are four committee meetings, the first starting at 10:30am. Agendas include (10:30am) gas franchise renewal, (11:00am) single family and commercial property maintenance improvement strategy, (11:30am) parking of vehicles, and (noon) in executive session another special interest buddy’s business proposal.

 

The gas franchise fee allows the company to deliver gas to its customers (you, the citizens) using the city’s right of way. This is important money to the city in its budget, eyed as income they get without directly taxing its citizens. However the gas company turns around and charges (not called a tax) its customers to recover the fee.

The old agreement is to expire in December. The plan is for a new 10-year agreement with two additional 5-year options. I do not know how much of an increase the new agreement has, and will be increasing your bill.

Last week the committee discussing property maintenance improvements gave staff permission to work on strengthening the code in the name of beautification to force businesses to a higher degree of maintenance in several areas. This meeting is probably those changes.

The results of such modifications will be more time required for each inspection, possibly requiring the hiring of more manpower (more tax dollars). More maintenance expenses is an additional expense, which will undoubtedly be passed on to the customer.

The parking of vehicles committee meeting discussion is looking into the possibility of stricter regulations of what you will be allowed to park on your property. This subject was raised several council meetings ago by the Agenda-21 queen, Sheri Capehart, based on a complaint received of a neighbor parking a boat in their own driveway.

The committee to meet in executive session on the special interest buddy’s business proposal is only scheduled to meet for 15 minutes (already a done deal?). Hold onto your wallets, crony capitalism at work.

 

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session begins at 12:30pm in executive session. The open session is scheduled to start at 3:30pm.

The agenda includes five executive session items, two work session items, and two informal staff reports.

The first work session item is an update on the senior center and multi-generational facilities. The second is a planned update to code restricting the use of outside storage units (again causing havoc on businesses). This is being done in the name of beautification.

 

Evening Meeting

The 6:30pm evening agenda includes no executive session items, 20 consent agenda items, one public hearing, and one resolution.

Some of the consent agenda items include a $633,360 healthcare consultant contract spread over three years, a $1 million healthcare administration contract, a $16 million construction contract for Abram Street (Collins to Stadium), an $11.5 million construction contract for Great Southwest Parkway (Avenue E to Abram), acceptance of a $2.8 million homeland security grant, and an agreement to fund an undetermined amount for congestion mitigation and air quality improvements for the Abram Street “enhancement” project.

The public hearing is the continued public hearing for a tattoo shop near Arlington High School.

The last separate resolution is to approve the sale of up to ?$53? million in bonds for the Veridian project. The bonds are primarily backed by the Veridian MMD (funded by an extra tax charged Veridian properties). However, I believe they are secondarily backed by Arlington taxpayers.

 

AISD Update

The next AISD board meeting will be Thursday, December 10.

 

In The News

 

Cowboys Update

The Cowboys (2-7) lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs, 10-6.

Currently the Giants are in first place in the division with a 5-5 record. The Eagles and Redskins are 4-5, and just a half game back. The Cowboys are last.

Next week the Cowboys play the Dolphins in Miami as one of the early Sunday games. The Dolphins beat the Eagles in Philadelphia this past weekend. QB Tony Romo is expected to return to action in this coming game.

 

May Sales Tax Election

Most cities charge 8.25% sales tax. Arlington only charges 8.00%. That extra .25% is burning a hole in the pockets of our spend-spend-spend city council and they were working towards a November election to fund an Economic Development Corporation.

The Arlington Spectator opposes this tax increase.

At the first city council meeting of the month, it was taken off the board for this November. It will most likely reappear for a May 2016 election.

Council members wanted time to get their ducks in a row to sell the thing. Look for it to reappear for the May Municipal Elections.

 

Feel free to forward this column to family and friends.

Ready to put your two cents in? Comment online and/or….

email the entire City Council with one click!

or

Contact City Council members individually


Richard Weber, publisher of the Arlington Spectator, is that rare citizen who devotes time to civic duty and involvement. For doing so, he receives little thanks. Most citizens have more important things on their minds—TV, football, enjoying their retirement, etc. Not Richard. You’ll find him at City Council afternoon and evening sessions, at school board meetings, publishing Arlington Spectator, and helming AARG (Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government). Richard is not welcome at Mayor Cluck’s City Hall, where every effort is made to muzzle Richard and any other citizen who believes taxpayers should have a voice in government. Richard’s selfless effort is one of the things that inspired us to begin publishing Opinion Arlington.

Contact Information:

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3 Responses to Arlington Spectator: Even California Citizens Know How Bad Road Diets Are

  1. Dennis Killy

    November 26, 2015 at 1:03 am

    You know, I agree 100% with Robert … just call them Thugs, Gutless Wonders, Low-Life’s & Scum-Bags!

  2. Robert

    November 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I see the term “special interest buddy” used quite frequently. This sounds particularly childish. ¿How do we know they are “special interest buddies”? Maybe they are termed as such because they aren’t “your” “special interest buddies”. How about skipping the silliness of the term and name names and companies. Let us know who you consider “special interest buddies”. I’m pretty sure the names of the individuals and companies are public information and in the minutes of the council meetings.

    • Richard Weber

      November 30, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      I only see the term three times.

      The first in the general description of the four council members up for reelection this spring that need to be replaced. It’s use is to describe the four council members’ votes in general. The specific example of the Lamar Street lanes is for special interest buddy Robert Kimbel.

      The council members worship Kimbel. Anything he wants is his. Say he wants buildings nine feet apart instead of the required 12 feet, no problem. Maybe buildings as high as 80 feet tall, sure. If he wants to take a lane of traffic off a major thoroughfare, sure, again, no problem. They worship him…

      The second and third occurrence were in regard to an executive session committee meeting. The agenda and minutes of an executive session business proposal will NOT show the name of the individuals that spoke or the company they represent.

      You are right about they not being my special interest buddies. I try to avoid being owned and greatly dislike the crony capitalism.

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