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Arlington Spectator: Leo Berman – A Benchmark

http://www.opinionarlington.com/?p=9419

In my opinion Leo Berman has always been the best councilman the City of Arlington has had.

Local May 7 Elections:

Four seats of the Arlington City Council are up for election this coming May. However, only two are contested. They are city-wide, at-large District 7and single member district of North Arlington, District 1.

Only one of the two AISD board positions is contested. That is Place 4.

Followed by the May 24, Primary Runoff

From The Arlington Spectator, Volume 9, Number 11, Monday, March 14, 2016

Richard Weber, Publisher of the Arlington Spectator

Game Schedule

  • Tuesday, March 22, City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, TBA.
  • Wednesday, March 23, Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government meeting, Cokers Bar-B-Q, 2612 W Pioneer Pkwy, 6:30pm.
  • Thursday, March 24, Arlington Republican Club Candidate Forum, Humperdinks, 700 Six Flags Dr, 7:00pm.
  • Thursday, April 7, AISD School Board meeting, AISD Administration Building, 1203 W Pioneer Pkwy, 7:00pm.

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 next council meeting won’t be until Tuesday, March 22.

 

AISD Update

The next AISD board meeting will be Thursday, April 7.

 

In The News

City May 7 Elections

There are two contested race in the upcoming May City Elections. District 7 is an at large seat, city-wide and will NOT have an incumbent. The candidates are Victoria Myers and Chris Dobson.

The other contest race is in North Arlington where incumbent Charlie Parker is being challenged by Kelly Canon.

The two uncontested races have the returning incumbents, District 2 (Sheri Capehart) and District 6 (Robert Shepard).

 

AISD May 7 Elections

The one position contested on the AISD Board is Place 4. The incumbent John Hibbs is being challenged by Luis Castillo.

Jamie Sullins, the incumbent in Place 5 is unopposed.

 

Know Your Candidate –The Texas Live Deal

All of the Arlington City Council Candidates were asked to answer this one question within a week:

The council recently approved a deal with the Texas Rangers for a new $200 million complex where the city will provide $50 million (from the Arlington Tomorrow Fund) and another expected $50 million in future tax revenues. Please evaluate this deal.

The responses:

Charlie Parker, incumbent District 1:

After reading the comments of Mr. Saunders concerning my candidacy, I will not be responding to further questions posed for publishing in Opinion Arlington. This website has already endorsed my opponent, so there is no further reason for my opinion to be posted.

Kelly Canon, challenger District 1

I actually support this particular plan, which was (in my opinion) very creatively constructed. Using half of the Tomorrow Fund to invest in “tomorrow” is a worthy use of this fund. The way I understand it, the City will purchase the tract of land in question, and lease it back to the developer. I’ve seen a lot of private businesses do this very same thing. Over the next 15 years, the City will not only get their money back, but will see a nice return on their investment. This plan does DOT raise taxes, and it does NOT need bonds (extra debt) to support it. Critics may say that this is a bad use of taxpayer money… Technically, is not “tax” monies. The Tomorrow Fund is a “holding bin” for the revenue derived from the City’s gas leases. Bottom line, there will be no new or increased taxes foisted upon the citizens of Arlington. This is a win-win for Arlington, and I’m very glad the city was able to “think outside the box” with this!

 

Victoria Farrar-Myers, candidate District 7

The Texas Live! and related hotel and convention center projects are best viewed as the City investing in a long-term stream of economic activity with limited downside risk to Arlington residents. The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation Program operations documents indicate that the Foundation’s endowment is to be invested and managed to produce income that will be used to keep the corpus (i.e., primary endowment) up with inflation, to cover operating expenses, and to award grants. The project represents a financial investment within the scope of the Foundation’s authority and purpose. While some do not agree with committing the Foundation’s funds for Texas Live!, the project can accomplish the Foundation’s investment objectives.

If public projections prove to be accurate – up to 2,000 construction and approximately 1,000 permanent jobs, $100 million in annual economic output to the City and Tarrant County, and restoration of the corpus of the funds held by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation plus additional monies to be funneled back into city neighborhoods – the City and the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation will be more than repaid for their investment. Even if these optimistic projections fall short, though, the City has capped its exposure and would not be on the hook for any cost overruns or underperformance. Further, the additional City commitment in the form of performance-based incentives would be paid from revenue sources derived from those using the project and hotel, such that this portion of Arlington’s commitment would be essentially self-funded from the project.

 

Chris Dobson, candidate District 7

This deal fails the citizens and residents of Arlington in a number of ways: firstly, this was a cash grab by the city council, as they recently reinstituted themselves as the board of the Arlington Tomorrow fund for this purpose; secondly, this cash grab violates the premise of the Arlington Tomorrow fund as this Hotel/live venue is neither a nonprofit nor available for public use; Thirdly the spectacle of the city of Arlington supporting a professional baseball team’s bottom line rather than providing meaningful services and developments for Arlington residents, should make clear to all the current council’s priority as to whom they represent among the competing needs and wants of our city.

Candidates refusing to respond: Sheri Capehart, and Robert Shepard.

 

My Analysis:

I am sorry to see that Mr. Parker has chosen this route. Mr. Saunders is one writer, but the readers make their own choices at the polls based on what input they have received. Those readers/voters will not have Mr. Parker’s direct input on the issues discussed.

 

Ms. Canon and Dr. Farrar-Myers like the plan and its “outside the box” thinking. Personally, and maybe it’s just me, but I dislike these type of deals where building and property owners are not the same, done I assume to avoid property taxes. What happens is the building modernisms/usefulness declines and if new lease conditions cannot be agreed upon the building decays. The city is then left with undesirable choices after the lease is over.

Though not received through “taxes”, Arlington Tomorrow Fund’s (ATF) assets are taxpayers’ property.

I agree that the use of the ATF funds on this project is a better use than the ATF usually spends its dollars.

The future tax revenues go to the developer, meaning the only way the project pays for itself is the generation of future tax dollars to other business (extremely hard to measure and prove) and in my opinion very unlikely.

Of the jobs this project is to create, how many are permanent that pay much greater than minimum wage? I do not see that many.

 

Chris Dobson opposes the plan based on the ATF dollars being use.

Personally, I hate the way this was thrown in front of the public, so fast, there was not enough time to study, and get answers to many questions. I do not see how this will generate the $50 million the taxpayers are tossing in.


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:

email at ArlSpectator@yahoo.com

 

The Spectator

City Council grades

School Board grades

The Arlington Voice (online newspaper covering Arlington)

Opinion Arlington (comment on issues of Arlington)

The Texas Bond Review Board

City of Arlington website

Charlie Parker Blog

NW Arlington Newsletter

SE Arlington Blog

Texas Legislative Online

The Texas Bond Review Board

 

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