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AS: Listening to Citizens; City to Approve 287 Study; City Survey

2016-04-15-1

www.arlington-tx.gov/cdp/287plan/ 

 

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.

 

District 1

Kelly Canon

Charlie Parker

 

District 7

Victoria Farrar-Myers

Chris “Dobi” Dobson

 

School Board

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

 

Place 4

John Hibbs

Luis Castillo

 

Followed by the May 24, Primary Runoff

 

From The Arlington Spectator, Volume 9, Number 15, Monday, April 11, 2016

Richard Weber, Publisher of the Arlington Spectator

Game Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 12, City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, TBA.
  • Thursday, April 21, AISD School Board meeting, AISD Administration Building, 1203 W Pioneer Pkwy, 7:00pm.
  • Monday, April 25, Early Voting for Municipal and School Board Positions Begin.
  • Tuesday, April 26, City Council meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W Abram St, TBA.
  • Wednesday, April 27, Texas Public Hearing on Property Tax Reform & Relief, Rosebud Theater, E.H. Hereford University Center, 300 W First St, UTA, 10:00am.
  • Wednesday, April 27, Arlington Alliance for Responsible Government (AARG), Cokers Bar-B-Q, 2612 W Pioneer Pkwy, 6:30pm.
  • Tuesday, May 3, Early Voting for Municipal and School Board Positions End.
  • Saturday, May 7, Election Day for Municipal and School Board Positions.

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 city council meeting will be Tuesday, April 12. The only committee meeting starts at 11:00am. They will meet as the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation Board at 12:45pm. The afternoon session starts at 2:30pm in executive session. The open portion of the meeting is scheduled for 4:00pm. The evening meeting is at 6:30pm.

 

Committee Meeting

The only committee meeting is at 11:00am. They have three agenda items.

First up is the vacant land attached, west of the Southwest Library. They evidently plan to name it the Al Rollins Park.

They also have 30 minutes each scheduled for the Plan Year 2016 HUD Action Plan and Neighborhood Matching Grants.

The same room will host the 12:45pm Arlington Tomorrow Foundation Board Meeting.

 

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm in executive session. The open portion of the session is planned to start at 4:00pm, or later.

The executive session agenda includes five items, including yet more offers of incentives to business prospects (hold onto your wallets).

There is also a BSL, Inc lawsuits (???), and the property at 1901 W Arbrook Blvd to be discussed.

The open portion of the afternoon session, 4:00pm or later, is scheduled to start with the Police Department Annual Report. (starts on page 3 of http://www.arlington-tx.gov/citycouncil/wp-content/uploads/ites/18/2014/06/Afternoon-04-12-16.pdf )

 

Evening Meeting

The evening meeting starts at 6:30pm. The agenda includes one executive session item, three sets of minutes, 26 consent agenda items, three public hearings, three ordinances, and another corporate welfare resolution.

The consent agenda includes several contract modifications. It also includes a $37,500 contract for electricity consulting services.

The first public hearing is a zoning case for 2530 Matlock. They wish to change 2.25 acres from residential single-family (7.2) to Office Commercial. Zoning approved 8-0. Opposition is opposed to the adverse effect on the Johnson Creek flood plain.

The second public hearing is for 701 E Rogers St. They wish to change 1.2 acres from multi-family to community commercial, both (new and old) having Entertainment District Overlay. Zoning approved 8-0.

The third public hearing is for the 287 Corridor Master Plan. The council will eagerly approve this one.

The first ordinance is for unattended donation (collection) boxes. Staff wishes to control by registering.

The third ordinance is for repealing the “Oil and Natural Gas Well Operational Permit.” It would appear that things did/are not going well in court and the city is repealing the ordinance.

Shortly after the passing of this ordinance the drillers created an association and sued the city.

Since then HB40 passed in the state. Our safety from drillers is totally in the hands of the state (last April’s disaster at the Lake Arlington Baptist Church drill site being a distant memory).

The final resolution is for yet another corporate welfare deal, on E Bardin Rd, near Sherry.

There are agreements already in place for other builds, which obviously have not encouraged self-supporting development. They want their share of the free money to generate those popular, high-paying (cough-cough) warehouse jobs for the tune of $650,000 corporate welfare 65% of property tax abatement for seven years.

 

AISD Update

The next AISD board meeting will be Thursday, April 21.

 

In The News

 

Texas Rangers Season Opener Today

The Texas Rangers open their season today, in Arlington vs. the Seattle Mariners. The game will begin at 3:05pm.

 

Kennedale

Last week I mentioned the high water bills received by Kennedale residents. Their council approved the high rates after giving a citizen committee only two options (so bad I’m not sure they even qualify as options) for a shortage of projected budget revenue based on extremely

unrealistic water usage numbers.

 

City May 7 Elections

There are two contested races 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 Farrar-Myers and Chris “Dobi” 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 CANDIDATES

 

COMMUNICATIONS

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

This will be the final question for the city council candidates in out series. It was also be the first question asked the two AISD Place 4 Candidates.

The series will be continuing with AISD candidate questions.

A constituent has e-mailed you a point of view, backed by facts, on an agenda item you have or will vote in the opposite way. He asks for a response.

How do you respond to the e-mail?

 

The Responses:

Kelly Canon, challenger District

First, I would thank that constituent for contacting me, and bringing the information to my attention.

All too often, constituents shy away from reaching out to their representatives, and all too often, representatives ignore their constituents.

I would make it a priority to NOT ignore any constituent. Next, I’d look at the constituent’s “facts”, and compare them with what I’ve been informed with, prior to the upcoming vote on the issue. If there’s an obvious discrepancy in the two sets of information, I would definitely do some more research, and consult with trusted sources, to aid in reconciling the differences. If what I discover (after more research) is in line with what the constituent has sent, I would absolutely reconsider my upcoming vote.

If my research further reinforces my original vote, I would respectfully share what I know, and why, with the constituent. Either way, I would reach out to that constituent, and express my gratitude for his/her help!

 

Victoria Farrar-Myers, candidate District 7

First, I would consider the constituent’s viewpoint and facts. I am a “data person” and want to know as much as possible about an issue to make an informed policy decision. If I were persuaded by the constituent’s arguments, I would willingly reassess or modify my position in order to do what is best for the City.

I would strive to respond to the constituent in as timely a manner as possible to thank the constituent for the information and to explain my position. As I have told many voters and groups I have met with throughout the campaign, I will not hide behind a vote, and the residents of Arlington will know where I stand on key issues. I would also encourage the constituent to continue to express his or her viewpoints, especially with facts supporting their arguments, and preferably before Council votes are taken. Citizen input is the best “data” that I, if elected, can get to ensure that I would make informed decisions that are best for Arlington and its residents.

Candidates refusing to respond: Charlie Parker, Chris Dobson, Sheri Capehart, and Robert Shepard.

 

AISD candidate responses:

John Hibbs, incumbent, AISD Place 4It has been my practice over the six years of service to respond to all emails that have been directly sent for response. I will always be respectful and share my prospective on why I chose to vote or support a specific position. I believe that it is important to have a positive exchange of ideas and opinions. Mr. Weber; whom I deeply respect and have been in agreement with and even differed on opinion with, is a perfect example of respecting the importance of answering constituents questions and concerns in a positive and productive manner.

 

Luis Castillo, challenger, AISD Place 4

Dear Constituent, Thank you for contacting concerning the subject issue. I appreciate your input and concerns to the policy making process.

Though I am inclined to vote in favor of the issue you’ve raised, I do keep constituent’s concerns in mind. Given the facts that you’ve provided, I will validate those facts and assess whether or not a vote in favor of the issue will serve the greater good.

Again, thank you for bringing your concerns into the process, I will be in contact with you soon.

Sincerely,

Luis C. Castillo

 

The City’s Latest Customer Service Survey http://www.arlingtontx.gov/news/2016/03/30/new-2015-citizen-satisfaction-survey-results-released/

My Notes: I went through the results noting the differences high-lighted with an asterisk within the report. The most concerning item, especially since all of the approved road diets have not kicked in yet, was the approval rating of acceptable traffic flow during rush hour declining, on page 28.

p10 – Overall Rating Neighborhood Quality of Life – the lower two ratings saw a downward shift. 2015 fair/poor was 21/4 while the 2016 fair/poor was 16/8.

p11 – Reason for Living in Arlington – Schools went from 23 to 15.

p12 – Perceptions of Arlington – Traffic levels are acceptable dropped from 49 to 40 (and the Lamar and Abram road diets have NOT even happened, yet).

p13 – Perceptions of Neighborhood Problems

  • Stray Animals went from 21 to 27/28.
  • Residential Burglaries dropped from 33 to 26.

p20 – Police Services – Three categories got * in the excellent rating, but the individual pieces are not there for ready comparison. However, since the overall rating improved, the assumption is that the three * are improvements. Those three categories with assumed excellent improvement are Quality of Service, Overall Competence, and Behavior and Attitude of Officers. The Behavior and Attitude category also saw a jump in the top two ratings (excellent and good) from 73 to 81.

p21 – Ambulance Service – Timeliness of Service approval dropped from 91 to 74.

p23 – Library Services – Use dropped from 77 to 51 (the closing of the downtown library for mixed-use development?)

p25 – Water/Utilities – Contact raised from 46 to 59.

p26 – Water/Utilities – Speed in completing water/sewer construction dropped from 73 to 64.

p27 – Rating of Other City Services

  • Electronic Bill-paying dropped from 88 to 83.
  • Convention Center went from 83 to 70.
  • Open Records Request went from 77 to 58.
  • Building Permits went from 67 to 51.

p28 – Arlington Streets & Roads

  • Maintenance of medians and right-of-ways dropped from 67 to 61.
  • Managing traffic flow in the entertainment district dropped from 49 to 40.
  • Managing traffic during peak hours dropped from 48 to 42.
  • Quality of Street Repair Service dropped from 48 to 42.
  • Overall condition of Streets and Roads dropped from 47 to 40.
  • Speed in Roadwork Repairs dropped from 41 to 31.

p31 – There was an increase from 9 to 13 of percent that wanted to raise taxes and increase services.

p33 Sources used for Arlington Information

  • TV dropped from 57 to 51.
  • Network over the Air dropped from 26 to 20.
  • Newspaper dropped from 41 to 34.
  • Star-Telegram dropped from 38 to 31.
  • Star-Telegram print dropped from 29 to 23.

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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