Gonna take a little trip to Yuma, AZ, for a few days. Some great in-laws out there. You take care of Rowlett while I'm gone. Don't elect anyone, yet; particularly heirs to the throne. Probably have some vetting to do.
If you're reading the Dallas Morning News or the local paper to get news about Rowlett, you're kinda wasting your time. Rowlett never makes the cut in Dallas Morning News. A Tiddly Wink event in Rockwall is always more important than anything in Rowlett. The local paper just doesn't have room for more than three news events, plus sports.
If you really want to know what's going on in Rowlett, you must read Larry and Gaylyn Beckham's newsletter each Friday. Once again, today's newsletter is loaded with good information about the "goings on" in Rowlett. You'll learn more about Rowlett in one issue of the newsletter than you will in months of reading the Dallas Morning News. The newsletter is sent out via email every Friday morning without fail. It is called simply "The Newsletter." The fee is awesome. It is free. The commitment of time for such a service is far beyond just a few minutes of composing. You can measure it in days.
My wholehearted thanks to Larry and Gaylyn for such a tremendous service performed for the citizens of Rowlett.
We are now entering a new political season. Even tho there is not much to vote on in the current election, the talk around town is increasing. Of the three council seats opening, only one is contested between Rick Sheffield and Pam Bell. Bruce and Robbert are running unopposed.
However, the palaver continues. Some recent observations have been relayed to me regarding the interaction between Staff and Council.
There are ones on staff and with council that I like very much. There are some on both sides that I'm less enamored with. All that I know on both sides are smart. There aren't any dumb ones. However, some analyze the facts and reach different conclusions than I. That's okay.
However, there is one overriding fact that seems to be ignored periodically. Staff works for Council, not the other way around. Certainly staff outlasts politicians because of term limits, but Council is empowered to set policy and Staff implements policy and administers to the dictates of Council.
That is why it's important that you vote. You may love staff, but the people you vote for tells staff what to do.
Or......that's the way it's supposed to be.
There seems to be some confusion in recent City Council meetings. As much as I like Brian Funderbunk, and I do, he works for Council. Everyone else works for Brian. We are fortunate in Rowlett. Most of our elected officials really try to do right for Rowlett. Or, that's my opinion. There may be a couple of persons on Council that have personal interest over duty, but it still remains at unalarming levels. There may come a day in which the situation may become more dire.
I can say the same for Staff. But, in the final analysis, Staff works for Council, your elected officials. Not the other way around.
It's time to start watching City Council meetings on Live Cam. It's available to all. It's on the City of Rowlett website.
Oh......short note. I am now a Charter member of a newly formed American Legion Post in Rowlett. It will be fun.
I decided to wait a little longer before announcing the poll results. I have a number of readers who are somewhat infrequent.......then read several posts at the same time. Therefore, I waited for at least a month to compile the results.
I was a little disappointed in the response rate. I received 120 responses and I was expecting at least three times that many. Certainly, the readership count was sufficient for such a response. I think some of the reluctance to respond was due to fear that someone would know who was voting. That wasn't a real fear. I didn't even know who was voting. The votes were sent to the blog service provider and I only knew the results of the votes.......not who sent them.
On the question of whether the presentation and explanation of the HFC's were clear, the responses were resounding. Of 120 respondents, all voted "Yes," (100%).
On the question of whether Rowlett needed an HFC, the votes were 80 "For" (66%) and 40 "Against." (34%). I was a little surprised by these results. However, after thinking it through, I think some of the negative responses were because of fear of Section 8, Dallas Housing Authority, and the Walker Vouchers.......nearly all of which are subsidized housing programs. The HFC program is just a financing vehicle. Much of the funding is provided by sale of bonds with tax credits. Tax credits are sold to large firms who need the tax credits. No money is spent for any subsidies. However, it is felt this is a good trade off for what Rowlett receives. I also feel there was some fear of apartments. HFC's provide financing for single family detached homes, also.
The final question was whether the City of Rowlett should essentially manage the HFC. Once again, the results were overwhelming. 119 votes were against the city managing the HFC and one didn't vote on the question. One thing is clear. The respondents didn't want to mix politics with financing of homes and apartments. I wholeheartedly agree with this position. The city should turn this endeavor over to the people that are experienced in this discipline. It is not for the untrained.
The above is hardly scientific study, however it is certainly indicative of what citizens think.
I did get a few opinions. Most were short one or two liners that explained the respondents position. However, one was quite lengthy. It was somewhat critical of Rowlett's "officialdom." I don't know who sent it, therefore I don't have permission to print it. However, it was sent to me, so I guess I could if I wanted.
When folks get to be my age, they begin to look for "stuff" to do. I plead "guilty." Sometimes we become a pain in the butt to "officialdom," but that's okay. It's a merit badge for getting old.
Three days ago, I was involved in a meeting to clean up Shrade Road. The trash accumulation over the past year is getting out of hand. The contractors working on the tornado damaged houses are a big contributor to the trash inventory. They should help clean up. The city should send their code enforcers into the area. Contractors should not be allowed to throw their trash into the street. There are dumpsters for that. In almost every contract, there is a clean up clause. The homeowners need to enforce it.
Yesterday, I was writing letters to seek federal government aid to build sidewalks along Chiesa Road. I have watched school children for years with damp pants legs from morning dew, and stopping to scratch chiggers, as they come and go from school. This is a disgrace. Our city gives an apartment developer 15 years of tax abatement from city property tax, and then can't pour sidewalks for our kids to use going to school. Somebody needs their butts chewed out. I'm going to show you how.
My favorite, and main, project is the establishment of a Housing Finance Corporation. I have written plenty about it is these pages. If you read forward from "New Horzons" posted on 1/5/17, you will capture nearly all the education needed to form an opinion. I wish to solicit your help.
There is a very interesting article in today's Dallas Morning News, written by Steve Brown, DMN's real estate beat writer. He was reiterating exactly the same points I have been preaching about in these pages. That is, the price of average housing is outstripping our workforce citizen's ability to pay for them. I'm not talking about low income housing. I'm talking about policemen, firemen, nurses, small business managers, etc. In other words, everything that makes Rowlett work. If you think our elected officials make things work, you're mistaken.
Essentially, the HFC is nothing more than a way to finance housing. It doesn't have anything to do with codes, community growth plans, or politician's favorite toy. The only "gift" being bestowed on developers and tenants is that the "debt service" is substantially reduced because of the sale of tax exempt bonds. The city didn't contribute, or pay, any money. The state didn't contribute, or pay, any money, and the Feds didn't contribute, or pay, any money. However, the Federal Government provided tax credits to shelter other income from taxation. So, we just never got the money. But, look at what we got in return. Maybe a $20 apartment million project, or maybe 250 homes. The formulas all vary, but it's all good for Rowlett.
Now, I have been trying in earnest to get City Council to move on the next steps necessary to get state approval for the HFC. It is horribly frustrating. I know the city is busy. That's why I've taken on so much of the work myself. I am qualified for this. I can seek out the information, qualify it, and present it to council. This I have done. So far, all I can get is, "Yeah, I'm for it." And then it goes into a black hole.
I do think there is some territorial positioning going on. That is sad. When found out, you will have an excellent example of a politician or staff member working for his or her own behalf instead of what's best for Rowlett.
We need the HFC. This blog contains much information about them starting on January 5, 2017. Once you form an opinion, go to the Rowlett website (you can Goggle it), click on "Government" and scroll down to "City Council." There is a link to email the entire City Council with one email. Once you understand HFC's, email Council. Go do it. You'll feel good.
This is well off the well worn path I usually hang around, but I have an important story to tell.
First I must tell you I love wild animals. I would have bear, wolves, cougar, badgers, etc. all around, if it was prudent. It ain't. It would be outrageously unsafe in an urban atmosphere. As much as I like wild animals, they can't roam wild in the city. They must be in a zoo. Now my story.
One of my doctors lives in Rowlett. I visited with him yesterday and I'm still "good to go." However, we're also friends. While in his office he showed me films of one of his two dogs being killed and another being severally wounded and is currently in the hospital just barely hanging on. In the film, I could hear the squeal of the last dog being bitten. It was sad, and cruel. It was broad daylight.
The animals doing the attacking looked to me to be a cross breed of coyote and domestic dog. The heads looked like dog, but the bodies looked very much to me to be coyote. I have seen many coyotes and used to hunt them in Kansas. They are typically night marauders and are shy of humans. Unfortunately, cross breeds are not so shy of humans and will attack easily during the day.
My doctor's two small dogs fell victim to two killers in broad daylight with the human owners taking pictures. Folks, that's brazen and very, very, dangerous to small children that could be around the lake.
I love hearing the coyotes at night. However, not at the expense of losing a child. It is just not worth the risk.
The city must begin to take steps to thin out the coyote population around the lake and take specific aim at identified killers. If killing them is distasteful, they can be trapped and released into more suitable habitat.
These animals are very swift, and can strike in an instant. A small child playing outside wouldn't have a chance.
I will post the results of the poll soon. My readers visit the blog on a somewhat irregular basis. Some read the blog only once a week, some once a month.......then read many "posts" in a single session. That's smart, because I don't write something everyday.
In any event, I have to wait for a while for my readers to have a chance to see the poll. Late this week ought to be enough time. I was still getting responses on Thursday and Friday.
Last Tuesday I felt a cold coming on. I'm very experienced with colds. I can take the best of them......I thought. By Tuesday evening, I knew I had one for history. By Wednesday morning, nothing worked. I couldn't even breathe. I began to turn the corner yesterday, and I'm back to the computer late today. I'm still a walking wounded, but improving.
Some of my buddies couldn't resist some jokes, since I was defenseless, but one I just have to share with you. It is below. This one came in from an old high school buddy. Hope you enjoy it. _________________
Best Police Pursuit The music on this video is half the fun, the chase was on the 91 Freeway and CA-241 Toll Road in Orange County, CA. This could have been right out of a Benny Hill episode, but it is an actual police chase...with a woman driver! It probably took the entire police force to capture this villain. Click Here