Saturday, April 30, 2011

Since I'm an equal opportunity ball buster...

The RCA's full page ad in this weeks NeighborsGo has a few inaccuracies of its own.

As someone who's been to almost all of the forums and heard Amir harp on and on about this issue both publicly and privately, I have to say the RCA took some liberties with this one...
First of all, attributing one quote to four different people is already a stretch, especially when said quote was NEVER directly made by even one of them, but then to add the name of a candidate (perhaps even "candidates") who said precisely the opposite- now that's just sloppy.

I know for a fact AO believes the citizens should elect their own mayor. And I also thought Kendal Hartley was in favor of a direct election as well. That's when I decided to follow the asterisk...
Awesome. So I'll just go to their site, watch the video and see what they're referring to.

Only one such video has been uploaded. 


Friday, April 29, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to open your mailbox again...

The frowny faces are back.
{click to enlarge}
For real, RC? Did we not mock you enough last time?

And wtf, I support a few of your candidates but half this stuff is lies. again. why am I not surprised.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Contrary to popular belief...

Alan North was actually at the forum last night.

He's just a wee little man though, and the LWV has a rule against "props" i.e. phone books/booster seats.

What a shame...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He's no Tom Bache-Wiig, but...

Mark Twain Forum

{Sorry this is so late, I chose cleaning diarrhea and vomit off my walls/floor/bedding over blogging this week. Don't worry, it' wasn't mine.}

Let's go ahead and just boil it down to the highlights...

I won not 5 but 6 straight games of Solitaire, without using the hint button once.

Mark Solomon made mention of his insurance two separate times...really mastering the technique of segueing.

Dennis Stewart coined the term "Forum Groupies."

Kendal Hartley said he likes to listen more than talk. smooth.

John DeMattia and Amir Omar had an interesting exchange regarding bringing small business/retail to Richardson. Worth hunting down the video to see IMO.

Karl V. talked about how he retired a while back to become a public servant, which I thought was kinda awkward as it only highlighted his losing streak.

Bobby T. fumbled over his words saying "There's still a lot of good in the, pipeline," which made me smile.

Diana Claussen's phone rang not once but twice. The second time she answered, and proceeded to have a brief conversation.

However, John DeMattia still topped that to become the king of the Mark Twain forum awkward moment, when he went on a tangent about how Richardson could never have it's own "state park" because we just didn't have the space for it....when asked about the possibility of a "sKate park" in Richardson. Mishearing the question was not what made it awkward, it was more the fact that he went on and on answering it with a straight face....and on a more personal note, as someone who makes a habit out of asking a lot of stupid questions, I really like the fact that John D. won't make fun of me, but rather take them (if anything too) seriously.

Anyway that was about it. Within 24 hours half my house had contracted the ebola virus. So if you see me at the LWV forum tonight, just stand back and let me play Solitaire in peace, as I'm obviously a carrier. for real. like that monkey in Outbreak.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy National "Queer For Amir Day" Everyone!

Yeah, I didn't have it on my calendar either, but it just kinda happened.

So, Nation QFA day began this morning at 5:30am when channel 5 (yes, the same channel 5 that ran the anti-T3 piece just a few weeks ago) did a number of little live shots of AO...and trees...I'm assuming...since I was totally asleep at that hour.  I did however hear about it later on KLTY, of all places, as I was taking my son to school.
QFA celebrations continued this afternoon at the Eisemann center where many of the metroplex mayors and community leaders gathered to kick off Tree North Texas...and obviously talk about how gay they are for Amir...and trees too, of course.

My daughter Eiffel, took this celebrated occasion to make up a gang sign for Tree North Texas.
It's a leaf. pretty rad.
Crypts, bloods, photosynthesizers? I dunno. I'll keep working on it...

And finally the day ended with the whole council telling Amir just how gay they are for him. So I heard...via Facebook.
Actually, so I heard via Abrahm, via Facebook. To which Abrahm added, "I wonder what Steve said?"

I do too. I. do. too. Guess I'll have to watch the rerun tomorrow.

Until then though, I'm gonna go celebrate QFA Day in my own special way- by taking a chance on a guy with a funny name. A different guy. A guy who just so happens to (ironically) be Steve Mitchell's absolute doppelgänger... Mr. Deangelo Vickers.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Place 1...

It's pretty pointless for me to even go to these forums anymore, seeing as my mind is already made up in 6 of the 7 races. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't playing (read as 'dominating') Solitaire for a majority of Thursday night's event at the Turquoise Center. Seriously, I'm getting so good I could probably compete locally...if something like that actually existed. which would be awesome.

However, I do pause my play whenever Mr.Gordon or Mr.Townsend speak. There's this ever fleeting hope that one of them will convince me to like them more than the other. See, I like them both, I've just yet to be really impressed by either. I'm always hearing about how brilliant William Gordon is, and I'm always wanting to throw back a few margaritas with Bob and Lynn. So this has led to me devising my own system of pros & cons on which to base my vote. My system is constantly adding new absurd components, but this is what I have so far...

Speaking voice: 
Everyone already knows how I feel about Bobby T.'s wooden teeth and stellar oral acoustics = +1
William Gordon on the other hands tends to screech at the audience near the end of the forums. I think this is a strategy to convey intensity and passion, but it grates on my ears = -1

William G. has some super sweet kicks = +5
Bobby T. dresses like he's prepared to drop dead at any given moment and doesn't want his family to have to go through the trouble of changing his clothes before he's placed in his pine box = +2 (since you have to admit, it's very considerate)

{Both candidates bitch equally about the city so this is a tough one.}
Bobby T. works 50 hours for 50 dollars a week. He basically compares serving the city to working in a Taiwanese sweatshop = -10
William Gordon, while his arguments may be valid, still screeches. like a lot. It makes it hard for me to focus on said points. My husband has the same problem. He's quiet and doesn't have a good screaming voice so when he tries, it sounds painful = - 7

Sense of humor:
William G: Excruciatingly lawyerish = 0
Bobby T.: Very funny, but never during council meetings (man, I'm gonna miss the Murph) = +2

So now let me tally this up....carry the 1....y = 23 squared.....aaaaaaaaand, it's a tie.

I'm still totally, completely, thoroughly unbowled over by the both of you. So way to out unimpress me fellas, and give me a reason to continue attending the forums....I mean, a reason aside from becoming a level 10 Solitaire Jedi that is.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog about last night's forum < Take a nap

Yeah, that's an easy one.

I'll post about the forum (and W. Gordon's shoes) in a little while. Until then, please feel free to check back compulsively every half hour.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sure do have a lot of Joni Mitchell fans here in Richardson...

How much cheddar did a Chuck E. spend, if a Chuck E. did spend cheddar?

Today's the day all the candidates turn in their finance reports. Should be interesting to see who has raised what and who's contributed to whom. I'm also curious to see whether Mr.North will participate or not.....seeing as he does have a campaign "website" and all.

Anyone expect any surprises?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My 3 Dirty Little Secrets...

Ok, I'll admit that title is a bit dramatic, seeing as how none of these are actually "secrets" as much as they've just never been broadcast on my blog before. So here goes...

#1. I'm a dirty, filthy, lowlife renter-

That's right, we rent our cute little house over in Cottonwood Heights, because as a growing family of 5 there's no way we could ever afford to live in this part of Richardson otherwise. Since I'm "naive and immature," the concept of building equity vs. throwing away money every month on something I don't really own doesn't bother me at all. However, it should be noted, we're not housing 27 of our closest relatives either. So while we're "renters," we're not like scary renters. I don't think.

#2. Darrell Day is my father-

Or stepfather to be exact (he and my mom got married when I was 9 months old and divorced when I was around 4 1/2), but I refer to him as 'my dad' and so do most of the people who know me. It's not at all something I keep secret.

#3. I don't hate Gary Slagel and I will miss him when he's gone-

His glasses alone make up a good portion of the material on this blog and without him, the city will be much less like a junior high girl's slumber party. Because see, right now we're divided into the Pro-Slagel's and Anti-Slagel's, and since I'm an eh-Slagel, all day long I have people from both sides calling me to gossip. I get to be like the Perez Hilton of Richardson and I'm not gonna lie, it's a lot of fun.

Why am I telling you all this you ask? Because evidently "secrets" #2 & #3 got me a shout out in the JJ Pearce newsletter this month. Btw, do I have like NO JJP readers? Why didn't anyone give me a heads up?  I digress...

So basically, I wrote a column for my dad's local paper/newsletter last month about Gary (if you read C&P regularly you'd think it was one of the most glowing things I'd ever said about him, however, if you don't, than evidently it was offensive at best) and it really ticked off one Belinda Vrielink, so she wrote a letter to the JJP newsletter "outing" secret #2.

And so to keep that from happening again, I figured I might as well officially go on the record about all of the things that might cause my readership to plummet from a lofty 12 down to 3.

Here's my column from The Richardson Times...

{click to enlarge}
Mrs. Vrielink's rebuttal...

{click to enlarge}
So there you have it. All of my secrets have now been told. To unsubscribe from this blog, simply hit the power button on your computer.

Monday, April 11, 2011

This made me smile. :)

Forum Questions....

Got any good ones? 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

RISD Survey

So I got an automated call from my son's school today letting me know that they had sent me a survey to fill out. I hoped on the computer thinking it would be easy...when suddenly I realized what a bleeding heart conservative I am. I mean, don't get me wrong, some were easy (field trips) while others only appeared easy (lawn care..i.e. someone's mom or dad). I hate the fact that I'm willing to cut fine arts before administrative expenses, but I just feel like I can supplement my child's exposer to art, but I can't supplement a small family's income. This is tough, RISD....

Anyway, thought those of you who don't have children in Richardson schools right now and aren't having to play Sophie's Choice might find it interesting...

The first three questions were just asking for information about my son, and as always {click to enlarge}.

Forum notes from a reader...

Thoughts and notes from part of last nights Forum:

The format was confusing. Written questions were asked first, drawn from a hat by each candidate. If the question drawn had a specific person's name on it, the person it was addressed to was asked the question and another question was drawn. Unless the original candidate wanted to answer the question. In which case, the candidate who the question was addressed to could also answer the question, or not.


(as I refer to my notes):

Place 1

Bob Townsend
Did you support the bond package? Yes.
Do you support employee pay raises? Yes, we will look at this again. We were able to give step increases, thankfully.
Most pressing environmental issue? Only 25% of homes recycle.
How to get more retail? I chair the Retail Committee and have been on it for 2 years. There is not much we can do. (???)
BT gave upbeat answers, for the most part. Regarding possible future bond packages, he complimented the citizens, saying that we know that it's an investment in the city.
Grade = C (points off for most pressing environmental issue and 'not much we can do' re: new Retail, with him as the chair of that committee. Don't look to him for new ideas in that area.)

William Gordon
No show
Grade = Incomplete

Place 2

Mark Solomon
Have you read the Charter and Budget? Yes, I study them and devote Sat and Sunday to reading, also (probably reading for the next Council meeting, in that case, also).
What do you think about the NPAR? I think HOAs and HOA pres meetings are great ways to communicate. If some other group is needed, then we'll give them the same attention and respect as the other groups.
Why are you running? Place 2 is where the action is. East Side, new Transfer Station, Bush Renner development. We're excited by all of the good things happening.
How to balance the budget? We're doing a very good job. All debt is covered by taxes. We have AAA ratings so we're good.
Grade = C (I think the balanced budget question was incomplete. Bond ratings are not a full indicator of financial health. Also, Turn Down The Volume just a bit, please.)

John DeMattia
Do you support Term Limits? Yes, and he elaborated. Someone (audience? panel?) said 'that's what we already have' but John corrected them by saying 'the current council grandfathered themselves in. That should be changed. (If I'm understanding the charter correctly, John nailed that one.)
Should the NTMWD(?) increase the amount of trash at the Lookout station? The agreement is already in place so it's not open for discussion. However, I do not agree with the placement of the new station. As Steve Mitchell has said, Richardson is a different place than it was years ago .. and the transfer station should have been relocated to vacant land near Fujitsu, for example.
What question would you like to answer that you have not been asked tonight? Government and Citizen misunderstanding needs to be lessened. For example, the Bush Renner development with 7,000 apartments. The citizens could only give last-minute input. Compare that to Plano and a similar project, where the city gave the citizens 18 months lead time with frequent meetings and updates of the project. We need to do that sort of communication in Richardson.
PACS - Have they influenced your campaign? They fill a void for some people who have not been heard.
Grade = A (seems to know his stuff, no stumbles, and if his facts are accurate, a very solid forum for him)

Place 3

Scott Dunn
Talked about 'us' vs. 'them' that had been brought up earlier. His response: 'The RCA slate - They want to run the city and get rid of all the good things in the city.'
Do you agree with policy to buy back sick days? Yes. It's what people are told when they are hired. And since government jobs tend to pay less but have better benefits, it fits that.
The Spring Valley projects will need 180 million additional to be implemented. Are you OK with that? I've attended those sessions. The money will be coming back as businesses move in after the redevelopment.
Do you support once a week garbage pickup? I'm glad I got this question since there was misunderstanding from a prior meeting. No. I do not support once a week garbage pickup. But, if worse comes to worse, we could put it on the table.
Zero based budget - why doesn't the city have it? Because you have to rewrite the budget each year, the cost and effort to do that is too much. It's out of the question. (I don't know if his answer is correct or not. Anyone?)
Scott Dunn got a question that I wish would have gone to one of the incumbents: 'At the first meeting of the new Council, they go into private discussion, then come back to vote for the Mayor. What is said in that private meeting, and do you think the discussion should be public?' -- Well, Mr Dunn said "I don't know what is said in that meeting and I think it should be open..." (or something like that). I did notice Amir and Steve grinning as the question was asked. Wonder why?
Grade = F (loss of 1 letter grade for inability to concisely express himself in front of a group. I've talked with him, one-on-one, and he presents a smart, friendly personality. loss of the rest of the letter grades for the 'they ... want to get rid of all the good things in the city' answer. Wow)

Place 4

Laura Maczka
Do you have an environmental vision? As a member of Parks and Rec, yes .. (and a solid answer followed)
How long can apartment requests keep coming in to be approved? Answered with general 'keep an eye on the number of apts but support them in areas of high transit.'
What to cut to pay for infrastructure needs? Rather than cut, increase tax revenue with businesses coming into the city.
Were you hand picked by Gary Slagel? No, she says she considered several Council places. Is independent, has her own opinion on things, was not picked by Slagel.
What are your first two priorities if elected? Ensure that the new developments get off on the right foot. (I didn't catch priority #2)
Grade = A Two solid candidates, no incumbent. At this forum, I call a 'tie'.

Karl Voigtsberger
Question about 'us' vs. 'them'. I am not 'against' anything. I am running 'for' Place 4.
Do you support Agenda 21? Yes, recycle but I do not support Agenda 21. We should not give up soverignty to the United Nations. (Google this on your own, folks. First I've heard of it, but Karl V seemed familiar with it)
How can we balance the budget/ pay for infrastructure? Concentrate on infrastructure. For example, there was an overpass built for 6.5 million that served only one neighborhood. That could have been used for street repair throughout the city.
How does the city plan to pay for debt w/o raising taxes? They told us the 2010 bonds would raise taxes. I want to operate the city on a cash basis. Today, the balance sheet debt plus off balance sheet debt is greater than a half billion dollars. That must be addressed.
Why are you running? In Richardson 22 years, its a great city with citizen involvement. I'm suitably organized, a budget hawk, a financial data analyst.
Grade = A Two solid candidates, no incumbent. At this forum, I call a 'tie'.

Place 5

Kendal Hartley
Long, long winding question about Rec Center fees and if they will be increased. I mean, it was a long question. It brought some chuckles from some in the audience and some of the candidates. His answer was ok - He was (is?) on the Parks Board and is familiar with the fee structure. And the paid membership and use of the new Rec Center is far beyond planned levels. (I couldn't figure out if that meant increased fees would or would not be coming).
What should we do about the divisiveness in the city? My notes say "vague answer".
How can we get the culturally diverse groups together and into the process? Another long, long question. During his answer, Kendal chuckled about getting long, winding questions. A woman in the audience yelled out "Just answer it!" which brought a quick glance and raised eyebrow from Kendal. He then answered a good, general: We need to get groups together to participate. We welcome them.
What other groups are you involved in? He listed a number of boards and other volunteer groups over the last 15 years. A good track record of community involvement.
How can we get a Kohls in Richardson? I'd like to see a Kohls, too! Then he gave an answer that my notes show as "give up" (see below)
Grade = B- (Good presence, long time volunteer. His retail answer was similar to what we heard from some others. "The demographics of some areas in Richardson just don't support new retail. Until the demographics change, there's not much we can do". Well.. it seems that adding all the transit oriented apartment space isn't likely to increase the median income in Richardson, but what do I know...)

Dennis Stewart
If I conserve water, why does the city have to pay more for it? (the confusing deal that many North Texas cities have for water). Dennis explained it, with a good grasp of the concepts. Yes the water cost wouldn't go down, but our cost for the chemicals would go down, so there could be some decrease in fees. Plus, we want to conserve so allow up to 400 gallons of rainwater to be captured w/o a permit. Good factual content delivered in a slightly humorous manner.
How would you unite the city? There is no North South East West Richardson. Just Richardson. (Good answer)
What can we do to keep the (something) nature reserve near Bush Renner? Reduce the numbers of apartments to protect the area.
Pensions for city workers. How can we pay for them? Dennis is a retired RPD officer which he said up front, then gave the reasons for the pension short-fall which he says is state-wide. There is a funding plan in place, across the state, and cities are adding dollars for funding. The city is catching up.
What specific budget line would you increase? Dennis worked through two budgets, said it's not as simple as "one line" because all of the figures are closely calculated by city staff. Each budget is looked at closely. Good big-picture answer.
Grade = A (experience and seems to have respect from various groups in the city)

Place 6

Steve Mitchell
First question - in my notes I wrote "Joking twice"
Next question - Why do you want to serve? my notes: "Joking around" then he gave a heartfelt answer about family, roots, strength of Richardson
Next question - Should the Mayor election be city-wide? "Joking again" then gave a decent, yet evasive, answer. Richardson has changed from original charter. I support appointing a charter commission to look at all areas.
Next question - Did you support the bond package? No joking this time. Look at cities that seldom have bond packages. We don't want to be like those cities. We wanted to make an investment in the city and the electorate agreed.
Next question - Do you support the RISD bond proposal. "Another joke". Yes, he does support it, and gave a good, solid answer.
Grade = C (when he got around to answering, those were "A". The jokes took it down 2 letter grades. suggestion: don't make is so obvious that you are running unopposed. We know that. We get it. But for the folks who go to these forums, this is serious business. Mix in one joke per forum, that's great. But one joke per answer and I'm concerned. I know you take this seriously. But it'd be great if you acted the part... particularly since you're the leader in the vote for Mayor)

Place 7

Diana Clawson
How can we get more retail? Consider many things, help with rent, emphasize at transit oriented developments.
How do we decrease the total retail vacancies? As HOA president, did surveys of neighborhood, met with developers and the city, citizens need to be involved.
Lookout Transfer Station - how to be certain to protect the neighborhood? Diana knew a MOA is a Memorandum of Agreement and had signed it as HOA president. Generally, know the rules and do all we can to protect the neighborhoods.
City Mgr salary and benefits 350K, President of C of Commerce 400K - Do you agree with these salaries? As a taxpayer, I'm concerned that the City Mgr makes more than the President or Governor. Everything on the budget needs to be examined.
A question about neighborhood vitality projects - Attract "young professionals", keep neighborhoods maintained, neighborhood vitality is important.
A question from the audience Why did you change your mind about running in place 1 and move to place 7? Diana gave a rambling answer and moved to describing her qualifications and service to the city. (and I wonder what the heck difference does it make? She changed her mind. Why she decided to run against Amir rather than Bob is a mystery, but why ask?)
Grade = B (retail questions had vague answers. Transfer station, salary and neighborhood vitality questions were answered ok)

Amir Omar
How many multiple family units are needed in Richardson? If you don't know, will you keep voting "for" them and why? General answer emphasizing "young upcoming professionals"
How do we attract more businesses? Need new ideas and concentrate on "young and upcoming" residents.
How do we increase tax revenue? East Side and Brick Row are places that will generate more tax revenue.
Renner Road Development will increase the population of the city 25%. How will we pay for the services? So, that number of 25% is not correct .. but there are fire and police stations nearby now.
A question about neighborhood vitality funding, should it be budgeted. We do include vitality funding in the budget. Also, there is 800k to maintain trees in the current budget. (good answer to the 'where is the $$' question from Channel 5)
Grade = B (annoying overuse of "young upcoming professionals" and starting sentences with "So, ..." I'd look around the room, see that the majority of the audience are not young, upcoming types, and rephrase that particular bullet point)

Alan North No show - and since he hasn't been to any forums yet, well, he'd better have a strong strategy to make up lost ground. Grade = F      

Then I left. Did I miss anything?

{Editor's Note: Yes.}

Thanks Will for sharing your thoughts!

Soundtrack to the Highland Terrace Forum...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let my bias rant begin....

Wow, Diana. Had that one in your back pocket for a while now, huh?

Well, thanks on behalf of Richardson for making us look bad in front of the whole metroplex rather than just bringing up your concerns at the forums.

I know 'Trashing The Town' is certainly something I look for in an elected official.

You're a real class act.

***Watch Channel 5 @ 10***

For an investigative report about Tree the Town....feature a local HOA President.

Hmmmmmmm, wonder which one it could be...