Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hear ye, hear ye! The Great Tex Keffler is speaking....


{as always, click image to enlarge}






43 comments:

  1. Desperation sets in!!!! Never has this been done in an election. A new low for the city manager!

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  2. I'm thinking of voting only for Alan North.

    No one else in this circus deserves to be in office.

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  3. Hey Will! You need to look at the facts. The circus has been going on for years!

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  4. OK. Let me get this right. The city manager tried to debunk the RCA. If he were fair, he would also debunk the crap coming out of mouths of Townsend and Solomon. For the CM to take only one side is wrong. But it is even worst that he express ANY opinion during a political race. Ethics violation galore! This is why we need the RCA folks.

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  5. The City Manager has decided to play politics. This sounds like something written word for word by the Coalition.

    Let's talk integrity, and perhaps even election tampering!

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  6. Destiny, I wish you'd just stuck with the wrinkled ladies. I've had all of the divisiveness I can handle and those who are so hell-bent on ruining our city's reputation will crawl in any little opening in order to poison the well as evidenced by the comments above. Loved the way DC co-opted your post of Keffler's letter by sharing a charming picture on his own blog that links right back to yours. great. just great.

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  7. Anon 7:48 AM "those who are so hell-bent on ruining our city's reputation will crawl in any little opening in order to poison the well as evidenced by the comments above"

    If you wish to examine those ruining the city's reputation, don't forget the City Manager stepping into the election process to author a pro-RichCoal letter.

    It's one thing for Mr Keffler and his staff to provide background material for all who request it (current Council, all candidates) and for those individuals to use the material for their campaigns.

    It's something else entirely for the City Manager to take a position that supports one slate of candidates.

    That's the sort of thing that harms the reputation of the City of Richardson.

    Yes, RCA and RichCoal candidates, supporters, bloggers, rumor-spreaders all have a part in this circus. But let's not paint only one side with the blame, friend.

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  8. Anon 7:48 AM, you sound like leaders of the Richardson Coalition who constantly talk about the "reputation" of Richardson as they're quietly and consistently destroying the reputations of our community leaders one after another who show any kind of opposition to them. Let's talk about people like Diane Waldrup, Chris Davis, Pris Hayes, Diana Clausen, and dozens of other people who have been belittled over the years by the Coalition.

    The reputation of the City is very important, but so are the reputations of the very people who have made Richardson what is it is with their hard work and years of service. The RC's Voters Guide is a good example of what they do to community leaders whom they oppose.

    I am dismayed at this misleading letter from a City Manager who could have responded long before early voting began, but has decided to time its release so as to influence voters. Everything about it is wrong.

    There is dirty politics going on in the City, and it needs to be cleaned up. Doing so will help the reputation of the City more than anything!

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  9. I agree that there are likely to be opportunities for the city to operate more efficiently. There are complex issues to be resolved. These issues were not brought on by the current CC, however, they are the result of demographic shifts, the national and state economic climate and so much more. Trying to place blame for complex issues on current council members is scapegoating. Rather than pointing fingers, how about offering some clear, concise and research-based solutions? I don't support either the RC or the RCA and yet I must admit I much prefer a positive, "we can do it by working together" approach to the negative "Richardson is in trouble because so-and-so did such and such" stuff coming from the RCA. You claim the letter from Keffler was misleading. PERHAPS there are things I don't know and some of what he said wasn't accurate. If that's the case, TELL ME WHAT THAT WAS and PROVE that it was in error, don't just make a sweeping statement that is unsupported. One thing that is for sure is that if the city says we have a AAA rating, we do. Seems to me that's pretty easy to prove or disprove, right? The RCA claims that those ratings don't exist. Show me the evidence and then I'll listen. And, by the way, frowny faces, while not in the best taste imho, do not ruin the reputations of anyone. Mark Steger nails it on his blog. If candidates want to be taken seriously they will run, not walk, away from the RCA's tactics of scapegoating and negativity as fast as they can.

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  10. Anon at 9:19 AM says:
    "The RCA claims that those ratings don't exist. "

    Right there, you blow your credibility as you say you seek the truth. I have not heard any candidate say that COR does not have those bond ratings. I have heard a few candidates claim that bond ratings are not the only way to gauge financial strength (as evidenced by WorldCom, Enron, etc).

    Quick look from Wikipedia
    "Enron's rating remained at investment grade four days before the company went bankrupt"
    "Ratings agencies, in particular Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poors have been implicitly allowed by governments to fill a quasi-regulatory role, but because they are for-profit entities their incentives may be misaligned."

    THAT is the question that is raised, not the incorrect statement you attribute to certain candidates.

    Peace.

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  11. Destiny,

    The picture you posted of Eiffel making the leaf is adorable!

    Jimmy Schnurr

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  12. @ Will
    I never claimed a candidate stated that there are no AAA bond ratings, I claimed that's the message the RCA is promoting. It's right here:
    http://richardsoncitizensalliance.org/fact-vs-fiction/ The very first entry says, "FICTION: Richardson has a balanced budget and even has a AAA rating.: I can read that no other way tha that the RCA says the AAA ratings are fiction. Give me a break. The RCA cannot print stuff like this and then say they didn't say it, that would be unethical, wouldn't it?

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  13. Anon@10:12,

    That statement has 2 assertions in it. Balanced budget and AAA rating. Either one being false can make the statement a fiction. The key word is AND. The AAA rating is fact, so you have to look at the balanced budget.

    So the city has to operate on a balanced budget. But i remember the bond containing something that funded salaries or somesuch nonsense. That means that the budget, while balanced with current income, did not pay for all of the current liabilities of the city. That would infer that the city kicked the can down the road to fulfill current liabilities, thereby getting around the balanced budget requirement. That is my take...... I could be wrong.

    I am just an engineer, not a bean counter.

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  14. I get the sense that on their face, most of the statements by both sides are true. But it all depends on how your frame your response.

    Using the audit to say how things are fine, but not saying what the audit inspected or validated.

    Using the bond rating to say things are ok. The US has a AAA bond rating, but that doesnt mean the US is doing a good job of managing its assets.

    Using the consumer price index to justify the increase in taxes.... hey it ain't so bad since it didn't make the 10% consumer price index.

    Etc..... Etc......

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  15. Edit:

    I meant to say increase in city spending.... not increase in taxes......

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  16. Proof positive that the RC candidates are doing very poor when faced with fact.

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  17. why doesn't the city manager have the right to address accusations made about himself and more importantly the city he runs. Because whether there was an election or not, I would expect tex to defend the integrity of the city. The city shouldn't have to just sit there and allow what they obviously feel are misrepresentation of facts go unaddressed.

    Plus, what exactly does he have to gain personally from this action? Lets face facts- he will be running the show for as long as he wants until he decides to cash in on that fat pension, regardless of who the council is. I'm sure he prefers people on council he gets along with personally, but at the end of the day it won't affect his world that much will it?

    and William Gordon if by some chance you do get elected-

    I'll be curious to watch you put your money where your mouth is. Obviously given your position, how could you ever stand for the continued employment of BK and his ilk.

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  18. "Rather than pointing fingers, how about offering some clear, concise and research-based solutions?"

    And just why has the current council not offered clear, concise and research based solution? They have had 2 year. Listening to Solomon's word shows he has had zero interest in solving problems. He does not even recognize there are problems. That has not gone unnoticed.

    With Bob Townsend gooble-d-gawk about how a increase in spending is actually a decrease. Those two show little awareness about or the ability to presenting or recognize the truth.

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  19. Part One
    The issues at hand are ones of perspective. Mr. Keffler has his perspective based on how he perceives his job to be executed. And though I have a certain amount of concern on Bill's interjection into the election processes with the issuance of this letter, I have a different perspective in certain instances he brought to light by it. There are some really big issues coming up in this election that deserve to be addressed.

    Let's start with the audit - The audit given by KPMG is an "unqualified" opinion. Some take that it is a "clean" opinion, so what does that mean? My interpretation is "clean" means structurally the document is correct in format. The audit is a standard process based on a generic audit procedure. Their contract with the city states they will have no opinion on content, just structure or layout of the statement. And they get high marks and awards because they have learned their job well. I would expect that with the high number of qualified CPA's on staff. So let's use the golf contract as an example. The auditors would look at that contract and check to see if the responsibilities defined in the document are being executed. And not whether it is a good and fair contract for the citizens. Nor will KPMG ever make an assessment as to whether it should be changed. And my assumption based on reading the contract is that if any mis-representations existed, KPMG would not hold an opinion. So my question becomes does the contract meet the requirements in the charter for an audit? And I can only assess it does not because the Council and staff have taken it upon themselves to create resolutions for the way they want to operate. This is otherwise known as Financial Policy. Now you are to Texas Local Government Code to determine the laws on how to change the Charter. Does a resolution trump the requirements in the Charter? Anyone know any good lawyers in the community to ask questions on this? I do have questions as to whether the staff and council have the authority to do so.

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  20. PART TWO
    Second topic is transparency and recognition - I have to say the work of the last council to get some information online is a step in the right direction. You too can go to the city website to look at the data on your own. So what do you do with this large amount of data? How do you know what it means? How do you measure whether their performance is good or bad or just ok? Now you have this 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in front of you and it is your job to figure what pieces go together in order to figure out what it all means. My perspective is until someone takes a bit of time to piece together and comprehend the data, it means nothing. Someone told my once that information without application is just data. There could never be a more truthful statement. All these awards are wonderful at making “happy”, but are meaningless, in my humble opinion. My first question would be highest ranked ‘compared to what’? To me they mean nothing because they came from within the governmental system and not from the voter base that has final authority over how our local government operates. It does not matter what any other entity has to say about Richardson, per se. What matters is whether the management meets the goals and expectations of the citizens.

    Ethics - That is whole different conversation. The ordinance was produced by the city attorney for the council to self administer their own behavior. Not only are the issues debated in private (i.e. Executive Session), so are the decisions. I have questions whether that is a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. But the voters did not get an opinion on that one. They just did it.

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  21. PART THREE
    Bond Ratings – Those who have some knowledge in this area have told me the ratings are based on an ability to repay debt and as long as the city repays that debt in a timely fashion, the City will hold a high rating. There are other caveats, but this is a general representation. Procedurally we have a good staff who are on top of their “procedural” game. I thank them for the job well done. The second part of the issue comes back to perspective. Ratings, like the CAFR, will always be a snapshot of the past. Can’t get past that one. So the city will hold that rating until it doesn’t, which means the next year. In context, the financial markets as a whole are fearing a collapse in the bond markets. One part of that is EVERY entity (City, County, State, Schools) are wanting to add more debt under the shallow justification that interest rates are cheap right now. So this idea of running out and lapping on more debt seems rather out of control to me. I heard someone say recently, that you cannot borrow your way out of debt. He is right.

    Lastly, I want to add once again that all of the statements he has chosen are about perspectives. And in context, we are living in some really unusual times economically which is out of the control of Mr Keffler and his staff. So are they really good for Richardson? Staffing of police and fire has to be an issue when they are pushing the citizens to agree to all this high density to our little community. It takes time to search, interview, hire and train these people to serve our community. So what is the big push for all this density when the details like traffic and staffing are looming without discussion. And do not forget water in that list! Is the golf contract appropriate for the needs AND fixed expenditures of the community? Is the city behind on maintenance, or not? Is the Eisemann Center draining the original intent of the Occupancy Tax? Are the abatements really bringing in the revenues down the line to cover the additional needs PLUS increase the asset base? Can you show me in the CAFR where this “impact” to our economy is recorded on the city’s books? Why are the occupancy tax revenues declining? Why are you not cutting expenditures to meet the revenues coming in? Why is the TIF upside down? What is your definition of an amenity? I can agree it is nice to have these businesses here, but if they continually drain the asset base, what is the purpose? Look to the CAFR for performance just like every other business in this country, Mr Keffler. At the end of the day, it’s all just business!

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  22. Oh, since everyone gets their shorts in a wad because no one puts their name on something.....the sillyness just continues on! Part 1, 2 and 3 are by me!!

    Cheri Duncan-Hubert

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  23. PART TWO
    Second topic is transparency and recognition - I have to say the work of the last council to get some information online is a step in the right direction. You too can go to the city website to look at the data on your own. So what do you do with this large amount of data? How do you know what it means? How do you measure whether their performance is good or bad or just ok? Now you have this 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in front of you and it is your job to figure what pieces go together in order to figure out what it all means. My perspective is until someone takes a bit of time to piece together and comprehend the data, it means nothing. Someone told my once that information without application is just data. There could never be a more truthful statement. All these awards are wonderful at making “happy”, but are meaningless, in my humble opinion. My first question would be highest ranked ‘compared to what’? To me they mean nothing because they came from within the governmental system and not from the voter base that has final authority over how our local government operates. It does not matter what any other entity has to say about Richardson, per se. What matters is whether the management meets the goals and expectations of the citizens.

    Ethics - That is whole different conversation. The ordinance was produced by the city attorney for the council to self administer their own behavior. Not only are the issues debated in private (i.e. Executive Session), so are the decisions. I have questions whether that is a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. But the voters did not get an opinion on that one. They just did it.

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  24. I am "one finger" short. I see part 3 and 1, no part 2. Am I missing it? Or is it not posted?

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  25. I got the e-mail notification for part two but it looks like it didn't post. Either way, here's what the e-mail said...

    "PART TWO
    Second topic is transparency and recognition - I have to say the work of the last council to get some information online is a step in the right direction. You too can go to the city website to look at the data on your own. So what do you do with this large amount of data? How do you know what it means? How do you measure whether their performance is good or bad or just ok? Now you have this 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in front of you and it is your job to figure what pieces go together in order to figure out what it all means. My perspective is until someone takes a bit of time to piece together and comprehend the data, it means nothing. Someone told my once that information without application is just data. There could never be a more truthful statement. All these awards are wonderful at making “happy”, but are meaningless, in my humble opinion. My first question would be highest ranked ‘compared to what’? To me they mean nothing because they came from within the governmental system and not from the voter base that has final authority over how our local government operates. It does not matter what any other entity has to say about Richardson, per se. What matters is whether the management meets the goals and expectations of the citizens.

    Ethics - That is whole different conversation. The ordinance was produced by the city attorney for the council to self administer their own behavior. Not only are the issues debated in private (i.e. Executive Session), so are the decisions. I have questions whether that is a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. But the voters did not get an opinion on that one. They just did it. "

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  26. Cheri Duncan-Hubert NEEDS to be on the city council. Compare her words to that of any currect council members. Cheri ROCKS!!!

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  27. I don't know..... that hyphenated name might scare off the male voters =P

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  28. Ya, but still she ROCKS!!!!

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  29. Anon@9:19:

    Travel over to the McCann DMN blog on Mr. Keffler's letter.

    There is a post there that points out a few things you might not know.

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  30. Thanks anon 8:10. DMN_Watcher and Casperia13 nailed it. Good suggestion.

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  31. Neither McDowell or Eisemann have done any research on their own to really have a grasp of their points. Looks more political since it is election time. Does anyone one know who the real information finders on either side really are?

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  32. @anon12:17. If you think McDowell has not do his research, do a FOI request and see what McDoweel and Eisemann BOTH have been looking into. I would bet a weeks salary McDowell has made several requests over the years, and Eisemann has made ZERO. Are you up to the challenge anon? It would be good for you to actual do some research rather than guessing. Do you agree?

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  33. You don't need to make a FOI request if you have Slag or Keffler on speed dial. Just call and ask them to send over the details.

    If you think that the Eisemann group actually needs to go through the same channels the regular citizens do, to get the facts, well ...

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  34. Anon 12:17 I think McDowell uses other people's research. A big assumption that you think I have not done any research.

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  35. Has anyone received the Keffler letter in the mail? I've seen it on the COR website, but it hasn't shown up via US Mail.

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  36. Back to the Keffler letter, posted May 4th.

    Also on May 4th, I received an email from Mark Solomon (as part of the email blasts he sends occasionally).

    The email title: 2011 Election: Separating Fact from Fiction

    He includes the Keffler letter, but it’s described by Mark Solomon in this manner:

    “At this point in the election, however, I think it is important to clarify some of the misinformation being circulated around the City by a few of the candidates in the race.

    In the article below, you’ll find the official statement issued by the City of Richardson in response to some of these negative attacks. It might be helpful to you as you discuss the issues with your neighbors and friends.”

    The Official Statement issued by the City of Richardson, issued to clarify misinformation circulated by candidates?

    Do we need any other proof that the Keffler letter is an election campaign document?

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  37. msteger.com analyzes the situation best in his post today. Last paragraph says it all, " In the final analysis, these debates about debt, bond ratings, audits, transparency, ethics, etc., are just proxies for the real issue, which is personal. Some critics just don't trust the people in charge at city hall. As long as distrust persists, all the debate in the world won't lead to common ground. It'll continue to be just so much talking past each other. "

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  38. Well, that might be his opinion. I am very happy to hear that he thinks himself a soothsayer and knows the minds of those he has never spoken to. Suggesting that the arguments are for the proxy of the real intent, personal, furthers the evidence against Mark's claim. It it were personal, there would be no fact cited. Glad to know Mark has joined the dark side (blind supporters like McCalpin and Laska) so we can give his words due respect, or lack there of. After reading some of Steger's writings, it is clear he does not deal with factual specifics, but emotional suppositions.
    His lack of some of the clear lies shows this as well. Lies not deal with on his site by Amir, Solomon and Townsend prove this out. He seems to have the same lack of crtitizal analysis of information, much to the same extent of McCalpin.

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  39. msteager says "Some critics just don't trust the people in charge at city hall. "

    There's some truth to that.

    I would add this: Some at city hall just don't trust anyone who criticizes them.

    The broad brush paints both ways, friends.

    Yes, this should be a more civil process.

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  40. Margaret McLarnon TownsendMay 12, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Only 2 more days and we will have our new council!! Hopefully when the new council is in place we can use our energy on supporting these public servants!! And of course, for the citizens not satisfied, get your candidates ready for 2013!! Right now!! Make sure they can raise funds. What have we learned from 2011. . . . We will see on May 14th . . . what works and what doesn’t. It seems that some of the candidates who were GIVEN $3,000 just set back . . . missed forums . . . and waited for the next handout. Why couldn’t these people find more support??? We will see how these TV commercials worked . . . and which candidates it helped. DC and I talked about a post he had up about Bob. . . he thought I would be mad. . . no remember. . .keep them coming. . . ask Dennis. . . they work in Bob’s favor. I told DC of something the opponents of his candidates could have brought out. . . never heard back from DC but no one likes those personal attacks. . .esp. when families could be effected!! Just like the 2009 election . . . some learned and some just keep doing the same. . . year after year after year and it still doesn’t work!!! Imagine that!! mmt

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  41. Margaret, I will have to disagree with you. I spent about 4 hours gathering information and responding to every question you had in your first email. In total, three emails and a phone conversation of over an hour. I am sorry you feel that is non-responsive.

    I at least hope that you finally did realize your taxes have gone up by far more that 43%. You at first thought that was an exageration. In fact, as I showed you, your taxes have gone up almost 90% in the past decade.

    If you beleive that candidate got $3000 to sit on their butts and do nothing, then you truly have no idea what they have done. Ask them and talk to them about what they have done, rather than speculate.

    Who ever wins, wins. On our side, whether you admit it or not, everything was truthful and honest. No lied. I can't say the same for the RC side.

    If you do know of something that you think is a lie, let me know. I will address it. Until then....

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  42. margaret mclarnon townsendMay 12, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    David, I appreciate your time. . . I think you are a great guy(most RHS alums are) with a lot of facts!! Some of the facts (not all) we are miles apart and then we have some of the same questions for the city. You care nothing about home values. You do not care if your house was appraised at $10,000 so you would pay less taxes. Ask a realtor how many clients say I want a neighborhood in a city where the home values are not going up because I do not want to pay more taxes. How about a city where property values are going down. . .most people do not search out these places for their homes. So I appreciated your calculations but paying more taxes because my house has gone up in value in the last 10yrs is a good thing to me!! And yes I picked Richardson to raise my family. . . not Carrolton and do not care what Carrolton does(you might consider it. . .heard home values do not go up like they do in Richardson). But David, You know that is not what I was talking about but I will not mention it here. I was a little discouraged when you said Richardson would never be able to come together. . . Mark Steger said why today. . .what a coincidence since we were just talking about it. . but to say there is no hope just reminds me of the message of the RCA. . .Mark's blog said why today!! Oh and about lies. . .so if one candidate leaves something off a question . .they are a liar. . .if one of your candidates does he was too busy to fill in all the question. . . hello William!! mmt

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  43. May 5, 2011 1:55 PM
    Anonymous said...

    Cheri Duncan-Hubert NEEDS to be on the city council. Compare her words to that of any currect council members. Cheri ROCKS!!!

    Hello Anonymous, I know from experience that she definitely does NOT "Rock". Actually, should she ever decide to run for public office, I will actively seek out her opponent and work for him or her so as to hopefully ensure Ms. Hubert's defeat. Being we are closely related, I believe I know the woman better than most.

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