May 13, 2019 Newsletter
Runoff Election Set for Saturday, June 8
The runoff election for District 5 was set for June 8. Early voting will start on Tuesday, May 28 and end on Tuesday, June 4.
District 5 is a single member district often considered to be downtown and east Arlington area.
The runoff will be between Ignacio Nunez and Andy Prior. ANDY PRIOR is easily the better choice.
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.
May 13, 2019 – Volume 12 Number 19
Tuesday, May 14: City Council Meeting to canvas the vote, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, 5:30pm.
Thursday, May 16: AISD Board Meeting, 1203 W. Pioneer Parkway, 7:00pm.
Tuesday, May 21: City Council Meetings, Arlington City Hall, 101 W. Abram Street, times TBD.
Monday, May 27: Memorial Day.
Tuesday, May 28: Runoff Early Voting begins.
Tuesday, June 4: Runoff Early Voting ends.
Saturday, June 8: Runoff Election Day. 7:00am – 7:00pm.
From THE LOCKER ROOM
Arlington City Council Update
The Arlington City Council met this past Tuesday, May 7. Robert Shepard was absent. They will meet again this Tuesday, May 14 to canvas the May 4 election results.
There was only one committee meeting. They met and agreed on names for the two new facilities for which they were considering names. They came up with “The Alpha Center” for the East Library and Recreation Center. They agreed with “The Mozaia” [no idea on the spelling—it was not on the staff report] for the new Southeast Recreation Center.
The open portion of the afternoon session had four work session items, one informal staff report, and the normal hot items added to every agenda.
They spent over an hour on the first two items: an animal services update and beautification initiatives.
The third work session item dealt with retaining college graduates. What amazed us was they are going after the [broke] recently graduated, instead of the established older graduate who would find our stock of single family homes more desirable.
The fourth work session item discussed tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) #5--which had two public hearings that evening--to extend another 30 years as well as a modified financial plan.
This is 30 years in addition to the 13-14 years it has already been in place.
The new financial plan expects to collect over $417 million of which 48%-- over $200 million-- will go to Economic Development Grants, a.k.a. corporate welfare. [It would appear it is not possible to get economic development inside the Entertainment District of the American Dream City unless it is associated with a big payoff.]
Council member Shepard was absent.
Twelve appointments to various boards and commissions, two executive session items, and two sets of minutes were all approved, 8-0.
Ms. Capehart erroneously pulled 8.13, the second reading of the hotel design standards of the UDC, for separate consideration.
There was one speaker opposed to 8.14, the setting of the $500 short-term rental permit fee. When speakers make good points opposed to the coming vote, the mayor called on staff to explain. The explanation was weak, leaving us to feel the $500 figure is not a correct amount to charge for the permit fee.
There were a couple of nonspeakers in support of 8.12, the second reading of 346 apartments at 715/735 Washington Drive.
There was a nonspeaker opposed to 8.12, and one opposed to 8.11, the second reading of 170 multi-family at Webb Ferrell Road, Ragland Road, and Debbie Lane.
The consent agenda, minus the pulled 8.13, passed, 8-0. 8.13 also passed, 8-0.
Public hearing #1 was for commercial and 110 small lot residential at 4500 W. Pioneer Parkway and 1611 W. Green Oaks Boulevard. A major concern of the neighborhood is a flooding issue. The developer is only using about 50% of the land because of the drainage issue. There were no public speakers. It passed, 8-0.
Public hearing #2 was for adding new school zones and one-way traffic zones. There were no public speakers. It passed, 8-0.
Public hearing #3 was a thirty-year extension of TIRZ#5. The original TIRZ was to be 30 years, 2006-2036. This extension is 30 years from now through 2049. There was one speaker opposed. Again, the mayor called for another weak explanation by staff to address the opposition. It passed, 8-0.
[Staff claimed, and the mayor had him repeat, that the revenue would not have occurred except for participation of the TIRZ, because the infrastructure needs are so great. That's why over $200 million is for economic development grants... How did the existing TIRZ last for 13-14 years? Hasn't the infrastructure already been started, if not already finished? The TIRZ did not appear to have any debt issued, so where did it get money to start? Answer: increased value, from development not generated by the TIRZ.]
Public hearing #4 was the new financial plan for TIRZ#5. There was one speaker opposed. It passed, 8-0.
Ordinance #1 was an interlocal agreement with Grand Prairie regarding the municipal boundaries along State Highway 360 Frontage Road. It passed, 8-0.
Ordinance #2 was a modification to the gas drilling ordinance requiring a super-majority vote of the council to approve drilling within the 600-foot minimum setback. There was one speaker in support, but we really wished there had been more supportive speakers.
Ordinance #3 is a modification to the Health and Sanitary Chapter requiring more from hotels. This passed, 8-0.
There were three speakers during citizen participation. The first two speakers spoke about two multi-family consent agenda items, which could not be discussed during the consent agenda because of closed public hearings.
The first speaker spoke of the gas drilling issues on the two properties. The north Arlington property was to be a drill site that did not happen. The southeast Arlington property is in an extremely active area for which Mansfield had declined approval.
The second speaker spoke of too many apartments/multi-family dwellings. The north Arlington site would result in 346 units added to an already crowded area. He was concerned about southeast Arlington being flooded with more and more apartments.
The third speaker spoke of the Randol Mill Nature Park. Some mowing has been completed at the park, but more is still needed. They have been battling privet for over two decades. It is so thick that it requires a forestry mower to cut it.
The next scheduled AISD Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16.
Abram Street in front of City Hall is expected to be closed May 1 – June 30.
Former UTA President Wendell Nedderman passed away. He was 97. [https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article230224809.html? ].
VIA by the Numbers
On December 11, the VIA pilot program began its second year. The City Council approved the second year of the pilot program [for $2.1 million] on December 4.
When the pilot started, the staff report stated it expected to reach I-20 within four to six months of the pilot’s initiation. That did not happen until September 20, more than nine months after the pilot began. The project has been a disaster and a major waste of taxpayers' dollars.
Even with its newly expanded area, it only covers about 25% of the city, meaning most of the taxpayers have to pay for VIA, but receive no benefit from it. All those taxpayers are paying for something that competes against the private sector Lyft and Uber services.
The Spectator . ...ArlSpectator@yahoo.com
The Arlington Voice (online newspaper covering Arlington) www.arlingtonvoice.com
Opinion Arlington (comment on issues of Arlington) www.opinionarlington.com
City of Arlington website www.arlingtontx.gov
e-mails of mayor and council
mayor = jeff.williams
district 1 (north) = helen.moise
district 2 (sw) = sheri.capehart
district 3 (se) = roxanne.thalman
district 4 (west) = kathryn.wilemon
district 5 (central/east) = lana.wolff
district 6 (all) = robert.shepard
district 7 (all) = victoria.farrar-myers
district 8 (all) = michael.glaspie
city council grades:
AISD website ....................... www.aisd.net
e-mails of the AISD board .....
whole board ..................... - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hogg ......................- email@example.com
Reich......................... - firstname.lastname@example.org
Walton ............. - email@example.com
Hibbs ........................ - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mays ............ - email@example.com
Chapa........... - firstname.lastname@example.org
NW Arlington Newsletter:
SE Arlington Blog
Texas Legislative Online
The Texas Bond Review Board ....