Saturday, March 11, 2017
It is looking and feeling more and more like our Winter was that one very cold weekend in January and that we are on our way to Spring.
In fact, do not forget to change your clocks tonight. It’s time to “Spring Forward”, so 2:00 am becomes 3:00 am.
Our next Regular council meeting is this coming Tuesday evening beginning at 7:30 pm at Town Hall.
I anticipate our agenda will include an update from our staff on the environmental status of the property at 5015 Spectrum Drive that was recently approved by council for residential development of 349 apartments.
I am very hopeful that we will have time to address a couple of items that we carried over from our last meeting: Discussion of our current Transparency Policy and a review of our current Ethics Guidelines and the possible need for process.
I also expect we will cover a very positive report concerning our 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), our Finance Department Quarterly Financial Report, selection of an additional Associate Judge for our Municipal Court, announcement of our entertainment for our upcoming Taste Addison and a variety of other items that require the council’s approval.
Council member activities
Council colleagues Dale Wilcox, Ivan Hughes and I were joined by non-committee member colleague Al Angell for our monthly Finance committee meeting on Monday afternoon.
Council colleague Dale Wilcox joined me for our Economic Development luncheon on Monday at Skinny Pizza.
Tuesday morning council colleagues Bruce Arfsten and Ivan Hughes joined me for the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Panel at our Addison Conference Centre.
Q&A with the Mayor
Q: Does the Town Staff, City Secretary or City Attorney do any independent due diligence to determine a candidate’s eligibility to run for or serve on the Addison City council?
A: No. Unlike some other cities that require petitions and signatures, Addison only requires a candidate to complete an Oath of Nomination form and file it with our City Secretary.
Our election official, City Secretary Laura Bell states, “I rely on the oath by the candidate that the information they have provided is true and accurate. There is an oath on the application that states the information is true and, by signing, the candidate swears to that.
The Oath of Nomination covers the qualifications required by the Town Charter and is signed by the candidate also. Any concerns regarding the validity of the information provided by the candidates on the application should be directed to the Texas Ethics Commission.“
There is no independent due diligence done by anyone on Town staff to determine a candidate’s eligibility to run for or serve on the Addison City council and that includes issues related to residency or term limits.
Q: Mayor, I have noticed several political signs up already. Is that legal?
A: Yes, political signs are considered by the courts to be “political free speech” and thus are not subject to regulation by local government.
However, it is illegal to “steal, willfully deface, mutilate or destroy any campaign sign on private property.” Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that political signs have been stolen and our police department has been made aware of these incidents.
Removing someone else’s sign is a Misdemeanor punishable by a heavy fine and possible jail sentence. This crime occurred many times to the incumbents running for re-election last year, but was not reported. Each instance is being reported for this election.
Skinny Pizza was the site for our First Monday of the month Economic Development Luncheon with the mayor and council members. Located at 5026 Addison Circle in a beautiful, pristine new finish out, our group enjoyed a wide variety of dishes including salads and of course, great healthy pizza.
Give the Skinny Pizza team a welcome to Addison with your business. They have free delivery that accounts for a very large percentage of their business. You can order online or call 214-997-7000.
In my totally biased view, Economic Development Director Orlando Campos was the star performer at the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce annual Economic Development panel that features the respective Economic Development directors from Addison, Carrollton and Farmers Branch.
It was refreshing to hear Orlando and his counterparts, Tom Latchem from Carrollton and Allison Cook from Farmers Branch, extol the virtues of working cooperatively for the betterment of our entire region. Their discussion included challenging topics ranging from remaining relevant, to Education and Transportation.
Another example of the outstanding partnership we have with the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce and their relevance was the room filled with business folks from our three communities.
You may have noticed new construction activity on the far western end of our Addison Town Center in the southeastern corner of Marsh Lane and Belt Line.
The good news is that Target is once again investing in Addison with significant upgrades to their store. The bad news is that very soon the Office Depot store will be closing as part of their national consolidation.
On the bright side, Office Depot’s departure will provide a nice competitive advantage for our remaining Staples Store on Belt Line Road just east of Midway.
More good news: we will add to our long list of restaurants with the long-awaited soft opening of Public School 972 at 14854 Montfort Drive.
If you get by there, let us know what you think. We wish them the best of luck. They have made a very large investment with us here in Addison, so let’s all help them be very successful. We will plan an Economic Development First Monday of the month event there very soon.
On Thursday morning council members Al Angell, Bruce Arfsten and Ivan Hughes joined me for a ribbon-cutting event with our partners from the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce. We celebrated the opening of June Street Barber Studio at 4021 Belt Line Road in suite 208.
This family owned business has a business slogan of “Remember … it’s not just a haircut, it’s an experience.” New to Addison, the owners also now live in Addison, so they are close to work and their customers!
They offer services for men and women, so I hope you will drop by or call and let them show you around and experience their styling difference. Their number is 469-372-7505.
Just so you know, at council member Paul Walden’s request the staff provided Mr. Walden a copy of the email list of subscribers to the mayor’s newsletter.
Special thanks to council colleague Bruce Arfsten for covering the opening night reception for the South Asian Film Festival that was in Town last weekend. Bruce reports that there was a large crowd of 250-300 folks at the Perot Museum downtown for the reception and the preview of two short films.
The Festival moved to Addison for the weekend with films Saturday and Sunday at our AMC Theatre. This Festival continues to highlight our Addison in a very positive way on a very large international stage.
Last Saturday I attended a Legislative Forum hosted by Addison resident Bob Jacoby at our Humperdink’s on Belt Line Road for our three representatives in Austin.
State Senator Don Huffines, State Representative Linda Koop and State Representative Matt Rinaldi participated with comments about what they each thought the big issues were and what they expect to accomplish this session.
I did have a few minutes to visit with each of them before the formal part of the program began to let them know we appreciate their service and to emphasize our Addison legislative agenda that we shared with them back in November.
Since the Legislative Session does not end until the first of June, it is way too early to tell what impact Austin’s actions will have on Addison, but we will see.
I have heard it said that, “A school is four walls and a roof with the future inside”. On Wednesday morning I had the joy of seeing that future.
At the invitation of Carol Crowling, principal of the George H. W. Bush Elementary school, I visited the kindergarten classes that have been studying local government.
With about 100 kids in their auditorium Principal Crowling introduced me as a “real live mayor”, let me say a few words, and then we spent about 45 minutes answering their questions. Several kids wanted to share their career aspirations which included Superman, Iron Man, Singer and (thankfully) several policemen and teachers.
They asked questions about how I became mayor, who I work with, and several wanted to know where my office was. The question that must have come from a future journalist that grabbed me the most was, “What do you do to protect us?”
I had already talked about the wonderful services provided by our firefighters and paramedics as well as our police officers and other professional staff members, but she wanted to know what I do to protect her and her family.
As you may well imagine, I explained to this young kindergartener that protecting her and her family was number one on my list of responsibilities, that I take that part of my job very seriously, and that sometimes that responsibility requires me to ask some hard questions.
I was so impressed with how sweet, kind and happy these kids were and amazingly well behaved. It is obvious that the teachers and professionals at our Bush School are talented and committed to their work of building our future.
Before we began the program, Principal Cowling invited me to her office for a moment. (I must confess my last visit to a principal’s office many years ago was under far less pleasant circumstances!)
There she showed me an amazing photo. On her credenza Ms. Crowling has a photograph of her taken in 1980 with a big smile on her face and the arm of President George H. W. Bush wrapped around her shoulder.
When Carol was in college the President came to her school in Illinois to speak and she had the joy of sharing time with him as a student representative. Next to the photograph is a letter of congratulations from the President on her appointment as the new Principal of the school that honors his service to our country with his name.
Our George H. W. Bush School is a very special place. One of the many challenges they face is dealing with 46 kids who are classified as “homeless” since they live in Budget Suites on Marsh Lane.
Just one of the many amazing things Carol and her team have done to help the kids is to establish a food pantry. The pantry shares space in a cooled room with computer switch gear and the teachers pack up backpacks of food for some of the kids for the weekend.
I was truly touched and inspired by the dedication and commitment of Carol and her entire team to nurturing the social, emotional and intellectual health of these kids that come to school each day in those four walls and a roof and who are our future.
Tuesday March 14, Addison Regular council meeting, 7:30 pm Town Hall for the Regular session, Executive Session 5:00 pm, Work Session 6:00 pm.
Thursday, March 16, After Hours with the Mayor, 6:00 pm at Lion and Crown in Addison Circle; adult beverages on the mayor and plenty of opportunity for your questions.
Monday evening, April 3, Spring Town Hall meeting at our Addison Conference Centre at 7:00 pm. Presentations from each council member and a full opportunity to ask questions of each of the council members.
Wednesday, April 12, Candidates Forum for our May 9 local municipal election. This may be the most important Forum event since we have 7 folks running for three council seats and two folks running for the mayor spot.
Enjoy your weekend!
See you soon,