Saturday, April 1, 2017
It is so tempting to be a jokester today! Be careful–it is April Fools Day.
My poor sisters were the target of way too many bad April Fools jokes for me to count when we were growing up together. They always had the last laugh. I learned my lesson back then, so no jokes today, at least not from me.
Our Regular council meeting on Tuesday evening, March 28, began with several Executive Session items.
One would be of particular interest to many of you who responded last week that you have been “spammed” by mayoral candidate Joe Chow.
While I was very disappointed that this item was placed on the Executive Session agenda, limiting my ability to share the discussion that did take place, I can share with you that after extensive discussion and debate the council choose to do nothing, to take no further action to determine where or how Joe Chow obtained your email addresses.
This, after the City Attorney requested affidavits from me, Dale Wilcox and Paul Walden swearing that we did not provide the mayor’s newsletter email list to any unauthorized person or persons.
Over 65 of you have let me know that you were spammed by the Chow campaign and the only guidance I can provide is that the Dallas County District Attorney’s office has told our staff that their Public Integrity Unit will investigate this matter if they hear complaints.
Jason Hermus is the Chief of the Public Integrity Unit in the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. His phone is 214-653-3816 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this point we do not know where or how the Chow campaign obtained your email addresses.
In other important council matters, the council failed to approve a motion regarding the property recently rezoned from commercial to residential at 5015 Spectrum Drive that would seek a legal and environmental expert review of all of the documentation and information to assure us that the sites named in the reports are safe for the current intended use.
Given that this site is directly across the street from the former Ashland Chemical plant that had serious enough environmental issues to require significant remediation, it just seems prudent for us to have an independent and up to date review of all of the materials to ensure the health and safety of our community.
Only council member Dale Wilcox and I voted in favor of this motion; council members Ivan Hughes, Paul Walden, Jim Duffy, Al Angell and Bruce Arfsten voted against this motion.
I encourage you to watch the video of the meeting where we reviewed PowerPoints of each of the detailed facts, including the video of the AMLI representative claiming that they did their own testing of the site. Yet we do not have the benefit of those test results.
After you review the video and watch the PowerPoints you might conclude that I am being overly cautious, and that could be the case. But as the old saying goes, “Better to be safe than sorry”.
I would hate for us to be sorry later that Addison did not do their own independent review of all of the materials to determine if the area was safe for our future neighbors to live in and raise their families.
During our work session we received a staff update on the Midway Road project assuring us that after extensive testing and analysis, a total pavement reconstruction is necessary and that 100% of the underlying infrastructure will also need to be replaced.
On another important Addison capital project our staff reported that they are proceeding to develop three scenarios for the failing concrete edge restrainer at the Les Lacs Lake.
We finalized our work session with a few logistics decisions regarding our upcoming Monday night April Town Meeting at our Addison Conference Centre. Each council member will make a brief presentation, and then we will all be available for your questions!
There will be an exciting announcement from council member Dale Wilcox on new technology that will make all of Addison information more accessible for you. We hope to see all of you there.
If you have questions, Monday will be the time to ask. This may be the only time all year you have a chance to be face to face with your council members to ask questions or let us know what you are thinking.
In other items the council did take unanimous action:
- approved the selection of Dome Park as the new site to replace the park being removed in the ONCOR easement
- approved funds of $127,806 for a potable water capital improvement program with Stantec Consulting Services
- approved a Work Session to determine if the council is willing to develop a written Transparency Policy.
The council gratefully accepted the $40,000 donation from the Addison Legacy Foundation for our soon to be constructed new dog park in Spruill Park presented by Legacy Foundation Board member Robert Kantner, with fellow Board members Bob Heckman and Blake Clemens also present to show their support.
Speaking of the great work the Addison Legacy Foundation has been doing, they would gladly accept your donation to help with the new Dome Park that we hope to begin construction on very soon. If you are interested, please contact Addison Legacy Foundation Board Chair Blake Clemens at email@example.com or Treasurer JJ Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As noted above, the council did vote to move forward with a Work Session to determine if they want to create a written Transparency policy. This action was taken after the council declined to agree on the need for a written Transparency policy by a 3-4 vote.
Council members Wilcox, Arfsten and Meier voted in favor of creating a written Transparency Policy and council members Hughes, Duffy, Walden and Angell voted against creating a written transparency policy.
The council approved a motion to develop a strategic plan for the 12-plus acres of Town owned property in the immediate proximity of the DART/Cotton Belt Station coming our way in 2021.
We will begin that process by including other property owners in the immediate vicinity and follow a similar inclusive process that we used in the recent Inwood Road Corridor Study.
This study will also include a Phase 1 Environmental Study to be sure we understand the exact environmental status of our Town owned property. Only council member Jim Duffy voted against this motion.
The very best part of our evening was the outstanding presentation from our Police Chief Paul Spencer who shared the highlights of the Addison Police Department 2016 annual report.
I encourage you to take a look at the report because I believe it reflects the very positive commitment our Chief and police department have made to community policing and to being a data driven department.
You will read about new tools we are providing for our officers that include racial sensitivity training, violence de-escalation training and training to deal with the very real and dangerous issues related to mental health.
All of those efforts will combine to make our community safer and our department more efficient and effective in the coming years. It was an outstanding report that received well deserved applause from our audience.
Dr. Del Carmen’s 2016 Racial Profiling report was equally unfaltering as he commended our Police Department for rectifying some of the past issues and being “incredibly proactive”.
Dr. Del Carmen commended our department’s new training on implicit bias and the much improved statistical tracking and reporting. His summary included a conclusion that our department is in full compliance with the law and ahead of standards. “It is very clear that there is no tolerance for racism or racial profiling in the Addison police department. “
It was a long evening with several highs and a few lows, which is certainly to be expected as part of the democratic process. We adjourned just about 11:00 pm.
Council member activities
All council members attended the Regular council meeting on Tuesday, March 28.
Nelly and I spent a fantastic evening at our WaterTower Theatre on Saturday, March 25, helping celebrate the Theatre’s 20th Anniversary.
I have had the good fortune to attend at least one performance a year in of each of those 20 years. For the last ten or so we have been season ticket subscribers and have enjoyed many excellent performances.
I believe Saturday night’s “Parade in Concert”, a benefit performance for the WaterTower Theatre, was the best ever! The story was remarkably timely, the music amazing and the level of professionalism from the actors and musicians was spectacular.
Just another reason to be so appreciative of all of the work the WaterTower team, led by Managing Director Greg Patterson, does to keep the arts celebrated in such a special way here in Addison. WaterTower Theatre is one of our true superstars. Congratulations and a big “Thank You” to the staff, artists and Board on a great job!
The next play for WaterTower Theatre is “The Gospel according to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy, Discord”.
As a special gift for Addison residents, on Sunday April 16th at 2:00 pm only, with proof of your Addison residency you may come enjoy professional theater free!
As you may have noted, the Addison Legacy Foundation presented the most generous gift in the history of Addison to our Town at our council meeting on Tuesday, March 28.
This Board is comprised of volunteers from our community, both residents and business folks, who enjoy working to make that Board very successful. The Board is reviewing candidates for a couple of open Board positions. I encourage you to take a look at the application and if you are interested, please apply.
I am sure the Board will review each and every application and interview each candidate. This inclusive process will give anyone and everyone an opportunity to be a part of a group that is truly making a difference in our Addison future.
Monday, April 3, our Spring Town Hall event, 7:00 pm, at our Addison Conference Centre. Come enjoy time with your neighbors, a few brief presentations from each of our council members, and plenty of time to answer all of your questions. Some fun surprises as well!
Monday, April 3, our monthly Economic Development Luncheon with the council and mayor, 11:30 am-1:00 pm, Remington’s Seafood Grill, 4580 Belt Line Road. Please come join us for a very informal get together to enjoy the hospitality and great food of one of our oldest Addison restaurants and let them know how much we appreciate their continued investment in Addison.
Wednesday, April 5, First Wednesday of the month coffee with the mayor, 10:00 am, Dunn Bros. 3725 Belt Line Road. Come join us for our second to the last coffee with this mayor! Chat with your neighbors and ask me any questions you like.
We look forward to seeing you Monday evening at 7:00 pm for our Spring Town Hall event at our Conference Centre … please bring your great questions!
See you soon,
Headline photo: Just one of the great pictures you can find on the Addison Police Department’s Facebook page. This one with balloon fencing was taken at last year’s Fall Open House for Police and Fire. Check out more photos and give them a like!