Saturday April 15, 2017
What a great way to enjoy Spring, a special Holiday and the celebration of our diversity that we are so fortunate to have with us here in Addison.
The weather and set up by our staff was perfect for last Saturday’s Eggstravaganza at Les Lacs Park. Lots of Addison families having fun with the petting zoo and of course the mad dash of the egg hunt!!
Our Tuesday evening meeting began with a work session at 6:00 pm where, after lengthy discussion, the council decided they were not ready to move forward on a written transparency policy.
A variety of reasons were given such as:
- we don’t need one,
- we are near the end of this council’s term, and
- we don’t know what “transparency” means.
The council was also unwilling to provide any staff guidance on the role of the Town newsletter and what level of communication should be provided with regard to council meetings and accountability for council member actions or votes on any item.
As you may know, the current Town newsletter does not provide any consistent reporting of council actions, nor how council members vote on any item.
My hope was that we could provide staff guidance on what levels of transparency our community can expect going forward, and guidance to staff on improving the levels of reporting of council member activities going forward.
While disappointed in the lack of resolve from most of my council colleagues, given their recent actions, I was not surprised.
I pressed the issue in spite of what I felt would be a less than favorable outcome because I believe that transparency is a critical component of our responsibility to build and maintain trust with our community. That “trust” or lack thereof may influence the effectiveness of future councils’ efforts to obtain our community’s support for projects going forward.
Ironically, in light of the lack of interest in transparency, our city manager reminded us that our new Public Education Government (PEG) channel was operational and, for the first time ever, our council meeting was being broadcast to cable channel customers of AT&T, with Spectrum customers to follow soon.
The council also reviewed the upcoming council calendar of meetings for May, June, July and August of 2017. Hopefully, with this much advance notice, the returning council members and newly elected council members will be able to plan their calendars accordingly.
The highlight of our evening was the unanimous approval of a new agreement for the development of the South East Quadrant of our airport. We approved a ground lease with AJC Holdings Group to build a new fixed base operations in their phase 1 development on just under 11 acres that hopefully will be completed in the next 2 years.
After completion of phase 1 of the project, they have time to move forward on the completion of phase 2 that would include about 5 acres of the site. When completed we will have three Fixed Base Operators on our airport who have outstanding customer service and business records to provide competitive, high levels of service to all of our airport customers.
With a total value in today’s dollars in excess of $20 million in private investment, this is a huge accomplishment for our airport and the credit goes to amazing teamwork with our entire staff led by City Manager Wes Pierson and our airport staff utilizing the foundation of our Airport Strategic Plan that we completed with the help of former council member Blake Clemens a couple of years ago.
Once the vote was taken and unanimously approved, our crowded council chambers broke into spontaneous applause in celebration of an outstanding accomplishment and new beginning for our airport.
The council reviewed the new library card distribution policy that will permit one free library card per household to either the Dallas Library system or the Farmers Branch Library upon an application proving Addison residency made with our Athletic Club staff.
This new policy will improve the efficiency of the process, reduce waste and provide a higher level of service to those wanting to utilize libraries in our community. The cost of the card to the Town is $200-$250, depending on the library chosen.
The Chair of our Planning and Zoning Commission, Debra Morgan, did an excellent job providing the annual P&Z report of accomplishments and attendance for 2016. See her well done report linked here.
Our City Secretary presented our first-ever annual report of council member attendance. The council made a few suggestions to improve the clarity of the report for the next half year due in January of 2018. See her report here.
The council approved a professional services contract for $109,200 to retain the services of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates to help us fully analyze our wind turbines to ascertain the cause or causes of the third catastrophic failure of the wind turbines that took place several months ago.
I provided a brief report to the council on my recent rip to Austin to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 385 relating to the requirement that voter approval take place every 5 years before federal funds may be utilized for commuter rail projects and our efforts to create a carve-out provision for our Cotton Belt project.
The council decided to postpone the appointment of folks to the DART Focus Group for the Cotton Belt project until our April 25 Regular council meeting so that we can obtain more specific information from DART on possible meeting dates, locations and expectations of the Focus Group members.
We adjourned at a very reasonable time of about 9:00 pm.
There was a huge turnout for the Wednesday night Candidate Forum at the Addison Conference Centre. All candidates participated in what most report was a rather civil evening.
However, in another blow to Transparency, the evening was blacked out and video recordings were prohibited. Why would any public official or person running for public office want to prohibit video or broadcast of their comments? Not a good sign for our transparency efforts going forward.
Council member activities
All members of our council were present for our Regular council meeting and work Session on Tuesday, April 11.
On Monday afternoon Economic Development Manager Drew Dietrich and I welcomed new marketing firm Scorpion to Addison.
We met with Chief Operating Officer Dan Bedell, Chief Revenue Officer Jamie Adams and Executive Assistant to Jamie Adams Andy Lopez at their new Texas corporate headquarters at 5040 Addison Circle, where they take up the entire third floor in suite 300.
While their national headquarters is in Los Angeles, it makes great sense for their regional HQ to be with us since over 750 of their current clients are located right here in our neighborhood, and Texas is their fastest growing market.
Scorpion is an internet marketing firm that is developing new levels of client services as part of their innovative approach to helping their clients grow their businesses. Dan, Jamie and Andy all agreed that moving to Addison has been a great decision and they have already seen the benefits with improved levels of employee satisfaction and improved results in recruiting for their growing company.
We are very proud to add the new folks of Scorpion Marketing to our growing and diverse pool of intellectual commercial capital here in Addison.
For the last 18 months Dominique Lasha’e has grown her business JamBox Fitness/Lounge at 3965 Belt Line Road into a thriving, successful, unique enterprise combining a fun fitness studio and a place for events!
Executive Director of Economic Development Orlando Campos, Economic Development Manager Drew Dietrich and I dropped in for a visit Monday afternoon just as Dominique and her team were opening for the their evening classes. Catering to about 99% women, they offer lots of fun classes to enjoy your way to fitness as well as space available for parties or receptions.
Dominique describes her space as “A midtown chic lounge offering cardio 7 core classes (Barre, Pound, Dance and Bootcamp) inside the sexiest space in fitness. 3,000 square feet of state-of- the art surround sound, flat screens, and shock resistant wood floors, with white drapes, moving lights, leather couches and chandeliers.”
Dominique and her team “give our guests an ‘out of gym’ experience by creating an environment that allows you to get lost in the music and visual entertainment around you so that you enjoy your workout without feeling like it is work! We truly believe the more you enjoy working out, the longer you will stay committed to it, and the results will come and last”. Check them out at www.jamboxfitness.com or call 469-213-0348.
Early Tuesday morning City Manager Wes Pierson, Deputy City Manager Cheryl Delaney and I attended our monthly Metroplex Mayors Association meeting at our Marriott Quorum Hotel. We heard committee reports from DART, the North Texas Commission, NTTA and Tech Titans. Our speaker was Kristi Sherrill from Baylor Scott and White Health who spoke to us about the current status of a number of bills pending in Austin that may affect health care in our State.
At this time of year our Addison Circle Park is an important attraction host site for various charity events that raise money for very worthwhile causes. I was honored to help host the annual MS Walk in Addison Circle early last Saturday morning when over 3,000 walkers showed up to raise almost $400,000 to fight this disabling disease.
Q & A with the Mayor
Q: Mayor, what is the status of the investigation into the use of the email list by the Joe Chow campaign?
A: I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation, but I believe the DA’s office is taking it seriously and are actively addressing your concerns. They have returned my phone calls and emails, and I know they are working hard. I believe, due to your complaints and assistance, there won’t be any further SPAM attack, but if there is, let me know ASAP so I can forward the offending emails to the DA’s office.
Thursday, April 20, 6:00 pm, our final “After Hours with the Mayor” at Lion and Crown in Addison Circle. Come join us for a round of beverages on the mayor, fun conversation and an opportunity to ask your questions.
Next week we will have responses to a couple of your very interesting questions about this spring’s council and mayoral election! Stay tuned.
See you soon,
Headline photo: Our impressive drummers from the MS Walk in Addison Circle.