Saturday, April 29, 2017
This is the second to the last mayor’s newsletter I will be writing for you.
Now almost a million words later, I hope you have found our newsletter informative and at least on occasion, entertaining. I would like to say I have enjoyed every minute of meeting my Thursday evening deadline; however, you all know me well enough to know that is not quite the case.
I have enjoyed writing for you most of the time as part of my responsibility and commitment to transparency, but sometimes Thursday evening rolled around with the feeling I was writing a 2,500-word term paper. Just one more to go …
Our council evening included an important work session focused on our next steps in dealing with the challenges presented by our “Underperforming Hotels”.
The council reviewed this PowerPoint presentation and provided staff with direction that included a definition of “Underperforming Hotels” as well as approval of next step recommendations from our staff.
It was a particularly special meeting since this issue with hotels has been bubbling on our “To Do List” for quite some time and also because we were able to return to the parlor at Town hall for our work session.
Now that the parlor is fully wired and ready for our meetings to be televised and saved for your review later, we are able to keep our commitment to transparency by having all of our meetings in public and subject to your view. You can watch the session on “Underperforming Hotels” here and access the report here.
Our Regular Session began at 7:30 with our pledge and no one chose to take advantage of our Public Comment section.
From there mayor pro tempore Bruce Arfsten presented me with a very cool recognition for my service to Addison and several of my council colleagues joined Bruce with some nice and much appreciated, very positive comments on my work.
As I mentioned last week, the council calendar changed after Nelly and I made plans to be out of Town immediately following the then posted meeting of May 9. Since that meeting has now been rescheduled to May 15, I will not be available and mayor pro tempore Bruce Arfsten will be the presiding officer for the meeting on May 15 when the results of the election will be canvassed.
Following Bruce’s presentation I made a few comments itemizing some things we have accomplished working together over the last 6 years, and I thanked a number of key staff folks that I have had the pleasure of working with during my tenure.
I thanked my son, daughter in law, grand kids, daughter, extended family, nieces, and nephews all for their great support and help. Finally, I thanked my sweetheart Nelly, recognizing that I could not have been your mayor without her help and support and that her intellect, caring nature and love helped every day.
Then on with our meeting, as we approved the minutes of our last meeting and the purchase of some additional radios for our Police Department and Airport.
We heard from the president of CWD, our waste pick up services provider, with an excellent annual report, and our staff presented an update on our upcoming Taste Addison event.
The council formally adopted a written Library Card policy that we have been working on for over two years and approved a written standards of care policy for our youth recreation programs.
The council approved an $84,360 expenditure to add redundancy to our North Texas Communications Public Safety Dispatch Center.
The next item on our agenda was a review of our council member attendance report in the new much easier to understand read and format. The report shows all council members with an attendance percentage of 90% or greater, except council member Al Angell who is at 72%.
We also noted that each meeting that we have had was either required by our Charter or requested by our City Manager. None of the meetings were requested or set by the mayor.
For agenda item 14 the council approved a motion to put all mayor and council campaign finance reports on our website effective May 7, 2017. This will make the reports much more accessible and eliminate the necessity to make a Freedom of Information Request of our City Secretary. Another good step in improving Transparency.
Our council appointed 14 from a pool of 56 volunteers for our DART Cotton Belt Area Focus Group:
- Council member Ivan Hughes appointed fellow Midday Rotary member Margie Gunther and Addison Business Association president Jan Rugg,
- Council member Jim Duffy appointed Addison resident Lesli Gray and Post Property manager Shannon Sear,
- Council member Bruce Arfsten appointed fellow Midday Rotary member Mary Jo Cater and former Addison Business Association president Gage Hunt,
- Council member Dale Wilcox appointed Addison resident Gail Barth and Addison resident Lola Hurt,
- Council member Al Angell appointed AMLI Executive VP Taylor Bowen and Addison resident Liesl Mayerson,
- Council member Paul Walden appointed Addison residents Nancy Craig and Peggy Ploss,
- I appointed Addison residents Luis Santeliz and Juli Branson.
It was great to see so many folks interested in serving. I am sorry we did not have a spot for each of you; however, over the next several years I feel confident that there will be many more ways you will be able to help us complete the Cotton Belt project.
Our final agenda item for the evening was an update on our Big Idea project of connecting east and west Addison.
City Manager Wes Pierson provided an update on the development of the RFQ to seek help with the development of the concept plan and I provided an update on the fund raising activity.
Local business person Holden Lunsford is leading the corporate giving effort and Addison residents Debra Morgan, Tamela Thornton and Bob Heckman have been working on plan development and fund raising in coordination with our Addison Legacy Foundation.
At the conclusion of the report, I presented my check of $5,000 to Blake Clemens, Chairperson of the Board of the Addison Legacy Foundation, for my commitment to donate one year of my mayor salary in furtherance of their objective to raise $30,000 to advance this public/private partnership to develop a concept plan.
I believe as this project gains momentum there will be additional resources available to complete the project from Dallas County, The North Central Texas Council of Governments, previous grants to Addison, and others that will join in completing this very exciting project.
The low point of the evening actually occurred at the very beginning of the meeting when the City Manager announced that there would be a Special Council meeting on Friday April 28 at 5:30.
This single topic Special meeting that, by the time you read this will have occurred last night, was about the eligibility of candidates for mayor and councilmembers to run for office and serve if elected in the May 2017 election.
Unnamed council members have called the meeting without consideration of my schedule and without consulting me. Unfortunately, I have an unavoidable conflict for Friday at 5:30.
I offered during our council meeting to be available at any other time except Friday evening. I did not even receive the courtesy of a response.
In my 6 years as mayor and as the presiding officer of all of our meetings, I always consulted the calendars of my council colleagues to ensure their attendance before scheduling any meeting not already on our calendar.
Aside from being incredibly disrespectful, it made it impossible for me to offer my comments and participate in the discussion of what has become a very controversial topic.
It does make me think they were intimidated by my ability to advocate for the release of the City Attorney’s opinions on this important matter. More importantly, it made it very unlikely you would be aware of the meeting and there was not a posted opportunity for you to participate or make a Public Comment.
It is a very disappointing way to be treated. However, I do support having the meeting, and in spite of their effort to silence me on this subject, I sent the council my recommendation and request that they release the written opinions from our City Attorney for your review concerning this issue.
Below are my comments and summary of what we now know and can release about this important matter.
Council member activities
Late Monday afternoon council members Al Angell and Ivan Hughes joined me with our staff for our ADA Transition Plan Workshop at our TreeHouse. This meeting was the first step in a process that will develop recommendations, proposed budget and priority recommendations along with a schedule for updating our Town-wide compliance with Title 2 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Council members Bruce Arfsten, Ivan Hughes and Jim Duffy joined me for the FAA sponsored event at 4505 Claire Chenault in the Jet Port parking lot for a First Responder Appreciation Luncheon on Tuesday.
All council members attended the Regular Council meeting and work session on Tuesday evening.
Council members Al Angell and Ivan Hughes joined me for the 20th Anniversary celebration of Anne Frank Elementary School on Thursday evening. As one of the largest elementary schools in DISD, it serves students from as many as 50 counties who speak more than 20 languages.
Q&A with the Mayor
Q: What is the status of the investigation into the possible misuse of the email subscription list by the Joe Chow campaign?
A: The D.A.’s office will not comment further on a pending investigation.
As you may recall after the previous council meeting that had an executive session on this subject, I offered to take a polygraph exam to expedite this investigation and to prove that I did not give my mayor’s newsletter email list to the Joe Chow campaign.
While not admissible in court, polygraph exams can be a very effective investigative tool and are often used by US law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and NSA.
I would suggest that Council members Walden and Wilcox, each of whom have copies of the email list and each of whom, just like myself, have signed sworn affidavits saying we did not give our copies of the list to any unauthorized person, might also be willing to take a polygraph exam to further expedite the investigation and prove that none of us have given the Joe Chow campaign the email list.
It might also be very helpful if Joe Chow and members of his campaign staff took a polygraph exam to determine how and from whom they received the complained-about email addresses.
I believe those steps might very quickly bring to resolution this investigation.
Q: Mayor, how do we clear up any possible uncertainty about certain candidates’ eligibility for this year’s election?
A: I am very pleased to be able to provide additional information to you regarding terms limits that was unavailable for me to share with you last week.
To refresh your memory, the questions posed last week by several of you and during the most recent After Hours with the Mayor at Lion and Crown were: ”Mayor, I thought we had/do we have term limits in Addison?”
Until today my response was limited to known facts which I quoted in last Saturday’s newsletter as follows:
a. Our Charter, which is the controlling documents on this issue, says:
“No person shall serve as Mayor for more than three (3) successive terms of office, and no person shall serve as a council member for more than three (3) successive terms of office. For purposes of this section, the phrase “terms of office” shall not include any unexpired portion of any two-year term.”
b. I also noted our Addison history in that no modern day mayor has ever served or attempted to serve more than “three successive terms of office.”
c. I noted answers to questions of the Chair of the 2010 Charter Review Commission; When asked, “Based on our Charter do we have term limits?” the Chair of the 2010 Charter Review Committee responded, ”Yes, 2 year terms with a maximum of 3 consecutive.”
Our City attorney wrote two opinions related to this matter that up until last night’s council meeting were privileged, not legal to recite and not available for you to see due to the Attorney/Client privilege.
While I was not able to attend the meeting I did, by email and through a statement read to the council, encourage the council to waive the Attorney/Client privilege and release for your review two separate opinions written by the City Attorney.
One opinion is from January 16, 2017 entitled, “Legal Opinion regarding Term Limits.” The second opinion is from February 27, 2017 entitled, “Questions Pertaining to Candidates.”
We have attached those opinions for your review here:
Depending on your reading and interpretation of these opinions written by our City Attorney, you may feel like the question is now fully resolved one way or the other, or you may feel like there is even more uncertainty and ambiguity.
The opinion given on January 16, 2017 entitled “Legal Opinion regarding Term Limits” says in part, “Given a plain reading, considering the other Charter language regarding the offices of the mayor and council member, and absent any evidence of different intent by the governing body that drafted the language, the Addison Charter, Section 8.04(h) establishes a 3-term limit for the office of the mayor and a 3-term limit for the office of council member.”
It may also be helpful to note the opinion begins with “Having served the maximum number of terms in the office of Mayor would not prohibit the Mayor from seeking election to the office of Council member.”
The opinion given on February 27, 2017 entitled “Questions Pertaining to Candidates” is very different and you may view it as in conflict with or inconsistent with the opinion from January 16, 2017 referred to above.
The opinion of February 27, 2017 recites the same Charter provision with the same language as above and in the opinion of January 16, 2017. The opinion then creates an extensive legal argument based on an alleged mistake in the Charter ballot language during the public vote.
Finding no Texas case to support the opinion, the opinion relies on a California case to support the opinion that candidates Joe Chow, Blake Clemens and Tom Braun are not prevented from running for office.
Confusing? Yes, of course. That is one reason they are called “opinions” and another reason law school is 3 years of teaching lawyers to write and give arguments supporting either side of a controversy.
My recommendation? Read and review the relevant portions of the Addison Charter for yourself, review all of the facts and circumstances, review all opinions you care to consider and make your own independent judgment about whether or not we have term limits in Addison.
My second recommendation, and one I made in my written comments to the council last night, is to convene a new Charter Review Commission. Once convened, ask that group of Addison residents to review our Charter, seek broad input from our community and remove any possible ambiguity about term limits.
Give our Addison voters an opportunity to answer the question, “Do we have term limits in Addison?”
On Monday evening Nelly and I enjoyed a fun evening representing Addison at the Reagor Dykes Direct Auto of Dallas at 16280 Midway Road facility for a very special charity event raising funds for “The Single Parent Foundation”.
The filming of an episode of “Inside the Huddle” that will air on CBS 11 on April 29th was the centerpiece of the evening and the guest for the show was none other than Dallas Cowboy rookie quarterback sensation Dak Prescott.
It is always great to see an Addison business that is engaged with our community and wanting to find ways to give back. A very well done event.
On Tuesday afternoon our staff did an excellent job of building interest and excitement for Taste Addison with a “tasty” event in the lobby of the beautiful office building called Addison Circle One.
With excellent food from our participating restaurants, the word quickly spread thru the office tenants that Addison was throwing a big party and there was a free lunch! With over 200 folks showing up, the word will spread about our upcoming Taste Addison in Addison Circle Park from May 19-21.
Monday, May 1, our First Monday of the month Economic Development Luncheon with the mayor and council, 11:30 am -1:00 pm at the brand new restaurant called “972 Public School” at 14854 Montfort Drive.
Wednesday, May 3, my final First Wednesday of the month “Coffee with the Mayor”, 10:00 am, Dunn Bros, at 3725 Belt Line Road.
Saturday, May 6, Election Day!
Thank you so much for reading and sharing our newsletter over the last 6 years. I have truly enjoyed and do appreciate the honor of being your mayor.
See you next week,
Headline photo: Crepe myrtle trees flank an irregular path in Addison. Photo from 2004 by Phillip Winn.