Last Saturday, as I was preparing to go to the polls to greet voters, I happened to glance out my kitchen window and witness the most interesting sight. There was a small white SUV driving slowly past my house. A woman in the passenger seat was leaning out the window taking pictures. I guess that is the source of my “numerous” code violation complaints.  It was so cute how she was volunteering to take over for Community Surveillance during the weekend – why, she even copied their white automobile theme. Maybe after she garners a certain number of complaints they will award her a door sticker to put on her car. She must be so proud.

Wow – even from my kitchen window I could see that she was really excited when she saw the railroad tie that had dislodged itself from the retaining wall between my neighbor’s driveway and mine. I hope she didn’t ruin the upholstery in her nice white SUV. Oh – I did go out and replace the errant tie, so her pictures were for naught. I’m sorry if I spoiled her fun. Oh well – I’m sure she can find something else to complain about. For we all know that The Code is written so it is very easy to complain about someone if you really want to. And she did look like a woman on a mission.

As I was watching her, I remembered something that an old rancher told me once, and that is “We’ve got to break that dog from sucking eggs.” I was a kid at the time and thought that term was, well, kind of gross, but now I understand. I researched “egg-sucking dog” on the internet, and was struck by the similarities between sneaking into a farmer’s property to “suck eggs” and trolling the neighborhood to complain about strangers.

According to old farm tales, an egg-sucking dog was a very bad thing to have on a farm. It could be your own dog, or a neighbor’s, but what the pooch would do was sneak into the henhouse and eat the eggs. That dog was stealing food from the farmer’s table. In my research I found that during the first depression a number of families kept chickens so that they could have the eggs as well as an occasional nice chicken dinner. If a neighborhood dog developed a taste for the eggs he could cause some serious harm to a family’s livelihood.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, the concept of egg-sucking dogs has managed to creep into our vocabulary, with a similar meaning.   We reserved “egg-sucking dog” as an appellation for the most despicable sort of person — one who was sneaky and untrustworthy — like the occasional mangy yard dog that slipped about raiding hens’ nests and depriving cooks of one of country cooking’s basic ingredients. A person did not want to be called an egg-sucking dog. A neighborhood did not want egg-sucking dogs in its midst.  To keep a pooch from stealing eggs, farmers would put pepper or Tabasco in an egg and leave it for the dog to find and eat. The idea was to make sucking eggs so disagreeable that the dog would stop. That tactic sometimes worked, but if it didn’t there was nothing left to do but eliminate the animal.

So –  you might ask what this has to do with Code Enforcement. Well, I’ll tell you:

I was told by our fine Community Surveillance folks that they protect the identity of anyone who complains about your home in spite of the fact that, in America, a person has the right to face his accuser. Ah – don’t worry – they have that covered, because the accuser gets to be Code Enforcement, not the egg-sucking dog person who complained. Either way, it is also acceptable to complain about a neighbor or a stranger, under the cloak of anonymity. Code Enforcement will take any complaint, no matter the number, the accuser, or the crime, and they will do their darndest to validate it.

Well, in spite of that, the fine Code of Ordinances clearly states that:

” It is not intended that this article be interpreted or enforced to require the city to intervene in matters which are primarily personal or private in nature and which may appropriately be resolved between or among private interests without material danger to the public health, safety or welfare.”

So, how do they know whether they are being used or not? How do they know whether there is a real Health or Safety issue in our fair City in the Park? How do they know who the egg-sucking dogs are? Well, they don’t. How could they?

There is a notorious court case that has become quite popular because of the concept that a person has the right to the privileges of his own property – and the right to deal with egg-sucking dogs who trespass. Here’s a brief summary of the court’s findings:

It is a fact of common knowledge that when a dog has once acquired the habit of egg-sucking there is no available way by which he may be broken of it, and that there is no calculable limit to his appetite in the indulgence of the habitual propensity. And generally he has a sufficient degree of intelligence that he will commit the offense, and return to it upon every clear opportunity, in such a stealthy way that he can seldom be caught in the act itself.

When a dog of that character has for three weeks taken up his abode upon the premises of one not his owner, or else from time to time during the course of such a period and from day-to-day as well as often during the night, has returned to and entered upon the premises of one not his owner, and has destroyed and continued to destroy all the eggs of the fowls kept by the owner of the premises, what shall the victimized owner of the premises do? Nobody will contend that he shall be obliged to forego the privilege to own and keep fowls and to obtain and have the eggs which they lay; nor will it be contended that he is obliged to build extra high fences, so high as to keep out the trespassing dog, even if fences could be so built. The premises and its privileges belong to the owner thereof, not to the dog.

Hill v. Scruggs, 2 So.2d 543, from 1941 in LeFlore County.

Whoa – what a concept – that people have a right to enjoy their own property. Oh my – what will those liberals think of next?

Ah – but I have an idea. I think it’s time We Stop Those Dogs From Sucking Eggs. And the solution is simple:

  1. Stop the ability to file a complaint anonymously. The City has stated that they go to great lengths to protect the identity of the person filing a complaint, so why would people bother to file anonymously? Ah – I know why: They’re Sucking Eggs!
  2. Make it a point to inspect the complainer’s property along with the target of the complaint. As Bill Glancy points out: use the People in Glass Houses tactic. If a citizen is truly concerned about their health and safety they will welcome the nice people of Code Enforcement visiting and showing how their own homes could be improved. And they can – there is not one home here in The City in the Park that is not violating some part of The Code. Not one. That would be impossible.

Will The City in the Park consider something like this. Well, it depends on several factors, including:

  • Whose, and how many, campaign signs you allow in your front yard.
  • How much money you make.
  • How old you are.
  • How healthy you are.
  • How DESIRABLE you are (according to some people’s desirability index).
  • Uh – and there are others, but you get the idea.

I’m guessing NO – they will not. For, the only way we can weed out the undesirables is to have some people troll the neighborhoods and report them. Then, let the brown shirts Code Enforcement take care of the rest. There now: isn’t that what makes for a nice upscale small-town wonderful place to live? Lots and lots of eggs to suck. Lots and lots of revenue to put in our dwindling coffers.

And if you’re not into that, well, you obviously don’t belong here.

Everyone knows about the Current Regime’s use of Code Enforcement to bully, intimidate, and punish selected citizens.

Everyone knows how Brenda Brodrick’s rental homes were targeted in the last days of the May 8 election.

Now, someone has hacked into Brenda’s campaign site.

Hmmmmmm …….. is the opposition THAT frightened? What lengths will they go to try to prevent Brenda from joining the City Council? ………. Burning homes? Throwing eggs? Graffiti? (oh wait – they already tried that – on Mayor Phelp’s home), Kidnapping puppies?

This is how they act when they are threatened. And this is how they act when they are in charge.

When Brenda and I were opponents we made an agreement that we would not stoop to dirty politics. And we kept our promise. And she maintains her integrity and high standards even in the face of some of the most low-handed shenanigans (an Irish word) that I have ever seen.

Stop them. VOTE FOR BRENDA.

I recently received a copy of the following email. Now, I know what you’re wondering: “Who is Michelle Holmes?” Michelle is the candidate that the current regime trotted out to oppose Elizabeth Villafranca for City Council. What are her qualifications?  I dunno. What has she done for the city? Well, mostly she just sits there and votes with the rest of the guys. Oh – and sends malicious emails full of half-truths and outright lies. Emails sent solely to hurt – not help. Kind of like high school all over again. But that’s what our “leaders” want to be – they are reliving high school with their bullying and malicious lies. 

And, no, we are not related. 

The following is a copy of her email. To save space, I’ll put her statements in italics, and my response in my regular type. Specific points I want to address are underlined: 

From: Michelle Holmes <michelle.holmes2000@gmail.com> 

Date: June 9, 2010 9:59:00 PM CDT 

Subject: Who is behind the Branch Forum?  

People have asked me numerous times over the past several months, “Who is the Branch Forum?”  Their website doesn’t indicate who their leaders are & neither do their mailers.  They only mention the name of their treasurer because that is all they are required to do by law.  

Branch Forum is composed of people who are concerned about our city – as they have every right to be. Check out their website:  http://www.branchforum.com  Is it some “secret society”? Naw – they try their darndest to get out information about the truth in Farmers Branch. But – like so many of the citizens of Farmers Branch – they know that opposition to the current regime can will bring about personal attacks and vendettas against them. I know, because I am the poster child for personal retaliatory attacks from The City in the Park.  

The Branch Forum is made up of people who ran for City Council & could not get elected on their negative campaign agendas. Now they’ve disguised themselves as the “Branch Forum.” Do you have any idea who is behind the Branch Forum? Elizabeth Villafranca (Board of Directors – Branch Forum) lost her bid for City Council receiving only 34% of the vote; Ruben Rendon (President – Branch Forum) lost his bid for City Council with only 36% of the vote; Gene Bledsoe (Board of Directors- Branch Forum) lost his bid for Mayor with only 36% of the vote; Matt Wenthold (Branch Forum) lost TWO bids for City Council;  

Branch Forum is also composed of former Council members, and Board members who were kicked off their boards when the current Regime came into power. Was it because they were incompetent? Oh come on – it was because they would not march in step with whatever The Regime dictated. It was because they were clear thinkers – and were concerned about the citizens of Farmers Branch. When The Regime tells you that you can always volunteer to serve on a City Board they are right – you can volunteer – but they get to select the members and they will not select you if they think you might have your own opinion. 

Carol Dingman (Board of Directors – Branch Forum) filed a lawsuit against the City of Farmers Branch regarding an open records request resulting in legal fees incurred by the City in the amount of $15,058.04; Since 2008 the Dingmans have filed at least 40 different open records requests.  The requests were so excessive & time-consuming that it cost the City an additional $14,840 to process each of the requests.  The Dingmans continue to complain about how much money the City spends to defend itself. 

Now, why do you suppose the Dingmans are filing all those open records requests? Could it be because the Current Regime does not want you and me to know what is going on? Do they have something to hide? Darned straight – that’s why they incurred those legal fees – because they tried to suppress information: information that you and I have every right to know. 

And why was getting that information so excessive and time consuming? Is it because the City keeps records hidden so thoroughly that it took them days, weeks, months to find, to filter, to copy? Is it because they spent more time trying to hide these records than they did coming up with them? Is it because they did not want to let The Citizens know what was going on? Is it all of the above? 

It is amusing disgusting that Ms. Holmes has an accounting of those legal fees down to the penny, but yet no one on the City Council can tell us with any certainty what the Fountain Park cost. You know – the one for the Church of Christ on Webbs Chapel and Valley View – that one. The “Look But Don’t Touch” park. 

Each of these individuals has been against the current Council beginning with the election in 2007. Over the past 4 election cycles, they have never had one positive thing to say about the city.  They have never campaigned on meaningful or positive change for the city.   

Oh Michelle, haven’t you heard the old saying “Never Say Never”? The fact is, the Branch Forum members have all complimented the city – on the things that deserve compliments: like the City Staff, the Police and Fire Departments, our sports parks – well, before it was decided that normal kids couldn’t play on them. 

And as for meaningful and positive change for the city – oh my – a meaningful and positive change is to get rid of the good old boys fraternity (do they have fraternities in high school?) Doesn’t Michelle think it’s odd that the Branch Forum members were all relatively quiet until THE ELECTION in 2007? Hmmmm – what do you suppose made them decide to speak up? Could it have been that they saw this train wreck coming? 

They don’t like what we have to say so they accuse of us of harassment & voter suppression. Even though we are simply trying to give the voters factual information so they can make an informed decision when they go to the polls.  

Oh Michelle – you must have gone to the same high school as another Council Member, because there you go using the wrong word just like he does. Look up “factual” in the dictionary. I think the correct word that you need is “biased” or maybe “misleading”. And those are the nicer terms. You may want to use a more factual word, like LIES. 

They are trying to take away our freedom of speech. Their lack of support at the polls indicates a lack of dedication & enthusiasm on the part of their own so-called supporters.  

Isn’t it ironic that the Current Regime would express concern about our Freedoms: the very people who have taken away our Freedom of Privacy, our Freedom to enjoy our own homes. They think it’s just fine to encourage neighbors to spy on neighbors, to send their goons into our alleys and easements to see what we have there. To tell us what kind of furniture THEY want in our yards, how many pots on our front porches. To drag private citizen into Criminal Court for the dreadful sin of having grass in a driveway crack. And then they come back and whine about Freedom.

The most frequently quoted statement by a Supreme Court Justice on the subject of Privacy comes in Justice Brandeis’s dissent on Olmstead vs. U.S.: 

“The makers of our Constitution understood the need to secure conditions favourable to the pursuit of happiness, and the protections guaranteed by this are much broader in scope, and include the right to life and an inviolate personality – the right to be left alone – the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. The principle underlying the Fourth and Fifth Amendments is protection against invasions of the sanctities of a man’s home and privacies of life. This is a recognition of the significance of man’s spiritual nature, his feelings, and his intellect.” 

Now – I ask you – does the Current Regime’s aggressive and capricious code enforcement activity care a whit about OUR RIGHTS? Don’t whine to me about Our Rights, Ms. Holmes – that makes me fighting mad.  

Councilman Koch’s opponent has stated that we should abandon our efforts to fight illegal immigration even though 68% of the voters in Farmers Branch voted to pursue the fight. She claims she is listening to the voters. The people she is listening to are the same people who have been opposed to doing anything about illegal immigration since the fall of 2006:  ex-Mayor Bob Phelps, Elizabeth Villafranca (political activist for ILLEGAL immigrants rights), Gene Bledsoe, Ruben Rendon, Joe & Carol Dingman, etc. 

Brenda has Never, Ever, Not Once stated that we should abandon our efforts to fight illegal immigration. And neither has Branch Forum. Here is what Brenda says now, and what she has said from Day 1 of her campaign: 

“I am opposed to all illegal activities, including immigration. My concern with the current legislation regarding illegal immigration is not with its purpose, but rather with its process. We have little evidence that the current legislation will be allowed to endure. We have much evidence that the current legislation will be costly to defend. In a time of recession, I believe these costs should be tempered. This has been my position since I began my campaign.” 

 And quit trotting out that tired old “68% of The Voters Decided” argument. The voters were fed a bunch of lies and they swallowed them all – in spite of clearer heads telling them that the litigation would be costly, would do nothing to prevent illegal immigration, would divide our city, and would make the city of Farmers Branch the laughing-stock of the nation – oh wait – the world!   

A more positive note regarding the senior community in Farmers Branch . . . 

 During my first year on the Council I have had numerous opportunities to visit our Senior Center. Everyone I have met at the center is so proud of the facilities. Everyone has a great time whether its the weekly dance held every Monday night, the annual game night, a day trip that is organized through the Senior Center or the monthly breakfast. The time that I have spent throughout the year at the Senior Center has taught me not to be afraid of getting older but to embrace it, enjoy retirement & have a great time at the Farmers Branch Senior Center! 

Now isn’t that just the sweetest thing ….. before being on the City Council Ms Holmes didn’t know any Senior Citizens, and did not visit the Senior Center. But – once she was obligated to do so I guess she found that they weren’t as smelly and senile as she had thought – and now SHE CAN HARDLY WAIT TO BE ONE! Awwwwwwww 

News for you Michelle: If You’re Lucky you will be a healthy senior with lots of disposable income. If You’re Lucky. So many of our senior citizens are not that lucky. You know who they are – the ones that are being targeted by The Current Regime so that they can take their homes away. Oh – excuse me, that factual information is that The City “cares” about these people and just wants to put them into “affordable living” compounds so that More Deserving (young families with plenty of disposable income) can take their homes and bulldoze them to put nice pretty sterile McMansions on that prime real estate. 

The City & the Council also provide support to numerous service organizations that provide assistance to our senior community. Metrocrest Medical Foundation provides Lifeline (an emergency call button for seniors living alone) free of charge; Senior Adult Services provides meals, home repairs & maintenance services for seniors who are either financially or physically unable to do the work themselves. These are just a few of the organizations supported by the City & the Council to fulfill the needs of our senior community. 

Here’s some Factual Information for you:  In the September 2, 2008  City Council minutes (item D1) they discuss the Project Lifesaver tracking device program. The town of Addison supplied the tracking devices and other equipment and training. They asked Carrollton and FB to provide support personnel, as needed. That’s it. 

 The City of Farmers Branch could give a rip about Seniors, the Disabled, the Poor: except when those people VOTE. Then they’re all over them with their deceit and misinformation and scare tactics.  And for all you Senior citizens who think the Current Regime is being thoughtful by visiting the Senior Center: there’s a reason for that, and it is the very same reason that hyenas gather around the water hole – it’s because that’s where the prey is: the easy victims. Stop voting and see how concerned they are about your welfare.

Lastly, in 2009, the Council voted to increase the senior property tax exemption to $65,000. Currently, the Dallas senior property tax exemption is $64,000; Carrollton is $60,000; Addison is only $50,000. 

Oh yeah – and they sent each Senior property owner a bribe check for a whopping $15. Then raised taxes. Thanks a lot. 

The October 21, 2008 CC Minutes are priceless. Start with item E.2, where Charles Cox made a financial presentation “in light of the recent collapse in the financial market.  Ben Robinson recommends a freeze on all unnecessary spending – “starting tonight”. Nevertheless, the CC went ahead and okay’d $399,416.25 to Jeske Construction for Liberty Plaza improvements, then turned around and okay’s another $55,102 for the next round of new street signs. The spending continues to this day. 

Councilman Koch’s opponent is using scare tactics to lead you to believe that we do not embrace or appreciate the senior community in Farmers Branch. As you can see, she is either not very informed or is not concerned with the truth. 

Once again, I ask that you join me in supporting a Council that works together to move our city FORWARD.  If you haven’t voted yet, please remember the last chance to vote for Councilman David Koch is this Saturday, June 12, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at your usual polling place.  David only needed an additional 34 votes to avoid a run off – EVERY VOTE COUNTS!      

I look forward to seeing you at the polls on Saturday! 

Now – this entire email shows me that the Current Regime is Scared. They are afraid that some little girl is going to break up their little clique. They are afraid that someone is going to go in there and make them accountable for the havoc they are inflicting on the Good Citizens of Farmers Branch. They are afraid that their little party is over. 

Let’s show them that they have every reason to be scared. Get out and Vote. Vote for Brenda Brodrick. Stop the Bullying, the Waste, the Intimidation, the Lies.

An incensed reader made the following  comments that cannot be ignored, especially with this very important election underway:

  •  I was told the front of your house was a pit and when you took you case to court YOU LOST!

Someone asked me if the Farmers Branch Municipal Court was a “Real” Court, or a “Kangaroo” Court. At the time I was not familiar with that term. Now I am. I’m not going to say, but I did get a chance to sneak a photograph of the judge and the city’s attorney. It turned out like this:

Now, it is true that I took my case to court and I lost. I lost big time. If anyone has ever tried to defend himself in Farmers Branch municipal court he knows that the cards are stacked against him. If you cannot afford a lawyer (as I cannot) you get to sit there and listen to all kinds of misinformation and allegations and opinions and accusations directed toward you. And there’s very little, if anything, you can do about it.

 But – that is my burden: I tried – I failed. I thought that 6 citizens of Farmers Branch would realize how Code Enforcement, and the Farmers Branch Municipal Court, treats people, and they would sympathize. I was wrong.

What really bothers me about Beverly’s statement is that there were only a very few people who knew about the details that she “heard”. Even the jury did not know all the details that Beverly knew. In fact, the only people who would have a vested interest were two guys who wanted my support for a city council election. I told them I was not interested in helping them to continue the harassment and shoddy treatment of decent citizens.

Either way, Beverly doesn’t know me, and as far as I know she has never even driven by my home. So, for her edification I will later publish a post complete with a tour and photographs of  “The Pit”. That will come later in another post, as I have a lot more to talk about in this one.

Oh – Beverly has not one, but two, candidate signs in her front yard. If you’re wondering what that has to do with anything – consider Beverly’s next statement:

  • I heard Brenda Broderick has had 20 code violations on her 17 houses, if so I don’t see that she is setting a good example for other citizens.

Brenda has owned rental homes for several years. I don’t know how long, and how many. I hear 17 homes, and 20 violations so I’m going to run with that. I did look up the Code Violation records for the past 18 months, and found that Brenda had 2 violations in that time period. One was for a Real Estate sign that was too close to the curb, and one was for trash that was placed out too early – by hours, not days. So, for 18 months Brenda’s homes were in compliance. All 17 of them.  No complaints, even though homes around hers received violation notices (Code Enforcement loves to troll those neighborhoods).

Then, suddenly, in the last days before the City Council election, but just in time for her opponent’s supporters to compose a campaign mailer, get it printed, and send it out, she was slapped with not 1, but 20 Violations: spread out among 17 properties. She won’t divulge a lot of detail except to say that they were all very minor, and as soon as she was notified she had them remedied. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that most were addressed before the citizens even got the nasty mailer. The fact is: not one of those violations compromised anyone’s health, safety, welfare, or property values.

I’m not going to guess who complained about her homes, or if Code Enforcement just “happened upon them” during one of their neighborhood blitzes. I could probably look up the data and make an educated guess, but that is not the point.

So – who is setting a good example for other citizens …. the guy who takes advantage of someone else’s misfortune, or the person who remedies a problem immediately – even knowing full-well that that problem was most likely politically motivated and unfair.

  • If the city does not have code enforcement and enforce those laws, property values will decline.

You don’t want to get me started here. The truth of the matter is that even though Code Enforcement has been “aggressively enforcing strict compliance” for several years the property values in Farmers Branch have declined … and declined, and declined. This year we set the record for Dallas county and the surrounding areas. For those citizens who don’t bother to read the news: The record for decline in property values for this year alone is held by Farmers Branch, with 11% DECLINE. That is this year alone. I expect more will come. And I expect that a lot of that decline will be due to the fact that The Word is getting out about Farmers Branch.

Anyone with even half a brain can look at that data and know there is no correlation between grass in driveway cracks and property values. The only thing that the City is getting from terrorising decent citizens is the money they generate from fines.

If you want to live in a community that is governed by an HOA that is your business, because you know the rules when you move in. Farmers Branch continues to restrict every single thing the residents can do – and surprises us with new rules after we are already here. That is much worse than any Homeowners Association.

  • I own a home here and I don’t want trashy homes in my neighborhood. I don’t like looking at eyesores.

Trashy Homes – right. There are very few, if any, trashy homes in Farmers Branch. I can’t think of one off-hand. There are some people who are a little more creative with the yard decorations than suit my taste, but that is really none of my business. Besides: who cares … to me an eyesore is rows upon rows of sterile homes that look like no one lives there. Or at least if they do they don’t go outside much. I guess they’re afraid of mussing their pristine yards. God forbid your own home would look lived-in.

I was reading a Home and Garden magazine that had pictures of some homes that Beverly would probably consider “trashy”, as they had some areas with some very creative yard art. The caption stated that those homes made you want to stop and meet the owners, that they were probably very interesting people.

I agree. When you drive by the sterile McMansions in Frisco, or Colleyville, or Plano do any of those grab you – do any of them say “Hey – I’m fun, I’m quirky, I’m interesting”? Or do you just drive by. Ho Hum.

Beverly doesn’t like looking at whatever she thinks are eyesores: I don’t like looking at boring homes.

  • If you cannot maintain your home properly, then you should not be a home owner. 

Maintain your home Properly? What does that mean? According to the standards of someone you don’t even know? Someone who you probably wouldn’t even want to know? Does proper home maintainance mean you can’t enjoy being outside? Is it improper to store a pitchfork by your compost pile? Is it improper to have 6 decorative items in your front yard? Is it improper to have whatever furniture you want on your own covered front porch?

I’ll tell you what’s improper – it’s judging others by your own ignorant standards. If you want your home to be truly pristine there are plenty of communities with Home Owners’ Associations. Go live there. Leave the rest of us alone to enjoy our privacy.

But – don’t worry – The City will keep an eye on you; especially if you get old, or sick, or lose your job. They will watch and watch, and when you are not able to “maintain” your home to their ever-more restrictive standards they will take care of you. They will help you to move into a nice little “affordable living” compound. There, isn’t that much nicer than the home you lived in all those years – the big house with the nice big yard? Hey – we’ll take care of the old homestead for you. We’ll  bulldoze it to put in a park or make room for a McMansion in the hopes that someone more upscale and desirable than you will want to move to the City in the Park someday. At least you don’t have to worry your little old sick poor head about it, right? What a relief.

  •  I manage to keep my yard and home in pristine condition. 

I’ll not dwell on this, as you all have seen my response earlier. The fact is, there is absolutely no way anyone can maintain their homes to Farmers Branch Code Enforcement standards. Especially if you disagree with the Code Enforcement person’s OPINION of what is right and what is wrong. Yes – I said OPINION. If the Code Enforcement person doesn’t LIKE what you have, then it is wrong. And there is nothing you can do about it, except roll over and submit like a good little Sheepizen.

Or – wait – maybe you can do something. You can vote for Brenda Brodrick. We have to get the loonies who are tearing our city down OUT of office. When they go all their hangers-on will go too. The folks who troll the streets looking for minor violations. The folks who will never be happy – no matter what the situation. The folks who are preying on the decent citizens of Farmers Branch.

Your vote for Brenda is the right start. Stand up for yourself.

Most of you know that I have decided to endorse Brenda Brodrick for the City Council Place 4 seat. I came to this decision after carefully considering both of the candidates, listening carefully to what they had to say, and asking the hard questions. I have no reservations whatsoever about backing Brenda. She and I had many conversations during the original campaign, and recently, and I am convinced she does have the citizen’s best interests at heart – not just the vocal minority – but all the citizens: rich and poor, young and old, sick and healthy, you and me. For more information about Brenda, check out her website at: www.brendabrodrick.com

On May 8 we took the current City Council by surprise. David Koch stated that the reason he did not win the election outright was that so many of his supporters were so confident that he would take it away that they didn’t bother to vote. We surprised them then, and you can bet that those people do not want to be surprised again – they will be out in force on June 12. Let’s surprise them again – but in a bigger way – in a way that shows them that we want change, and we will not back down. Let’s help Brenda win – and win by a huge majority.

Brenda has the intelligence, the drive, and the ability to represent us in the City Council.  But we need action from the citizens – the citizens who truly care about Farmers Branch. Brenda’s opponent has a well-financed, well-organized group behind him. They will campaign tirelessly, they will throw money at him, they will try to tell the rest of us how to live, and they will go to the polls and cast their votes.

Don’t let us down: don’t let yourself down. Let’s show the current regime that the honest, decent citizens of Farmers Branch are tired of the wasteful spending, tired of the bullies, tired of special-interests dictating our lives.

Brenda will represent the people who need it – not just the ones who can afford it. 

Get out and Vote. Vote for Your Money, Your Home, Your Future.

VOTE FOR YOURSELF – ELECT BRENDA TO CITY COUNCIL

Early voting for the runoff election between Brenda Brodrick and David Koch is going on now – and will continue through Tuesday. It takes only a few minutes out of your busy schedule to run to City Hall and place your vote: to have your voice heard, to make a difference.

My readers know that my blog started when I realized the lengths that the current City Council will go to in order to intimidate selected residents. I knew I was not alone, and I wanted to reach the hundreds of citizens who are in the same boat. At least I thought there were probably hundreds. I discovered that there are well over three thousand households in our fair city that were hassled in the past year. And not one of those homes had anything that could be considered hazardous to their neighbors’ health, safety, or welfare. And not one of them was the reason for the 11% drop in property values. And not one of them contributed to crime, or blight, or rats. Not one. Read the report for yourself: a mop on someone’s porch, a newspaper in the street, grass in a driveway crack, a chair on a front porch, toys in the yard, grass in the alley. Is that what this city thinks is desirable …. dragging people to court and fining them for GRASS? And I don’t mean the smoking kind – if you had that, or if you ran a red light, or drove 70 in a school zone while talking on your cell phone the courts would be easier on you than if you allowed grass to grow over your curb. And I am serious – dead serious.

I discussed that issue with both of my opponents, and I think they both thought I was overreacting: that I was just whining about my own special interest. But Brenda found out soon enough how Code Enforcement could be used as an intimidation tactic. She has experienced it, and she knows how insidious it is.

When we all go to the polls and cast our votes for Brenda she will be the only city council member who knows what it is like to be the target of Code Enforcement intimidation tactics. She understands – she’s been there.

If you do not do your part to elect Brenda, there will be not one person on the City Council who will understand – who will take up the fight to protect your right to privacy and to enjoy your own home. So the half hour you saved by avoiding the polls will be taken up trying to defend yourself against the Enforcers. Business will go on as it has for the past several years – the stalking, the peering over and through fences, the invasion of your own private living areas.

I’m going to share a postcard mailing that was sent out by a supporter during my campaign for City Council Place 4. It was sent only to residents who had received recent Code Violation notices, but every single resident of Farmers Branch needs to see it – for if you haven’t received a violation notice by now your turn will come. Unless, of course, you are one of the group of protected “Desireable” citizens: with lots of disposable income, young, vibrant, upscale, healthy, or just know the right people.

Whew – what a lot of information; and misinformation; has come out in the past few days. Let’s take a moment to discuss.

Although BJ – in my earlier post “PROPERTY RIGHTS in Farmers Branch” – is a fictional character composed of ideas from various emails and comments, the person who judges others by her own strict and unreasonable standards is very real here in The City in the Park. As I described BJ:

 BJ is the conscience of The City in the Park. BJ will tell you what is nice and what is naughty. BJ can legislate through the telephone and email. BJ has the City Manager’s number on speed dial. If BJ doesn’t like it – Thou Shalt Not have it.

And therein lies our problem. One person decided that this character hit very close to home – and took offense, and retaliated by spewing nonsense. I could have deleted her comments, but the whole point of this blog is to demonstrate what is really going on in this nice little “Small Town Community”.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, I do not delete any comment unless it is Spam, and my Spam filter does that for me. I don’t edit anything; I encourage free and open discussion. And that’s the point – this is not an avenue for sanitized propaganda. I sincerely believe that most of the residents of Farmers Branch do not fully realize what has been happening for the past few years. Many people are fortunate enough to have escaped scrutiny by the Enforcers – so far.

Remember the old saying – that “to make an omelet you have to break some eggs”? Well,  broken eggs are everywhere now. And maybe the citizens, and the voters, and the decent folks in Farmers Branch, will see and heed.

So – let’s discuss the situation.

The woman who objected to my post probably feels violated. And rightly so. So did I when I found that Code Enforcement was judging my own private space. Judging by their own biased and narrow standards. Interpreting the law by opinion and personal preference. Litigating from the truck. And there was not a darned thing you can do about it. That is why, when she bragged about her pristine home, I just had to go and demonstrate how, as nice as it looks while driving by – it will not pass our ProActive and Innovative Code Enforcement scrutiny. No one’s home can …. no one’s. And, were any of her violations detrimental to the Health, Safety, or Welfare of the citizens of Farmers Branch? Oh my no. Few are. In fact, the City is less interested in your Health and Safety than they are about appearances. Appearances judged by others.

Because that is the whole point of the Farmers Branch Code Enforcement’s Pro Active and Innovative initiative. As I stated time and time again: I am not opposed to City Standards. We all have to live close to each other, we all want to be proud to live in our neighborhood. There have to be some standards for everyone to get along by. But when those standards are created for the sole purpose of targeting and harassing selected residents, when they are enforced by people who trespass on your private property so that they can nit-pick your private business to pieces because they don’t want you around – then I have a problem with that. And every single citizen of this great country should too. Our United States Constitution guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And our right to privacy.

When a reader declared on this site that her home was pristine, and that anyone who could not keep their homes in the same pristine condition did not deserve to own a home, well, I wondered if that person had any idea what she was talking about. For if you read the Farmers Branch Code of Ordinances you know that there is no home – NOT ONE – that could possibly comply. The Codes are written that way and they are enforced that way. Anyone who doesn’t believe that the Codes are used as a weapon against selected individuals is naive.

The reader mentioned the 20 Code Violation Notices that Brenda Brodrick recently received on her 17 rental properties. Well now, isn’t the timing of these violation notices interesting? Am I the only one who wonders why, after years of owning rental properties, she got TWENTY violations just days before an election where she was running for City Council? Coincidence? Yeah – right. Whoever believes that, please raise your hand.

All you others who think your own home is “pristine”, and that only criminal elements are decreasing your property values – I want you to do something. Walk outside; look around.

  • Is there a tree stump in your yard? There are many in Brookhaven – I know where most of them are. That is a code violation.
  • Is there a shovel in your yard? That is a code violation.
  • Do you have an empty flower-pot anywhere outside …. anywhere? That is a code violation.
  • Do you have a little edged area in your yard, perhaps around a tree, with ivy growing in it? Does the ivy spill over the edge of the little area? That is a code violation.
  • Do you recycle – is your recycling container outside? Do you have a rain barrel? Those are code violations.
  • Are there more than 5 decorative items in your front yard? That is a code violation.
  • Is there a broom or mop on your front porch? That is a code violation.
  • Is there a rug drying outside on anything other than a clothesline? That is a code violation.
  • Is one of your fence posts taller than the others? That is a code violation.
  • Does your gate match the rest of your fence – in appearance as well as construction? There are many of those in Farmers Branch, especially Brookhaven. That is a code violation.
  • Does your front door have a screen? No? … well that is a code violation.

And don’t think that just because the offending items are not visible from the street that you are off the hook. That’s what I thought. If a Code Enforcement goon can see it from a neighbor’s yard, from the alley, from a rooftop, from the sky – it is a Code Violation. And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

But hey – it’s not all oppressive. Do you know what is NOT a Code Violation? You can skin a deer, duck, or bunny rabbit in Farmers Branch, as long as you do it behind the bushes, for The Code says:

“The cleaning, skinning and processing of game shall be screened from view from public streets and all resulting waste shall be disposed of in a sanitary manner.”

When you get through being hauled into court and fined for all your mops and decorative items you will need to know this. And don’t think it won’t happen to you. It will …. as soon as the City gets rid of the other undesirables.

They’ll get to you eventually.

Vote For Brenda Brodrick for City Council Place 4

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, I’m going to remind people why I created this blog in the first place. It all started when I received a violation notice. I was a bit confused, as the notice stated that my outside furniture was not suitable. So, being a good citizen as well as an engineer, I tried to consult the Code of Ordinances to find exactly what non-suitable meant, as the furniture in question was undoubtably outdoor furniture. And I know, because I had finished it myself, and I come from a long line of furniture refinishers. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to furniture.

The first problem was, I could not find the darned Code. I looked and looked and looked on the Award-Winning Website. Finally, after a couple of hours, I did locate it.

Whoa – I’ve read some awful documents before, but this one took the prize. It was confusing, it was vague, it was frustrating, it was everything a legal document should not be. So, being a concerned citizen, and an engineer, and out of work, I thought I’d volunteer my time to clean all of that up so that the fine citizens of Farmers Branch could work together to make their city nice and desirable. After all, I have lived here for over 30 years, and I kind of enjoyed being here, and I wanted others to feel the same way. I wasn’t sure who to contact about my proposal, but I stumbled on a newsletter that Kathleen Matsumura sends out. She seemed to know what to do, so I emailed her to ask for her advice. She published my email in her newsletter. Jim Olk was not, um, receptive to my offer to help, and now you know where all that lead.

Because this happened well over a year ago, and I have many many new readers, I thought it would be a good idea to post the original correspondence. Here goes:

The first letter, written by me, and published in Kathleen Matsumura’s web news:

Subject: State of the City
I am excited for the opportunity to do something constructive to help this city. I’ve lived here “forever,” and I hate to see the way it is going right now. Hopefully, we can steer our city back to the wonderful neighbor-friendly place it needs to be.
 
I am a Process Engineer and have worked with major military and defense contractors for many years. A significant part of my job was to author concise, factual and enforceable procedures and other documentation, so I appreciate the significance of properly written legal documents. Upon reading the city codes I see many errors, misinformation and missing details. I had toyed with the idea of volunteering my services to clean these up, but was not certain how to approach the correct parties. I have been speaking to my neighbors. Several have received code violation warnings. In addition to warnings for violations of codes that don’t exist, some of them are for storage in fenced backyards, out of view of the overly-sensitive citizens of Farmers Branch.

I created a spreadsheet to list the quick “Hit Sheet” violations with references to the applicable codes. In many cases there are no codes addressing alleged violations, in others the code is significantly different from the description on the Hit List. I still would like to know exactly what the city submitted as the award-winning, creative, innovative Proactive Code Enforcement entry to win that award. If they meant using the canned software: that’s stale, and their system is badly in need of a talented geek.
 
What I would expect like to see is a city that we can be proud of. But I cannot tolerate being treated like little children who need to be scolded and punished.

Jim Olk’s Response:

Ms. Matsumura,

I was forwarded an email that contained the following “Commentary” and thought it important enough to send a reply.

The City’s Code Enforcement Program has received numerous recognitions with the most recent, a national recognition of excellence for innovation in local government. The City’s Code Enforcement Program is a dynamic proactive program that uses property condition surveys combined with performance measures and proactive code enforcement to respond to changing conditions in the City. Since 1995 the City has routinely surveyed housing and property conditions to get an overall snapshot of the condition of the City. Using the survey results and performance measures the program dynamically increases the intensity of proactive patrols in neighborhoods that reflect downward trends in property maintenance and appearance. The program’s success is reflected in improved housing and property conditions in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Farmers Branch. The basic premise of using property condition surveys, strategic planning, performance measures and proactive code enforcement, developed by the City of Farmers Branch, is nationally recognized as a best practice model for code enforcement programs. (Chapter 18 of the Building Department Administration 3rd Edition published by the International Code Council)

Ms. Holmes refers to a “Hit Sheet” and enforcement of “codes that don’t exist”. I can assure you that all correction notices that are sent out to the residents of Farmers Branch are backed by ordinances or codes that address those issues. We have over 100 case types in our code enforcement tracking system and those just cover the basic violations that are found around the City. There are thousands of violations or issues that are covered by the City’s adopted codes and regulations and all of them address the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Farmers Branch as well as the general public.

For the 14 years that I have worked for the City of Farmers Branch, I have been impressed with the foresight that each of the City Councils’ have possessed with regards to the maintaining property values and the importance of proactive property maintenance. I truly feel had they not had that foresight the City would have slum or blighted neighborhoods in Farmers Branch rather than the desired living environment that is currently enjoyed.

If Ms. Holmes or any resident of Farmers Branch has questions regarding our code enforcement program, I would encourage them to contact me at 972-919-2533 or jim.olk@farmersbranch.info  `I am always looking for ways to make the program more effective or more efficient.

My Rebuttal:

Mr. Olk,

The elected members of a City Council are trusted to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city who elected them. What I am seeing is a group of persons who have lost track of the fact that this city is comprised of individual human beings, with distinct families, hopes, dreams, and ideas. Farmers Branch has always been a middle-class community and that is the very reason that most of us chose to live here. But it appears that a few people have decided that we want to be something we’re not, and the way to achieve that is by bullying everyone to comply with many rules that, quite frankly, appear to have been devised by a group with other than the community health, safety and welfare in mind. Perhaps I am wrong, and I would be happy if I were, but perception is important, and from what I am hearing from my neighbors the perception is that the City Council has taken Code Enforcement tactics to an unprecedented low.

The following are my replies to your statements (your statements in bold italics):

  • Ms. Holmes refers to a “Hit Sheet” and enforcement of “codes that don’t exist”. I can assure you that all correction notices that are sent out to the residents of Farmers Branch are backed by ordinances or codes that address those issues.

The Farmers Branch City Code is very difficult to find on the website, and even harder to interpret.

As I stated in my commentary, the “Hit List” is rife with misleading statements, which lead to misunderstanding, frustration, distrust, and, ultimately, push-back.

For instance, the “Hit List” encourages people to complain about weeds and grass that are over 8” tall (Section 56-81) yet Section 34-287 of the code states:

Sec. 34-287.  Unsightly weeds and vegetation.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person owning, claiming, occupying or having supervision or control of any real property, occupied or unoccupied, within the corporate limits of the city, to permit grass, weeds or brush to grow to a greater height than 12 inches upon any such real property, or allow any objectionable or unsightly matter to remain upon such property.Furthermore, this section goes on to state that:

(b)   All vegetation not regularly cultivated and which exceeds 12 inches in height shall be presumed to be objectionable and unsightly, except that regularly cultivated crops will not be allowed to grow within the right-of-way of any public street or easement but shall be kept mowed the same as provided in subsection (a) of this section.      (Code 1969, § 17-100)Am I to read that regularly cultivated crops are not allowed to grow over 12 inches tall? That will be disturbing to anyone who wants to cultivate a Victory Garden containing corn or tomatoes.

…. Or is that only crops that I grow in the right-of-way of any public street or easement?

By the way: what is the right-of-way of any public street or easement? Where is that defined … in a manner that the layman can understand?

Let’s go on to the Front Yard. (Again, I cannot find a definitive description of “Front, Back, and Side” Yards.) The Hit List says:

Items in the Front Yard

Too many statutes, (sic) bird baths, lawn furniture, flower pots with no or dead plants or other items in the front yard of a home.  After a long and arduous list of permitted and non-permitted items The Code comes down to:

The maximum number of objects or items of either lawn furniture or freestanding statuary permitted in residential front yards at any one time shall not exceed five, and that the total area such objects may occupy shall be limited to a maximum of 100 square feet.

Now, the phrase “either lawn furniture or freestanding statuary” is the catch here. According to Wikipedia, statuary is plural for statue, which is defined as:

A statue is a sculpture in the round representing a person or persons, an animal, or an event, normally full-length, as opposed to a bust, and at least close to life-size, or larger.

[1]Its primary concern is representational.

In addition, the idea that statues are considered separately from other items is reinforced in the city code because the code takes the trouble to distinguish “statuaries” from lawn ornaments  such as columns, bird baths and pedestals, in this portion of the same section:

(2)   Freestanding statuaries, columns, bird baths and pedestals not exceeding 72 inches in height.

Therefore, the entire sentence, after getting rid of the gobbledygook – can be interpreted thusly:

“You are allowed a maximum of either 5 items of furniture, or 5 statues” – no mention of anything else. Yet the Hit List encourages citizens to complain about anything and everything in a person’s front yard that is not a tree, bush, or flower: and those can be complained about elsewhere.

Besides the pesky details of interpretation, I would like to know how more than 5 items of lawn furniture or whatever are detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens. Please explain.

While we’re on the subject of front yards: where is that definition? I suppose it’s layered in some reference manual tucked away at City Hall: I’m going to guess Building Department Administration 3rd Edition published by the International Code Council.

In fact, I see that many of the codes reference adoption of some standard, which is fine, but where can the average citizen obtain this information? How can WE be proactive, or is that only for the governing bodies? Are we to run down to City Hall and borrow a Reference Book every time a picket falls off our fence, or when a grandkid proudly presents us with a flower-pot?

  • We have over 100 case types in our code enforcement tracking system and those just cover the basic violations that are found around the City. There are thousands of violations or issues that are covered by the City’s adopted codes and regulations and all of them address the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Farmers Branch as well as the general public.

Wow! Over 100 “basic” case types, and thousands of violations or issues? I’ll check with other cities, but this seems awfully excessive. Perhaps we are being a bit too sensitive.

In fact, 48% of the citizens say there is no change in the community, even after Code Enforcement stepped up their efforts. (Reference “No Place Like Home” by Karen Olsson: May 2008 issue of The Texas Monthly, which notes that 9,724 violation notices were issued last year in a city of 8,000 single-family homes).

Could it be maybe, just maybe, the citizens themselves are doing a good job – in spite of the aggressive bullying tactics?

  • The City’s Code Enforcement Program has received numerous recognitions with the most recent, a national recognition of excellence for innovation in local government.”

I hear about all the awards being bestowed upon the city – but none of the details: How did WE earn the “national recognition of excellence for innovation in local government”? What is it the City Council is telling other organizations about OUR city? It is our right to know.

  • The City’s Code Enforcement Program is a dynamic proactive program that uses property condition surveys combined with performance measures and proactive code enforcement to respond to changing conditions in the City.
  • Since 1995 the City has routinely surveyed housing and property conditions to get an overall snapshot of the condition of the City. Using the survey results and performance measures the program dynamically increases the intensity of proactive patrols in neighborhoods that reflect downward trends in property maintenance and appearance.

Your response cites surveys and performance measures. Where is that data? The only survey on the website is a random telephone survey: the 2008 Citizen Satisfaction Survey.

The intent of the 2008 survey was described thusly: “The City of Farmers Branch was interested in determining citizen attitudes, opinions and needs in order to assist the city in developing policy, budget and service decisions.” 

While most of the questions dealt with opinions of the library; parks and recreation; streets; quality of street sweeping services; police, fire, and ambulance services; garbage collection; recycling; and communication (media services) there were a couple of pertinent points:

  • A majority of respondents said that tall weeds/grass, abandoned vehicles, graffiti and dilapidated buildings were not a problem in their neighborhood
  • Respondents were split on whether their neighborhood looks better today than it did one year ago. (48% said it looks better while 48% said it looks the same).

Lacking data that shows that the citizens considered these things to be problems in the past, how can these observations lead to the conclusion that “These statistics indicate the Code Enforcement Department is doing a good job at controlling these problems.”?

  • Since 1995 the City has routinely surveyed housing and property conditions to get an overall snapshot of the condition of the City. Using the survey results and performance measures the program dynamically increases the intensity of proactive patrols in neighborhoods that reflect downward trends in property maintenance and appearance.

Although I appreciate the fact that the city hired a professional market research organization to conduct and interpret the survey I will withhold my opinion, except to point out that a survey is only as effective as the questions asked, the sampling of persons responding, and the correct interpretation of the answers. This survey only shows the data and the interpretation. For instance, what were the questions? I tend to agree with Mark Twain’s observation that “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

I do question the statement that “These statistics are representative of the demographics of the City of Farmers Branch”. Witness the demographics data as reported in the survey vs. that reported on the internet (Yahoo! Real Estate).

 
Length lived in Farmers Branch:
< 2 years 3.3%
2 to 5 years 9.8
6 to 10 years 21.3
11 to 20 years 23.0
> 20 years 41.8

 

Demographics Survey   Yahoo! Real Estate
Typical age 52 years   36 years
Mean household income $74,550   $62,113
Gender Male 36%   50.7%
Female 64%   49.2%
Housing Statistics      
Own Home 85%   64.46%
Rent 14%   30.53%
Home Type      
single family home 83%    
apartment 9%    
townhome/condo 7%    

 

Age of children in the household:
0 to 5 years old   12.0%
6 to 10 years old  13.5%
11 to 13 years old  13.0%
14 to 19 years old       12.0%
No children under 20  66.5%

 

Ethnicity
Caucasian 73.5%
African Am. 2.0%
Hispanic   17.0%
Asian    0.8%
Other    1.3%

 

  • The program’s success is reflected in improved housing and property conditions in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Farmers Branch. The basic premise of using property condition surveys, strategic planning, performance measures and proactive code enforcement, developed by the City of Farmers Branch, is nationally recognized as a best practice model for code enforcement programs. (Chapter 18 of the Building Department Administration 3rd Edition published by the International Code Council)
  • …….. the desired living environment that is currently enjoyed.

Okay – everybody has seen a drop in home values in the past year, so we won’t even dwell on that, but Farmer’s Branch has also seen a nearly 4% reduction in population. So much for the desired living environment.

Based on Mr. Olk’s statement that “proactive code enforcement policies have been in effect since 1995”, coupled with the discussion above, I would come to the conclusion that aggressive code enforcement  has had minimal impact on the city, although considering the developments in the past year that may change, and not for the better.

The average Citizen’s trust of government has been at an abysmal low for some time now, and lack of communication only reinforces that distrust. If you were really proud of all these achievements you should be singing from the rooftops: proudly displaying data and trend charts. As it is, the City Council’s silence and actions speak volumes.

 

Well, needless to say, I got no response to that letter. Oh, wait – I did too. I got code violations. Lots and lots of Code Violations. And Citations. And Fines. And I got my very own Code Enforcement Professional to inspect my home on a weekly basis.

And here I thought I was being ignored. Silly me.

Those who follow my blog know that I have a lot of experience with the city through their Code Enforcement department. If you try to read the Code of Ordinances for the fine city of Farmers Branch, you will soon discover that you are severely limited in the enjoyment of your own home. For, not only does The City in the Park dictate what can be seen from public areas, they will tell you what you can do in areas that are not visible from the public eye. It does not matter if your neighbor, who is the only person who can legally see your back yard, cares. What matters is whether or not BJ cares.

Ah yes – we have a new character in our story. BJ is the conscience of The City in the Park. BJ will tell you what is nice and what is naughty. BJ can legislate through the telephone and email. BJ has the City Manager’s number on speed dial. If BJ doesn’t like it – Thou Shalt Not have it.

Now, what does BJ like? Hmmm – it’s hard to tell right now. For sure BJ does not like illegal immigrants. They steal insurance cards, they wreck her car, they mow her lawn, oops, sorry, I guess I got carried away. Let’s see, where was I? Uhhh – they bring her drinks at The Club? They clean her house? What’s not to like about that? Oh – darn. Sorry – I keep messing up. I’ll try to be fair to BJ. Let me think, surely there’s something. Ummmm, the legal-illegals (can’t think of a better term for that) aren’t being paid a living wage, so they apparently get government assistance, like free lunches for their school-aged children, and medical care, and, I don’t know, a new Mercedes when they get to be 16. I don’t know any of that for sure, but according to BJ they are getting all kinds of goodies that the normal citizen who makes a living wage is not allowed to get.

I also don’t know this for sure, but the BJ’s in our fair city own a company that either employs illegals or lets them wander through the company at will. For the allegation was made that illegals steal the insurance cards from the company fleet so that they can use them. See, this is humourous to me, because I wonder how, if BJ doesn’t hire them, they get into the trucks in order to steal the cards. Either way, they can’t use them – give me a break. Our government knows darned well whether or not you have insurance on your automobile. You can’t fake that by showing a forged card.

As for wrecking her car – good point. I wish every single member of any ethnic group who runs around causing auto wrecks was deported. For instance, my daughter’s car was ruined by a malicious teenager. She was white, and 15 years old, and she thought it would be really funny to put sugar in the gas tank, throw fish in our swimming pool, trash in our mailbox, and egg our home, among other things.  It totalled my daughter’s car and we were out the expense and inconvenience of having our pool emptied, cleaned, and refilled, cleaning the cars and home, and being without a car. So – based on this, I think we should not allow any white 15 years old girls in this nice town. They are just too malicious.

While we’re at it – I was in the grocery store the other day and

  • There was a little kid WHINING! What is wrong with those parents? Couldn’t they see that if they couldn’t shut that little brat up they had NO RIGHT to have brats? I raised my babies, and they were cute and when we went to the store and they wanted something that was cute because they just wanted something and they were so adorable and smart. But this kid – he was annoying. And he was bothering me and he had NO RIGHT to do that.
  • And an old couple wasn’t moving their cart fast enough to suit me.   There should be a special time for seniors to go to the store if they can’t walk quickly. Better yet – they should stay in some kind of affordable housing and let the younger, more agile people do the shopping for them. They annoy me and it is just dreadful having to witness my own future through their experiences. Wait – I will never get old and feeble, for I am just too special for something as mortal as growing old. Seniors need to stay somewhere where they don’t interfere with my enjoyment of grocery shopping. If they can’t move fast enough for me they have NO RIGHT to get in my way.
  • And a young man was standing in front of the cereal that I wanted to look at. He was reading the boxes. It really made me mad. I knew what I wanted, and if he couldn’t make a decision he had NO RIGHT to stand in my way.
  • Then, when I got to the checkout, there was a person in line ahead of me who maliciously, and on purpose, and knowing full-well what she was doing – picked up an article that needed a price check! So I had to wait. If this thoughtless person didn’t know the price she should not have picked up the item. She had NO RIGHT to make me wait. Couldn’t she see how important I am?

There should be laws against anyone who willfully makes it inconvenient for me to go about my business in the manner that I want. What is wrong with these inconsiderate clods. They have NO RIGHT to bother ME.

Ohhhhh – I had intended to write this post about property rights, but now I am too upset and angry. I guess I will do that later. Right now I need to get my housekeeper to mix a cold drink for me so I can sit by my pool with a cold cloth over my face and try to forget about all the unwashed in this nice city who are out to make my life miserable and depress me and my property values. They have NO RIGHT.

Right, BJ?

During the past few months I have had the opportunity to learn more about city government, and our fair City in the Park, than most citizens. In the past I was quite content to live my life free of any municipal worries, content to escape to the sanctuary of my little home and enjoy the freedoms and liberties that living in America provides. Then, the harassment began, and my life changed.

Because I was appalled at what I found, I became involved, and the more I became involved, the more appalled I was. So, as my readers know, I ran for City Council. I came in third, but with a very decent 20% of the votes, so I know that there are others like me out there. Now there’s a runoff election between the incumbent, David Koch and a relative newcomer, Brenda Brodrick.

I have had the opportunity to spend time with both of the candidates. David is charming and professional. Brenda is personable and very likable. They are both intelligent and hard-working.  Personally, I like both of them. 

But you know what ? …… this election is not about them – it’s about ME. Which one will look out for ME? Which one will listen to ME? Which one has MY best interests at heart – and the cojones to fight for ME?

I know – it’s hard to tell by just listening to them. They both have great ideas. But they are both campaigning. So how do I sort out which candidate I want to represent ME? Which one would best represent ME? Granted, this is but one council position in 5, but one voice is better than none.

Here’s your chance to be informed: Branch Forum is holding a debate tomorrow night, May 25th, at the Farmers Branch Library. The questions for the debate will come from the people: YOU and ME. The people who care enough about their own welfare, and the future of our community, to get out and vote.

Farmers Branch City Council Candidate Forum

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Manske Library Large meeting Room

13613 Webb Chapel Drive

Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Doors Open: 6:30 PM         Program Begins: 7:00 PM

David Koch and Brenda Brodrick, candidates for City Council Place 4, will respond to questions from Branch Forum, the organizer of the event, and questions submitted by the audience.  Questions may be submitted in advance to info@BranchForum.com.

 

It is not too late to submit questions to Branch Forum. It is not too late to have your voice heard. When YOU go to the polls in June YOU need to have all the information you can so that YOU can make a good decision based on what is good for YOU …. and ME.

While you’re on the website, look around. Branch Forum is a relatively new organization, but they care about YOU, and ME, and all the citizens of Farmers Branch.

And Vote. Vote as if Your Future Depended On It. It only takes a few minutes, and the results of that vote will last a long, long time.

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