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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.

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.

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.

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.

There are 14,000 registered voters in Farmers Branch

Less than 3000 voted on Saturday.

Does your vote count? It would have, if you had spent half an hour going to the poll. As it was,

  • 1300 people are going to decide your fate for the next 3 years.
  • 1300 people are going to dictate what you want.
  • 1300 people are going to encourage aggressive and strict code enforcement for 32,000 citizens.
  • 1300 people are going to tell 32,000 people what they should have in their front yards, what kind of storage buildings are upscale and desirable, bless our tax increases, throw around our hard-earned money.

Actually, not voting is a vote: by not bothering to spend a few minutes of your time you are effectively telling the city that you don’t care what happens with your future. So, they take this apathy as a green light to continue the harassment, continue the tax increases, continue spending money foolishly, continue to violate our homes, because 1300 people said they like it, and 11,000 said they don’t care one way or the other.

Rarely do we have a second chance  – to raise the voice of the people – the REAL people. We have this chance now, in one race. Although Brenda Brodrick is not me; she’s the next best thing, and our precious second chance to make things right. Get out and Vote for Brenda during the runoff election. She will listen, she does understand. If you’ve seen David Koch’s final campaign mailing you know that, mysteriously, Brenda’s 17 rental properties received 20 code compliance notifications. Right before elections, but in time for Mr. Koch to gleefully record it on his campaign flyers, have them printed, and sent to voters. She understands how unscrupulous people use Code Enforcement to harass and intimidate. As an aside: have you seen Mr. Koch’s rental property? Have you seen Mr. Scott’s own home? Pictures are on my posting ”  City Snapshots”.  To see them for yourself look on the left column  under the Farmers Branch Mayor and City Council category, then pick the link  Pictures of our City Council’s Homes and Neighborhoods.

 Brenda has 17  properties that are well-kept and maintained. The opponent can’t even keep 3 up to snuff. But he doesn’t get code violation notices now, does he?

And here’s the interesting part. I called Brenda and asked her about the violation notices. She gave me some vague details, but refused to talk any further: and do you know why? Because she was concerned about her tenants RIGHT TO PRIVACY! That’s correct – although she had been a victim of dirty politics she would not strike back because it could hurt someone else. And she would rather take the brunt of that mudslinging attack than expose innocent people to potential inconvenience. Isn’t that the kind of person you want looking out for your interests?

  • Someone who really and truly cares about your welfare – not just at election time, but all the time.
  • Someone who understands … someone who’s Been There.
  • Someone who is sensitive about the impact her actions could have on others.

For the record: the “violations” were all minor: nothing at all that would endanger the neighbors’ Health, Safety, or Welfare. And they were corrected before the voters even received the scurrilous mailing. They were non-issues, and the only thing the opponent could come up with to sully Brenda’s reputation.

That is pathetic.

God, Fate, Karma, or whatever has handed the citizens of Farmers Branch a Second Chance. Use it.

I attended the City Council meeting in which the council voted unanimously to appeal the March 25, 2010, Court judgment that city Ord. 2952 is unconstitutional.  Ord. 2952 regulates who may rent property in Farmers Branch by requiring landlords to secure a permit from the city before leasing to prospective tenants, and to check the immigration status of those tenants.

As expected, there was a large crowd, and there were many speakers: pro and con. I carefully listened to each and every one and tried very hard to understand what each was saying while maintaining emotional detachment. Some speakers were very eloquent, some not so much, but all wanted a chance to voice their opinion and all were given that chance. Mayor Tim did a great job of keeping a potentially volatile situation under control, with the timely assistance of Chief Fuller and the professional Farmers Branch Police Department. Therefore everybody got a chance to have their say without fear of being publically harassed and intimidated.

So what did We hear?  

Political Arguments

  1. The more expensive aspects of the litigation are behind us and that to appeal (this time) will cost the city a relatively small amount: the guesstimate is around $100,000 – $150,000; because all the heavy lifting has already been done.
  2. If Farmers Branch finally wins this litigation other cities will follow suit. Thus, even though it’s expensive, and painful, and divides the city, the end result will be well worth the cost, because The City will be known as a trailblazer.
  3. Success will put Farmers Branch “on the map” nationally as well as internationally.
  4. Farmers Branch is merely trying to Uphold The Law, and since the federal government isn’t stepping up to the plate it is our patriotic duty to fill the void.

Well, isn’t that interesting? If you read this without knowing what the litigation was about you might think that the City is just trying to stoke someone’s ego: to Put Us On the Map. I can think of many cheaper, nicer, and more effective ways to do that.

So let’s address the other issues.

First, the quotes: are there facts to back up every assertion? Most, if not all, of the members of the City Council are Rotarians, so let’s borrow the Rotary Club’s 4 way test:

Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Okay then: I’ll put each statement in italics, and we’ll run the test.

Quotes from City Leaders

  • “We did what an overwhelming majority of our town wanted to do.”

This is sort of true, in that the City Council did go on with what a majority of the people who voted in 2007 wanted to do. The problem is that the voters were misinformed about the cost, the legality, the constitutionality, and other little details. So that statement was not fair, did not build goodwill and better friendships, and was not beneficial to all concerned. The lawyers on both sides have to love it, though, so maybe that built goodwill and better friendships with them. And they are, um considered Upscale and Desirable, but they don’t live in Farmers Branch. I wonder why. 

  • “Illegal immigrants are overburdening the schools.”

 In interviews school officials disagreed with that notion, so we have an unproven statement here. Also not fair, no goodwill and friendship, and no benefits, well, except if you want to count riling up the uninformed – that benefits the politicians.

  • “Illegal immigrants are committing crimes at a disproportionate rate.”

Police chief Sid Fuller noted that in a community where violent crime is very low, illegal immigrants stand out only when it comes to driving without a license or insurance. Okay – I know what you are going to say “well, that’s a crime, and being illegal is, by definition, a crime”. Good point. I’m thinking along the lines of the chief, though: crimes against other people.  Again: not fair, no goodwill and friendship, and no benefits except for the throwing gasoline on a fire component.

  • “We had a Montessori school owner complain about how she’d find used drug needles and used condoms in front of the school, right across from a place everyone knows rents to illegals.”

Those who stayed on after the litigation vote could have seen the school owner speak to the council about other undesirables around her school. This time it was an issue with the students at the Dallas Can academy. So it’s not just the illegal immigrants in the apartment across the street who are causing grief. In fact, I wonder how many of the used drug needles and condoms come from sources other than the apartments.

  • “They would go through drive-throughs and the people on the other side couldn’t understand English. They were getting frustrated over pressing ‘one’ for this and ‘two’ for that.” 
  1.  
    1. Oh yeah – now you got my attention: that is frustrating, and with the dearth of fast food joints around town it’s so hard to find one where the workers speak English. NOT!
    2. As for pressing one or two – I wish that was all I had to do. I get tired of pressing 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 0 every single time I want to talk to a service provider on the telephone. I’d be happy to speak with someone who is in the same time zone as me. Someone, anyone. Maybe we can bring a lawsuit for that once the illegal immigrants one is settled.

Ya know what – this is getting kind of repetitious, and is not going to sway any of the hard-core believers. So let’s try this test instead: in place of “Illegal Immigrant”, put the word “Disadvantaged”. That’s like,well, poor people: People who are living on fixed incomes, people who are disabled, people who lost their jobs, senior citizens, single parents; people without a lot of disposable income. So let’s do that, and move on to social arguments.

Social Arguments

  1. Illegal immigrants  Disadvantaged are disproportionately represented in the lists of uninsured motorists.
  2. Illegal immigrants  Disadvantaged don’t pay their own way – with taxes, consumption of material goods, etc.
  3. Illegal immigrants  Disadvantaged are overburdening the schools. 
  4. Illegal immigrants  Disadvantaged are overburdening the health care system.
  5. Illegal immigrants  Disadvantaged are overburdening the welfare system.
  6. Illegal immigrants  Disadvantaged are committing crimes at a disproportionate rate – to the extent that many people find themselves living in areas that have been taken over by shady characters who are also disadvantaged, and they are frightened.
  7. This year, over 11,000 anchor babies were born to illegal immigrants in Dallas County.

Okay – the anchor baby thing doesn’t apply to this situation, as I don’t have any idea how many Disadvantaged kids are being born in Dallas County each year. But do you see where this is going? You can use the same tired arguments for any group that some people don’t like. And if you don’t have facts and data to prove your claims you can still say anything you want, and you can appeal to emotions, and you can make believers of the uninformed.

SUMMARY

Now, don’t get me wrong: I am against our porous borders. I am against allowing anyone into our country without the proper documentation and permission. But I am also against stereotyping, hypocrisy, bullying, and blatant lies. And that is the basis of my concern over the direction the City Council is leading the citizenry of Farmers Branch.

 The members of the City Council have unanimously agreed: by word and by action; that they want only Upscale and Desirable People in Farmers Branch. People with lots of Disposable Income. People who think the same way they do. People who are more than happy to have their taxes raised, and raised, and raised so that the City can go on their shopping expeditions beautification campaigns. People who don’t mind that their money is being spent on frivolous pursuits. People who don’t care that the City, time and time again, has voted unanimously for projects that were opposed by a large proportion of the residents. People who are Not Disadvantaged.

It sounds like the City Council want only wealthy people to live here. People like:

  • Kenneth Lay
  • Bernie Madoff
  • Jack Abramoff
  • Paris Hilton
  • <You get the idea>
 

I’d like to remind you of one of my favorite poems, but I am going to change the wording a little to put it in the proper perspective. This was written during WWII by Martin Niemoeller, who was a decorated u-boat captain in the First World War but subsequently became a minister of religion and a relatively high-profile opponent of the Nazis as they increasingly gained firm hold of the reins to power in Germany. 

Niemoeller was active as a leader in a so-called Pastors’ Emergency League and in a Synod that denounced the abuses of the dictatorship in the famous “Six Articles of Barmen.” Such activities finally led to his arrest on 1 July 1937. When the subsequent court appearance was followed by his release with only a modest ‘slap on the wrist’ Hitler personally ordered his incarceration with the result that Niemoeller remained in concentration camp, including long periods of solitary confinement, until the end of the war.

Niemoeller occasionally traveled internationally after the war and delivered many speeches and sermons in which he confessed of his own blindness and inaction in earlier years when the Nazi regime rounded up the communists, socialists, trade unionists, and, finally, the Jews.

In this regard he framed a now famous quotation that is often presented in a corrupted form. Niemoeller himself however lived through the events associated with the Nazi seizure of absolute power and knew which groups had been persecuted by the Nazis and also knew the order in which those groups had come particularly under persecution. I am going to copy the popular quote below, and change some wording so it will apply to what is happening here:

First they came for the communists  renters, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a communist  renter;
Then they came for the socialists,  poor  and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a socialist poor;
Then they came for the trade unionists  senior citizens, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a trade unionist  senior citizen;
Then they came for the Jews middle classes, and I did not speak out–
    because I was not a Jew middle class;
Then they came for me–
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

I’ll finish with the following observation about prejudice and hatred – and logic:
 
“It is possible to violently disagree with something intellectually, but the emotional visages of early training survive the logic of intellect. In fact, the emotions of prejudice and hatred have a chilling logic of their own. The Holocaust perpetrators seemed to be acting on the logic of their Anti-Semitic heritage.”

Read more at Suite101: Historians Interpret the Holocaust: Did Global Depression and Anti-Semitism Produce the Shoah? http://weuropeanhistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/historians-interpret-the-holocaust#ixzz0lwrv40Tx

In reviewing all the campaign rhetoric being created by the City Council candidates, I notice that both of the incumbents swear to “continue” to listen to the Voice of The People and act accordingly. So I have to ask, were they listening to The People when:

  • They voted UNANIMOUSLY to issue a $10,000,000 Certificate of Obligation for real estate investments even after the great majority of voters told them NO?
  • They voted UNANIMOUSLY to raise our taxes to fund the Certificate even after the great majority of voters objected?
  • They voted UNANIMOUSLY to allow the rezoning of Brookhollow Estates above the objection of the neighbors who would be impacted by this decision?
  •  They voted UNANIMOUSLY to take funds from various city services and infrastructure in order to “Balance the Budget”?
  • They voted UNANIMOUSLY to continue  ill-advised, illegal, expensive, and unconstitutional litigation: totally ignoring the great number of citizens who vigorously objected to the economic and social costs?
  • They constantly vote UNANIMOUSLY to create and enforce ever more restrictive laws and ordinances in order to harass, intimidate, and bully citizens that THEY feel are undesirable?

If the 5 members of the City Council really were representing The People we should have expected at least one vote against these decisions. But no, they continued to VOTE  UNANIMOUSLY. That tells me that they are NOT LISTENING to ALL the people. Or, they hear you – but they DON’T CARE. Your ideas don’t fit with their goals, so are not worth considering.

You have heard the incumbents take credit for the good things that have happened in Farmers Branch. Exactly what are they really responsible for? Here’s a partial list:

  • Purchasing land that is lying useless and off the tax rolls for an undetermined future. They know what they’d “like” to have there – in fact they have all kinds of grandiose plans: but cannot find a developer who is interested – unless WE supply lots and lots of financing  incentive. The fact is, The People said they wanted a grocery store in that location. A lot of grocery chains were contacted, but only one expressed an interest in the site. But that store was not one that the incumbents felt “fit our image”. So the one and only potential business was chased off. Our City Council would much rather have nothing there, and nothing bringing in money. After all, the taxpayers would rather support nothing ……. right? It must be, because that’s what we’re getting for our money: Nothing.
  • They had very little to do with enticing businesses to locate here: our City Staff worked hard on that. In fact, the City Council tried their best to make it more difficult for businesses by trying to monopolize waste hauling and by insisting on capricious and idiotic Building Codes. If you’re a small business you can fuggidaboudit.
  • Raising Taxes: last year, this year, and next year.
  • Cutting Services – be ready to stay inside your well-inspected homes this summer, because the mosquitoes are going to be out in force.
  • Firing Staff – the people who provide services for the citizens. Oh – except for Code Enforcement – they hired more inspectors to make sure you do not have empty pots in your yard.
  • They claim credit for lowering taxes for 80% of the seniors. In reality, what the seniors got is a check for $15.00. Can you be bought for fifteen dollars? That’s what they think. In reality – they would like nothing better than for people on fixed incomes to be herded into “affordable housing” units.

 

The two incumbents claim that their opponents are “one issue” candidates. How true, in that my issue is to take the city back from those who consistently ignore the voters:

  • who use  their positions to intimidate and harass anyone who disagrees,
  • who think it is admirable to violate the citizens right to privacy in their own homes,
  • who are on a mindless spending spree –  leaving us and our children with the bills. 

The incumbents have said more than once: “If you don’t like our decisions, use your vote to get rid of us.”

That’s the best advice they have given us since becoming members of the City Council. Now is the time to let them know that we can’t be fooled, and even if they are not listening, WE ARE.

Vote for Kat Holmes: I’ll fight the Bull!

 

If you are struggling with deciding between Brenda and me, I am glad that you are taking the time to consider the ramifications of your vote. I wish more people were that conscientious. As a candidate, I would like to talk with you more.

I met Brenda on the campaign trail and I like her. And even though we agree on a number of issues, I am the better candidate for the current situation. You probably know that Brenda’s interest in this campaign started with the Alcohol decision. Mine evolved when I realized the extent the City Council will go to in order to bully and intimidate residents through their repressive Code Enforcement blitz. When the City Council praises the Code Enforcement thugs for violating individual privacy in order to force citizens to comply with ridiculous rules, that’s going too far. I don’t know if you’ve ever run afoul of the Code Enforcement Laws, but they are many, they are confusing, and so many of them are created for no other reason than to intimidate. That’s what I am opposed to.  

While I agree that there have to be standards that must be followed, especially for Health and Safety reasons, the current Code of Ordinances goes far beyond what is reasonable and prudent. And believe me, they are not above using those ordinances to target and harass selected citizens. I have seen and heard from so many people who are struggling with health, or money, or disabilities. But the City insists that they trim trees, paint over tiny little spots in their homes, pull one weed from a crack in the sidewalk. 

I would like to live in a city that is pretty because the people care about and help each other, not because there is a legion of neighborhood watchers who troll the streets looking for any little infraction so they can report it. I would like to find volunteer groups to help the citizens if needed – not to punish them for being old, or poor, or jobless, or sick.

Code Enforcement bullies aside, the current City Council members have shown time and time again that the only time they listen to “The Will of the People” is when it suits their agenda. Recent examples are:

  •  The decision to allow rezoning of a lot in the beautiful Brookhollow neighborhood in spite of the objections of the neighbours
  •  Increasing our taxes in defiance of the people who voted overwhelmingly NO to borrowing money so the city can go into the real estate business in the four corners area
  • Spending on frivolous and unnecessary projects that we cannot afford right now and that do absolutely nothing to address the concerns of the residents.

These are just some examples of the boneheaded decisions our current City Council has made.

To end this craziness, vote for me for Place 4, and for Matt Wenthold for Place 1. Matt is running against Tim Scott.

On Wednesday night the City Council and Carrollton Farmers Branch School Board candidates attended a  Forum sponsored by the Metrocrest Republican Club. Thanks so much to the club, and especially to Margaret Somereve, for taking on the difficult job of moderating that ambitious and valuable undertaking.

Those who attended understand that the MRC took on a daunting task: to get 16 political candidates in the same room to plead their cases before voters WITHIN A LIMITED TIME FRAME! Ms. Somereve was very brave (or maybe even a little insane) to keep this bunch in line. She did a great job and for that we all are grateful.

We 5 City Council candidates went first. Initially we  were scheduled to go up after the School Board candidates but we all got together and chipped in to buy one of us an airline ticket to fly out-of-town that night so we’d have a good excuse to go first.

Hah! Take that School Board – you think you know political tricks; you ain’t got nuttin’ on the City Council!

Oh – you know I’m just kidding. But we did get to go first.

That was my maiden voyage into the stormy waters of politics, and what an amazing learning experience it turned out to be. Most of the voters were, ummmm, uh, weelllll, okay –  I’m going to come right out and say that I looked around real quick and didn’t see any rope, or smell any tar, or sneeze at any feathers, so I felt a little better. But whoa. And what were the voters upset about? Well goodness gracious – they had elected representatives who seemed to be very good at spending their money, and raising taxes, and listening to the people so that they would know how best to ignore them, but little else. Well, wait a minute, a couple of them were very good speakers – I’ll give them that. And they knew it too because they spoke, and spoke, and spoke. And spoke some more. Ms. Somereve is a small woman, but that didn’t stop her from demanding the microphone back when she sensed that they had  ample time to pull the wool state their cases. Thank goodness, or else we’d all still be there.

Here’s what I learned last night:

“Bad policies, stupid policies, gutless policies have real consequences.” Oh wait – I already knew that; I heard it from Molly Ivins. But last night I got to witness it. The audience was fed up with the consequences and came “loaded for bear” as the old-timers say.

Issues included:

  • The Endless Money Pit of Litigation Against Illegal Immigration:

Here’s a tricky one because a lot of people understand this wrong. The City of Farmers Branch is already into this game for $5 million – and we’re barely half way to the Supreme Court. Some will have you believe that if you are opposed to spending more for chasing a lawsuit that is poorly conceived that you are “FOR” illegal immigration. Ya know what – I just can’t believe that anyone is Pro Illegal Immigration – not even the illegal immigrants. Well, wait, maybe the kids who come in on Student Visas and overstay – they probably like it that way, but surely not the illegal immigrants that we are thinking about. Oh come on – you know who I mean – the ones who put more than 5 decorative items in their front yards. The ones who store non-permitted items in their back yards. Heck – they probably even have grass in the cracks. And they don’t have a lot of disposable income. Those ones.

Now, the incumbents will tell you that it was “The Will of the People” that prompted this lawsuit, and that they are doggedly doing whatever is necessary to do what “The People Want”. Let me think about this for a minute. Oh yeah – now I remember: when “The  People” voted on this issue, they were assured that:

  • The City had a colony of lawyers (oh wait, the collective term “colony” is used for weasels; oh, wait – I guess that’s close enough) who were following the Hazlewood case and knew how to avoid the mistakes made there.
  • The expenses would be covered by the City’s insurance.
    • Exiting Mayor Phelps disputed that, saying the litigation would be long and costly, but did “The People” listen? Oh no. In fact, some of them even vandalized the Phelps’ home.
  • We would all be soooo much better off once this is settled.
    • Again, Mayor Phelps and others warned it would be counterproductive, and would divide the city, but then again, did “The People” listen? Still no.
  • Oh yeah – and after “The People” voted to pursue this lawsuit the ones who objected were told “You lost – get over it.” Remember that statement.

Let’s stop for a quick fact check – how many of these statements proved true?

  •  Former Mayor Phelps – you get the award for being right 100% of the time.
  • The rest of the Council: 0%, zilch, nada. Or, to put it another way:  wrong 100% of the time.

Now the ordinances against rentals to illegals have been shot down in Federal court. But they did not go quietly – oh my no – they invited countersuits that proved to be expensive also.

A gentleman in the audience asked each of the City Council candidates to declare whether they would “fish or cut bait” on the immigration litigation issue. Now, while I understand his analogy, my own personal one is this:

The Gambler

Suppose there was a guy who told you that he knew how to break the house at poker, and if you backed him financially he would play for you and make you rich. So you gave him a couple of million, then another, then two more. And he kept losing.

Now, would you keep giving him money, hoping that he would hit a streak? At what point would you decide the payoff would never be enough to cover the losses? Wasn’t it Kenny Rogers who spoke those prophetic words “You got to know when to hold ém, know when to fold ém, know when to walk away, and know when to run”?

So: City Council “You lost – get over it”. Move on. Let’s pick up our few remaining chips and go run home.

But Again – let me repeat; because this is very very important:

Just because you are AGAINST pouring money down a rat hole does NOT mean you are FOR allowing anyone to come and stay in our country illegally. That is not the case. But we have to have some sense about us, and about our finances, or we’ll lose it all.

 

  • Raising Taxes after they were told “NO”: Heck NO, lordy lordy NO, absolutely NOT, NO, NEIN, NE, NEE, HUWAG, NON, όχι!, NEM, 아니오, and let’s not forget the redneck term: “Negatory on that, Good Buddy”.

“To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as morals.” William Penn

bun·gle //  (bnggl)

v. bun·gled, bun·gling, bun·gles
v.intr. To work or act ineptly or inefficiently.
v.tr. To handle badly; botch. See Synonyms at botch.
n. A clumsy or inept performance; a botch: made a bungle of the case due to inexperience

 

Last May “The People” were asked to approve a $30 million bond for “improvements” – at that time a water park in the four corners area was mentioned. The People had found their senses by then and overwhelmingly voted it down. Soooo – the City Council decided that they could issue a Certificate of Obligation for $10 million without getting permission from those pesky People. When The People found out about this they descended on City Hall like Caesar on the Gauls, saying No No No. But the City Council UNANIMOUSLY voted Yes Yes Yes. Then they raised our taxes.

Now, last night at the Forum I heard David Koch explain that escapade. According to his recollection, The People were all for spending lots of money and raising taxes, just not $30 million. So the City Council, trying their best to follow The Will of  The People guessed that The People wanted their taxes raised enough to borrow $10 million instead. So that’s what they did. Now, Mr. Koch says that he learned all of this through private conversations with The People, so he knew. Apparently he didn’t speak to many of The People who attended the Forum last evening, because they were not amused. 

Incidentally, someone told me that after that City Council meeting, when The People objected they were told something to the effect that “That’s our (the council’s) decision; if you don’t like it you can vote us out of office”. And again, the same councilperson told the audience that he was elected to make those types of decisions for The People. I didn’t see him give out a Bronx cheer but I felt it, and I think the rest of the audience did too.

We should take him up on that offer and speak with our votes.

  • Balancing the Budget:

I don’t even know where to start on this one. But I do know one thing: The People should vote for Charles Cox for City Council: he’s the one who’s stuck  cleaning up after the City Council’s boneheaded spending sprees. He’s the one who has to find the money and redistribute it so the budget is balanced. What does the City Council do? Well, they listen to Charles and they nod their heads and then they vote unanimously on something.

Our current City Council will tell you that our services have not been affected, companies are fighting to move to Farmers Branch, restaurants and grocery stores and developers are standing in line in front of City Hall, home builders are sabotaging each other in order to snap up land and build McMansions, etc. etc. etc. Good Times.

Next thing you know we’ll be building on that oceanfront property that is just over the horizon. I can hardly wait.

  • Lack of Direction and Planning:

Oh, wait, there were so many long charrettes and discussions and residential and business input into Our Vision. So all this spending and taxing and buying was very well planned. I’ve seen some pretty pictures, but I keep hearing that we’re going to build “something as yet undetermined” in the Four Corners. Oh, well, was that the plan? Then why did we have the pretty pictures?

 That’s all I have to say about that … for now.

  • Miscellaneous Sound Bites:

  • At one point David Koch stated that a watchdog group known as  Branch Forum conducted a  survey asking whether or not we should pursue the Illegal Immigrant litigation. According to David the results showed that 75% of the respondents said “Yes; spend however much it takes to win this lawsuit.” I know some of the Branch Forum members, and was forwarded the survey and accompanying pie chart so I could publish it here. Here it is:

 See what I mean about needing an engineer on the City Council? I know how to read, interpret, and understand graphs and data. That is a talent that is sorely lacking on our current council.

If you want to vote go to the Branch Forum website to vote and to be informed, follow this link: http://www.branchforum.com

Read their information, sign up for newsletters. They are an organization of “KNOW”: Know what your elected leaders are getting you into. Know the whole story behind the PR stunts.

  • Here’s more:

    • The People were told that they could become involved in decision-making for the City by joining one of the several Boards. That got a  laugh. Well, maybe not a laugh, per se. Maybe it was shocked disbelief and catcalls instead of laughs. By that time The People were a little testy and not in a jolly mood. Fact is, I know of people who have been waiting years to get on a board. Somehow, they are never invited. I wonder why that is.
    • In response to Matt Wenthold’s observation that The City paid $7 million for a parcel of land that was appraised for only around $4 million, Tim Scott set him straight. He said that Matt forgot to include the price of clearing the land. Heck – I would have cleared it, with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, for $2 million, and saved the city a cool million. I wish they had asked.
    • Also, on the purchase price for the Albertson’s corner: Mr. Scott graciously informed us that it would have cost around $12 million to have the property condemned, and thus stick the owner with the costs of demolition, etc. Hmmm – now, I’m not an expert on these matters, but something doesn’t seem right to me. Could it be that the buildings really weren’t in that bad of shape? After all, there were some businesses still working there. Hmmmm – could it be that if The City tried to condemn those buildings they wouldn’t be able to justify it? Because, let’s face it: with the crack professional ProActive and Innovative Code Enforcement Team we have in The City, dealing with a few landowners with really dangerous and decrepit buildings ought to be a piece of cake compared to the thousands of homeowners they hassle every year for minor infractions. I’m just saying ………….
    • This wasn’t brought out at the Forum, per se, but a concerned citizen did show me a campaign letter that he had received from Tim Scott. In the letter Mr. Scott states that Matt Wentworth’s campaign is one of No:  
  • No to beautification efforts
  • No to new ideas about redevelopment
  • No to our efforts to recognize and honor our nation’s veterans and their committment to our liberty
  • No to the idea that our immigration laws must be enforced
  • No to our city achieving it’s (sic) potential.

When I saw the letter from Mr. Scott I got this really weird feeling of deja vu. Then it hit me – this is the exact same letter someone else had shown me, but the other one was written and signed by Tim O’Hare. Hey – I always thought they were close, and they do have the same first name, but ……… (insert eerie music here).

Now, I know Matt Wenthold, and I know what he stands for. He is a strong supporter of Farmers Branch, and his ideas of redevelopment, beautification, and the city achieving its potential are well-researched and thought out, realistic, and achievable. He also supports innovative and sound development – I’ve heard his ideas.  But he is definitely against putting the City in an economic bind to do all this in a short amount of time. Matt, being one of those financial types, understands that sooner or later you have to pay the piper.

As for the 3rd bullet – that is just downright insulting. Matt is a veteran, as is his father and other family members. Let me see – remind me – what military branch did Mr. Scott and Mr. O’Hare serve with? Having your firm write a check to sponsor a military family at Christmas and then bragging about it on Twitter does not constitute recognizing and honoring our nation’s veterans.

As for Immigration Laws –  the City of Farmers Branch is not going to make a dent in the nation’s immigration problem; no matter how much money they throw at it. We’re small and we’re trying to go it alone. Get Real. Get a plan. The City has found that they can bully and intimidate the citizens to get what they want, but they can’t bully and intimidate the Federal Courts.

But maybe I got this all wrong. I know that Mr. Scott sometimes has trouble chosing the correct word, and this is something that  spell check wouldn’t catch for him, so he’s out of luck there. Maybe he meant that Matt Wenthold’s campaign is one of “Know”:  

  • Know what it’s like to be a veteran, and how to honor veterans
  • Know what is really important
  • Know how to formulate a realistic, honest, and doable plan
  • Know what the citizens need, what they want, and what they can afford
  • Know how to budget
  • Know where the money’s coming from
  • Know what you’re talking about

Okay – now that makes a lot more sense. And is truthful.

On that note, I’m going to end this post with a quote from Adlai Stevenson that Mr. Wenthold ought to use:

I offer my opponents a bargain:  if they will stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them.  ~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952

I am determined to help get The City in the Park back on the right track – so I put my hat in the ring for the City Council Place 4 election. I’m new at politics – I admit it, but I do know what’s right, and I  have common sense, and I am not so arrogant  to think I should be able to dictate  how everyone should live and what they “should” want their own homes and community to be like. And I am not a pushover. If I think it’s the wrong thing to do I will dig in my heels. And if it’s the right thing to do I can get awfully bullish. I know how to deal with thick-headed guys – I was raised with 5 brothers (no sisters).

Today I’m going to share my biography with my readers. You already know what I stand for:

  1. Bring Back Fiscal Responsibility: We used to have great community services and still have money in the bank. We can do that again.
  2. Common-Sense Revitalization: What do the citizens of Farmer’s Branch really want their town  to be? A mini-Frisco? Highland Park? How about Colleyville? Do we have sound, sensible, realistic goals? Nope. But when I’m on the Council I will insist that we take a really good look at what we want to accomplish, and form a logical approach to our future. A successful future.
  3. Code Enforcement: Yeah – you knew that was coming, didn’t you. While I am all for a neat, clean, safe and healthy community I am very much opposed to the guerrilla efforts to force everyone into the same mold. We are a diverse community; we have to be allowed to act it. And we have to stop turning honest decent citizens into criminals.

Oh – please Please PLEASE:

  • Volunteer!
  • Send Moral Support!
  • Contribute – even if you can only afford a dollar or two: I certainly understand the financial situation. Campaigns aren’t cheap, and they are very exhausting. I am trying to keep expenses to a minimum – just like I will when I am elected, but I have to get there first.
  • Share this blog with like-minded friends and neighbors!
  • Send comments, suggestions, complaints! I am very open-minded and encourage constructive criticism. As long as it’s constructive.

And – most importantly: Tell your neighbors and friends to GET OUT AND VOTE for Kat Holmes. We can make a difference, but we have to get there first.

May I place a yard sign in your yard or other property? They’re on order, and you get a first peek at what they will look like:

I chose a sunny yellow background because that’s what we all need right now: a sunny new outlook.

Okay – as promised – here’s my biography:

The Holmes family has called Farmers Branch home for over 30 years. Their house on Apple Valley was their first home and they purchased it with the intention of putting down roots and staying for the long-term.

Kathleen (Kat) and her husband Gilbert (Rook) have three incredible children: Valerie, Sally, and Allen. All three grew up in Farmers Branch and attended Carrollton/ Farmers Branch schools. They are also blessed with 3 adorable grandchildren and two amazing sons-in-law.

Kat graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Biological Science, and has been a Process Engineer with Mostek, Texas Instruments, Raytheon, and DRS Technologies for over 30 years. She will bring her engineer’s attention to detail, logical approach, and facts-based decision-making abilities to the job of City Council Place 4.

As the country emerges from the current financial crisis the future promises many challenges: Challenges that must be met with clear, logical, and fair decisions. Decisions that are right and honourable. Decisions every one of us can live with.

Mrs. Holmes fully appreciates the challenges facing Farmers Branch’s residents, and is committed to making the right decisions for the city, business partners, and especially the citizens of Farmers Branch.

While appearances are an integral part of making a city desirable, so is quality of life. The city of Farmers Branch is blessed with a diverse population, and with that diversity comes different ways of living. Some people are rightly concerned about the environment, and want more recycling and other environmentally responsible activities such as water and natural resource conservation. Everyone wants to be able to enjoy their own back yards without worrying about constant surveillance and outlandish restrictions. No one wants to be bullied in their own home.

The citizens of Farmers Branch deserve a representative who will show independent, clear, logical thinking ability. Someone who will represent all the residents and not just special-interest groups.  Someone who will dare to question the status quo. Someone who has the backbone to stand up for the citizens. Someone who really knows what is going on in the entire city, not just selected areas.

Kat Holmes is that Someone, and she will be honored to be an advocate for the citizens of Farmers Branch.

Together we can make Farmers Branch a showplace community: a community where people are happy and productive, and feel proud to call home.

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