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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.

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.

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

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.

I’m sure you all know about U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle’s finding that Ordinance 2952 was an attempt to enforce U.S. immigration laws, which Boyle said only the federal government can do. Thus, that Farmers Branch ordinance banning illegal immigrants from renting apartments in the city is unconstitutional.

“The American people are tired of judges legislating from the bench,” O’Hare said. “We will finally have our opportunity to have this matter heard at the appellate court level where we fully expect to prevail…This decision is not unexpected but welcomed because it allows us to get closer to this ordinance becoming reality.”

Well, but earlier, he said “I am confident this new proposal is consistent with the intent of Farmers Branch voters, and will withstand any legal challenges.”  We already know that that confidence was misguided. Just like the confidence that insurance would foot the bill for litigation.

Renters’ ordinance in Farmers Branch over illegal immigration struck down by federal judge

So, now what do we do? Well, we can:

  • Throw more money at it. If the city finance director is correct, we will have spent Three Point Two, Four, Five Million Dollars so far fighting lawsuits. And the end is not near. We could easily double that figure in the next few years. And what will we get for our millions? Hmmm, let’s see: we will have “won” the ability to force landlords to become immigration experts. Farmers Branch has 600-700 rental units, so that means that  we would save  maybe 400 units from being occupied by illegal immigrants. Wow – that’s $10,000 per unit. Wow. 

Oh: but wait; will that do anything, anything at all to curb illegal immigration? Ummmm – NO. The illegal immigrants can just move to apartments and homes all around, but not in, The City in the Park. They’ll be spending money in those cities, yet continue coming into Farmers Branch to work in our yards, in our homes, in our businesses. So, here’s a better idea:

In Austin, at the ACLU of Texas, legal director Lisa Graybill praised the ruling saying it “confirms what we have known from the beginning of this fight, back in November, 2006 — that Farmers Branch’s effort to legislate in the realm of immigration is a quixotic attempt to circumvent federal law and clearly established precedent. With this third strike, hopefully the City of Farmers Branch will get out of the immigration enforcement business and move on to address its municipal obligations through more constructive and constitutional local policies. “

Well now, Why didn’t we think of that before? Ms. Graybill has a great idea and we need to think about it. How about the City Council do this:

Let anyone rent in the City, but Increase Code Enforcement. Yes! That’s the ticket. We can Legislate Illegal Immigration from the Code Enforcement trucks! After all, our City Council can make the rules, right? They create the ordinances that make our city upscale and desireable. So all they have to do is create some ordinances “for the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the citizens” and to make Farmers Branch a desirable neighborhood. Who could argue with that?

Now, this is not an easy task, as the City Council has managed to make darn-near everything we do in and around our homes subject to the whims of the Code Enforcement Personnel (Legislating From The Truck), but I’ll bet they missed some stuff. Let’s see, how about:

  • No religious statues, signs, banners, jewelry, articles of clothing, anywhere that anyone on public or private property, or international airspace, can see, feel, smell, or suspect.  Okay – churches that have filed an official Certificate of Worship may have one or two items – but that’s it. We can say that that is in support of our separation of church and state, and for the good of all people.
  • No color on homes, cars, clothing, cosmetics (including lipstick, eye shadow, and hair color), flowers, signs, and personal or private property of any type not specifically mentioned in this ordinance that may be considered an eyesore or otherwise objectionable by anyone on private or public property, or that can be viewed in photographs with Farmers Branch public or private property in the background.
  • Make it unlawful to speak any word that may be construed as foreign, or that has its roots in foreign languages. including, but not limited to: alligator, avocado, banana, bonanza, cafeteria, cigarette, hurricane, jade, mesquite, mosquito, patio, potato, ranch, rodeo, rumba, shack, silo, stampede, tomato, tornado, tuna, and vanilla.
  •  Barbeque (oops – an illegal word) or otherwise cooking outside: must have screened area. Must have permit stating date and time, permission from neighbors, wind direction and velocity,  type of food being cooked, type of fuel being used, certified barbeque safety course, list of guests and eligibility of each to eat in this country. Also, Code Enforcement must delegate someone to sample the food before it can be served to anyone else.
  • Increase inspections. Right now every rental property has to have a Certificate of Occupancy on file, listing the occupants. What if one of those occupants was pregnant, and The City didn’t know? In order to maintain our health, safety, and welfare we must check each home more often.

Okay, now this may have a side effect, because people will not want to rent here if they have to be inspected every month. But hey – we all know that renters are a blight on society anyway, right? That’s why we have to watch them so closely. And without renters the Code Enforcement crew could get back to measuring grass height, and spotting empty pots, and checking fences and accessory buildings for signs of deterioration, and judging outdoor furniture for outdoor-worthiness.

It’s difficult to assess the impact illegal immigration has had on any given community, all the more so in a Dallas suburb, where residents may be working, shopping, and drawing upon services like hospitals in other parts of the Metroplex. O’Hare has said that illegal immigrants are overburdening the schools, but in interviews school officials disagreed with that notion. He has also complained that some illegal immigrants are committing crimes, and while that is true, they don’t appear to be committing any more crimes than the rest of the population. (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.) Nonetheless, O’Hare insists that his constituents are fed up: “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. 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.” And he has the evidence of last May’s election to back him up. “We did what an overwhelming majority of our town wanted to do,” he said.

Now he’s talking: it is so frustrating to sit in your car and order fast food when you can’t understand each other. I thought a lot of that was due to the bad acoustics around the speaker, but why not blame it on the other guy? And fast food is fattening too, but I guess we can’t blame language on that. Or could we ………….?

But now, pressing buttons on the telephone – that is a real problem. And so many times the thing you want to talk about is not covered by any of your button choices. If I want to ask a question I can’t get a human person at all. Would the litigation stop that? Hey – and a lot of times, especially with a “Service” organization I can’t even understand a human if I do manage to stumble upon one. They sound like they’re living in a foreign country or something. Will our millions fix that?  If it does it would be worth every single penny of the 5 million.

 

 

  

I just had the most amazing idea for revitalizing the Four Corners area of Farmer’s Branch. This is a sure winner for the next proactive innovation award that the City Council wants to apply for.  

As you know, the big ugly beast in the Four Corners area is the old Skaggs-Albertson’s grocery store: a big behemoth of a building that has been empty for some time. You also know, from perusing the Code Violation reports, that there are citizens who have too many decorative items in their yards, non-permitted window coverings, and furniture that is not meant for outside. There are probably more things, but let’s just start with those.  

Okay – are you ready for my Innovative Idea? Here goes:  

How about if we took the Skaggs store and made it into a Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store? The Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store would be stocked with items that are approved for Farmer’s Branch Residents. We could even have varying price ranges for our diverse population so that every single resident will have to “Shop the Branch”.

 Here – picture this:  

A new Farmer’s Branch resident visits the Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store for the first time. He stops by the Community Service desk and registers his new address, whereupon he will be assigned his very own Community Service Advisor. The Community Service Advisor will pull up all the specifics on his home, display the paint colors that are allowed on the exterior of his home, calculate the amount of paint needed and assign a date by which his home must be painted.  

  

Then, taking that color scheme, the lucky New Resident will be directed to the Outdoor section where his Community Service Advisor will help him select his new approved outdoor furniture and decorative items.  

The store will keep a record of the New Resident’s purchases, and thus will know if he goes over his allotted 5 decorative items. In fact, if New Resident tries to buy a sixth item the store will refuse to sell it to him. (If he breaks something he had purchased earlier he has to bring the broken pieces in to prove that he is buying a replacement decorative item and will not exceed his 5 items.)  

Oh – there’s more! I noticed that there are quite a few notices issued for nonconforming window coverings, so the Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store can sell those too; in approved colors. Hey – they could even put the logo on the backside of vinyl blinds, so that when a resident has his blinds closed all you see from the outside is that neat awesome new logo.  

I was also thinking that we shouldn’t just stop with the window coverings. Everyone knows that if the window coverings aren’t drawn, especially at night, you can see inside and tell what color the walls are. So The City should pass an ordinance that regulates the color of walls in rooms with windows. Of course, the Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store will sell the paint and tell the resident when he has to paint his room.

The Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store will also have a landscaping department. Approved trees and bushes will include anything that does not lose its leaves during the fall. The citizens are allowed some leeway in the selection of flowering material, but roses are highly recommended – white or red only, please. We can’t have diverse colors spoiling our view.  

After the City has fixed up all the homes in Farmer’s Branch they can tax the residents and fund an expansion so that the Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store can sell automobiles. Although the resident is allowed some choice, it will have to be from a list of approved makes, models, colors, etc. And no unapproved accessories – unless, of course, they are purchased at the Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store.  

Wow – is this great or what? Next on the list – clothing. I’m sure the City Council will come up with some spiffy uniforms we can all wear so that we can demonstrate our loyalty and love for The City in the Park. Don’t worry – they’ll have your size at the Farmer’s Branch Citizen’s Store.  If not they can always pass an ordinance to make you lose weight so that you will fit in the uniforms they do have. You’ll be able to lose that weight by eating only Farmer’s Branch Citizen Store produce.

Our Mayor really likes Michael Jackson and I heard that he expressed an interest in finding a new name for The City. Something that reflects what we are. Well, we can do that, and honor Michael, by naming our city:

new suggested name for Farmers Branch

  

January is upon us, and it’s time for some of our elected officials to start campaigning. I see that there will be two City Council seats to fill this year, and that would be those currently occupied by  Tim Scott (Place 1), and David Koch (Place 4).

According to the website, “Members of the Council introduce, deliberate and institute policy and ordinances for the betterment of the community.”

Now, when candidates declare that they are running for these two positions, I want you to ask yourself: Do I feel better about this community? Is my voice being heard? Are my concerns being addressed? Do I feel like a part of this community, or is there a small population that is running the whole show without any regard for the majority of the citizens?

Here’s a hint: when the 5 members of the City Council constantly vote unanimously, you have to wonder if there are too many city council members – or if they are the right city council members. Call me crazy, but I would think that if every single issue that comes up before the City Council is a slam-dunk maybe we don’t even need a City Council. Or maybe we need people who will provide more than a rubber stamp to approve whatever it is the vocal minority wants. Okay, okay – I do know that there was one decision that was not unanimous, and it caused quite a stir. But come on now: the fact that our 5 members consistently vote as one has not escaped anyone’s attention. Is it possible that every single issue that comes up is that easy? Or are our elected councilpeople just sitting on their hands?

I hope that someone runs for each of these two seats that 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 the corner of Valley View and Webb’s Chapel, and in private resident’s back yards on the golf course.

Will Someone stand up? We can only hope.

 

House yet to vote on S.B. 1398. Keep calling your reps and stay tuned. Terminator or Night at the Museum? Remember our Veterans this wknd3:21 PM May 22nd from web  

This is not the only Tweet when the author agonizes over which movie to attend. Makes me think that he sure spends a lot of time in fantasy land. And his actions reflect that.

Sitting with me on the front row at REO tonight will be Hunt Bonneau and Kevin Gladden. Just like the 80’s.10:48 AM Jun 5th from web

There’s nothing wrong with cherishing friendships formed during your teenaged years, but when a guy approaching middle age still waxes nostalgic over his high school days that gets you thinking of “Married With Children”‘s Al Bundy, if you know what I mean. High School is over: it’s time to put away childish things and grow up.

 … unless you’re the butt of jokes on a hit sitcom

I feel such a sadness over the death of Michael Jackson.5:31 PM Jun 26th from mobile web 

Michael Jackson was a talented entertainer and his demise was a bit of a shock. What bothers me is that the author was so moved by a celebrity that he felt the need to share his sadness with his followers. But I searched high and low and could not find one word about Senator Edward Kennedy’s passing. Ted Kennedy’s contributions to our country are more valuable than Michael Jackson’s.

 Taken together, and with other Tweets, you would get the idea that the author is having a hard time growing up. I would hope for a lot more maturity from our elected city leaders.

In case you haven’t heard, the City Council voted unanimously to allow smaller lot sizes in the Brookhollow area. Incidentally – I’ll bet the term “The Farmers Branch City Council voted unanimously” is the most-used phrase in city government. Makes you think of a monster with 6 bodies, 12 arms and legs,  12 eyes and (closed) ears, but just one mouth and one small, closed mind. But I digress.

Here’s the rezoning story according to the Farmers Branch Forum:

Subject: Brookhollow Neighborhood Rezoning
At the Farmers Branch City Council meeting held on Tuesday, November 17, the Council acted on a request to rezone part of the Brookhollow neighborhood.  Many neighbors made a very professional and reasoned argument against the request.  The council had plenty of reasons to vote against it too, but not one councilperson could find a reason to side with the neighbors.  They decided to show their complete disregard for the wishes of current taxpaying residents by voting unanimously to grant the rezoning.   

We believe this vote against the neighborhood sets a precedent not only for the Brookhollow neighborhood, but for the whole city.   With the Mayor and Council planning to cover the Albertson’s site with apartments, those of us who want to retain the small town character of residential Farmers Branch must fight back.

Brookhollow is the area southeast of Webb Chapel and Valley View that has the large lots and very country feel.  It was developed in the late 1940’s and didn’t get its current R-1 zoning until the 1960’s.  That zoning put in place the standards already in the neighborhood and designated lots to be 1 acre or more unless they were already in existence.   

The request was to divide a 1.4 acre lot into two .7 acre lots.  Although the minimum setbacks would match the current zoning, the backyards of these lots would be much smaller than those in the neighborhood, and the look would be more suburban.  One point that was missed was the fact that once the rezoning is in place, the rezoned property is much more valuable.  There are no guarantees that one lot won’t be sold off for even more profit- or that both lots won’t be sold to a developer of spec houses.  The financial benefit to goes to the owner of the rezoned property while the neighbors get a development that could degrade their property values.

Because 88% of the neighbors within 200 feet of the property objected to the rezoning, the Council needed a super majority of 4 votes to pass the rezoning.  Instead of listening to wishes of the residents who live there, the Council displayed their bias toward McMansions and “Frisco” style development and voted for the rezoning.  It appears “the will of the people” is only acted on when the Council finds it convenient.
Branch Forum, Sharon Shields, Treasurer, 12801 Epps Field Road, Farmers Branch, TX 75234

I am probably one of the very few Farmers Branch citizens who is relieved to see the dismantling of that area and I’ll tell you why:

……………. Lost Valley Lane.

Yep, that’s right. When I moved to Farmers Branch in the early ’80’s I loved to drive through the Brookhollow neighborhood. The homes reminded me of country estates – as close as I would ever get to living on Strait Lane (in the Preston Hollow area of Dallas). Oh – I fell in love with the area, but most of all with Lost Valley Lane. A home on a large private lot with this romantic-sounding address was my idea of being in paradise. Imagine living in a country setting tucked away in the middle of a sprawling metropolis: giant trees on gorgeous huge lots, tons of privacy, peaceful and isolated, but still close to city amenities. Pure-dee heaven on earth.

Every once in a while I would wander around the streets in the Brookhollow area and lust after these homes. Oh – how I would love to live there. But college, kids, layoffs, and reality interfered and I had to be content with only my dreams.

Now, thanks to the Farmers Branch City Council, I no longer envy the residents in that neighborhood. To the contrary – I pity them, and I am so glad that I didn’t succumb to Lost Valley Lane’s siren song. Just think – if I had sacrificed to purchase a country estate there I would now be faced with being smack dab in the middle of a proposed Frisco housing development. Then I could look up during my backyard pool party to see my neighbor’s kid’s peering into my yard from their second story playroom. I could have people living right next to me, with their McMansions hanging over my home.

  • No more country estate.
  • Goodbye privacy.
  • Paradise Lost.

Not content with just trespassing on your property, Farmers Branch decides to use the tax payer’s money for something more “awesome”.

In fact, this latest rezoning decision has enabled the creation of lots that are comparable to where I am now, except we don’t have the McMansions – yet. So, the City Council has relieved me of years of wishing and hoping and dreaming about living on a country estate on Lost Valley Lane.

Way to go, guys. Thanks

Seriously – To the Country Squires now living in Brookhollow, and especially those on Lost Valley Lane – I am truly sorry.

Note: In response to Sue (in comments) I’ve edited this post to dispel any idea that I really am glad to see that beautiful neighborhood and the people living there treated with such disrespect. The Brookhollow area is one of the most delightful highlights of Farmers Branch and I hate to think that it could be on it’s way to being just another Frisco-type housing district. That’s not what most of us wanted when we bought in Farmer’s Branch and it makes me sad to think that our friendly little city will be just another display of rows upon rows of boring, sterile, generic McMansions.

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