Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Clown Commeth

I just have to ask, who is the total ass-clown voting disproportionally for Barack Obama?  My stats don't lie about where visitors come via the Internet. Games?  Seriously? 
 
It seems childish people continue to play their games and to be honest, I put Obama’s name on the poll just to prove this point, though I had hoped I wouldn't have to. I had high expectations that people wouldn't vote multiple times through different web browsers but actually take such a poll seriously in order to determine where our community actually sits in this political maelstrom.  

As  I’ve maintained since I started this blog, it’s my blog and if you don’t like it and want to behave like a nincompoop, then pop yourself on over to the ever popular dimwit playground on the Wylie View.  They seem to espouse and embrace this sort of behavior and I believe it lends itself more to the juvenile mindset of a couple readers.
 
On the other hand, I am truly flattered that you are attempting to expand your non-intellect view of the world and take a stab at reading my blog.  Yup, there are even some $10 words in here but I'm certain you will do you best to figure them out through context. 

Readers of my blog abound from the Wylie View every day and all day long according to my stats, evidently not everyone over there is such a dull turd; only about 2-4 people need a set of Pampers according to my stats and poll calculations.  The rest of the Wylie View crowd seems to know how to behave, even if they don’t always agree with me or my tactics.
 
Then again, carry on because you do so much to assist me in proving my assessment of you as a chattering monkey and perhaps in the end, you will actually grow up and learn to think for yourself.
 
For the rest of my readers who actually behave and use their brains, we can have a virtual group pity party for the few childish morons that remain in Wylie.  In the meantime, the rest of us will continue on behaving like adults and take polls seriously.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Acre Quake

I am always dismayed at council meetings when I hear WEDC Executive Director, Sam Satterwhite speak because he usually comes off as sounding like such a prick.  Not so in last night’s meeting.  I was pleasantly surprised. 

Satterwhite, one of Wylie’s original good ole’ boys, actually took the time to explain how he inadvertently helped to perpetuate the idea, along with many community members, that the Wells land our city hall currently sits upon was purchased through the Trust for Public Land.  It was discovered that instead, at the 11th hour, the city pulled out and purchased the land instead through a Certificate of Obligation.  He treaded lightly with this statement because he could have certainly tossed many community members, including myself, under the bus for unwittingly spreading the misinformation, but he pointed out he unwittingly did it as well.  Whew, I’m glad that’s all settled.
  
Satterwhite also took the time to explain his statements and answer questions in an exceptionally polite manner and it was surprise, surprise, a kinder gentler Satterwhite we got to see last night.
  
According to Satterwhite, there are 3 scenarios in which the city might sell this land:

1)  Sealed bid process where an appraisal is obtained, an announcement is posted in the newspaper for bids, the city receives bids and then can choose one, or not.  They do not have to go with any particular bid, including the highest but of course if they did not take the highest, they would have to answer to the citizens as to why.

2) Conveyance, where the property is sold at less than market value and the difference is considered an incentive.

3) Place property as reinvestment zone where the city identifies certain goals for the property and once an offer is made that meets those goals, they can sell it at or above market value. This would be used to control what type of business can go there so we don’t end up with even more mini-storage, for example.

The thought around town has been that the city cannot sell that land without losing the tax-exempt status on it, however according to Satterwhite, the Certificate of Obligation states they can sell up to 10% of the land without losing that coveted tax-exempt status and the 19 acres falls short of the10% requirement.  To me this has the makings of a win-win situation, if only I wasn’t left with that underlying and pesky feeling of betrayal gnawing at me.
  
I was highly concerned, and my conservative, fiscal responsibility antennae rose rather quickly, when I heard Mr. Satterwhite make a certain comment while some of the council members were busy chatting.  He sort of tossed it out there that the city could always use current debt payments elsewhere.  YIKES! 

Essentially, what Satterwhite implied to people who might likely take this idea and run freely with it is that if the land is sold, though according to the Certificate of Obligation the funds are required to pay down the debt, the city could take the money we are already applying toward that debt and use it elsewhere.  This is flaming-ass liberal speak for:  increase spending to meet increase in revenue.

Why sell city-owned land?  The 19 acres is fairly useless.  It is flat and lacks trees and all of the council members agreed they would not want to see a park teeming with kids along a 6-lane highway and an active railroad track.  Hey kids, why don’t you go out there and play kickball in the street?  Hey Johnny, let’s put these coins on the railroad track and see what happens.   

Another reason to sell the land is that the city will garner some tax revenue out of it.  Well, eventually that is, after the WEDC hands out some serious tax abatements in brokering a deal for the city like most every other property they place their hands on. 

The tax revenue after it is developed is what the city should tap into, not the sale of the land itself in a roundabout way.  The city shouldn’t carry more debt than they have to, especially since economic indicators are still very soft.  Why increase expenses just cuz we can?  That idea is frightfully controversial at the moment within our national political scene.  Our local politics should not follow the Feds poor spending lead, especially when next year the city has some rather large expenses coming their way such as a 4th fire station and all of the mega-buck equipment that comes with that.

Why sell it when the market is low?  Hmmmm….. that is a good question to ask our council members to consider.  Why the hurry?  Is this a fire sale? 

My mother always used to tell me not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but sometimes I believe that you need to not only look him in the mouth, but also question his motives, because sometimes there are people out there that give with one hand and take from you with the other.  I hope the outcome of this workshop is not that we sell the land and shuffle funds around so that we simply have more to spend, because that should be a crime and if our city council runs with that idea then I will have to rename them Wylie Shitty Council. 

A Little Eminent Domain Action

It seems the city council has a little eminent domain action about to take place.  Collin County Court case number 001-02179-2011 shows the City of Wylie suing property owner Melissa Johnson over her property on Brown Street.

After consulting with City Attorney Abernathy himself, and such a popular guy with all the smiles he garnered from city employees, the council stepped into a closed door executive session to discuss said property.

I happen to know Ms. Ingram and the only property that I can think of on Brown is her daycare, The Premier Learning Center.  One can only hope the city is not going to invoke imminent domain and snake their way into her ability to perform a service to the parents of children of Wylie. 

Definitely worth a looksee into the records if you happen to have your children at Premier.  You can do a basic search on the last name of Johnson:  http://www.co.collin.tx.us/courts/case_information.jsp

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Numbers Don't Lie

From a cursory check of the phone bills, it seems our mayor truly is a chatty Cathy along with a chatty wife.  Calls appear on the city cell phone bills all day long on weekdays, albeit some short calls and some longer, but numerous calls nonetheless. I can't help but think it is sweet that they chat throughout the day but then again, both have jobs to do too with one being paid through our ISD by our tax dollars.

No small task, I will be reporting back on the phone bills after I have had time to match them up with major votes, election time, etc.  What we already have established from the increasing number of time spent on the phone, is that mayor's phone minutes and texts increased dramatically just before the last election and I wonder who he was campaigning for if it wasn't himself since he ran unopposed.

The numbers don't lie.





Friday, September 23, 2011

Well Wells

I posted a poll recently regarding whether readers felt the property currently owned by the city should be used for parks or if it should be developed for commercial use.  This piece of land was acquired through the Trust for Public Land and was acquired from Mrs. Frances Wells.  It is currently zoned as Business Government District and our city hall, library, and recreation center sit squarely upon it.

According to my poll, it appears the community is pretty well evenly split on this issue with a slight trending toward commercial development.   Out of 29 votes, 55% lean toward commercial development and 44% lean toward parkland.

Below are the facts as I obtained them from WEDC Executive Director Sam Satterwhite along with my own research findings on each parcel of land.

Parcel 1:
A space exists across FM1378 from our new city hall and extends from 1378/Country Club to Muddy Creek Reservoir. It is otherwise known as the West Meadow.   Nearly across the street from this parcel are the 7-11 and another commercial property currently being developed.  Ideas have been tossed around regarding keeping this piece as park designated land or selling it off for commercial development.

In my mind, the first question that begged to be asked is just how many parks are located within a 2 mile radius of this parcel of land?  I put this question to Mr. Satterwhite at the WEDC and I believe it is a viable one and he thanked me for bringing this up so he could look into it. 

Too late; as I warm up my Google maps, I set my map to a reasonable walking distance of 2 miles and I see that we have the following parks and green spaces available for public use nearby:  the Park on Springwell, Friendship Park, Founders Park, the skate park, the playground on Odenville with trails to Sanden in Birmingham Farms near Reservoir 5.  I can see that parcel 1 is near the reservoir and it seems likely to be a good spot for a park that could in the future link up to the others through bike and walking paths. 

I find the city council address that Parks & Recreation Board Member Anne Hiney made at the October 26, 2006 city council meeting to be very compelling as well.  She stated that “in 2001 the city hired Carter Burgess to prepare a Parks and Open Space Master Plan for our city….the report projected an estimated growth exceeding 38,500 by the year 2011, we would need to acquire an additional 200 acres of land, dedicated to parkland for community.”  Accordingly, the Public Trust for Public Land was hired and Anne went on to say, “They are a not for profit agency designed to conserve land for public use as parks, gardens, historical sites, rural lands, and other natural places.”

If this is indeed the case, and clearly it is because at the April 8, 2008 city council meeting, Schrickel Rollins and Associates and Halff Associates both gave Parks and Recreation Master Plans presentations to the city council calling the Wells property a sort of, “Central Park” then we should attempt to keep the original purpose of as much of the Wells property within reason tapped for parks. 

Parcel 2:
The land our new city hall sits upon is roughly ~165 acres.  This land has lots of trees and runoff from the reservoirs and appears to be perfect for hiking and biking trails.  Now we know that city hall was built smack in the middle of the thing, but that’s not all half bad if you think about it.  It offers the use of restrooms and shade as well as parking and even art.  Personally, I love to hike Oak Point Nature Preserve in Plano, the Heard Natural Wildlife Park in McKinney, and my personal favorite rustic trail, The Trinity Trail around Lake Lavon.  This parcel has a very similar feel and future development or sell off of pieces in the future don’t make any sense; therefore it should remain as our city hall surrounded by parkland.

Parcel 3:
A space ~19 acres which runs along and between the KCS railroad tracks and 544.  It is flanked by a plumbing supply business and a tract of land zoned for commercial.  This was going to be set as the potential Dart Station.  In my opinion this is the only land that should be in question at this moment.


This parcel is entirely too small for birding or hiking trails and awfully awkward to attempt to link to parcel 2 as parkland since the railroad runs precariously through it.  I know this, because I am an avid bird watcher and hiker and the number of species will be very limited in the area because of the close proximity to traffic and commercial development. 

Additionally, I think it’s a bad plan to set up a park for kids, dogs, and people to mill or play about next to a very busy six-lane highway and a railroad track.  I think we would be asking for trouble.  So too, park land is tax exempt.  As long as this land is sitting idle, the city does not gain much benefit from it.  To me, the reasonable option is to sell this parcel off for commercial development and let us get the benefit of taxes to help ease the burden on citizens because every dime toward revenue on the city budget helps. 

Although I dislike the thought of giving up land, I believe Parcel 3 is fairly useless as parkland and would provide a greater benefit to the community if it could be sold and developed for commercial property.  For me this would be a win-win situation.

At the Parks & Rec meeting to take place this Monday at 6:30 PM
Wylie resident Bill Baumbach will be presenting a discussion of the Municipal Complex property. You may find the agenda here:
Look to page 22 for Bill’s presentation.  Bill is concerned about the shape of the meadows and riparian (of the river) areas and the inability for the public to enjoy the land.  From his presentation it appears he will make a compelling case.

At the city council meeting to take place this Tuesday at 6:00 PM, WEDCs Sam Satterwhite will make a presentation to the city council on this topic as well.  He would like to ask them to consider selling the ~19 acre area.  You may find the agenda here: 
 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yellow Flashing Light

I would have to assume by now that nearly everyone has seen the announcements of the new movie theater that is expected to come to Wylie.  It was hard to miss in the Wylie News and plastered all over the social networks. 

Sadly, one of the first comments on the Wylie News online version of the story was a mother writing excited words about finally having something for the kids to do in Wylie.  Oh boy.

I might suggest we need to move forward with caution on this new development, especially considering its expected location.  This theater boasts 12 state of the art screens along with state of the art sound but it is going in right across 1378 from the high school.  Should I point out that it is within walking distance from Wylie High? I cannot help that gnawing feeling of consternation about this.

Mayor Eric Hogue was quoted in the newspaper saying how happy he was to welcome this new business to Wylie.  I’m sure Mayor has to play up the importance of bringing new business and thus additional tax dollars, because the last thing he wishes to do is perpetuate the reputation Wylie has built as having the 2nd highest tax rate in North Texas.  Sure it would be nice to start bringing that tax rate south, and it appears he hoped that would happen this budget go around but it did not. 

Despite the positive aspect increased tax dollars means to Wylieites, and an amenity that sounds unparalleled, I am sure Hogue, and to be honest also the Chief of Police John Duscio, are wondering just how they are going to stop it from being a babysitting nightmare.  At least that was my first thought.  I can only hope that some other kid friendly venues will come around that take the kid magnet pressure off this theater, but unless Putt Putt Golf becomes uber popular again and moves in, I don’t see it happening.

I would be wondering exactly what direction these new businesses in Wylie are headed, especially since Wylie has also attracted the ever controversial Purple Haze at the corner of 78 and 544. Yup, mamma needs a new glass pipe and a trip to the theater to get those kids out of her hair - all within a couple short miles of each other.  Scary stuff.

Since it remains to be seen how a theater will impact Wylie, we will just have to hope for the best at the moment. We should take this opportunity to proceed with great caution until we can confirm this theater will impact our community in a positive way.  

I don't know about you, but for me the lights are flashing yellow and I've got my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Slick Marketing


I’m sitting at my desk today wondering why it is the two people on the council whom I most wanted to verbally slap the eyeballs out of, have escaped the bulk of my snarkiness these past few months.  Wylie Councilman Rick White and Councilwoman Kathy Spillyards seem to remain just below the radar.

Remind me why White and Spillyards don’t make any waves?  Oh yes, ching, ching, they appear to have their Teflon shields firmly in place.  Of the council member menagerie, White and Spillyards do their level best to avoid any communication with me whatsoever. I suspect they do their level best to avoid any communication with other members of the public as well.  Since I don’t have much to work with here, I will provide my assessment from sitting through many city council meetings because I am beginning to see a disturbing and perturbing pattern.
  
Councilwoman Kathy Spillyards brings a lot of class to the council.  She is one nice-looking woman and she carries herself with dignity and class.  What bothers me immensely is that in meetings, she will always ask what appears to be a conservative question, but then votes in completely the opposite manner more times than not.  I believe she has mastered the art of disguise just as Councilman Rick White has. 

Rick White appears to be a soft-spoken and thoughtful individual with a bit of a bad case of nerves every time he speaks.  To be honest, I cannot blame the Teflon Twins as they probably learned from the best.  Mayor Eric Hogue has been practicing this self-marketing maneuver the last couple of years too.  Oh they certainly look good on paper, or shall I say in the paper.

I firmly believe one reason council members like Rick White, Kathy Spillyards and Mayor Eric Hogue ask those questions in conservative-speak babble while they are haggling over agenda items is so that when the audience reads their quotes in the Wylie News or elsewhere, they sound conservative.  However if you examine their votes, that is not what is really going on.  The bulk of their votes have been for increased spending without cuts.  Oh sure, that was fine in the heyday when the economy was good and nobody noticed, but that practice nearly got them in trouble with the last budget vote which ended up being mucked up with controversy over the use of rainy day funds. 

Since the public doesn’t really show up for meetings to get an eye-full or go listen to the MP3s online, they don’t see how certain council members vote the opposite way of the artificial discourse and rhetoric they spread about the place like shiny glitter.  This tactic being marketed in slick newspaper quotes looks awfully nice on paper but in reality what the citizens see instead is a sea of vanilla tinged, politically correct, faux conservative quotes in the newspaper and the public thinks, “Ooh, they sound like they have our best financial interest at heart.” I believe if the public did listen to those tapes or attend the meetings, they would put two and two together to get a stinky four. 

What I see sitting in that audience month after month is some other equation and it points out in glaring neon lights that some of our council members are playing a game when they talk the talk but then don’t walk the walk. I’m so on to this scam.





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pistol

In an attempt to meet with a city representative to ask for information for a blog I am about to make, it seems my past humorous transgressions got some panties in a tight wad.  It also seems the city representative’s spouse took my humor seriously and has displaced anger at their own possible lack of self-esteem upon me.  Do I need to put on my psychologist hat and tell you where you should probably be placing blame? I just happened to strike a chord on a couple nights of slap happy blogging. Hey, I’m sitting here writing a blog and having fun doing it.  If it were not funny then I would not bother.  Evidently others find it funny and interesting too or they would not be reading.

In light of this newly discovered community paranoia, does anyone truly think the Chief of Police will not speak to me about the neighbor boy who causes trouble in the neighborhood just because I wrote a humorous blog post about his sexuality.  My God, are people in the South really that uptight about sex and sexuality???

I will let readers in on this little Yankee girl’s secret:  If I meet with you, joke about you in a flirtatious way in my blog, or have a drink with you it does not mean I am interested in you in any way shape or form.  I find it pitiful that I even have to write these words but really, you need not flatter yourself.  IT’S A BLOG, peeps.  If I am meeting with you, then you are merely an instrument through which I seek information. 

What do you not understand that 99.9% of my readers already get?  It's a blog and sometimes I'm a real pistol. Case closed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It Is What It Is

Discussion
At last night’s rodeo, I had some interesting conversations with certain attendees.  One acquaintance I’ve known for several years told me I need to leave the city council alone.  I asked why they thought that and they said that they held a discussion with the mayor recently, who told them he didn’t know what I wanted, that he was the most conservative person up there on that council, and that I was wearing him down.  I beg to differ on parts of that topic.  Mayor Eric Hogue may claim to be the most conservative individual up there and morally on an outwardly demonstrative level he likely is, but if we examine his voting record we can see he has always erred on the side of spending and government growth without cuts, and that stance is anything but fiscally conservative.  We need to differentiate between a social conservative and a social liberal, as well as a fiscal conservative and a fiscal liberal.  The differences are vaster than the expanse of Niagara Falls. 

Social Liberal
For example, socially liberal individuals accept hot topics such as gay marriage and abortion as reasonable rights that individuals should expect, because they believe individuals should have the right to choose what they wish to do with their own bodies and lives.  A socially liberal individual believes everyone should have total access to what others have with the end result of group prosper.  I call this a sort of homogenizing of society.  When our schoolchildren were handed the ruling that they must wear standardized dress clothes, I use this as a prime example of homogenization.  Heaven forbid someone should wear $160 shoes and make someone who can only afford $20 shoes feel bad.

If you think back, this was one example listed as a reason behind standardized dress and it is absolutely ridiculous.  For every good reason cited by our then superintendent and school board such as controlling symbolic gang gear, a bad reason was also cited such as controlling the cost of clothing. What it served to do was further regulate what parents can and cannot chose for their own children.  Ultimately, this was all liberal speak disguised as new conservatism for placing everyone on the same level, and frankly it failed at that particular task.  Students still come in with symbolic gang colors and the students are still pushing the envelope on clothing styles.  The sad part is that conservatives everywhere bought into this mindset hook, line, and sinker because it was packaged and sold with the moral stamp of approval.

Social Conservative
A socially conservative individual resists topics such as gay marriage and abortion because they apply their working knowledge of the bible to their own lives and also to the lives of those around them.   In a nutshell, they believe in a morally- driven society.  There exists a certain rigidity with this stance and they often appear outwardly to lack in humanistic compassion. 

Fiscal Liberal
Fiscally liberal people love those social programs that help provide free immunizations and education to illegal aliens who are living freely, and breaking the law by doing so I might add, among us.  They believe people simply cannot be trusted and need rules and regulations on every aspect of their lives but those rules and regulations cost a great deal of money.  They believe that enforcing controls on people is the way to prosper and the best way to bring about equality and further flourishing among the people is through government spending and programs.

Fiscal Conservative
A fiscally conservative individual believes the laws already on the books should be enforced. They believe that we do not need more rules and legislation, we need less.  Fiscal conservatives agree that we need to get out of the way of ourselves and that people will do the right thing for the most part and they will prosper because of it.  They also believe in reasonable spending with reasonable cuts, such as in the case of our recent flap over the 2% bonuses.  Fiscally conservative people expect people to take personal responsibility for themselves and that means seeking employment rather than expecting handouts.  Essentially, they believe the free market will best serve the needs of the people.

I realize that these are very simplistic examples, but nonetheless they provide us with the stark contrast to digest.  I believe most of us have somewhat of a mixture of each of these ideologies within us because it is very difficult for us to live in a one size fits all world.  If you think back to the standardized dress policy, it is easy to see just how insidious liberal control etches itself into our psyche, and we learn to accept it as a moral responsibility, without question.

Further Discussion
As my discussion progressed, another comment was made, “You don’t know how good you have it.”  What was being referred to is that I was not here in Wylie back in the day where council members did what they pleased.  I find this statement disturbing on many levels because a certain amount of that free for all mindset has remained in our community.  We cannot ever think that just because we’ve grown and our government has grown that we have somehow magically moved beyond those days, because in our infantile state, they are merely just behind the bend. 

The more the merrier may have been the thought process in the beginning of building this empire called Wylie, but this did bring a certain amount of diversity with it which should absolutely be embraced.  We cannot live in a one size fits all Wylie any longer.  I don’t care to live in the past because the past is past.  I don’t want Wylie to remain a lawless, good old boy society and with our current demographics, we simply cannot.  We can all agree that we should embrace our small town past, but I firmly believe that we need to look to the future so that we are not left behind. 

As we expand and move forward, we need to mindful that as we bring new business entities into Wylie, such as the movie theater that boasts 12 state of the art screens that are expected to be complete by Thanksgiving 2012, we do not allow Wylie to turn into a rat magnet.  Nothing would be more irksome than being harassed by a gang of teens or young adults as we attempt to take our family into a movie.  Irksome too it will be when parents start using the theater as a babysitting tool, because it surely will happen.   We only need look to Firewheel as an example of this.  As I stated, with the growth came diversity and we cannot apply our own small moral compass to those around us.  We should however chose our battles wisely and one in which our general moral compass moves south should probably be taken on because it will ultimately damage the economy of our city.

At the end of the day, I think what the people truly want is quiet enjoyment and we should look to this as our guide for the future.