Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Antagonist Protagonist Tag Team

I am truly concerned at the behavior I witnessed at last night’s Wylie city council meeting.  During the discussion regarding adopting a resolution to give WASA,  Wylie’s Antagonistically Scornful Adults $13K of taxpayer money, the council members were given time to make their comments.  When asked her opinion, Councilwoman Diane Culver made the statement that the city handed the old library building over to WASA and that it was being given to a select few members of the community.  Personally I see nothing wrong with that statement.  If you ever volunteer for the PTA, which I did at Davis Elementary, you will quickly find out that anything the PTA does is supposed to benefit ALL of the students, not just a few select such as feeding afterschool meals to only those in sports.  Taxes collected from taxpayers actually benefit ALL of the citizens.  To say openly that Councilwoman Culver will get to enjoy the building if she lives that long was incredibly rude and condescending.  Does that mean the city should give funds to daycares because everyone was a baby at one time? 

You may not have students attending the schools but your taxes help to educate your neighbor’s kids and make them productive members of society, well hopefully and the schools put on events that all citizens can attend.  Your taxes pay for parks that everyone can use.  Your taxes pay for the WEDC who brings businesses to Wylie that you may choose not to shop at but you are not banned from entering.   From what I can glean, WASAs building is not available for citizen use like the Bart Peddicord is.  So I was amazed at the reaction to Councilwoman Culver’s comment, to which the protagonist of this story, a sweaty, red, I mean oh so dark red it was actually a Barney-purple faced Mayor Eric Hogue began to actually yell at Councilwoman Culver.  Yelling?  Really?  Is she not entitled to her opinion? Is she not allowed to make a statement without being bullied during a city council meeting and shut down by Hogue?  Evidently not. 

The seniors in the audience clapped for Hogue when he was finished with his titty baby tirade, but I was left feeling embarrassed and ashamed for both him and them.  This is not the way I expect the Mayor of the City of Wylie to behave, no matter how pissed off he is.  It was unacceptable during a council meeting and to be honest, I think he needs to apologize to Councilwoman Culver for cutting her off and yelling at her.

Even after that event took place, an unscathed , unruffled, and nonplussed Councilwoman Culver went on to ask another question.  I am glad she showed the maturity that Mayor was lacking last night.  It leaves me wondering if this is the sort of behavior she is used to from our Mayor, even when they are not sitting in an open public meeting.  I would like to hope not.

The more I reflect on this situation, the more I see a recurring modus operandi for Mayor Hogue.  He was nearly gleeful in the Code of Ethics work session as he discussed how any citizens who had a complaint would be forced to come before the panel, AKA the 7 council members, and humiliate themselves in public.  I was wondering where the pitchfork was as he made that statement.  This vindictiveness is not a good trait.

I wonder if those people coming to council meetings and asking for handouts were not actually former mayors, would Mayor Hogue be so kind and favorable to their every whim?  I mean, he seems to have his lips permanently attached to their backsides, even asking them what they think during council meetings such as the council meeting a month ago regarding Mariposa, the low-income housing for 55+.  No offense to any of them, but I don’t give a screaming bat turd what they think as they are not the 7 people we have elected to sit up there.  If they wish to make statements during public input, let them, but to name tag them and specifically ask them for input really goes beyond what is acceptable.  So much posturing in the middle of a meeting and then to realize the error and ask if anyone else would like to speak is inexcusable.  I wonder, would former Mayor John Mondy were there, would Hogue name tag him and ask him his opinion?  What a fool he would look!

I agree with Mayor that our seniors deserve our respect.  They deserve a warm and caring community building where they can share camaraderie, but I think that this whole thing has been handled very poorly.  A group of amateurs formed WASA, a non-profit 501(c)(3) and they have not done a very good job at fundraising or seeking assistance from area groups on aging.  There are grants available to them and I hope their new Treasurer Nathan Scott will do a better job for them in the future. 

Yes, they will get their $13K from the City because the gang of 4 has spoken, but I hope they learn how to manage their budget because coming to the taxpayers with their hands out year after year is going to wear thin and that Contingency Fund welcome mat will need to be removed.  Permanently.  If you want confirmation of this, just go read the comments on the Wylie News online edition regarding the Wylie Board of Trustees approval to bring a bond to the citizens for vote in May.  The overwhelming response is that the people are sick of our funds being mismanaged and they want a tax decrease.  It’s time for the wisenheimers to wise up. 

It's a Marshmallow World and a Non-Profit Free For All

Since when does Linda Bantz, finance director for Wylie come to a city council meeting completely unprepared?  Doesn’t happen.  Nope, not ever.  Except, well, there was last night. I was shocked and dismayed to see that she did not have an answer when the question was asked as to just how much money will be left in the Contingency Fund after we hit it up for this $13K that is destined for WASA, Wylie’s Absolutely Slaphappy Adults.  Do you know that woman did not have an answer?  Really?  As a true bean counter, I would have thought she would have worked those numbers up one side and down the other and those numbers would have been begging for mercy from her when she was through with them.  Nope.  Could it be that she was under the expectation that if she brought a budget amendment to council that it was going to pass with flying colors? Well we all know that Mayor Hogue, Councilwoman Kathy Spillyards, Councilman Rick White, and Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth would all be only too happy to oblige.  The get it off my desk attitude was abundant last night. Except they didn’t expect a hiccup tossed their way by Councilman David Goss who wanted to see if the WEDC could toss some money at the problem.  They didn’t expect so much opposition from Councilwoman Diane Culver and a few community members who spoke at the meeting in opposition to giving a 501(c)(3) non-profit some taxpayer funds.  Especially if we tally up just how much in freebies they have already received from the citizens. 
From my calculations, at today’s rates to build that building, plus the cost of land in Wylie at the moment, I suspect it would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $400K. Now let’s consider just how much water and electricity our tax dollars pay to keep the lights on and the toilets flushing annually and we’re up there.  Now let’s also consider just how much annual property tax we could collect on that $400K building if we had sold it rather than give it away.  Let’s also consider just how much the building will be worth once some of our tax dollars go into renovating it, thus the value of the property will increase.  I think staff is afraid overall to give us those figures but there is certainly enough brilliance on staff to be able to tally that up for us.  No, they don’t want citizens to really know just how much they are handing over to a 501(c)(3) non-profit, at taxpayer expense.  It would truly be an eye-opener.  Oh, then there is that $13K we will toss at them at our March 27th council meeting as well.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Nope, Linda Bantz did not expect that question to be asked of her, and she was completely ill prepared .  Sadly her reply was, “A little bit.”  Really?  Is that a technical term or something acceptable by mathematicians across the planet?  Just wondering.  In fact, Bantz did not even offer to go run the calculations and report back.  Faux pas deux.  Damn.  That is so not like her so I am a bit mystified.  Could it be that it was merely no big deal because staff thought it would easily pass if Sister Mary Bantz came with ‘found funds’?  Did staff think the Council Red Sea would part and the 4 on 3 or 5 on 2 vote expected to take place would have chalked this one up for the record book?  This lack of information, lack of time spent calculating, assumption of an easy pass is truly unacceptable.  As a taxpaying citizen I find this unacceptable and objectionable.
I know my pal Councilman Bennie Jones will ultimately vote in favor of the handout despite his feelings about other non-profits coming to the city asking for money.  Because he has a marshmallow soul and is really only looking for someone to give him permission to vote in favor of it, I know he will.  I can’t fault him for his feelings.  I urged him on the phone this morning to march on down to city hall and demand he get his 501(c)(3) Wylie Youth Council on the agenda so they can ask for some money too.  Seriously.  I think he should come with his kiddos and ask council for money.  Hells I’ll even ante up some funds to be matched if the city will kick in some of that Contingency Fund that seems to be going around.  Let’s just see how far we can take this handout thingy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

See You In a Short 8!

There are a couple things you can take to the bank in Wylie tonight:

WEDC will not be able to do the $13K in matching WASA funds as Councilman Goss asked them to look into and ultimately our contingency fund will be hit up.  So not only will the 2% bonus provided to city employees have drained the Contingency Fund, but also the $13K for WASA by March 31st.  Ultimately the taxpayers will have to pay for part of the renovation of the old library that our city leaders gave WASA with one hand and shook with the other on the fact there would be no further funds forthcoming.  All non-profits welcome!  Please come to Wylie City Council and ask for funds.  There is a teensy bit left in the Contingency Fund just to get you through until September 2012 when they redo the budget again. We are nothing if not consistently inconsistent. 

Mariposa, or Marisopa as the clever Councilman Rick White likes to call it, would be a done deal already if it weren’t for the sneaking suspicion of Mayor Eric Hogue who held the landowner Don Herzog, and the developer’s feet to the fire tonight and forced the issue that verbal agreements will not suffice in Wylie.  Just because the developer claims Mariposa will be a 55+ development doesn’t make it so, not even if they prick their fingers and become blood brothers.  Thank you Mayor Hogue for doing what was right tonight.

I firmly believe Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth appears to be an effing conman who will show up at 4:30 PM Monday, the day packets are due and sit in City Secretary Carol Ehrlich’s office (whom I am really starting to like more and more these days by the way) or City Manager Mindy Manson’s office with his feet on the desk waiting until 5:00 PM to see if anyone else will file to run for his seat.  Real conviction there Red. Way to prove you really want this job.  Not.

Don’t piss off Mayor by making derogatory comments about our seniors in Wylie.  He nearly had flames and smoke coming out of his butt after citizen comment and after a comment Councilwoman Diane Culver made about the building being set aside for a small portion of citizens.  By the way Councilwoman Spillyards comments that she pays tax to the ISD but doesn't have kids in school doesn't hold water.  I know of no law that requires citizens to pay an elderly tax.  Oh and everyone uses the police, as they keep you safe, even if you don't call them. Duh. Someone once told me Mayor and a few others in the community are teetotalers but might I suggest that a flask attached to the leg just for these special little moments might not be a bad thing after all?  Just say yes to a little alcohol to calm the nerves, especially when someone is really working them.


Best citizen comment of the night:  Parks and Rec boardmember Jeff Harris asked what funds WASA would have available to them from their fundraising efforts to cover water, electricity, and maintenance.  Well everyone knew that answer. Water and electricity are paid for by the city - aha our tax dollars hard at work. Maintenance?  Well that's just an afterthought evidently and we can expect more requests for handouts, or perhaps more Elvis impersonator concerts in the future.

You know, no offense against the senior group, they seem to be very nice people but they also seem to be playmates with each other and with a few stragglers, what do they total now – 50-70?  It seems the building is really for the former mayor’s and their cronies and anyone else who makes it in the doors.  I know they would like to bring in a larger crowd but I can tell you, heaven help them if I show up at their doors in 8 years.  I can assure them it won’t be Elvis who’s a shakin’ it will be me and some serious head-banging rock and roll and hells maybe I’ll introduce a little punk too just for flavor.  Hope they can handle the drinking, the BOSE speaker system, the stilettos, and the dirty dances, cuz I like to party.  Gee I hope they don't mind some of my more colorful language either.  Can’t wait to meet my new friends in a short 8!  Yup, I’ll be there to party on with my tax dollars and I’ll bring my equally raucous friends who are my age too, you can bank on that one.  

Opening a Can of Whoopass

Rewind to this time last month when a visibly upset Mayor Eric Hogue of Wylie read the riot act to the developer of Mariposa, the 55+ low income housing project eyed for behind Target. He was upset that the developer was bringing this low-income 55+ project to Wylie when there was a family low-income project proposed within walking distance in Sachse.  What’s more, after reading him the riot act, and doing his best to sound mayoresque with good intentions (true to form as was printed in the paper where the media Hogue was quoted), he went ahead and voted to approve the developer’s request anyway.  Bait and switch, seems to be the tactical choice of Wylie’s leaders these days.  I hear the sound of a metal ring being flipped up on a can.

Fast forward to yesterday and to what I cannot believe I have been sent anonymously.  I cannot believe our Mayor has the audacity to sit on his throne and make serious decisions about the livelihoods of 100+ renters that might make application to live in the proposed Mariposa 55+ low-income housing project.  I cannot believe he will allow these piss poor people to set up housekeeping on a street that has no public transportation and no chance to make more than minimum wage.  I cannot believe he will allow these people at 60% income of the average Wylie household income level to pay 32% of their annual gross income for these low-income apartments.  Not only is he setting these renters up for failure, he is setting the taxpayers of Wylie up for failure too because the riff-raff that actually steps foot through those newly opened doors will begin costing us dearly.  Riff-raff you say?  I know, you are wondering how I can call our elderly riff-raff.  Stay with me, because you are about to find out just who is likely to be renting from this Mariposa low-income monstrosity. I hear a slight crackle of the can under pressure.

Let me be the first to let the public know what our council members have gotten Wylie’s taxpayers into.  I received an anonymous copy of a letter that was sent to Mayor Eric Hogue on February 24th:

From: REMOVED
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 10:52 AM
To: Hogue, Eric
Subject: FW: Tax credit info
Importance: High

Eric,

Below is the email I received from TDHCA regarding age restrictions (with income chart attached).  As you can see, the Competitive Housing Tax Credit Program does not prevent a developer from renting to families – it just prevents them from marketing the development for families.  This is the information I shared at the REMOVED INFO meeting on REMOVED.  

Also, TDHCA clarified that while most units would be restricted to those with income at or below 60% of the Area Median Family Income (AMFI), 20% or more of the units must be occupied by those with income at or below 50% AMFI.  Additionally, a small percentage of the units must be occupied by those with income at or below 30% AMFI. 

My concern is that because the developer is not being forthright and this information is not being shared with the community, many residents are falsely assuming that this development will be an option, in the future, for themselves or their aging parents.   I think many folks will be surprised to learn that although their hard-earned tax dollars were used for the development of Mariposa, they will be restricted from residing there.

Please let me know if you need anything else.   

Thanks,
REMOVED

From: Michael Lyttle [mailto:michael.lyttle@tdhca.state.tx.us]
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 2:41 PM
To: REMOVED Subject: Tax credit info
Importance: High

REMOVED,

I have attached an income chart for the proposed elderly development in Wylie.

To clarify the issues about a seniors development … the applicant does not need to state up front if they are going to go the route of 100% of the units filled with persons age 62 and over or 80% of the units with at least one person at age 55 or older.  As long as they are doing one or the other, they meet the criteria.  We do check developments every year to make sure they have income qualified people in them.

Also, I want to note that if they choose the option of (80% for one person 55 and older), they cannot market or advertise their property to families.  All of their amenities and services and marketing must be focused at seniors.  If they have a family come in that income qualifies and they have an open unit, that is how they could conceivably rent to a “family” per se.

----------------------------------
Michael Lyttle
Director of Policy & Public Affairs
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
221 E. 11th Street | Austin, TX 78701
Office: 512.475.4542
Mobile: 512.964.1573
Fax: 512.469-9606

About TDHCA
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs administers a number of state and federal programs through for-profit, nonprofit, and local government partnerships to strengthen communities through affordable housing development, home ownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services for Texans in need.  For more information, including current funding opportunities and information on local providers, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us.

In an attachment I was sent the following information which I will limit to a family of 4 for brevity:

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Rent and Income Limits1 (As of 2/9/2012)
HTC Limits for Wylie, Texas
AMFI Number of Household Members

Applying the information from our State Representative’s office, here is an example:
Family of 4 at 60% income level must have a household income of $42,060 or less
20% of the units = 20 units, a family of 4 at 50% income level must have a household income level of $35,050 or less
A small percentage of the units, family of 4 at 30% income level must have a household income level of $21,030 or less



RENT LIMITS
Using our same family of 4 examples above:
30% income level the rent is $568
50% income level the rent is $947
60% income level the rent is $1,137

For a family of 4 making at the 60% income level and rent of $1,137 per month, their total annual rent is $13,644 or 32% of their gross income. 



Sucking sound and CRACK!  Now is the moment I am going to ask some of my friends to come peel me off the ceiling because I have just opened a huge can of whoopass and I feel the reverberation starting. 

As long as the developer doesn’t ‘market’ to anyone but the elderly, if 100 families walk in Mariposa to apply and they fit the low-income criteria, they will not be turned away.  WTH?

Was Mayor just trying to be nice or did he truly not understand the implications of what he has done to Wylie when he chose to ignore all the flashing signs that screamed like demons that this was a bad deal about to go down at the council meeting January 24th?  Did he steer the other council members astray, being the head cheerleader of Wylie and all?  Jones was not in attendance, but Culver and Goss were the only ‘no’ votes.  Spillyards, White, Byboth, and Hogue all voted to approve this low-income housing project, even though they knew at the time they voted to approve this that the low-income project in Sachse was still very viable.  Thankfully the project in Sacshe has been scrapped as of this writing, but can you imagine if it had not been?

On what planet did 4 of our city council members think voting to approve this 55+ low-income housing project was a good idea?  Well to be honest, I cannot totally blame Spillyards, Byboth, and White.  Silly ass kids just thought they were tossing a little bone to their elderly constituents in the audience.  To be honest, I agree that our community needs to show that we care about our elderly, but this!  This is the height of stupidity!  If this thing passes, we have the dire possibility that dozens of low income families are going to run over there and apply and here we sit with the possibility of a bunch of low-income students being admitted to our school district again.  Nice decision making skills.

The developer has not been forthcoming with council with regard to this little piece of business.  It begs to be asked then, were we fed a huge lie by this developer and this council?  It certainly feels like it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Put Your Granny Panties On

I just checked out Tuesday night’s agenda for the Wylie City Council and I see the senior crowd is at it again.  On the agenda are two items of particular interest and this blog post is going to make me highly unpopular amongst some of the old dogs in Wylie. 

The first is WASA, or Wylie’s Aged Sassy Ass People as I like to call them, asking yet again for money from city council to help pay for that library building we handed them FREE OF CHARGE upon which they PAY NO PROPERTY TAX. 


General Business
2. Consider, and act upon, Ordinance No. 2012-08 amending Ordinance No. 2011-18
(2011-2012 Budget) for proposed amendments for fiscal year 2011-2012. (L. Bantz,
Finance Director)
February 28, 2012 Wylie City Council Regular Meeting Agenda Page 3 of 4
Executive Summary
The Wylie Advocates for Senior Activities (WASA) has an anonymous donor that will match donations up
to $20,000 for remodeling of the former Smith Public Library. Funds have been identified that can be used
to offset this expenditure, and as a result, there will be no impact to the overall General Fund FY 2012
Budget.


Oh sure, I was happy to see them get their building so they would stop whining like a group of 2 year olds who want candy at a grocery store checkout line.  I had hoped they would take that saweet gift and run away laughing and skipping like a dope head after smoking a good hash pipe, but no it just wasn’t enough for them.   They keep coming back like a bad case of lice, asking for more and more.  I suppose if we renovated it for them and rolled out the red carpet it might finally be enough.  Then again, I doubt it.


Is it just me or is anyone else sick to freaking death of these people sitting at council meetings taking every opportunity to pimp themselves for a couple of bucks?  Since when is it the taxpayers problem that they have no clue how to go about proper fundraising and they sought the benefit of a liberal who decided it would be fun to hold the council’s feet the fire and force them to toss a wad at the problem?  Liberal, liberal, grossly liberal idealogy going on here because the donor will only ante up if the city chips in, not if other philanthropists kick in, and if our city council approves this request, I think I am going to vomit right there in the council chambers.

Will council use the excuse that our retail sales tax in November went up 18% as justification?  Oh, but we will be taking in more money next year so let’s go ahead and do a little mid-season revision to the budget.  November?  Come off it, it was freaking Christmas. Of course it’s going to go up and one or even three months of increased sales tax in a row does not a windfall make people.  Besides, those tax dollars belong to the people and as I see it and what was given should be taken back in the form of a nice cut in our property taxes before the city starts handing out cash to every Tom, Dick and Harry with a flaming liberal donor who thinks the city should be funding WASA just as much as anyone else.


I am not altogether heartless about the aged.  I grew up with a grandmother living in my house since I was 4 years old.  Yes, we actually took care of our aging relative, what a novel new idea that is.  I remember what it is like to drive her to senior group meetings when I was 16 and had finally earned my driver’s license.  It was a tiny building in our old downtown area not much unlike little old Wylie.  In fact, their building was smaller and there were dues which helped offset the administrative costs.  Our family was only too happy to shell out the cash for my grandma.  The group relies on funding from area agencies on aging and volunteers from the community; they don’t stand with their hand out at city council meetings.  The building she met at was not much larger than a shed.  It was an old historic wood building with wood floors and a bathroom.  At least it had indoor plumbing.  I was happy she was able to get out of the house and go play piano for the group of seniors who gathered there to dance, play cards, and even take trips all the way to Atlantic City and shorter ones like shopping at Bronners and Frankenmuth.  In fact, she was my absolute best friend and I had to mourn the loss of her when she had a severe stroke when I was 17 and she had to be moved to a nursing home because we were unable to provide her the 24 hour care she required after the stroke.  I continued to mourn the loss of my best friend who remained in that nursing home through my moves from Michigan to California to Michigan and to Texas before her old body decided it was about time to give out.  I had to mourn the loss of her again when I was 27 after she would not allow herself to pass on until she was able to see me one last time.  I flew to Michigan from Texas just to see her in the hospital and I sat with her and held her hand and gave her permission to leave me, and she did 4 days later.  I agree a warm and caring home is necessary for our elderly in Wylie thus they received our old library building.  But it really stops there because if the city sold that property, they could rake in tax on any new inhabitants.  So you see, taxpayers are already giving up money on a yearly basis, do we really need to give up more for this venture?


How I feel about this request is that if the city is going to hand WASA money to renovate the building, then we need to take back our building like a bunch of Indian givers and start renting it out or sell it.  Seriously.  If one red cent of taxpayer money goes into the renovation of that building, then I believe it rightfully belongs to us and not WASA and frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn what WASA or anyone else thinks about that.

The second item on the agenda is on that Mariposa at Woodbridge low income housing project slated for the area near Target.

5. Consider, an act upon, a Resolution No. 2012-08(R) of the City Council of the City
of Wylie, Texas designating a revitalization area and economic development
initiative for a residential affordable development and supporting a proposed
Mariposa at Woodbridge for Senior Citizens. (M. Manson, City Manager)
Executive Summary
In order to make the application for the proposed Mariposa at Woodbridge for Senior Citizens competitive
for State funding, the Council is being asked to consider a Resolution that would affirm and satisfy to
specific categories.

City Council is being asked to designate a revitalization area and economic development initiative.  This is to garner even more points in order to gain the funding the developer so desperately wants in order for Texas taxpayers to support the over 55 crowd this low income housing project is supposed to cater to.  As much as I can appreciate affordable housing for our seniors, this place is not going to be a care facility.  As I said, this project is going to be an absolute drain on the community resources, sucking up valuable police and fire and rescue personnel and resources and will eventually force public transportation down our streets because once the beggars arrive and are embraced by a city, they don’t stop coming.  Personally I don’t care to have busses traipsing up and down our street clogging already busy rush hour traffic on 544. 

Oh sure, I’ve heard it from some of my elderly friends, they think I’m picking on the seniors of Wylie.  Well I will not apologize for my feelings about anyone sticking their hands out whether it is at the local, state, or national level.  A handout is a handout and isn’t this what a lot of the bickering is about at the national level at the moment?  What our seniors are asking for is ultimately an entitlement and it is too bad they may have to move to Garland or Plano to afford a place to live.  Gee people my age and younger do it all the time because that’s just the game of life.  You move where the money is and if you cannot afford where you live, you move to less expensive digs.  Less expensive digs aren’t just handed to you so you don’t have to be inconvenienced.  I call it putting on your granny panties and getting over yourself because people’s lack of planning for their old age does not constitute an emergency on the taxpayers’ part.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Sound of Music and Cleats

In a perfect world, I would be singing like Julie Andrews and here would be a list of a few of my favorite things:

Raises for all city employees
Hiring more police officers
A hug from Mayor where the hatchet is buried, and I don’t mean in either of our backs
A Code of Ethics passed and adhered to
No low-income housing is needed
The schools are outfitted with the most up to date technology and equipment ever
We get a city council consisting of real professionals who look, talk, and act the part
There are no more murders in Wylie
I can eat as many Peanut M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as I want and not find them permanently adding to my ass mass
Lake Lavon fills with water, the Zebra Mussels die a slow and painful death, and tournaments and races return to our lake
Our retail tax cup runneth over ridiculously reducing our tax burden
Macy’s closes up shop in Garland and moves to Wylie so I can die happy
Parks & Rec gets the most boffo master trails ever throughout Wylie
I can close this blog and spend my time reading, drawing, traveling, making a crapload of money, drinking heavily, and making out with my s/o

This is not to be however.  At least not at the moment because I received an email from WISD regarding a bond proposal just approved by our trustees.  Here goes tonight’s make out session with the hubs.  Damn.

From the Wylie ISD Community Newsletter 2.23.12:

The WISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $21,125,000 bond package and called for a May 12 election for new construction and renovation at both high school campuses. If passed, this proposal will not raise school property taxes. The action came during the regular Board meeting on February 20.

The district has conducted detailed facilities needs assessments at both high schools and reduced the number of proposed items to just those that meet the most immediate needs. These items include:

At Wylie East:
•            Finish out second floor classrooms
•            Additional career and technology classrooms
•            Cafeteria expansion
•            Band hall expansion
•            Dressing rooms and field house
•            Artificial turf
•            Addition gym space
•            Weight room

At Wylie High:
•            Science lab renovations
•            Dressing room space

Early voting begins April 30 and ends May 8. Election Day is Saturday, May 12 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All voting will take place at the WISD Educational Service Center (Administration Building), 951 S. Ballard Street. For more information on the bond, visit
www.wylieisd.net.

 
In an ideal world where Julie Andrews swirls her skirt and petticoat and sings high atop a mountain, I suppose that we should vote yes for this bond because they say it will not negatively impact our taxes, yet something stinks in Austria.  It seems to me the school board members are like the cutesy von Trapp family children singing their So Long, Farewell song as they try to hide what is really about to take place behind the scenes.  Could it be?  Is this a bait and switch?   Will more bonds come?  Will our taxes ultimately increase in a couple of years just cuz they still have that little tax allotment we voted them to have and they are holding their aces rather than playing them right now?  I don’t see our taxes going down anytime soon, do you?


Oh I’ve heard it all before, the schools need stuff, yadda yadda yadda.  Uh huh.  I know they do, but screw the turf, weight room, and band hall.  Is this stuff really intertwined with our children’s level of smarts?  Oh yes I forgot football is king.  Well football is fun and all, but good God you people have your freaking priorities messed up down here.  Our kids can’t spell worth a shit, never learned cursive writing, and are failing science TAKS but hells they have a rocking stadium and fresh, groovy, green turf.  Oh I forgot about the Jones’.  They sure are hard to keep up with.

My only hope with this new superintendent is that a lesson had been learned regarding fiduciary indiscretions of the past school boards who spent like Michael Jackson in his gluttonous years while times were aplenty in the Wylie land of milk and honey.  I hope he would know to work it in the budget to take care of general maintenance as part of the budget rather than come to taxpayers with bond requests as we are shuttled from school to school on the caravan of shame as happened in those famous ménage à trois bond request days.  Sure, we need cafeteria and classrooms but I fail to see why the hell AstroTurf is so damned important unless you are one of those elusive Jones’.  Really, did turf come in over other educational requirements?  I shudder to think what was left off the list for turf.


To add to this monetary strife, because it has not been widely publicized, is that I want to know why our WISD school board is adopting a whole new curriculum and how are they going to fit THAT expense in? Surely they don’t think the teachers aren’t doing their jobs that they need a new curriculum.  In all the years my sons have attended Wylie schools, I have found every teacher they had to be absolutely stellar, well all except for that one dingbat who rammed ADD, ADHD, and speech at us since she didn’t want to deal with a kid bored out of his skull because he is color-blind all colors and couldn’t read yellow marker on the whiteboard, but even she was quasi palatable.


Does anyone have any idea just how much money a new curriculum will cost?  I can’t help but think that the $15M used to buy land for some fictitiously needed 3rd high school in 12 years would have gone a long way toward paying for all of these ‘needed’ upgrades in this $21M bond request coming our way in May.  I know, I know, I’ve heard the rhetoric before; we need the land, there are only a few pieces of land large enough left for a high school in Wylie.  Whatevs.  Yet they bought that property in an area that would be absolutely ridiculous to put a high school on.  My but how on earth does Allen do it with one school?    I would rather see teacher raises.  Horrors!  Um, add on to the existing high schools and don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.  All of these recent murders and bad publicity in Wylie are hardly a big draw.  I mean like it happens every day, a young couple reads about a murder by two young adults and a teen pleading guilty to bludgeoning a man to death in the Wylie News headlines all in the same weekly edition and they simply can’t wait to move the chitlins to Wylie.


How are they going to finagle no tax increase to the citizens?  OK, so they refinance the current bonds; money is cheaper to borrow at the moment.  Then the tax rate goes down and in exchange for this new bond approved the tax rate goes back up to take up the empty space vacated thus no tax increase to us. Ya, smoke and mirrors routine.  So howsabout a little tax cut then, because last time I checked my tax statement I was sick at the thought of giving my left tit to live here year after year.   

What if the state suddenly hands us yet another bonk on the head with reduced funding because they still haven’t learned their lesson in Austin?  Oh, and our brand spanking new curriculum has to be paid for because heavens, the loss of ground in TAKS is wrongfully attributed to the curriculum rather than the fact we have all these low-income kids flocking and being welcomed with open arms to Wylie and consequently bringing our student’s scores down.  Oh, then we will need more schools to be built to cover the growth and suddenly, the sickeningly unsatisfying frottage of one magic lamp rubbed against another no longer gratifies anyone and our taxes never decrease and more bonds are needed in the future.  Jeezus, does anyone live within their means? 


I suppose this bond thingy will pass too, because they are going to require voting at the administrative building, and everyone knows our voter turnout in Wylie is an abject failure and embarrassment.  While we are supposed to be voting at the ISD building, we are also supposed to be voting at city hall for the city council seats and the whole confusing double voting trip cluster will mean a whopping handful of teacher votes, all in the affirmative of the bond, and thusly this will pass without nary a second glance by citizens. 


So what’s next on their plate?  Will we see another bond request next year for all of the said items left off this bond shopping list?  Right now I’m kind of thinking the trustees had better be thanking their lucky stars the low-income housing project in Sachse was scrapped for had it not been, they would have been violently bent over ready to take it as 200-300 poverty level kids made their way into the district.  Oh that deal is off the table…..for now.  Maybe it’s the Detroit in me, but I don’t trust the people involved in that deal and I suspect it will come back for a redux. They always do and it seems to be Herzog's M.O.


In that fairytale world of von Wylie clap Trapp, I wish our school board and our city council would realize they are hitting up the same wallets, but none seem to be truly cognizant of that fact and the two entities loll merrily on lacking any thought to reducing our tax burden anytime soon.  As we look to the future it is time for taxpayers in Wylie to get a tax break.  No even-steven exchanges, no smoke and mirrors, but a real honest to goodness tax break so my left tit can get a rest. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Getting My Art On

Yesterday afternoon I received an urgent call from my bff who is an art teacher for Plano ISD.  They needed a juror for the Texas Art Education Association Visual Arts Scholastic Event today.  Evidently they had a few jurors drop out at the last minute and her whole ‘hook’ for me was being paid $100 to do it. 

Suffice to say, I jumped at the chance, firstly because I love art and secondly, because I love our high school students who will one day be the leaders of tomorrow.  I teased my friend later on Facebook that I would have done it for free.  Imagine my happiness when I received the payment form this morning and it asked how much I wanted to be paid and if I wanted to donate any to the scholastic art fund.  True to my word, I donated the whole amount.  All in all, a total of 16 jurors did not show up today so we were hopping busy and let me tell you it was hard work.  I had long lines in the hallway, some students waiting up to 3 hours to interview with me.  I can see why the TAEA pay people to be jurors, but hells I was honored just to be a part of the process and I have to say it was honestly the coolest thing I’ve done in a long time. 

I met some absolutely amazing and talented students.  I interviewed students from Richardson, Plano, and Lovejoy.  I even had 3 from Wylie come to see me though I asked them to go see another juror because I had my, “I Love Wylie” smile on and I wanted to be a fair juror; Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue would be so proud of me because he requires everyone who receives awards at city hall to chant that at photo time.  All joking aside, I never wanted to be accused of giving preferential treatment to students from Wylie even though I felt I could have judged them impartially, I did not want to place the students in that situation so it was better to move them elsewhere.  I know those three were a bit sad because they had just waited an inordinate amount of time to see me but I made sure the runner got them in to see different jurors right away so they wouldn’t be punished by having an even longer wait.  

In the end, the final pieces I was proud to judge were some truly phenomenal works of art. I selected works of art in mediums such as charcoal, graphite, oil, acrylic, watercolor, and even 3-D sculptures, textiles, ceramics, and multi-medium pieces such as pen and ink with colored pencils.  I was happy to give my Saturday to a process of selection knowing that ultimately our division headed to State might be well represented by some amazing pieces of art.  I left feeling very proud of the students we nurture here in North Texas.  There is indeed hope for the future after all. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Love Fest

As you can imagine after that last blog post I made today, I was feeling the love which was probably enhanced by the huge sugar high from all the damned candy.  I mean just because I said I liked peanut M&Ms doesn’t mean I want them from EVERYBODY.  But I digress.

My evening started well enough, I got into council chambers and was keeping myself highly entertained as Councilwoman Culver was teetering around, seriously working the boots.  Then a sweet-faced Chief D waved at me and smiled that drop dead gorgeous smile of his.  Holy bug splats, I nearly looked behind me to see if he was waving at someone else.  Alas no, it was me!  God I love Valentine’s Day because everyone just seems to be in such a cordial mood, but I digress again.  Yup, candy and innate hyperactivity is at work here folks so I’ll do my best to stay on track and you’ll just have to muddle through it with me.

I got to try out the headsets for the hearing impaired.  I was excited I could hear everything really well.  OK, so I’m easily amused.  My doctor wasn’t quite as amused when he found out just how many rock concerts it took to do my ears so wrong.  Jesus Lord, help me stay on track here.

This blog post isn’t about M&Ms, or Chief Ds spectacular smile, or even my hearing problem. It is a story about some Valentine’s Day love gone really wrong.  Yes, after my day went so well, I then witnessed the worst love fest I’ve seen in a long time.  Keep tracking with me, I’m getting there.

The truly sickeningly, sugary-sweet love fest came just before the city council meeting was to begin.  In marched Council Candidate Nathan Scott whereby the eyeball and smile orgy promptly commenced.  I watched City Manager Mindy Manson give him a ridiculously huge smile and wave.  Then Councilman Rick White came in and gave him a nod and a smile, and I swear I even thought I saw a little scrunchy nose eskimo air kiss too.  Scott walked around meeting people but he made certain to steer clear of me.  Then low and behold, guess who shows up on our agenda front and center?  Just guess!  Nathan Scott’s pastor from Gateway Church was invited for the invocation.  Hold on for a minute while I swallow back the little bit I almost spit up in my mouth. Oh, nothing against the pastor, he was very nice and also cordial as I chatted with him briefly before the start of the meeting.  It’s not his fault we have a couple weenies working the city over and he was unwittingly pulled into that master plan.  I hate when people are used.

So just how did this little coinkydink happen anyway? Did Tinkerbell fly in and fling her magic dust in the air so suddenly there was nobody else available for an invocation?  I think not.  Coincident, my ass. 

I suppose what I walked away with from this meeting was the knowledge that the rumors indeed seem to be true, Mayor Hogue appears to have put Nathan Scott up to the run and Scott is being managed under the tutelage of former mayors Martin & Swartz,  AKA Abbott & Costello.  The comedy of errors is going to be fun to watch unfold, lest you think it has not already begun because someone seemed to steer Scott awry.  Well actually, someone steered him right off the flipping charts. 

Late last week I received an email from Mr. Scott stating that he heard I wanted to talk with him. In all fairness, I mentioned in a blog post that I would be happy to speak with all of the candidates because they all deserve a fair shake.  But that’s just my opinion.  I promptly replied back that I would love to meet with him to ask him some questions after which I formulated 13 stupendous questions that would really show me where his head is at in this election process.  These questions would help me determine if I want to bring him forth to the Wylie Tea Party as a viable candidate worthy of consideration. It should have been no surprise that he responded days later that he was really uber-busy with his work and frankly he wanted time to read my blog and see what sort of person and interviewer I was.  What the hell does that mean?  My well-crafted response stated essentially that I’m not the one being interviewed, and how in hells bells does anything about me come into play in his run for city council, oh and that he made a tactical mistake.  I was quite proud of myself for leaving out some of the more colorful language that I really wanted to use. The twerp.

If he was going to wuss out on me then why bother contacting me in the first place?  Does he really think he sits in that driver’s seat?  I think he is a tad mistaken there.  You know, I truly want to give any and all of the candidates my full and serious attention and I want to bring their message to the Wylie Tea Party.  People don’t have the time to sit through these meetings as they are busy working for a living and paying taxes; they rely on me to do my job as a leader.  I vet, I bring them the news, they assess, and they make their decision.  It has worked beautifully in the past. 

My pal Red Byboth picked up his packet today and I will give him my full on attention as I promised him in the past.  He deserves it and I will set up a meeting with him.  Anyone else who turns in their packet will get the same serious consideration as well.  Except Scott.  He would have received the same consideration had he not already made his bed before it even got messed up.  Is this the type of person we really want on council?  One who doesn’t have enough mini-me to meet me first thing and get it over with?  If Scott doesn’t have the balls to go mano y mano with me, then I would seriously wonder how he will accomplish anything on council because I dare say the councilmembers wield a whole lot more power than I do.  Then again, is that the grand plan?  Sliding in a yes man?  No, I’m afraid I don’t have anything supportive to say on Scott’s behalf now because first impressions are everything and frankly, his first and second impressions have been anything but stellar.  

In light of this I have some grave concerns.  Mr. Scott seems to be a tad too timid or perhaps green to meet me (hey greater men and women have met me and found out they actually like me, imagine that).   Also concerning is if he is so busy at work that he couldn’t respond to my email in a timely fashion and he said he admittedly didn’t have time to meet with me, how will he have time for the stringent requirements of council duty? Are Mayor and friends really willing to support Scott over Byboth?   Why?  Now there is something to earnestly ponder.