A Cross to Bear

It has taken me over a week to process what took place in Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut.  When instances like this occur, I refer back to my Psychology days and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross comes to mind.  Kubler-Ross is perhaps best known for her work On Death and Dying which describes 5 very basic steps of the grief cycle. 

I say the steps are basic, because they encompass the general emotions that anyone who is dying, watching someone die, has been traumatized by an event, or shares any sort of grief, feels in cycles.  These cycles are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.  These stages are widely accepted by professionals and there is no definitive answer as to what order they come in, how many times someone might cycle through them, or how long it may take to complete the grieving process, but one thing is certain, the last step is always acceptance. 

I was so busy at work, re-setting our outside sales force’s forecasts, trying to migrate our company from the rather archaic Lotus Notes to Outlook and working with our IT company to fix all the bugs and headaches, and trying to work from home because my heater wasn’t working right, that I was in my own little world on that terrible day.  I was annoyed because I could not VPN in to my office, I was on the phone with tech support, the doorbell was ringing and the service guy was here.  I never once checked the news, or turned on the radio, looked at my personal email, or searched through the sea of social media I am hooked up to.  When the service man was gone, and tech support was able to get me working, and I finished my work for the day, I finally turned on Facebook and knew instantly that something terrible had happened.  It sort of put all my little complaints into perspective.  I scanned the posts, and one after another were calling the shooter an animal, a monster, evil, and all manner of names. 

Suffice to say, I began my cycles through death and dying.  I grieved for the little babies that were murdered.  I grieved for the parents who would not get to hold their children ever again.  I grieved for the family of the killer.  I grieved for the brother who initially was thought to commit this heinous crime as they led him away in handcuffs.  But something didn’t feel right about the shooter and his mother and father.  I had no feeling for them; I simply wanted to know more.   

After the news has settled, I have had time to assess what information has come out and ultimately I have even grieved for the man boy, Adam.  My God, this boy, and yes I call him a boy because emotionally he seemed to be quite behind where a normal 20 year old man should be, this boy was failed by rather misguided parents.  Thus anger then set in.  This anger has remained steadfast though I know eventually I will move toward acceptance. 

No matter how much I want to be angry at Adam for what he did, rational thought brings me back to who is at fault here.  In my opinion, inept parenting skills and a society that has no ability to deal with this sort of mental illness are at fault.  Clearly, Adam was disassociated from what he was doing.   When we see terrible murders where a woman is stabbed 23 times, it is usually because of an immense hatred by someone who was deeply involved and hurt by that individual.  Adam did not know the students he killed.  He shot them a ridiculous amount of times which tells me he was not living among reality.  I believe this boy did not understand the steps he was taking had any permanency to them.  He was in a dissociative state. 

We hear the stories of how his mother was attempting to send him off to college.  How the mother took him to the gun range.  How the mother told the babysitters when he was young to never turn their backs on him.  This same mother kept weapons in the house.  What the hell was she thinking?  

Yes, I blame the mother and the non-existent father who had no trouble divorcing himself from not only his ex-wife, but also his son.  I blame these people who were the closest to the child, but left him out to dry.  I blame this woman who tried to make him grow up when he was completely incapable of doing so.  I blame society for not having a place to help these people, other than putting them in wholly unsatisfactory and ill-equipped prisons.  As the people of this country grieved for 26 lost souls, I grieved for 27. 

No sooner did the dust settle, than the perpetual politicians come out swinging.  The leftists and tree frog huggers came out swinging with their message that we must ban guns.  They walk in lockstep in their plight to remove the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America clean off the document.  A bottle of white-out wouldn’t be enough for these people.  Blame came next.  Violent video games were to blame.  Guns were to blame.  Of course the President hopped right on that wagon because this is a man who would like nothing more than to intrusively govern every aspect of our lives, as if we are just too stupid to be able to govern ourselves. 

For everything the liberals get right, for every message they get out there with a media in their back pockets, and movie stars with their talking points; and for every message that the conservatives bungle, we are still a fairly equally divided country.  Can you imagine if the conservatives actually got the message right?  People kill; not guns.  This statement couldn’t ring more true and Obamacare is not going to help these mentally ill people any more than putting them in a prison will.  The liberals have this one wrong.  Dead wrong; for if that principal had a gun, she may have stopped Adam and far less damage might have been done. 

Thus the tremendous run on guns is taking place all across the country.  You see, people truly do not want the government telling them what to do.  As often as I think people do not give a crap about where this country is headed, something like this happens and people surprise me by their unwillingness to give up a right granted by the Constitution.  There is hope for this country.

As the grieving process is complete, people will move on with their lives and this heightened run on guns and the anti-gun marketing campaign and rhetoric will wane.  My hope is that nothing will come of Obama’s feigned flexing of muscles because overall, he has been a massively ineffective President.  My only hope from all of this discourse is that perhaps this run on guns will actually give the economy a little boost, but more importantly we begin the process of finding a permanent and humane solution for those bearing the mental illness cross.   

The Chemicals Between Us

Very interesting document I found.  Is there a reason this piece of land involving WISD runs roughly $330K for 4.67 acres and the 3.9 acre piece of property mere walking distance up the road on 544 that WISD sold for $28K to one of their Trustees employers?

Oh I heard, it's a ditch, it's a swamp, it was full of trees, it's not useful.....it is on freaking 544, obviously worth filling in because it is zoned for planned development, and worth far more than the $28K WISD received. What it should actually be, is a crime.


By virtue of an ORDER OF SALE  issued by the 380th Judicial District Court of Collin County, Texas, on the 16th day of October, 2012, in the case of:

Wylie Independent School District vs Chemical Recycling, Inc. ET AL

Case No:   380-04239-2011, and directed and delivered to me as Constable of Precinct 2, Collin County, Texas, I have levied upon this 30th day of October, 2012, and will, between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, on the first Tuesday of  December, 2012, it being the 4th of said month, at the courthouse door of Collin County, Texas,  proceed to sell at public auction to the highest bidder with cash in hand, unless otherwise exempted, all the right, title and interest which the said defendants had of, in and to the following described real property, to-wit:

Tract: 1
Account Number: R626600000301
Property Description: 4.67 Acres out of Abstract 266 of the E.C. Davidson Survey, Tract 3, City of Wylie, Collin County, Texas
Approximate Property Address: 900 W Kirby
Deed Reference: Volume 952, Page 910
Assessed Name: Chemical Recycling Inc

Said property is levied upon as the property of Chemical Recycling Inc, et al, an Inactive corporation, Tract 1 and Unknown Shareholders of Chemical Recycling, Tract 1 and will be sold to satisfy a judgment rendered in the said 380th  Judicial District Court of Collin County, Texas, on the 30th day of September, 2011, in favor of Wylie Independent School District, City of Wylie, Collin County and Collin County CCD against the said Chemical Recycling Inc for the sum of $329,657.32 principal, penalties, interest, court costs of $676.00 and the further costs of executing this writ.

NOTICE:  This property may have other liens, taxes due or encumbrances, which may become the responsibility of the successful bidder.

Witness my hand this 30th day of October, 2012.

Joe Barton
Constable, Pct. 2
Collin County, Texas

            By:  _________________________Deputy
                           G. Edwards

Subscribed and sworn before me, a Notary Public, on this _____ day of ______________________, 20___.

                                                                                                         Notary Public

No Shame

Honestly, do these people have no shame at all?  Recall several months ago a blog post I made about land our wise and wonderful Wylie Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) pimped as 1.5 +/- acres that belonged to the Wylie Independent School District (WISD).

There are several issues that I feel compelled to point out as downright scandalous with this piece of property.

First, someone notified the WEDC that this piece of land existed. Who?  I have a sneaking suspicion. Then WEDC Executive Director, Sam Satterwhite approached WISD Board of Education President, Stacy Gooch telling her they were sitting on a piece of property that was only 1.5 +/- acres that was deemed as not terribly useful to them.  Deemed by who?  One can only imagine who because this is all subjective at this point. 

In turn, Gooch suggested the WEDC bring this matter to the board’s attention. To which Satterwhite quickly pushed the idea of selling this piece of land before WISD at one of their meetings last year.  Old Sam; good ole’ boy of Wylie; everyone trusts what he says and does, thus hastening the WISD trustees approval to sell this piece of land for roughly $28K to a Mr. Parker of Parker/Scholz, who just happens to own the adjacent piece of land, and is somehow touted as being the only individual interested in the purchase of said land - and is Mitch Herzog’s employer, and Herzog sits on the WEDC Board, and he also sits on the WISD Board. Um, ya.  

Slap, slap, slap goes the sound of the collective trustee hands ridding themselves of the proverbial dirty deal done dirt cheap. They made a little money, hey why should they care if they sold 3.9 acres for the price of 1.5? 

Interestingly enough, this deal was discussed among other city leaders and it was suggested that this land would somehow be tied in to the master trails plan.  Sure.  Like when it goes up for sale like it is now?  Again, city leaders give their pals a pass and the dumbfounded taxpayers are left to hold the bag.

So lets get all of this straight in our minds. The WEDC paid for an appraisal, of course, which showed the land is miraculously now 3.9 acres, not the 1.5 acres the WEDC claimed it was to the WISD Board. when they wrangled a sale  Mr. Parker purchased the land and, well I’m sure Mr. Parker is a nice dude and all, however Mitch Herzog works for him.  Mr. Parker owns adjacent land.  Mitch Herzog is a WISD Trustee.  Mitch Herzog also sits on the WEDC Board of Directors. And…..

To add insult to injury, I drove by that nifty piece of land on 544 between the new hospital/ER and Wylie High School and low and behold, a sign appeared unto me that said, ‘For Sale’, and ‘10 acres +/-‘, and ‘Mitch Herzog’.  Are you hearing the golden trumpets yet?

to add to the litany above, Mitch Herzog will more than likely make money either directly or indirectly from the sale of this piece of land and make no mistake, it will likely be quite hefty as it was listed for over 1 million dollars for a 10 acre plot right on 544.  Yup, 'cuz that's how we roll in Wylie, Texas.

Thus Herzog may make a penny or two off the backs of taxpayers thanks to the total conflict of interest laid out above. What's worse, I fail to see how voters didn’t see this coming. 

I met Mitch Herzog when he first decided to run for trustee.  Sure, he’s a nice man and all, however this is just downright dirty business and I cautioned everyone in my blog that it would be a conflict of interest voting him on the WISD Board.  Though nothing can be done about that unless he resigns, he could have been removed from the WEDC Board of Directors, but your city council will do nothing, as usual, because these are all their friends who shouldn't have to abide by any ethical behavioral standard whatsoever. So now I feel the need to take a shower with an uber rough loofah just to scrub the writing off. 

In my opinion, the complete lack of integrity here necessitates the immediate resignation of Mitch Herzog from the WEDC board of directors. Because in the immortal words of Donald Trump, Mitch, “You’re fired.”

Say CAFR and the Room Goes Silent

This video explains in detail what a group of concerned citizens attempted to explain to our Wylie City Council during the budget last season.  I was right when I stated in several blog posts that the budget is a delusional piece of fiction.  The sad part is that Catherine Butshek was right too, but she was shamefully dismissed by our Council members, every one of them.  In fact, they all laughed and pointed fingers behind her back as well.  

Well folks, nobody is any wiser and our Council is still asleep at the wheel, fat and happy that the City bean counters were able to come up with some money to accomplish everything on their wish list.  Of course they still took us further into debt to get there.  Did anyone on Council figure out where the money came from?  Ah yes, the game of moving funds around but never touching any investments. 

Though the Council members never quite got the concept of discrepancies between the CAFR and the Budget, they pretended they did after they looked to the very people who perpetuate this game of tax dollar  hide and seek, the City bean counters and Manager.  Perhaps this in-depth video will assist them in understanding the game a little better.  

Might I suggest that next budget season each Council member pull and compare the last 15-20 years worth of CAFRs and budgets.  I suspect it would be a real eye opener.  Once they pick their jaws up off the floor, they might then finally, just finally decide we were right about the money that is being hidden between the CAFR and Budget and proceed to propose the tax break Wylie's citizens deserve. Will they do that?  Nope.  Why?  Because it would mean they actually have to work. 

Cocka Doodle Trifecta

For the perfect trifecta this week, let's have another post on the impending crisis coming our way because Eric, Rick, Nathan, and David aka, uber-smart Wylie City Councilmen all support the hair-brained idea that we should be allowed to have chickens in our backyards.  Yippie.  

Oh, I'm sure Kathy will be on board as well, after all she has sold her house and can't wait to finish out her stint on Council, so she can move to where the Nieman Marcus shoppers are.  Hells, what does she care how she votes? 

As for Bennie, well he's a crap shoot.  I would hope he would vote on the side of being a realist, with an understanding that this ordinance will end up costing the city money and bringing the police, code-enforcement, and animal control more trouble than it's worth. No telling.

I keep hearing people, both liberal and conservative, tossing the beloved term, "Property Rights" out there.  Let's visit with this for a bit, shall we?

Some properties do not allow you to have full property rights.  You may not have rights to any diamonds, minerals or oil, for example.  You may not have the right to the airspace over your house as well.  Nobody seems to crab about this. 

You are not allowed to have a horse, or llama, or Siberian tiger in your backyard but you don't see anyone bemoaning this ordinance, either.  

You are only allowed so many cars parked in front of your house.  You are not allowed to keep signs on your property for any length of time.  You would not be allowed to install a massive, flashing neon sign over your front door that says, "Witamy", or "No Soliciting", or "I shoot first and ask questions later", for example.  

You are not allowed to erect a shed or storage unit whenever or wherever you please, without asking for a permit.  You are required to keep your grass mowed below butt level as well. 

You are no longer allowed to smoke where you please.  I don't see people picketing over that.  The truth is, though some don't care for the law because they don't like people telling us what to do, we are a lot happier for not having to breath in massive clouds of smoke everywhere we go so, we simply ignore it.  

You are required to keep your dogs from barking incessantly, and by the way you are not allowed to have more than 3 dogs. 

You are required to keep the noise down.  Are you really going abolish this ordinance because you think you have the right to party on and make all the ruckus you feel like, any time, day or night? 

If you feel not allowing chickens is harming your ability to feed your family, grow you some lettuce instead.  In fact, grow you some up as well.  Go buy you some ag land, there is still some for sale in Wylie.  Oh, and if you buy some, you would not be allowed to build a car wash just cuz you feel like it.  You have rules to follow and would have to seek a change.  We live a life of rules, you see.

You have to stop at the stop light, pay your taxes, the list is on and on.  You know, sometimes you just need to suck it up at home and realize that your neighbors deserve quiet enjoyment and a quality of life too.   After all, we need to get along.  Hence, rules for those too stupid or too selfish to figure that out are completely acceptable to society as a whole.  

Societal norms dictate a certain amount of rules be in place.  Without them, we have anarchy.  I doubt running your chickens off because they will be noisy, dirty, and smelly, and because they will surely bring rodents and snakes, and because they are going to cost the taxpayers money for code enforcement 
is going to make a big deal in the end for a handful of rebels improperly pulling the property rights card, is it?  Are there really so many people that just gotta have their chicken in the backyard to ease the grocery bill?  Honestly.  If this is the case, I may have completely outgrown Wylie and the socioeconomic level.

The bible also implements rules, they are called the 10 Commandments.  So tell me again why some rules are good and some aren't?  Cuz I would really like to see you apply that to the bible.  Now there's a show I would pay money to see when you meet your maker. 

As long as the rule, Commandment, ordinance, or whatever you want to call it is easily achieved, generally accepted by the masses, and doesn't harm others in the process, there is nothing wrong with it.  So all you bible folks on Council, go pray on that for a little while and see what you come up with when running your chickens around that obstacle course.  You will have to prove to yourself that allowing something that absolutely has the potential to cause trouble between the citizens is okie dokie according to your bible.  I find it completely confounding why anyone would consider the most trivial of property rights trumping the massive right of all citizens to quiet enjoyment of their property. 

How many people does anyone believe will move to Wylie because they can build that coop out back?  How many people may skip past Wylie, because there are a bunch of hoo hays, with slap dab coops, stuffed with chickens, that don't clean up the poop with any regularity?  

Once again, Wylie City Council is headed down the wrong path and making decisions that make the City look like we are nothing but a bunch of low-class, white-trash farm folk. Yee haw.   

Barren Riparian

When you hear the City Between Two Lakes, doesn’t it bring to mind endless biking and hiking trails surrounding a complex consisting of beautiful marina, statues, restaurants with outdoor seating, bars, and quaint shops?  Don’t you see a station for renting canoes and bikes? Don’t you envision some real vitalization?  Don’t you see a commons area perhaps with a water feature?  Or do you see an ailing downtown with a rotating cast of businesses, not much to speak of with regard to trails, a couple basketball hoops, some swings, soccer nets, and exhausted and overweight soccer parents traipsing their kids to and fro by car rather than walking or riding bikes.

Over Thanksgiving break, the famdamily took a drive to Oklahoma City to spend some time with my niece who is attending college there on scholarship.  Now I realize it is somewhat unfair to compare a city the size of Oklahoma City to little Podunk Wylie, Texas, however I must point out that there sits a city that got it right.

Bricktown is absolutely amazing with water taxis, restaurants and bars.  There is so much to do and see there, you can even rent bicycles on the street corner by swiping your credit card.  The paths around the Bricktown waterway are very enjoyable, with an array of bridges to take you from one side to the other of the manmade river along the way.  There are hundreds of bronze sculptures that celebrate their heritage, rather than act as some fanciful modern art piece just to beat themselves on the back with.

If Oklahoma City can dig down to basement level and fill some city streets with water, why can’t Wylie make good use of the two lakes we are settled between?  Nobody has spent any reasonable amount of time contacting the Corps of Army Engineers and assessing what exactly is necessary to rent back the land and erect and promote some sort of entertainment center complete with nightlife and also activities for those with an active lifestyle.  Rather, we have a handful of run of the mill parks with nothing particularly spectacular about them and a City Council that busies themselves with crap that defies logic such as providing daycare, fixing parks that were supposed to be done right the first time, considering whether to regulate your home businesses, dinking around with the Humane Society in residential areas, bringing a Code of Conduct forth that never gets put in place even though some people ran on that platform and finally, they waste time considering backyard chicken coops.  Oh sure, some of these things are brought to them and have to be dealt with, but you would swear they are parting the Red Sea with the massive effort they apply to some of this nonsensical fluff stuff.  They continually dangle the carrot but never take any action.

Wouldn’t it make sense for your City Council to actually do something that has the potential to really benefit all citizens and offer the possibility of an active lifestyle? We’ve all heard about this master trail plan for years, but it has all been nothing but lip service paid to citizens year after year as nothing comes to fruition.  Even an outside entity had to come in gratis to build the trails around City Hall and work to reestablish the native prairie grasses, all by volunteer. Though the city paid for the woodchips, it appears to be only a labor of love on the part of a grasslands preservation group, but where is your City Council in all of this?  Do they not have some skin in the game?  Rather, your Wylie City Council would rather spend time bringing forth completely retarded proposals such as backyard chicken coops which ultimately benefit nobody, least of all the ailing birds that will be living out their lives in their own filth and in tiny cages. 

Does anyone realize that the council members need to ask to put something on the agenda?  When they receive a dumbfounding letter from a citizen, they can choose to ignore the message or they can ask to have it added to the agenda.  It begs to be asked then, why do our Councilmembers continually allow the minutiae of mindless requests by less than a handful of people to cloud any real vision? In fact, one should ask themselves why they kowtow to the request of a past councilmember, Red Byboth and one of his friends.  Wylie is chock full of past and present councilmembers who have most certainly not left much of a legacy behind them in their wake.  Aside from a few activities, mostly they have left a trail of controversy behind them.   If the City of Wylie isn’t going to do anything with the lakes, I don’t know why the leaders continue to tout us as the City Between Two Lakes.

Dispatch Fail

There is nothing quite like being jolted awake at 3am, along with 3 other sets of neighbors, to a drunk 18 yr old flying up the curb in his black BMW, mowing down the neighbor's brick mailbox, flying down the curb and taking out the neighbor's car, hitting the car so hard it slid against the curb, bending the tire over the curb, and breaking the axle, then squealing tires off to complete the hit and run.  A few sheets the wind is clearly an understatement.

We woke to find bricks sprawled across our front yard, strewn at and under our car, and strewn all over the street for about 20-25 feet of rubble. Thank God for Good Samaritan Oscar who saw it all happen as the kid nearly took him out on another street when he failed to stop at a stop sign and skidded around the corner.  In my sleep deprived haze, I believe the story went like this: Oscar, whose daughter was hit by a drunk driver, feels so vehemently about this that he follows and reports anyone he suspects is driving drunk.  Oscar was on his way to work but stopped to notify us, and then followed the path the car took and called the police.  Seems it wasn’t terribly difficult to find the person who displayed this amazing feat of stupefying driving prowess.

While we waited, we surveyed the wreckage and found the front bumper intact with license plate in the road.  The neighbor with the damaged car offered coffee or tea to all of us as we waited in the cold weather, not wanting anyone to come up the road and get hurt or cause further damage should they hurry up the road and come upon the Afghanistan style bricks and rubble in the street.  God bless Oscar, he came back to update us on what he found.  He said he followed the radiator fluid trail right up to a house and gave us the street name and a description.

When the police didn't show up, the neighbors then followed the radiator fluid all the way to the house in question and found a bare tired vehicle with missing bumper and headlights, with the police already investigating it.  I honestly don't know what happened to dispatch, but the police were called by 3 different people about 3:05a and they didn't arrive until 4:10a after yet another call to 911 by the woman whose car was severely damaged. Geez, glad nobody was hurt in the ordeal.

Here we all were, worried about whether the kid was hurt or not.  When someone queried the police about his state, he said, “He wasn’t hurt; he was drunk.”  It seems the police were under the impression that the only thing awry was a downed mailbox so they spent their time looking for the damaged car.  They came down the street and picked up the radiator trail and followed it.  Meanwhile, dispatch didn’t seem to alert them that there was much more damage than just a mailbox.  I don’t know what the hell went on with dispatch last night but when the neighbor called for the second time, a stuttering dispatch said the police had already come and gone from the scene to which she was informed that they never showed up and we were all still waiting.

Police arrested the kid in front of his highly indifferent parents first and then came to our street to give 3 police reports to three of us.  Apparently the parents relinquished their parental responsibilities long before this kid ever turned 18 as the kid was well known to the police from many prior events. 

Out of camaraderie, or some sort of dazed and sleepless stupor, every neighbor there gathered the bricks and swept the road together at 4:20am.  Decided I really like my neighbors on our street.  It's the dispatch last night and the neighbors that live behind us that leave a lot to be desired. 

As the sun dawned, an 18 year old kid is in jail, his parents don’t seem too choked up about it, a lot of damage was done, a bunch of people lost sleep and have been inconvenienced, and a dispatcher has some ‘splainin to do.