Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rockwall City Council 21 December

Dreaming of a blight Christmas? Then this is the place (belatedly)!

Actions as a result of Top Secret Executive Committee Session.

Something about the REDC, committee assignments? (Always a lapse in memory waiting a week+ to update.)

For some reason I wrote "Authentic Porches". (???)

Some money was spent for right-of-way acquisition on Airport Rd. $5,142 + $10,825 (c.) + $10,137

Cliff was absent. Went to see Yakoff Smirnoff or something.

III. Consent Agenda.

1, 6, 7 pulled by Matt. 5 pulled by Mark.

2,3,4 approved 6-0 (All dealing with the ever-oozing lava that is city limits, viz. annexation of land).

1. Minutes approval (Matt not present at full meeting). Approved 5-0-1.

5. The 2009 Lake Rockwall Estates Dog Tethering Crackdown Act. Passes 5-1

6. Approved without explanation for pulling. 6-0 City gonna spend money for something and TxDot will reimburse. Can TxDOT pay us back? I thought it was beyond broke.

7. Matt wanted more info. City getting involved with the US census. Julie is all for it (cuz she gets to spend our money).

VI. Public Hearing.

1. Hearing for the 7-11 planned for near my house (yea! No more Queasy Mart when I need gas for my mower!) continued until January 19th.

V. Action Items.

1. Been 10 years since city did an large scale micromanaging of land use and is ready to hire a private company to spend our money to tell us the best way to use it.

Mayor Cecil had concerned the city council would have no insight/input until P&Z completes thje entire process. (Well, that was the plan.)

He would like a council member assigned to the committee throughout the process. Makes motion to do so. Passes 6-0

2. Oncor was a franchise agreement through November 2030 (might be 2050, bad handwriting)

3. City spending $400,000 to do what God cannot: landscape John King Blvd. Mark supports this wholeheartedly.

Matt must have seen me refilling my pen ink as I was about to go into a tirade about wasting money and pointed out this was money from the bond. Good block.

Of course I will point out it might be wise to consider saving that money for real maintenance of the road way once the big trucks tear it up over the next few years......

This will be used as matching funds for a grant from the Federal Teat. (If it happens.)

4. Expansion of zoning change notification tabled to next meeting. Again again.

30 minute meeting!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rockwall City Council 07 December

Adjourned at 7:30pm, could any damage be done in such a short time? You be the judge.

II. Mark led the invocation and pledge, including a moment of silence for those who died at Pearl Harbor which led to the US involvement in World War II, where many American soldiers fought and died for freedoms and liberties that the council believes we aren't smart enough to manage on our own.

III. Proclamations.

2. Helping Horses, Healing Hearts Day. A group that takes care of horses no one wants (including France?). They also let autistic kids ride em. The group also works with abused women and children.

1. John Browning Day. Not the gun one, the other one who writes an article found in local papers and elsewhere. 7th anniversary? He's also won some awards, and also nominated for a Pulitzer.

IV. Open Forum

No one took the opportunity to tell the city how awesome a job it is doing this month.

V. Consent Agenda.

2 and 9 pulled by Matt
6 pulled by Glen
5 pulled by Cliff

2. Approval of minutes from previous council session that had Matt left early.

5. More stringent dog tethering definitely NOT specifically directed at the largely Hispanic neighborhood, Lake Rockwall Estates. Cliff and Mark opposed, rest of council agreed with Dr Jeffrey Widmer, DVM that it was time to punish LRE for not being like the rest of Rockwall.

6. Something about installation of antennas that TxDOT is doing or Rockwall is doing. Glen pulled because he wants some kind of electronic sign put up in Rockwall (monument sign, I presume) that the city has been trying to get TxDOT to put up for a while now. The staff agrees to look into the electronic sign while negotiating the antenna thing. Passes 5-2 (Mark and Mayor Cecil opposed.)

9. Contract with KART (read: subsidize KART). Matt pulled to say that he originally opposed as he was waiting for more information from KART and now that he has it, he will support. Passes 7-0

VI. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Michael Hunter mentioned the upcoming public hearing.

2. Environmental subcomittee and Allied waste presented a sales pitch for an "alternative recycling collection program." The alternative to what we have now? Pay more. For $3-4 more a month you will be able to recycle more and get "reward points" (kinda like miles on credit cards) that can be redeemed for teddy bears or foot warmers or am/fm stereo cassette recorders. (Will this be a voluntary or mandatory reward program?)

If Allied Waste was really that interested in recycling (city for that matter), why is it after 10 months and a multitude of phone calls can many of my neighbors not even get a recycling bin?

Maybe Toppo Chico and Jarritos bottles aren't worthy enough for recycling.

VII. Public Hearing.

1. Lady wants to able to let her daughter build a second home on her lot of 5 acres on Wallace Lane and needs a zoning change.

Talk about fast action!! The city didn't even ask about mansonary requirements, how long they planned to live there (assumptions were made, though), no one demanded shutters be placed on the home, no one explained to her that she knew when she bought the home that there wasn't a second home and she should just suck it up and accept that she wasn't smart enough to buy a proper tract home or one without wheels. What a difference 2 miles makes!!!!

2. Public "comments" (not a hearing) regarding the Shores Golf Course. Matt is ready to finally do it after waiting for the management company to fix the problems on the course (the problems have not been fixed, hence the forum). Glen was not (at first) in favor as he didn't think the city will be able to do anything to the course, even with public comments. Cliff thought the public comment forum would be a good time to let the rest of the city know why the city was sooo interested in the affairs of a privately operated golf course. (Obviously, this council session was not a good time, as no one explained why the city was sooo interested in the affairs of a privately operated golf course. I did find out why later, but I ain't saying. It's a conspiracy!!!)

3,4,5 dealt with annexation, aka "bureaucratic lava flow." More land added.

6. Council wants to extend length of the terms (not number of terms, set by charter at 2) for P&Z commission from 2 years to 3 years. Apparently, it takes 2 years to train a commissioner, then the city only gets 2 years of useful work out of the commissioner. That must really make our newest commissioners feel good about themselves and the "work" they do.

Does it really take 2 years to learn to ask dumb questions? Maybe it takes 2 years to get commissioners to start asking dumb questions. Hmm, I'll have to consider that for a while.

7. Expansion of notifying people of zoning (and similar) changes within 200 feet of area being changed to 1000 feet. Tabled to next meeting (2nd time at least, maybe 3rd?)

Blight Me

Prior to annexation, a lot of staff and council used the term "blight" to describe Lake Rockwall Estates.

Remember the case a few years ago where a neighborhood was deemed "blighted" in order to destroy the neighborhood so a company (Pfizer) could come in and "revitalize" the area's economy?

Yeah, not so much.

Two points to take away:

1. Using the term "blight" is an excuse that government bullying of a citizen (or group of citizens) is in the best interest of everyone not affected by said bullying.

2. A government official (elected or appointed) using the term "blight" is an indicator that the person using the word "blight" is probably a scum bag.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rockwall City Council 16 November

Here begin the lies (at least according to some...).

III. Consent Agenda.

None pulled! Speed voting!

Things covered in consent: minutes, discontinued some program (probably good), amended employee benefit policies (probably ends up costing Rockwall money), bought some radio equipment ($$$), re-platting some land, more employee benefit stuff (more money).

V. Action Item

6. Rename the RPD's Community Service Office in honor of a volunteer who passed away. Council spent some time speaking great things of the man and his service to the Citizen's Police Academy and Citizens On Patrol.

I am all for respecting the selfless deeds of another, but I wonder what this will cost the city?

In the spirit of his selfless volunteerism, maybe we can get donations to pay for any memorials or sign changes.

No disrespect to him or his family. Really.

IV. Appointments.

1. Rockwall County Committee on Aging annual report.

Lots of Meals on Wheels delivered, that's great.

Lots of seniors helped and counciled and visited, that's great, too.

Lots of volunteers help out, that's wonderful!

$21,500 of public funds given this year from the city of Rockwall? (Other "contributions": $20,000 from county, $14,000 from state, Heath $8,000, Royse City $8,000)

Said it before, sure is easy to be "charitable" with other people's money. Guess Rockwall doesn't have enough residents to donate money voluntarily.

2. YAC kids annual trek to council. Glen is the councilman in charge of the group.

The president of the group presented two options for the YAC's community projects.

The first is a "green" propaganda campaign to make people want to save the earth from asteroids, earthquakes, volcanoes, solar flares, and man. Especially man. The only entity in the universe powerful enough to destroy a rock of 260,000,000,000 cubic miles!!!!!!

They will murder some trees for a kiosk, some books, and some pamphlets to let people help the environment. Magic will be involved to make the "carbon footprint" be zero, I assume.

Don't forget: the envinronment can recover from solar flares, earthquakes, volcanoes, and asteroids - but not man using the combustion engine or hairspray!

The second was an idea to promote Rockwall as a place to live, work and play. Not only to encourage people to live here, but to keep people as well.

Who the heck is that supposed to benefit from promoting Rockwall?!?

Anyway, the group, led by Rockwall's own Green Czar - Glen Farris, luckily chose to do the "green" project before man destroys the earth.

At least they're getting indoctrinated involved in government!

V. Action Items.

1. Bylaw changes for REDC.

2. City looking at a program to get some signs put up around town directing people to various areas of the city. Sounded like the signs would be advertising signs, directing people to different businesses that businesses pay to be on the sign. The program is run by a private company, but Rockwall would get some of the revenue generated from those signs, and the money could be used to fund other directional signs for the city (or possibly other projects?).

City looked at this a while back, but turned down because no one at the time wanted more signs in the city. But, city will look at again.

And Glen Hates Signs. Except monument.

3. Animal tethering. Again. The city wants to further restrict dog tethering, limiting tethering to two continuous hours per day. Luckily, the city will give people 30 days to comply by allowing them to spend a bunch of money to buy a fence or kennel for the dog.

Mark wanted to know how the city would enforce the 2 hour limit.

Jeffrey Widmer doesn't "think" this will be an issue. (I love it when bureaucrats use words like "believe" and "think".) This is to target people,mostly, from long term tethering. So, 2 hours and 1 second is long term? I've seen a dog clean itself for longer than that.

Mark then asked where dogs have been noticed tethered.

Widmer: "Front and back yard".

Mark then asked how the city will find out about the tethered dogs.

Widmer explained neighbors will call on neighbors. What a country!

The code enforcement will drive by and place bright orange stickers on the animals to warn owners of impending towing of the animal.

Margo wanted "exceptions" to replace the "defense to prosecution" wording. (Go, Margo!)

David wanted to know if there was specific issues that have brought this to council.

Widmer explained there were not and the city was doing "just cuz".

David then expounded asking if there was a specific problem.

Widmer "believes it is inhumane".

Someone better call the Air Force. I have personally witnessed hundreds of dogs at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio tethered with no more than a 2-foot leash for hours on end!!! Who knew little ole Rockwall was smarter than one branch of the finest military in the entire world and all of history!!!!!

Mark asked about which areas are dog-tethering havens.

Widmer: None specific, but he explained Rockwall has annexed areas....(I don't know what he said next, when my eyes rolled back into my head, they did so with such force and speed as to bruise my brain causing me temporary loss of brain function for several seconds).

Annexed areas? Let's see what's been annexed lately...mostly a bunch of big empty land and some largely Hispanic area that shall remain nameless.

I am referring to Lake Rockwall Estates. I lied about the area remaining nameless.

Glen wants exceptions put into the ordinance. (instead of "defense to prosecution", you can share the accolade with Margo).

Cliff expressed this will increase demand on city staff.

Cliff and David then expressed their support for humane reasons.

Admission the sole purpose is to address humane treatment?

From the current code:

Tying dogs. It shall be unlawful for any person to tie or tether a dog to a stationary object for a period of time or in a location so as to create an unhealthy situation for the animal or a potentially dangerous situation for a pedestrian as determined by the supervisor of animal control.

So, there is already protection language for animals in the existing code? Why the hell are they amending it?

To punish Lake Rockwall Estates. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, Rockwall.

Mayor Cecil wants a report in 6 months about the enforcement of the code.

Wanna bet where all the violations will be cited?

Passes 4-2, Cliff and Mark opposed.

4. Glen presents a power point and video about social media and how the city should be utilizing it to get better communication between residents and the city.

Some of Glen's points:

1. The internet is the wave of the future (no, he didn't reuse a power point from 1995)
2. Newspapers print mostly bad stuff.
3. City does lots of good things that don't get reported.
4. Journalists often inject their own slant.
5. Rockwall.com not always up-to-date. (He referring to minutes being posted?)
6. City subverted by negative blogging. (I take that as a veiled endorsement.) He also mentioned Topix as an example where bad information is spread.
7. No way for city to rebut me blogs.

He may be right about Topix , but it sure is funny! (Just look for "Ann's" rantings!)

Glen then came up with a bunch of suggestions for staff to look into to start utilizing various social media.

Mark demands live video! NOW!

David said he wasn't worried about negatively blogging. And then called it "mess"! Another veiled endorsement!!

Cliff and Margo said some things as well, but nothing so awesome and David and Glen's worshipful endorsement of my blog!

Finally, only 2200 residents subscribe to the eNewsNow. Sign up, only takes a second!

5. Last item tabled until next meeting.

Over at 1950!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rockwall City Council 2 November

III. Open Forum.

1. Lady lives on Shady Dale and doesn't want city to connect other end of Shady Dale, brought a petition.

2. Another lady was worried the name "Shady Dale" would get changed?

VII. Action Item #4

Water rates for the 4th time. Matt questioned the 12,000 gallon conservation limit, wants it raised to 15,000. Other cities nearby have higher conservation levels than 12,000. Matt pointed out the citiy's requirement that homes have large lots combined with the fact that many young families are moving into Rockwall, makes it hard to keep within the 12,000. Passes 5-2

Logic and Reason? It's more likely than you think.

IV. Consent Agenda.

2, 3, 4, 5 pulled by Cliff.

1 pulled by Mark.

6 pulled by default.

1. Minutes from previous meeting Mark skipped. Passes 6-0, Mark abstains.

2. Cliff questioned the city's contribution into the employee retirement. Employees can contribute up to 7%, city matches up to 14%!!!!! Sure is easy to be generous with other people's money. Passes 7-0.

3. Police Pursuit vehicle purchases. Cliff questioned the money. Won't cost out of budget?

4. Approval of bid award for construction of Shady Dale (or Shadydale?), see open forum. Price tag is $379,000.

Matt explained to the ladies from open forum the road plan had been in place since the 80's and funding for it just became available. Passes 7-0

Where's my fodder?!?

5. Mayor Cecil questioned the time frame on some utility work for 740 widening. Will start end of November, scheduled finish in March or April. Hopefully this will finish early as widening begins in February. (I think) Awarded the bid for the work 7-0.

6. SUP for some solar panels, 2nd reading, passes 7-0.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Michael Hunter noted the P&Z vote on Appointment #3, 5-1.

2. Omega Hawkins, GM of KART presented annual report of KART's activities. They scoot around a lot of people.

City of Rockwall contributes $20,000.

Matt asked about ridership and other cities' contributions. 15k riders from Rockwall (City), out of 106k rides. Terrel contributes $10k, Royse City - $10k, Forney $0 (that's zero). Rest of funding comes from contracts (shuttling private events) and state funding.

When asked for more information about ridership and contributions, she didn't have that info.

Essentially, Rockwall is subsidizing other cities.

Cliff noted that the city is subsidizing $1.20 per city rider.

David asked about number of Rockwall County riders, she didn't know. Mr Sweet also asked about the riders of other cities in Rockwall County (she didn't know).

City of Kaufman and Kaufman County have contributed squat for this year to KART - KAUFMAN Area Rural Transportation.

Matt and David voiced opposition to giving KART money without knowing the breakdown of the information they questioned. Matt wants to make sure the city is paying it's fair share.

Matt on a roll!! 3-0 for the night!

3. Fella wants to add on a small room to his manufactured home in LRE.

Margo doesn't think it will add value to the home and property. Huh?

Mayor Cecil wanted to know about brick and stone requirements. Hardi-board would be the outside.

Fella bought the home 8 months ago and has been fixing it up ever since. Lives in the 3 bedroom (or 2?) with his wife and 6 kids.

Cliff said the PD was passed to help clean-up properties and approving this will lead to more requests similar. Cliff wants the engineered stamped plans before he would approve. He explained to the owner that he bought the home knowing how many kids he had and should just live with the poor decision he made.

Glen asked how long the owner planned to live there. The plan is to make the home a little more livable until he can totally replace the manufactured home with a stick built home in the future.

Matt didn't think it will improve the area. -.25

Glen asked to table until the next meeting to have more time to consider. David also supported this idea, as did Mark.

Margo said it would not make the original better. (I wonder what would, maybe some low income rental housing?)

Mark asked what other repairs had been done: interior has had extensive work, and he is only beginning to work on the exterior.

Margo made a motion to deny. Passes (to deny) 4-3.

VI. Public Hearing.

6 items, all about annexation. No one spoke.

VII. Action Items.

1. Leonard Sinelli Parking Edifice at the Park at Fox Chase. City is leasing 1 acre, will have 22 parking spaces (room for 70). Will start December 1st.

2. "Discuss and consider approval of a resolution accepting and supporting the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program and take any necessary action." Nuff said?

3. "GetFitTexas" program coming to Rockwall to promote fitness in Rockwall. Rockwall has the chance to be named "fittest" city in Texas. I hope so. I will definitely show up for that photo-op!


Actions from Executive Committee.

Lots of stuff read by David in his best impression of the Micro-machines guy.

Right of ways aquired, money spent, folks named to some boards and/or committees.

Early night!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rockwall City Council 19 October

Very short this one! I will of course give credit to several members of council who seemed to try and stretch out the meeting.

III. Proclamations.

1. Something for schools. RISD asked to do the presentation at a school (or all the schools?). Which school will be the lucky recipient?

IV. Consent Agenda.

1. Pulled by Margo. (Relating to minutes of meeting when she was absent) Passes 6-0

3. Pulled by Glen. Something about a facilities agreement. Glen asked what type of business and Cliff wanted to know if there was going to be paved parking. Passes 6-0.

2. Stone Creek development changes approved, 6-0.

V. Appointments.

1. Chairman Michael Hunter from the P&Z Commission. Mentioned P&Z recommendations for an SUP for some solar panels coming up in the public hearing.

2. Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association thanked council for the quasi-police cruisers. Also, they presented a check in the amount of $277,929.60 symbolic of the 13,362 hours donated to the city over the last few years. Mayor Cecil, a CPA Alumnus, has donated more than 800 hours of his time.

Chief Moeller received a grant check for $10,000 to be used for various police purchases. So, the police department has to go out and beg the state or feds for grants? 10 Grand? That was about the cost of "dedication" plaques for the new fire stations. Sheesh. Glad we have our priorities straight.

VI. Public Hearings.

1. Some guy wants to put in some solar panels. Glen loves the idea and fully endorses it. (Why not make it easier then? Why do people have to come begging the city for something like this? Why isn't there at least an ordinance allowing this to be done by permit?)

Mayor Cecil asked what the expected return of investment would be. Since the homeowner is doing the installation himself, it will only cost $10,000, AND it will pay for itself 100% the "DAY IT GOES IN." That is a helluva lot of electricity!!!!!!

Glen was real curious about the estimated savings.

VII. Action Items.

1. Boat dock at Harbor project, allow the project to proceed. For some reason there was a waiver of some fire code, no one said what exactly. Passes 6-0.

2. Fire Chief getting some grant money to buy a new "brush truck". Again with the grants? As I recall the fire chief was the one asking for the $10,000 plaques. I'm no fire expert, but maybe plaques are as instrumental in putting out fires as a fire truck.

3. 3rd time for water rate hike discussion. Margo asked it be tabled since Mark was not present. She thought it respectful to honor the request of council members who ask that items be tabled when they are unable to attend a council meeting. Was that a dig at actions from the previous meeting? If so, Bravo.

4. City bout to do some wreckin in LRE. 3 house going down! This is great news...for the property owner. The city spends the money (around $2,000) and puts a lien on the property. All the owner has to do is wait a few years for the property value to increase to sell it and not really lose any money! I would even guess the city spending $2,000 will make the land more valuable immediately!

City Attorney Pete Eckert wanted to make sure the owners weren't present in the audience, and had the Mayor call their names. They weren't.

How much will this cost the city over the next few years if unable to collect? There's a BUNCH of home marked as demolishable.

5. YAC Bylaws approval. Approved.

Few things I like more than a do nothing government!

"To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world. The most difficult and the most intellectual." -Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Council will ban parking anywhere you like, just ask!

(also posted here)

Every has or has had a neighbor who has had people over to their house for parties or garage sales or whatever. Nobody likes to look out front and see strange cars parked in front of your house detracting from whatever view you normally enjoy. Or maybe you don't like the way cars park at other places, parks, etc. The city WILL change this, you just have to ask.

The council recently banned parking on Tubbs in front of the Park at Fox Chase from Summer Lee, on both side to Oak and Secret Cove. Why? One citizen, Leondard Spinelli, didn't like that cars parked in front of the pond and trees disrupting the view he has of the park from his backyard. He petitioned the city and claimed that it was dangerous to park in front of the park, so the council unanimously agreed to give Mr Spinelli "his" view of "his" park back.

This has set a new precedence, if you don't like your neighbor or his friends parking in front of your house (for example), just tell council that there are safety concerns and they will get you some "No Parking" signs wherever you want them. If they don't, I am sure there is some legal action you could take as the government must provide "equal protection under the law" to everyone.

Council claims that they didn't ban parking to give Leonard Spinelli his view back, but then why was that his opening reason and repeated several times during his presentation? No one has ever been injured while getting into to a vehicle parked at the park, but now you will be expected to park north of the park along Tubbs, including across the street.

By their action, council says it is safer to cross the street to your car, than to get into your car on the side of the street your car is parked!


I mentioned this in previous post, but on my way home I went by the Park at Fox Chase to see the signs (which got my ire)...there are a bunch of signs. Also, a little birdie told me Mr Spinelli has made repeated calls complaining about the cars that are not obeying his demand of the city.

A lot of time and effort and MONEY to appease one cranky, old coot.

Good job, council.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rockwall City Council 5 October

How does a meeting with such a short agenda go for so terribly long?

III. Proclamations

1. Fire Prevention Week. The city got an award from the NFPA for fire safety.

Mayor wanted to know who has a fire plan at their home. More than expected raised their hands. Does this mean few know what to do in case of fire? Hint: Move away from glowy, hot thing.

IV. Open Forum.

1. Only pastor Joe spoke. Wanted to be notified by the city when and if the city decides to desecrate graves.

V. Consent Agenda.

Some zoning changes passed.

Also, the crackdown on hooligans hanging out at the Harbor passed. Either no loitering will be enforced, or restriction on hours of usage. I'm sure the signs will go up soon.


Not part of the agenda, but I just remembered: The parking ban along the street (Tubbs) in back of Leonard Spinelli's house, whose view of the Park at Fox Chase was marred by park goers parking at the park in order to use the park as opposed to Mr Spinelli who thinks the park and view of the park belong him and council agreed, is now in force.



Back to the harbor thing.


5 and 11 pulled by Cliff, 11 by accident and 5 for clarification of where funds were coming from for some John King Blvd stuff. $96,000 spent.

8. The retail change at Quail Run and 205 by the CVS tabled at the request of the petitioner til next meeting.

9. Pulled by Glen. The issuance of the SUP for Christian Bros Automotive, Glen wanted to table until full council present (Margo was absent) at the request of Christian Brothers. That motion was denied 3-3.

Mark and Cliff changed their previous support after hearing from the constituency. Mark said this was a campaign promise to always do what the electorate wants, no matter what.

Matt made a dramatic point that had Cliff and Mark not been such stupid morons and done their homework instead of sitting on their butts watching reruns of Friends, they would have voted against Christian Brothers the first time. (At least something like that, may not be verbatim.)

David agreed with Matt on the flip-flopping morons who are to stupid to find their way out of a pantry, even with a map. Flip-flopping makes you look stupid and jerky and punch-worthy!

Glen made a point that there had been 2 public hearings and 2 people showed up. SUP denied 5-1 by council (Glen voted in favor.)

Remember: denying business is pro-business.

VI. Appointments.

(This ate up SO much time.)

1. We need more firemen. A committee was formed to find out how to get more volunteers and how to keep em.

327 recommendations boiled down to marketing.

2. Rockwall County Emergency Management Coordinator came to talk about swine flu and other emergency things. Luckily, there was some paint drying nearby to keep me entertained during this presentation.

Here's my suggestions to prevent getting the flu and spreading the flu:

1. Stay home if you are sick.
2. Keep your hands off your face if you're not.
3. ??????
4. Profit.

3. $27,000,000 to START some "beautification" of John King Blvd from 205 to 205 (7 miles). Limestone obelisks, freestanding lime stone walls, rest areas every mile, sailboat weather vanes, elaborate features at every intersection, trees, trees, trees, and a 10 ft sidewalk on both sides for the entire length.

$27,000,000 to START.

Bill wants this badly. Matt wants this badly.

Did I mention $27,000,000 to START?

It cost $64,000 and 13 months to draw up the plans and create the pretty pictures. Mark asked about the length of time it took. Luckily, Matt was there to apologize to the presenters for Mark's stupidity. It must be really hard to be so flipping great and yet be surrounded by such stupid idiots. Did a GIS for super smart, awesome lawyer dude:

$27,000,000 to START.

The firm made sure to point out that all the little things add "value". I think he means "cost".

VII. Site Plans/ Plats

1. Fella wants to put a front yard picket fence between his property line and his neighbors for privacy (Their driveways are connected side by side, both have J-entry garages mirroring each other). This will be an extension of a full size fence already permitted by the city and will cause a hindrance in the eyes of some council members for his neighbor's ability to park in the garage. The perceived "hindrance" will be casued by he already permitted fence which requires no council approval. The picket fence will neither increase nor decrease the "hindrance" perceived by some of council.

David made a moition to deny the request for the small, non-intrusive picket fence.

Motion was amended so council can hear from the neighbor to see if the neighbor approves of the petioner erecting a small, non-intrusive picket fence between the two homes.

Note: I had the pleasure speak with the applicant tonight (10/6). He's likely going to withdraw his request. What he thought would be a simple process, turned out like so many other government hassles. Good job, council. Great guy, new to the city, and interested in the community, and his first interaction with council is a model of insanity. (Edited 10/6 2341)

2. Fella want to put a temporary parking lot in front of his business. Sounded like Goliad construction has caused some issues and he wants to put a small parking lot in the front of his building. Passed 5-1, Cliff opposed - something about the telephone poles out front causing an issue in the future.

VII. (In)action Items.

1. City getting ready to assess some properties around town for street improvements. No action.

2. Water rates, motion made to increase rates. Tabled to next meeting, David flip-flopped his previous vote of opposition. Wait a minute, wasn't there something about vote changing said earlier? I'll look it up later.

Sounds like the city has some pet projects to pay for and want to raise water rates to do so.

I don't think buying Lake Rockwall's triple-the-cost-of-city-owned water is on the list of projects which would cost less than the initial start-up of $27,000,000 for John King Blvd.

Tabled to next meeting, again.

3. Rockwall YAC changing some bylaws. Matt and David want only residents of the city on the council (finally, at the end they make a good point!) and Mark wants them to spend time learning about the police department and fire department. Matt feels left out and wants to be included in the selecting process. Glen (the liason) agreed to the residency change, not the FD or PD, council can be involved in the selecting, I think. Luckily, if Matt helps, it'll certainly speed up the process, because he's the council model of not wasting time asking 20 minute pointless questions.

IX. City Manager's Report.

Some road things mentioned.

And of course, what would a council meeting be without mentioning Rockwall's predominantly Hispanic neighborhood?

Lake Rockwall had 428 "notices" go out to residents warning them to clean up their act or else!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rockwall City Council 13 21 September

"Do not ever say that the desire to 'do good' by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives." - Ayn Rand

If only.

III. Proclamations.

1. Some ladies from the D.A.R accept a proclamation for Constitution Week. Or maybe it was a eulogy.

Ironic the world's greatest model for liberty and freedom would be presented by council!

IV. Consent Agenda.

8,9, and 11 pulled by Cliff. Rest approved unanimously by council.

note: The final vote for LRE zoning was part of the consent, surprisingly without any grandstanding. No multifamily included!

8 and 9 referenced new traffic lights going in at the corner of Market Center and Ralph Hall, or as I call it: the "Vortex of Stupidity." If you wanted to see what it's like to get through a four-way stop against drivers with the IQ of a carrot, better do it soon. In a couple months, even monkeys will be able to figure out when its their turn to "go".

11. Regarding the final platting of the Utley Middle School Addition, Matt wanted to know who else gets the privilege of filing the final plat after construction. Turns out, no one. Hmm.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman michael Hunter presented P&Z commissions recommendations for the public hearings to follow. 1st four approved unanimously, 5th split vote 4-2. The reasons for opposition? Questioned location of the new facility as it is in an "entry to the city". Liked the idea, but not the location. (more on that later).

2. Fella wanted a waiver on some street improvement requirements, ie he didn't want to pay the city for something everyone else has to pay, around $20,000.

His lawyer spoke a bunch of lawyer talk for like 20 minutes, did well except when she accused a P&Z commissioner of a "flippant remark." Strike 1.

Matt asked some good questions, but unfortunately the citizen decided to interrupt his lawyer and started answering. Strike 2.

Then the citizen made a "wave off" motion to the council in disgust. Strike 3.

Glen made a motion to deny and it passed 7-0. And he's out (20k).

Here's a hint: if you are paying a lawyer big bucks to represent you, keep your trap shut.

3. Some folks from Law Enforcement Support Committee hawked some tickets to the Behind the Badge Appreciation Dinner at Southern Junction.

4. The city's C3 Development Process Team presented a method to help streamline getting a project through the system . Basically, one bureaucrat will be coordinating all the other bureaucrats.

VI. Public Hearings.

1. A couple need a replat for the "existing drainage and utility easement in the rear of the property." I think something about flood plain in there, too. Passes 7-0.

2.City changing a Planned Development to Commercial zoning. After an executive session, passes 7-0.

3. Another PD being changed to Light Industrial, only affects one guy and he has no objection. Passes 7-0.

4. Developers of the new development at the corner of Quail Run and 205 (adjacent to the CVS) want some of the residential to be commercial for a small retail strip. Several questions were raised, like why were some of the reshuffled homes put into flood plain. Did he give a good answer? Not really, but did admit they were having trouble selling those lots in the flood plain (just wait till they try and build on it!).

A former councilman wanted to know why there were no alleys, cuz when she was on council, they decided the city must have alley's so nobody would have to drive past someone's house and be forced to look at an open garage with a bunch of junk fallout out of it.

Passes 7-0.

5. Christan Brothers Automotive wants to put in a light automotive repair shop in front of the WalMart neighborhood market and next to the bank. They will keep most of the screening trees in place even planting more than they remove, there will be no access from 66, and they have gone to great lengths to ensure an attractive building will be in place. This will bring in property taxes and sales taxes for the city. They also require the owner to be local and spend 40 hours at the store and also be involved in community activities.

The representative from the company is probably the most "council ready" people I have ever seen. Excellent presentation, and had all the bases covered.

Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees.

No cars in parking lot overnight, no tires stored on-site, no painting, no welding, only "light repairs".

Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees. Trees.

The first to speak was a former city council man. He opposes it because it "doesn't fit". He likes the "idea", just not there.

The next fella to speak opposed it to"protect the quality of life of his neighbors and the city." He then proceeded to show photos of a trash bag behind the Starbucks as further evidence of his opposition. Also, the Walmart's dumpster gate was open. Then he drove around the Metroplex taking hundeds of pictures of other Christian Brothers that didn't follow Rockwall's codes and ordinances. He also yelled at a cloud.

(This city REALLY needs more activities for seniors.)

David, Matt and Mayor Cecil opposed because basically, they liked the idea of this business, just not in that spot.

If it fails on the 2nd reading, maybe we can get a developer to come in and build another mini-strip mall that'll remain empty for years while the developer takes a write-off. Oh, and the next guy will probably rip all the trees out and have access to 66.

Passes 4-3 to allow the auto-place to open. "The most pro-business council ever" I was once told.

Emphasis; Only TWO people showed up for the public hearing. A little birdy tells me a bunch of people who could have shown up for the public hearing decided to stay at home and watch tv and then complain about it after the fact.

VII. Action Items.

10. REDC budget passes 7-0.

11. Rockwall Technology Park budget passes 7-0.

6. Some in Lake Rockwall would like more time to comply with the city's utter disgust of trailers and RV's. 6 months given to comply. I wonder if the city will start enforcing this in the rest of the city now. Maybe we're just that special.

1. Some state law says that firemen or police (maybe) must have an adjustment to benefits. City Manager wants to make this benefit adjustment for all or some employees to be "fair". Don't remember vote.

5. City wants to raise water rates. Rockwall has some of the lowest rates in the region! (I guess this exclude Lake Rockwall where our bills are triple that of the rest of the city. But, I guess it's a small price to pay so uppity white folk don't have to look at my neighbors' trailers.)

Matt, Mark, David and Sevier opposed. (Were they the only?) Don't recall the vote, but City Manger Julie Couch I think was upset that she may now have to cut spending for some pet projects.

7. Budget something.

8. Budget and tax something else.

9. And another something about taxes.

12.Hotel/Motel subcommittee recommendations about something passes 7-0.

13. Motion to postpone a public meeting about the Shore's Golf Club.

2. Wild and crazy teens hanging out at the city-owned parking lot have finally forced the council to do something about hanging out in the parking lot. There appears to be a ban on non-parking activities on the horizon.

3. Something about the city's street assessment policy.

4. Update on boat dock repairs at the harbor.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rockwall City Council 08 September

Started with executive session action, spendin money it sounded like.

III. Proclamations.

1. City Secretary accepts a proclamation for National Preparedness Month. She asks who has a emergency action plan? No one. Guess 911 isn't enough.

2. National Drug Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Chief of Police accepts without any words.

IV. Open Forum.

1. Lady who owns Lake Rockwall and a bunch of flood plain wanted to talk about zoning. Guess she didn't understand the rules laid out by the Mayor. Repeatedly.

V. Consent Agenda.

#7 pulled. The speed limit on 205 is FINALLY gin to increase from "crippled snail" to reasonable.

Glen wanted it slower for a longer distance, Matt thought it should be faster sooner. Glen's motion failed 2-5, motion to approve as recommended by TxDOT passes 5-2.

Rest of consent passes 7-0.

VI. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Michael Hunter talked briefly about P&Z's recommendations regarding LRE zoning.

2. Fella who has a perfect view of the park at Fox Chase doesn't like cars parking in front of the trees and pond cuz it distorts "his" view of the park. He would like the city to restrict parking from Summer Lee to either oak or Secret Cove. For those familiar with the layout, this is basically all the street in front of the park itself. He would like to restrict the parking to be from Summer Lee to Horizon on both sides of the street.

According to the complainer it is not about "who uses the park" it's about "cars ruining the look of the neighborhood."

Then for what was a ridiculous amount of time for discussion the complainer made a smokescreen giving reasons why cars shouldn't park the way the cars are normally parked. Claimed "safety" for kids as the reason to restrict parking.

Oh, he's a former city councilman from Arkansas. hrd to believe a (former) government official could come with such a ruse.

In summary: too many people using the park and the only way to reduce the patronage is to claim safety issues on the street. Huh?

The solutions? There will be a temporary parking set up near the park (preceded this guy's complaint) and make people park on both sides of the street to use the park. Because crossing the street is safer than parking on the side of the street as your destination.

Also, there need to be signs to let folks know when the park closes because people are playing basketball at midnight. (for real?)

This was brought to council 6 months ago (and shot down I presume?)

Motion made to send the arking ban to parks board I think, or maybe to ban parking. Who can tell sometimes?

VII. Public Hearings.

2. LRE Zoning!

Mayor Cecil laid out te rules: 3 minutes, don't be repeptitive, and don't talk about water (which is triple the rate paid by the vast majority of the city).

P&Z power point laying out the plan with P&Z commission's recommendations added.

P&Z Director stated that t town halls "many" had "varied" opinions on zoning. (And by "many' he means "all" and by "varied" he means opposition and strenuous opposition.)

Four spoke asking council to vote against multifamily.

Matt stated there has be a lot of "misinformation" about zoning. There was no "secret push" for multifamily. Especially once it was exposed.

The subcomitee wanted to make sure that existing renters weren't displaced once the city begins demolishing unsafe inhabited homes. (<--My summary)

He then claimed a market for renters was the same as a market for multifamily. Also, a developed property with multifamily was more valuable than a vacant lot. Valuable = taxable. Also, multifamily would not lower property values. Which is why you see such a push in the Shores and "buffalo" neighborhoods to have multifamily built there.

"Some thought after a voice was heard that would be the end." He was talking about yours truly.

He said he thought MF would be needed and wanted, it might be needed, but not wanted though.

He then stated this PD will increase the cost of living. Again:Huh?

Matt makes the motion to approve.

David mentioned those who fought MF in the past.

Mark mentioned "Neighborhood Emowerment Zone", can't just leave it alone?

Cliff thanked Margo for he "try and change your mind" tour of multifamily.

Glen then stated they like citizen input, and that "blogs" were spreading misinformation. By "blogs" he means yours truly again (possibly timeonehands on MyDFW blog).

Glen then stated this council is ethical and no special interest were considered. Not-so-special interest?

Mayor Cecil then noted that council took longer than public in the public hearing. No surprise here.

Motion passes 7-0.

Does that mean my opinions matched my neighbors' opinions all along? Hard to believe I might actually be more in tune with my neighborhood than outsiders.

1. Budget public hearing.

Nobody speaks.

VIII. Action Items.

1. Soon to be sign on Ralph hall needs a variance and got it.

2. After hours usage by teens at the harbor parking lots. City is going to do something to restrict usage very soon, restrict hours, etc.

IX. City Manger's Report.

-Cell phones banned in school zones and city must post signs (which have been ordered).
-Floodplain notice thingy in the works.

Cliff asked about the quadplex built in violation of state law that should have been dealt with by the county and is now the city's problem.

The city is going to allow it to become a single or duplex. But duplexes are violation of deed restrictions, said Cliff I think.

Glen then parroted the false claim that the HOA's allowed MF before annexation and used the deed restriction angle as leverage against the city. (As stated by the HOA president Joan Stanley repeatedly at town halls, there was no money to fight the multifamily units. Guess that didnt make the P&Z's report....)

Meeting adjourned.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Aw Jeez, not this [expletive deleted] again!

I said it before: What the citizens of the Zoo want is irrelevant.

Certain council members and certain city staffers are STILL PUSHING MULTIFAMILY in Lake Rockwall.

Despite the 3 town halls, where there was not only opposition, but ZERO support of multifamily from the residents.

Despite the fact that DEED RESTRICTIONS PROHIBIT multifamily.

Despite the INDISPUTABLE MATHEMATICAL LOGIC that it will increase population density.

Despite the consequence of increased population density FURTHER DETERIORATING the neglected roads and water system (which cost about 3x times that of city provided water).

There are many in the city with not just a low opinion of LRE, but I believe have real contempt for people who don't fit into a mold that certain council members and certain city staffers have decided apply to citizens of Rockwall.

Too bad my neighbors weren't born wealthy and/or white. Maybe then, their opinions would be valid.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Zoo in the News!

[EDIT: AUGUST 26, 2008 10:48pm.

Mr Abshire has referenced my blog on his blog referencing his article that I referenced here on my blog. This could go on for years!
<--Clicky click Thanks, Mr Abshire!]

From Dallas Morning News August 24.

By RICHARD ABSHIRE / The Dallas Morning News

Six months after the city of Rockwall decided to annex a cluster of mostly neglected mobile homes and aging houses, some residents say life isn't much different yet. [My home built 1984, my other neighbors: late 1990's (x2) mid 80's (x2) and 2001 (x1). All houses are "aging".]

"Things haven't really changed that much, maybe because it just started," said Luis Guxman, a longtime resident of Lake Rockwall Estates. [Plan was in the works for 3 years prior to annexation, hardly "just started".]

The City Council voted 6-1 in February to annex the 335-acre subdivision, which has had problems for years with overgrown lots and substandard housing. [Mark Russo voted against.]

"It was deteriorating, and it would only be worse if we waited," council member David Sweet said. [Neighborhood has been improving on both sides foir at least 10 years I have lived here.]

The approximately 2,800 residents were already using the city's roads and schools, he said, so annexation made sense. [1. The schools are not the city's: schools belong to RISD which included LRE. 2. Every major road in Rockwall is a state road, which means everyone in LRE paid to use just like "real" citizen."]

Sweet defended the city's course of action since the annexation."It's a process," he said. "We do have a plan." [In that case, we feel better.]

The city is taking an educational rather than a punitive approach to code enforcement. [Lesson 1: do it or face a punitive action.]

"On the owner-occupied properties, they are getting it," he said, though absentee owners continue to be a problem. [If only we could lien on them, I mean lean on them.]

Jim Day, a resident for more than 30 years, said that in the past, absentee landlords had rented houses and trailers that were overcrowded. [If only the landlords had put in multi-family, those reduce overcrowding according to the city!]

"There were two little frame houses over there, and they had enough people in them to make two soccer teams," he said. "I know because my son used to play with them." [And now he has no one to play soccer with.]

Some in the neighborhood of lake houses and trailers suspected the annexation was a land grab by the city, but supporters hoped the area would be cleaned up. [The city would never force one private land owner to give up his property for another private citizen to develop and make money.]

After the council approved a three-year annexation plan for the 896-lot development in 2006, more than 200 overgrown lots were cleared and about 400 stray animals rounded up. Junk vehicles and abandoned structures also were removed. [Fyi, a 1954 Chevy truck in perfect condition, but not running is considered "junk"]

Residents also had hoped that water rates and problems with flooding would be improved. [95% of my neighbors were a bunch of suckers.]

"We were hoping that when they took over out here they would do something about the water," Guxman said. [Part of that 95%]

High water bills from the subdivision's private supplier are a common complaint. [The #1 complaint that all the residents who supported annexation believed would be solved quickly.]

Day said he pays from $150 to $175 a month, while friends who live across the road and get city water pay $40 on average. [$145-155 at my house.]

Sweet said the city does hope to take over the water system. [Hope? Where have I heard that before? (link)]

"We'd love to be in a position to control water services and rates," he said. [In other words: the city does not have the finances to do so, nor did the city prior to annexation. About $20,000,000 needed to take over the water.]

Annexation opponents had worried that the subdivision would become a financial drain. [No financial drain if nothing is done to address the major issues of water service, roads, and storm drainage. Win-win!!]

But Sweet pointed out that in the proposed budget for next year, there is no increase in tax rates and no cuts in services or personnel. [Nor increase for roads, storm drainage or water service?]

"We're not going to increase taxes," Sweet said. [Yipee.]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rockwall City Council 17 August

The happiness of society is the end of government. - John Adams

Action Item 2:

District Attorney Kenda Culpepper needs some help prosecuting drunks! She wants the city to loan out the services of our municipal judge in issuing warrants to draw blood from suspecting drunk drivers. Presbyterian and Lake Pointe hospitals will be doing the blood draws. All local police agencies are on board.

Consent Agenda.

1 and 8 pulled.

Item 8: City's ETJ moving north into Collin County. Matt opposed as it eventually the city will annex the ETJ and put part of Rockwall into another county.


1. New P&Z chair Michael Hunter presented a couple things from last weeks meeting: HCA portable buildings and Zoning of the Zoo.

2. Flood plain. Summary: Lady bought a house in 2006, in 2008 she went to refinance and discovered the property was now considered flood plain. Built in 1984, re-surveyed by the city and FEMA in 2006 (Ongoing prior, but the 2006 study is the one that affected this house.) After much effort and expense she was able to get the structure certified out of the flood plain to lower insurance.

Then for the next hour all the intricacies of flood plain mapping were discussed.

City engineer Chuck Todd stated "several hundred" were affected by the changes.

David Sweet and Matt Scott thought the city should have done a better job informing those who would be affected by the changes. And by better, I think they mean "a".

Basically, it seems if you live near a creek, pond or lake, you were probably affected.

If only the city had enacted "green" initiatives sooner!

3 and 4. Bond issuance stuff. Rockwall has good credit. A motion was made and passed (but I don't really think they know what the vote was about!)

[Councilman Russo for some reason started playing hide and seek under his desk. Not sure who was "it".]

5. Fella needs to extend his 212 agreement with city (forgot to file and now has to beg.) Passes 6-1 (Matt opposed)

Then for some inexplicable reason, Mayor Cecil skipped the public hearing item and moved into action items, confusing many.

Action Items.

1. Destruction of "dangerous property" in LRE. Land owner cannot afford to repair or demolish the structure himself, and is willing to allow the city to do so, after which a lien will be put on the property to recover the money once sold. Seems to me the owner shoulda sold the land, cuz now if he sells it, he'll be out $3k!

Of course, if he had put a plastic yellow fence (as was done on a burned up home off 552) instead of relying on a chain link fence to keep people out, that would have been ok!

Mayor Cecil realizes his mistake and goes back to public hearing item.

1. Heritage Christian Academy SUP thingy (see previous CP&Z posts.)

Margo had questions about fire safety. Chief Poindexter said the portables are safe, do get inspections, and are the same as those used by the PUBLIC schools.

David made a motion to approve for 1 year only, so that the school can go through the laborious process again next year.

Glen made note that he would like to see the portable "gone from the landscape". Not sure if he included the public school's portables in that.

The school needs $700,000 to finish out a building that would replace the need for the portables.

No one on the council volunteered to help.

3. Build a new radio tower for city use. Margo wants it pretty.

4. HOA Subcommittee again again. It was disolved 7-0. Then there was talk of forming another one. Some folks were named to be on the council subcommittee and a citizens committee.

"Naming people to a committee out of executive session?", I proclaimed in my head.

"Naming people to a committee out of executive session?", Mayor Cecil proclaimed .5 seconds after my thought!

The new committee will form some rules the new HOA's could adopt to have continuity in rules amongst HOA's.

If only there were some sort of council in the city that could create uniform rules that could be used by all citizens without the need for some smaller governing body to dictate behavior.

6. Apparently fence permit laws aren't restrictive enough. Here's the rule regarding permits:

Sec. 6-125. Permit required; applications; fees.

No fence shall be constructed within the city without the owner or person in control of such premises, or his agent or contractor, having secured a permit therefore from the building official of the city. Applications shall be made and a permit issued on forms promulgated by the code official for such purpose. The fees for such permits shall be as established by resolution of the city.

You don't need a permit to fix your fence (at least according to what I read) but the need must exist!

Imagine! People just going out and fixing their fences without an unqualified government agent to oversee the project!

City staff will keep looking into the issue, or as Cliff states: more clarity needed. (To me, when an elected official says "more clarity", I always hear "greater role".)

6. David Sweet and Matt Scott don't like people parking on grass in front of homes. I suggest they don't do it, then.

Mr Scott believes if you have a driveway, you should use it: "That's what it's for." (I wonder if we will soon start looking at people who use garages as storage rooms and not used for cars.)

Also, when Mr Farris made an objection, noting that some may park in the yard to wash a vehicle, Mr Scott responded that no one does that! It would kill the grass! (I believe I heard once that Mr Farris went to Bryan Adams HS. I too lived near BA for a couple years and can attest to the fact that people do wash their cars in grass. As a kid in Garland we were forbidden from washing cars on the driveway and always did so in the grass. If only it were true it killed the grass and I hated mowing the lawn, which was always so lush and green, especially the place where we washed!)

And this is not directed at Lake Rockwall Estates, because Mr Scott made a point to say this is not directed at Lake Rockwall Estates.

"There is no reason for this!"

And when objections were raised by other council members: "We don't want to penalize folks with legitimate issues [for parking in the grass]."

I always like it when a government body gets to decided what is "legitimate."

Mr Sevier also pointed out that he "hated" cars parking in the grass, to which I suggest he also not do.

Mayor Cecil said that if there is an ordinance, it must be enforceable (which this would be hard to do.)

Regarding enforcement, the "dog tethering" issue was mentioned as another that would be hard to enforce, and therefore no ordinance against tethering exists in the city. I found this last week in the animal control ordinances:

(e) Tying dogs. It shall be unlawful for any person to tie or tether a dog to a stationary object for a period of time or in a location so as to create an unhealthy situation for the animal or a potentially dangerous situation for a pedestrian as determined by the supervisor of animal control.

The movement to control parking behavior morphed into just banning parking on the grass in the front yard of a home. Which staff will look into again.

Amazing after 150+ years since founding, that now it's a problem.

Some other points:

-I left city hall and went down Storrs to Clark. 5 homes had cars parked in grass (culvert) in the front yard.
-All of the objections (which were called rare) I could point to from the short drive from the corner of Texas and Tubbs to my house on Perch.
-Is the grass culvert "front yard"? (I have to mow it.)

This is just a pet peeve that a couple council members have and are now excersing powers to change behavior they do not approve. Amazing to me how concepts like liberty and freedom are so championed by the people when it comes to federal and state issues, but in small local issues, freedom and liberty are ignored or even ridiculed by those in power.

Freedom isn't doing what you want. It's others doing thing you don't like.

Dr. Thomas Sowell has an excellent column about this from a few months ago.

This also reminded me about a lady celebrating her 100th birthday a couple years ago. When asked her secret for long life she responded, "I spent the first 50 years minding my own business, and the last 50 staying out of other people's business."

Get over yourselves.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Central Planning and Zoning 11 August

Four new commissioners!

Plus new chairman, Michael Hunter, and vice chairman, Phillip Herbst.

Basically only two things going on this time.

Mr Hunter started the public hearing by noting that quite a few people showed up to speak, and would like them not to repeat what others say over and over and over.

So the dynamic oration begins:

Public Hearing #1 concerns Heritage Christian Academy wanting an extension on an SUP for some portables they use.

Mr Herbst started by wanting to know the long range plans of the school regarding finishing out an exiting permanent structure.

1st Item: HCA doesn't have a lot of money. Nor the power to threaten by force the public at large for educational funding.

More from Herbst:

How long can city keep issuing SUP's?
The city can't do this forever!

Kristen Minth wanted to klnow the time frame for making the portable look "nice".

Mr Buchanan would like the SUP to end when the finish out is completed.

Mr Herbst noted the neighbors were fine with the portables. Like the city cares what only the people affected by an issue care. There ARE lots of people who don't even know the portables are on the property and cannot be seen from the road or from any properties adjacent. Thanks goodness the city worries about those folks!

Connie Jackson would like to skirting on the portable to keep kids from going under the building. (I guess the assumption is the staff at HCA is kinda new at the whole "watching kids" thing and ain't smart enough to keep their students safe without city help.)

Also, she added that she knows the economy is tough, but in 3 years the city will demand to know why the school is still using portables!

Buchanan: Repeated what everyone else just said.

Minth: Repeated what everyone else said.

Didn't they listen to what Mr Hunter said at the beginning?

(All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others - George Orwell, Animal Farm)

Summary of HCA's comments: HCA doesn't have the $600,000 to finish out the building.

Side note - Don't Rockwall PUBLIC schools use portables? I know I had several classes in portables when I went to school here.

2nd item: The Zoo! Zoning for Lake Rocwkall Estates! (I can almost taste the legitimacy of my citizenship!)

Summary of staff:

In English: "Does anyone here not speak English?"

There are stick built, manufactured, and quite a few multifamily homes in LRE.
"Many" citizens spoke against multifamily being allowed.
Subcommittee and task force recommended a mix of types of housing.
The laws of mathematics do not apply.


Some guy says his house is in the flood plain, will he have to leave?


The Lady of Lake: "Now that I'm iun the city I see you don't allow development in the floodplain which really screwed up my plan to make phat loot developing it after getting annexed which I supported!!! Maybe city wants a park (hint hint)?"

James Merkel pointed out that deed restrictions forbid multifamily. (City is under no obligation to honor deed restrictions.) He opposes multifamily.

All others who spoke opposed multifamily.

(There was lively debate and excellent points made by commission. As well of lots and lots of repeating what had been said.)

In the end Mr Herbst made the motion to approve the zoning change, but to omit the multifamily. (few other changes, but no anger inducing changes)

Passes 7-0. So the P&Z agrees with the citizens. No one living in LRE wants multifamily.

Now all that's left is council approval. (E.g. it ain't over.)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rockwall City Council 03 August

Quick night, 2nd in a row, too. I wonder why.

III. Proclamations

1. City Attorney Pete Eckert and Former Councilman Bob Cotti present the city with a picture of the U.S.S. Rockwall. Attack Transport that saw action in WWII.

A veteran of WWII and former sailor aboard the Rockwall, Dr Jordan (hope that's right) was present and told a story of how he saved a man's life duirng operations in the Pacific Theater.

Accepting the picture were the mayors and city managers of Rockwall and Heath.

A photo of the U.S.S. Heath was unavailable.

2. Kiawnis from Texas and Oklahoma are in town for a regional convention. Word has it the Rotarians are out looking to "rough up" any Kiwanis walking alone.

IV. Open Forum.

1. Fella who talked really needed an appointment and got it!

V. Consent Agenda.

Passed unanimously, nothing pulled.

VI. Appointments.

1. Bill Bricker talked about the P&Z's recommendations regarding the PD's (see previous post, I refuse to revisit here - too painful)

3. Speed Fab Crete and the Fire Stations.

#3 done, # 4 Almost there. (Stay on target)

2. Dude needs and extension of his 212 agreement after missing the deadline for mailing the request.

VII. Action Items.

3 moved to next meeting as Matt Scott absent, again:

6. HOA Subcommitee talk.

8. Fence ordinance talk.

9. "Parking on unimproved surfaces" talk.

1. Some money coming back to city from fire station project, and some of that is going back out "in the interest of fairness" to the architectural firm who forgot to add it to the contract.

I THINK $330k was returned, and then somewhere between $200k and $75k was give to the architect (they sure make it hard to understand when they are spending our money.)

2. Something about money or bonds or taxes.

3. Similar to 2, money stuff. Read it on the agenda if you want.

4. More of our money allocated to dedication plaques for the new fire stations: $8452.80 for 4 signs.

5. Fire Chief wants to swap some money in the fire station equipment funding for "Bunker Washing Gear" and "SCBA Filling Machines" in lieu of vehicle exhaust systems (not the fire truck mufflers, CO exhaust inside the bays).

7. Grand opening dates for fire stations discussed. Both will be on same day, probably in October or November. Donuts at 10a at #3 and cookies at 4p for #4 (same day).

10. If you got some "Weekend Development Directional Signs" you have been itching to use, now is your chance! But only from Friday evening to Sunday evening.

11. City of Rockwall in the movie biz discussion. This excites Mark Russo most of all. (Maybe awaiting his big break!)

12. Something about Atmos Energy (last item, no one cares, passes quickly)

VIII. City Managers Report(s).

I was going to go into great detail of all things discussed, but then I saw a frog in my garden this evening. Had to choose between report and frog picture, I chose the more interesting:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Central Planning and Zoning 28 July

All good things must come to an end. Alas, the central planning & zoning commission is not coming to an end.

Two new commissioners were introduced: Tony Hayes (who mentioned "driving around" the Zoo in an informal chat with me before the meeting) and Kristen Minth (someone I've known for nearly 30 years).

I hope they're better than the last. /crosses fingers

Action Items.

3. Discussion of some PD's. Basically, PD's are reviewed every couple years and decisions are made whether or not changes need to be made to those PD's.

The one of most interest to the commission and owner, are PD's 26 and 31. A fella owns the properties governed by these PD's and the city may or may not want to consider if it is or isn't neccessary to change the PD's or possibly leave well enough alone at least until later or maybe not.

The properties are right about where the John King Bypass is overpassing I-30. The owner of the land doesn't know what the state is going to do and how it will affect his property, and jsut wants the city to keep the PD as is until the overpass is finished. Sounds reasonable (at least to me). But reason and commissions go together like oil and jelly.

Outgoing (thank G-d) chairman Bricker, feels something must be done, because it must. Meddling is his talent and meddle he must! He even knows what's in the best interest financially for the owner of the land!

As is, the owner has the flexibility to keep making money with the current use. A zoning change would not only limit what could be done on the property, but would also prevent it's current use under cetrain circumstances which I won't go into here, but feel free to contact the city about the rules regarding re-zoning.

The recommendation is to re-review in 24 months.

4. Heritage Christian Academy needs to renew it's SUP for some portable buildings.

Commissioner Hunter wanted to know if there were plans for a permanent structure to replace the portables. He can't make a decision without knowing the school's long range plans. Portables = ugly, permanent = pretty.

Outgoing (not fast enough) commissioner Milner noted that it was cheaper to have portable buildings than to build a permanent structure.

Commssioner Buchanan wanted to know why the school is using [exisitng] portable buildings instead of [expensively] finishing out an unfinished 2nd floor of the permanent structure [during a recession]. [emphasis added].

Outgoing (almost there) chairman Bricker opposes the portables because the only reason the private school uses portables is to lower operating costs and make more money!!!

But, he notes it's perfectly ok for public schools to use portables to lower operating costs and make more robots!!!

5. Replatting of some land in front of Costco, I love you.

6. Replatting of SE corner of Quail Run and 205 that will be used for medical offices. I am just sure the council will oppose this for not being near the medical corridor and next to the hospital.

Then Bricker said somethings that I won't type as it makes my head hurt. Instead I'll put this quote from Lewis Black which is more sensible (actually overheard by Mr Black in an IHOP):

"If it weren’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college."

7. Replatting of some lots by the hospital.

8. Lake Rockwall rezoning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In the not too distant future, we will be that much closer to being "real" citizens! (I think we're 65.6% citizen right now. Still waiting for that city limit sign to move...)

Robert LaCroix presented the citizen input fom the poorly advertised, poorly attended first "town hall":

- Concerns about infrastructure
- Opposition to multi-family (not one citizen supported MF)
- Density concerns
- Added traffic (from density)

Now here is something interesting I learned, even with multi-family, there will be no increased density! Check it:

1. A double wide on a double lot has 2 people living in it. (Just an example). That's 2 people on 10,000sqft, or one person per 5,000 sqft.
2. Remove the double wide and add a multi family:
a. A duplex on the same two lots with 2 in each unit equals 4 people on 7,500 (or it is 7,000 now?). That's one person per 1,875sqft.
b. Triplex, 6 people on 10,000sqft or one person per 1,667sqft.
c. Quadplex, 8 people on 10,000sqft, or one person per 1,250sqft.
3. See? Besides, taking the same double lot lot and putting in 2 single family homes, with 2 in each unit, equals one person per 2,500sqft!

No density increase!

Bricker: multi-family will raise the value of the neighborhood and could raise the standard of the neighborhood.

Hunter agrees.

Milner agrees. And uses "those people" in a sentence. Developers will come in to make money and will do so by building the bestest duplexes EVAR! Multi-family is a "positive". It attracts poor people to the neighborhood and gives them an opportunity to "get their feet on the ground." Poor people need a place to come. Anything the city does will be an improvement to LRE. 10-20 years people will be praying in the direction of LRE because of how awesome it will be!!!

Paraphrased comment of Mr Milner :


If my parents didn't read this, I might have something to say about that comment.

Also, Milner wanted to know if the one fire hydrant in Area 2 affects the city's insurance rating.

Bricker then continued to express his love of multi-family. Multi-family will increase the value of the homes out here already. (Now, if that's true, why doesn't he and others push for multi-family next door to their house? If that's the case, logically the homes on Southhampton and Southwood
must be the most valuable pieces of real estate in all of Rockwall!

Bricker also noted that no one will build a "nice" home out in LRE anyway. Here's a proof:

1. No one will build a "nice" home in LRE
2. Anything built in LRE will not be "nice".
3. A duplex is an "anything".
4. Therefore, a duplex is not "nice" if built in LRE.

Thanks for making a great point, Bricker.


Milner, with the help of William Henry Harrison's speechwriter, bids farewell.

Bricker, also his last meeting, made several points, mentioned how he valued public opinion [except those dummies in LRE].

There was then discussion about how great the city forced Costco (I love you) to look.

What a legacy.

Mr Door, meet Mr Ass.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Town Hall Meeting" 23 July

Fact: What the citizens of the Zoo want is irrelevant.

The city long ago, with input from input from uppity white folk, decided what will be done with Lake Rockwall Estates.

The citizens of the Zoo deserve such treatment (punishment). After years and years of refusing to "clean up" the neighborhood, the city comes in with a grand plan to help all those trashy, ignorant folks fix their lives. We can only blame ourselves for the city's actions. We are too stupid and poor to make wise choices (for instance even MOVING into the neighborhood shows a lack of brains).

I for one welcome our new overlords.

It is time for the citizens out there to shut their mouths, and take their paddlins' like big boys and girls. The majority supported annexation, and this is exactly what many (in the minority) expected: Do-gooder mentality and forced compliance.

Here's a breakdown of those who spoke at the poorly advertised, poorly attended "town hall":

Joel Morgan, 234 Perch, 30-year resident - Wants water (from city)
Debbie Adams, 485 Eva, 30-year resident - Opposes Multi-family, wants another entrance to Area 2
Eldon Mass, 40-year resident - Wants water (from city)
David Jurrasicpark, non-resident land-owner, wants to build a quadplex. Also bought a home in flood plain he is unable to sell on Lakeside.
Antonio Rico, 1157 Yvonne - Opposes Multi-family, wants water (from city)
Leslie Price, 394 Wayne - Opposes Multi-family, wants water (from city)
Mary Garza, 482 Eva, 12-year resident - Opposes Multi-family
Joe Hayes, 303 Tubbs - Big trucks tearing up roads, youths bein' rowdy at night, wants street lights
Gerry Polsey, 131 Lynne, 27-year resident - Opposes Multi-family
Cindy Ellis, 394 Wayne, property owner - Opposes Multi-family
Larry Jackson, Blanche, - Opposes Multi-family
Nona Hayes, 303 Tubbs - Too many big trucks
"Bulletproof vest" guy, Althea, 36-year resident
- Opposes Multi-family
Shannon Nerren, 599 Trout, 3-year resident - Opposes Multi-family

Reasons people opposed multi-family houses:

Overcrowding an already overcrowded area
Renters not as good neighbors as owners
Increase in traffic
Sex offenders like duplexes (???, that's what she said.)
Deed restrictions do not permit
Duplexes replacing manufactured homes negatively affects drainage (as per a Registered Professional Engineer and resident)
Impact on infrastructure has not been looked at by city

In summary: Not one resident spoke in favor of multi-family, and most who spoke oppose multi-family.

Will the city listen to the concerns of the citizens? How could they? 99.99999999999% of teh Zoo don't even speak English!!!! And the remaining 0.00000000001 speak some form of white-trash hillbilly!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rockwall City Council 20 July

III. Proclamations

NFPA Safe Community Awarded for kids having learned that everything they love is dangerous: bikes, fire, guns, poison, etc. Apparently written by Tolstoy.

The city of Rockwall gives out FREE (Yes, Ben, I said free.) smoke detectors at the fire stations. They will even install them!

IV. Consent Agenda.

1. Minutes
2. Mother-in-Law Storage approval
3. Approval of a bid ($$)
4. Atmos something or other.

All approved.

V. Appointments. Commissioner Herbst, sitting in for Chairman Bricker, says nothing.

VI. Public Hearings.

1. Guy turning 3 lots into 1. No public spoke. Approved by council.

2. Hair Salon thingy. Limit to 1 chair. Public Silent. Approved.

3. Solar Panels! Basically:

Glen hearts solar panels.

Cliff believes no one (other than owner) should have issues of aesthetics regarding one's own home.

Mark wants an update in the future.

The home owner is getting a write-off and Oncor money to off-set the costs, and expects a 5 year payback on his 4kw system.

I was sorely disappointed the council missed such a grand opportunity to ask ridiculous questions. Passes with almost no discussion!

VII. Action Items.

Items 1 & 6 regarding parking on unpaved surface and fences moved to next meeting. Weird how things that would so greatly impact the Zoo keep coming up after not being an issue during the previous 150+ years since Rockwall's founding.

2. City water restrictions something or other on people who pay for city water. (I assume it for city water customers, because I don't get city water and would find it downright tyrannical if the city tried to impose it's restrictions on non-customers like those of the Zoo, 95% of whom thought we would be getting a cheaper water rate once annexed, as that was all they really cared about. $150.00 this month for a house <1000sqft.) style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);" size="1">(The items from here to #11 had to be re-written as something got ate up like a soup sandwich, hope I can recreate. I am quite irritated now.)

3. Area in danger of being annexed had an agreement not to develop in exchange they don't get annexed. Extended for another year.

4. Same as 3, different area.

5. City about to get "all up in the Shores Golf Course" business. Public forum will be held so questions can be asked. Questions like, "Why does the city have authority over a private golf course?" and "Why isn't this a concern of anyone other than members?".

7. Main Street Rib Rub. BBBQ competition and stuff.

(Irritation level growing, as I have written so much on all this before!)

8. More main street stuff.

Money being doled out for private businesses to update signage.

Other things:

-San Jacinto Court (Harbor competition?)
-Directional kiosks for those with myopia and neck problems to find things on square
-Sidewalk repairs
-Dog Days Event

9. Sign thing moved to next meeting.

10. David presents best idea of night! Broadcasting of city council meetings. 2 years ago city had an estimated cost of $85,000. Thank God technology has come so far with the recent invention of the "internet" and "web cams"!

Of course, this isn't nearly complicated or expensive enough for a bureaucrat to consider! After all, the peoples' money won't overspend its self!

It's not like you can go to Wal-Mart and get some cheap web cam off the shelf! Further, it's a very compicated procedure to set it up that requires a brilliant IT company's technician to install! Not just ANYBODY can do it!

(irritation back to normal levels)

11. In case you haven't heard, Family Circle has declared Rockwall one of the top 10 places to raise a family! And the city wants the world to know!

12. 2 residents have complained to the city about teenagers hanging out at the Harbor overflow parking lot.

Reports of wheelies (!), loud talking, illegal drinking, hood surfing, trucks driving on a road, and reckless driving on the street.

Police have been out many times without issuing any citations or finding any wrongdoing. Some are worried about "logging" a complaint as it will lower their property value.

Cliff and Bill would consider a restriction of times of use.

Margo points out that there have been no offenses, and this could lead those hanging out at the lot to move someplace else!

Julie believes that kids do need a place to hang out, but some place they could be monitored and not near residences! Of the 2 people that have spoken to Julie, one spoke for all other residents who haven't called anyone in the city.

Glen reinforces there is no place for kids to go and wondered if the parking hour restrictions would lead to a conflict if the hotel had conventioneers or similar that needed the parking lot.

Chief Moeller finished by pointing out there have been no curfew violations.

Early dismissal - 2034!