Tuesday, December 20, 2011

With all other problems solved...


Trash Can Tickets In Queens

MYFOXNY.COM - A Queens man is very upset after trying to put his trash out for collection and ending up with a ticket.

He, and others, are getting snared in an enforcement of a law that few people even know exists.

The scrooge award goes to the New York City Sanitation Department for the $100 tickets.

Raymond Janson says he received the $100 fine for putting his garbage cans at the curb 30 minutes early.

"I can't say how incensed I am over this," Janson says. "Not only at the excessive amount, but the nature of the summons."

The Failure to Store Receptacle summons from the agent stated: "I did observe three 30 gallon plastic can(s) placed out on the public sidewalk on a non-collection day."

Janson says, "We've lived here 30 years and always put the garbage out Monday and Thursday for Tuesday and Friday pickup."

It is legal to put out the trash cans the day before pick-up but the time of the day matters. City sanitation rules say the cans can be put out no earlier than 4:00 p.m. from October 1st to April 1st.

Janson's ticket was written at 3:27 p.m.

"What, do they sit down the block waiting so they can go catch all of those criminals?" Janson asked.

He wasn't aware of the city ordinance and was upset that he didn't get a warning. He plans to fight his ticket.

"I know the city is looking for money but this is ridiculous," Jansen says. "With all of the things wrong with this city, this is what we crack down on! Hard working, law abiding, tax paying citizens putting out their garbage 39 minutes early!"

Fox 5 News has learned that a number of other Queens residents have also received $100 tickets for putting out the trash too early. A state senator is investigating the actions of the Sanitation Department.

A department spokesman told Fox 5 News that the law is intended to keep trash cans from blocking the sidewalks.

Last week, an elderly Brooklyn woman was ticketed for not having a lid on her trash cans. The woman says she doesn't even own trash cans and her son takes her trash from her home. She is fighting the $300 ticket.

Read more: http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/trash-can-tickets-in-queens-20111219-lgf#ixzz1h5C32kj8

Friday, December 16, 2011

This is good, right?


90-year-old jailed over unsightly property

GAINESVILLE - A 90-year-old Hall County woman is serving a 30-day jail sentence after what county officials say has been a 20-year battle to get her to clean up her property.

Charlene Coburn lives on Price Road near H. Thomas Road.

Fox 5 reports there are three buildings on her property, all of them showing signs of substantial damage. In addition, there was debris on the property, and authorities report that a number of animals were living there. Hall County officials also say Coburn is a hoarder.

Finally, after the two-decade effort to get her to clean up the property, Hall County Code Enforcement took her to court, and after she didn't follow orders to clean up the property, Coburn was jailed.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's always worse in Dallas...


On Day One of Animal Cruelty Trial, A Simple Question: How Hard Is It to Free a Trapped Cat?

Tyrone McGill at Shelter.jpg
Tyrone McGill
After completing jury selection yesterday, the prosecution began laying out its case this morning in the felony animal cruelty trial of former animal shelter manager Tyrone McGill, who is currently on administrative leave and continues to draw a paycheck from the city of Dallas. "This is not a difficult case," Assistant District Attorney David Alex promised the jury. "It's as simple as a picture."

Displayed on several screens throughout the courtroom was the picture in question: that tiny hole in the flimsy sheet rock wall that was ultimately all it took to free a cat from where it had been trapped for at least 15 days. "It didn't take the jaws of life or fire and rescue to cut this hole," Alex said.

Instead, it took a knife from the euthanasia room and about 10 minutes to remove the corpse from behind the break-room wall, where it had gotten stuck after escaping from its cage some 15 days earlier. At that point, it was badly decomposed, its fur coming away in clumps. According to the testimony of animal cruelty investigator Domanick Munoz this afternoon, when found, the cat's nails were also worn down from jumping up and clawing against the wall in a desperate bid to free itself. Throughout this first day of testimony, from both the prosecution and the defense, a basic question arose: How could it be so hard to free a cat from a wall?

According to the prosecution, the answer lies with McGill, who, according to shelter employees, promised repeatedly to "take care of" the issue and then failed to act. According to former shelter worker Kimberly Killebrew and Munoz, McGill also discouraged shelter workers from taking direct action to free the animal. He implied that they would face termination for destroying city property if they did so.

"He was actually giving them a threat," Alex told the jury. "This wasn't a priority to him. He had the authority to stop the suffering, and on that Tuesday he flat-out told [Killebrew], 'We're not going to do it.'"

But throughout the day, defense attorney Anthony Lyons pointed out repeatedly that the same rules that forbid destruction of city property also prevented McGill and other supervisors from taking actions that could potentially endanger the safety of city employees. He also asked Killebrew, Munoz and another shelter worker who testified today, Adam Cooper, why they hadn't considered it their responsibility to free the cat.

"You testified to the jury about how concerned you were about that cat," he said to Killebrew. "So why didn't you cut a hole in the wall?... You just testified, blaming him for not doing it, why didn't you do it?" Furthermore, he said, McGill had made efforts to free the cat, including lifting ceiling tiles and calling Equipment and Building Services.

In his testimony, Munoz painted a picture of a dysfunctional climate where animal shelter employees were frightened to step outside the chain of command for fear of losing their jobs. The prosecution read portions of a scathing email he wrote to McGill and Munoz's own supervisor, Adrian Vela, on May 18, the day the rotting cat was ultimately removed from the wall. At that point, the smell of decomposing flesh was so strong it carried all the way down a long hall from the break room where the cat was walled up.

"Why is it so hard to have a cat removed from the wall, dead or alive?" Munoz asked. "... This is unsanitary, unhealthy, and socially unacceptable. ... Why are we turning a blind eye to this situation?"

The prosecution will continue to present its case tomorrow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Liberation weekend!


This weekend (November 4-6), any cat or dog over 1 year old is available for adoption at your price, even if your price is $0.00!

Rockwall PETS is paying the difference in adoption fees.

Marco! Polo! Marco! Polo!


Unable to pay bill, Mich. city turns off lights

By Corey Williams - The Associated Press Published: 8:52 PM 11/03/2011

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (AP) — As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.

It wasn’t always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out — bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

“How can you darken any city?” asked Victoria Dowdell, standing in the halo of a light in her front yard. “I think that was a disgrace. She said the decision endangers everyone, especially people who have to walk around at night or catch the bus.

Highland Park’s decision is one of the nation’s most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services.

Other towns have postponed roadwork, cut back on trash collection and closed libraries, for example. But to people left in the dark night after night, removing streetlights seems more drastic. And unlike many other cutbacks that can easily be reversed, this one appears to be permanent.

The city is $58 million in debt and has many more people than jobs, plus dozens of burned-out or vacant houses and buildings. With fewer than 12,000 residents, its population has dwindled to half the level from 20 years ago.

Faced with a $4 million electric bill that required $60,000 monthly payments, Mayor Hubert Yopp asked the City Council to consider reducing lighting. Council members reluctantly approved it, even in an election year.

“We knew it was going to hurt,” Councilman Christopher Woodard said. “We’re all hurting.”

In late August, contractors from DTE Energy Co. began rolling through the streets, taking out two-thirds of the light poles.

“It is a winning proposition, but that doesn’t make it a winner with the citizens who find themselves in the dark,” Woodard added. “We had to watch our backs when we got out of our cars before. Now we have to watch them even more closely.”

Unless the government gets an unexpected infusion of cash or sees an uptick in its dying tax base, many parts of Highland Park will remain beneath a shroud every night.

The city’s monthly electric bill has been cut by 80 percent. The amount owed DTE Energy goes back about a decade, but utility executives hesitated to turn off the juice.

“We are extremely concerned with public safety,” said Trevor Lauer, vice president of marketing and renewables for the Detroit-based utility. “We recognize that street lighting is something that contributes to public safety.”

Now, he said, the company has “a municipal lighting customer I’m confident can pay its monthly bill.”

Most of the 500 streetlights still shining in Highland Park are along major streets and on corners in residential areas. DTE Energy has listed the city’s overdue bill as an uncollectable expense.

The leader of a nonprofit group that works to reduce energy costs for low-income families said he’s not heard of any other communities becoming so desperate to save money that they turned off streetlights. It might be a sign of things to come.

“If it works in Highland Park, I could not imagine other cities not looking at that as one option,” said David Fox, executive director of the National Low Income Energy Consortium in Alexandria, Va.

In its heyday, Highland Park was one of Michigan’s urban jewels, with large yards, spacious homes and tree-lined streets.

Henry Ford put his first moving assembly line here, and his factory eventually churned out a car every minute. By 1930, the city had grown to 50,000 people.

Ford later moved his primary manufacturing operations to River Rouge, southwest of Detroit, in search of room to expand. Highland Park survived that loss. But it never recovered from Chrysler’s decision in the 1990s to move its world headquarters 50 miles north to Oakland County.

“That took away $6 million” in taxes, Woodard said. “That was a lot of money to not have anymore. It was a major industrial operation moving out of here. When Chrysler moved out, things started to happen.”

Small businesses catering to Chrysler workers began to fail, and the city struggled to pay its bills. And like Detroit, which lost 250,000 residents from 2000 to 2010, people moved out, leaving hundreds of abandoned houses.

In 1980, the census counted 27,000 people living in Highland Park. By 2010, that number had fallen to 11,776.

The median household income is $18,700, compared with $48,700 statewide. And 42 percent of the city’s residents live in poverty.

“It’s pretty ghetto,” Cassandra Cabil said from her front yard. Voices drift in the darkness from down the street, but the speakers can’t be seen.

The 31-year-old short-order cook works odd hours and sometimes makes it home late at night. She watched recently as crews removed the streetlight and pole from in front of her rented home.

“It’s really dark unless people have their lights on,” she said. “There’s a lot of vandalism going on, people breaking into these houses.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

No Clapping!


Peekskill Residents Livid About No Clapping Rule At City Council Meetings

Critics Say They Feel Like They're Being Treated Like Kindergarteners

Reporting Al Jones

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. (1010 WINS) — Want to get yourself thrown out of a Peekskill City Council meeting? Start clapping.

After a series of boisterous meetings, Mayor Mary Foster is trying to bring decorum back to the chamber by banning clapping.

“We’ve had to end meetings because the disruptions just became too unruly,” Foster said.

However, critics of the measure spoke with 1010 WINS’ Al Jones and said they felt like they were being treated like kindergarteners.

“If that was the only incident, it would be very different. But we’ve been receiving that kind of treatment consistently and this is just one little piece of that puzzle,” Jim Adler said.

Adler said the mayor and council are trying to silence anyone who doesn’t agree and he’s not happy about it.

“The bullying and the lack of decorum when she and her leadership in Peekskill treat people with such disrespect,” he said, adding he would continue to attend the bi-monthly meetings and clap.

Tracy Breneman admitted that the meetings have become a bit loud, but doesn’t agree with the rule.

“They institutionalized this no clapping among other things, which is absolutely absurd,” she said.

Mayor Foster argued that the rule is just another attempt to get through meetings with less interruption, but critics in Peekskill were reading the Declaration of Independence in protest.

“You think that a no clapping rule is really going to make these issues go away?” asked community activist Darrel Davis.

The City Council voted unanimously to ban clapping on Sept. 12. In January, the council also eliminated a public comment session at the beginning of meetings.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The euthanizing will continue until morale improves.

Edited since first posted. I guess we are "No Kill" without calling ourselves "No Kill"? 10% killing ain't killing.

No increase in budget is expected.

Dogs and cats will never be more important to me than real city issues.

However, if this does interfere with funding essential services....


The Rockwall City Council voted unanimously Monday night to make Rockwall a No Kill community. It’s the culmination of a volunteer-driven campaign by Rockwall Pets, an independent nonprofit, to stop the killing of healthy and adoptable animals at the city shelter. Following meetings between Rockwall Pets board members and city management, the issue was sent to the city council.

The council directed city staff to maintain a minimum 90% live outcome rate at the city’s open-admission municipal shelter. The city must now adopt, return to owner, or save the lives of at least 90% of the animals it takes in. The No Kill Advocacy Center established what has become the industry standard, allowing a maximum euthanasia rate of 10% for animals who are gravely ill or irredeemably aggressive.

Using marketing, community relations, and off-site adoption strategies, the volunteers of Rockwall Pets came close to achieving the No Kill goal singlehandedly this year. The live outcome rate for the Rockwall Animal Adoption Center was 86% during April and May, when the nonprofit scrambled to adopt out pets from the suddenly full facility. The city council noted this effort during a discussion period preceding its historic vote.

“I see the 90 percent, but I’m wondering why not 100 percent?” asked councilman David White, getting into the spirit of the discussion. “I wish that extra 10 percent could be cute little Yorkies.” (Actually, I said I'd hate for that extra 10% to be cute little Yorkies, my sister would kill me. Her Yorkie, Frodo pictured above. )

It may take as long as two or three months to retool Rockwall Animal Services to meet the council directive. In the meantime, councilwoman Margo Nielsen asked city staff to present a revised euthanasia selection protocol at the next council meeting. Rockwall Pets hopes this overhauled procedure, coupled with ongoing efforts from volunteers, will begin saving more lives immediately.

“Everyone at Rockwall Pets appreciates the Rockwall City Council for their dedication in making our town the best place to live for people and their pets,” said Rockwall Pets board member Pam Kitkoski. “We're so proud that we have the second city council in Texas to create a No Kill community.”

The Austin City Council was the first in Texas to mandate a No Kill initiative with its vote in March 2010. After launching its 34-point No Kill Implementation Plan, Austin has a year-to-date live outcome rate of 90%, and 93% of its animals were saved during July. As a comparison, Rockwall has year-to-date live outcomes of 77%, with 83% of its animals saved during July.

Volunteers organized by Rockwall Pets have made a huge difference. Just three years ago, prior to volunteer involvement, the city was killing more than half the animals that entered the shelter. Rockwall Animal Services reported live outcomes of only 46% in 2008.

The No Kill initiative kicked into high gear when Rockwall Pets incorporated as a nonprofit in late May. The organization began collecting donations, planning to rehabilitate sick and injured animals. When the shelter suffered a large influx of cats and kittens during June, Rockwall Pets saved the lives of numerous adult cats by sponsoring an impromptu fee-waived adoption program.

The group’s current promotion is “Summer of Love: 60s Power!” which encourages the adoption of pets who’ve spent more than 60 days at the Rockwall shelter.

“We’re so happy we decided to begin taking donations, because all those funds go directly to help the animals,” Kitkoski said. “Most donations to the city shelter are used to buy equipment and other things, and that money must be approved by the city council before it’s spent. At Rockwall Pets we use our donated funds to save lives immediately.”

Following its vote Monday night, the city council has made saving the lives of animals official business in Rockwall.

Source: RockwallPets.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Did you check the lost and found?

It's been a while, but time demands as well as staying within the laws of the Open Meetings Act make it difficult to write this blog. It's also less fun when professionalism and respect for other councilmen limit my "snarkiness".

However, Monday evening's events were important enough to write a quick post about the bond election.

Council was considering calling for a bond election in November for a bond package in the neighborhood of $60,000,000. That's about triple our current operating budget just for a point of reference.

Americans Cut Spending for First Time in 20 Months

10 Signs the Double-Dip Recession Has Begun

Rhode Island's Central Falls Files for Bankruptcy

Is Rockwall about to file bankruptcy? No.

Is Rockwall in financial trouble? No.

Are we meeting our debt service and other bills? Yes.

Do we want to continue on a path of sound financial stewardship? Enfer Oui. Pardon my French.

Our unanimous vote of council said now is not the time, not that never is not the time.

We voted to delay holding the vote to call for the election until January. We will also conduct a financial review to see if it makes sense to call for a May election on this bond package.

A lot can happen. We hope it will get better, but if it doesn't?

It is also important to note that if the bond election passes, we would not be responsible for any debt - immediately.

We only start paying on debt service when we issue the bonds to pay for the individual projects.

None of these issues are dead, merely delayed.

David White
Rockwall City Council Place 1

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rockwall City Council 6 June

My first meeting as a new representative was fairly uneventful. I still haven't quite decided on a new format for this blog, so at least this post will be a little dry.

Started the meeting and then we had the swearing in of newly elected representatives.

III. Proclamations.

1. First one to Girl Scout Autumn Tarter.

2. A second for Juneteenth.

IV. Open Forum.

1. 2 men came forth to speak about their plans to aid in the relief efforts of Joplin, Missouri.

V. Consent Agenda.

Items 1 and 5 pulled by Mr Sevier.

Rest approved 7-0.

Item 1 related to minutes of a meeting Mr Sevier missed, Passed 4-0 and 3 abstentions.

Item 5 dealt with extension of Discovery Blvd. Passed 7-0 and source of funding. Passed 7-0.

VI. Appointments.

1. Vice Chair Jackson briefed council on public hearing items on the agenda.

VII. Public Hearings.

1. Couple wants to open a Snow Cone stand behind Luigi's. They changed the plans to accommodate some concerns of P&Z and an adjacent business.

After brief discussion, item passed 7-0. (Sorry, Chance and Ashley! Better get chamoy if you want to compete!)

VIII. Site Plans/Plats.

1. Resident of LRE (The Zoo) wants to expand her house and needs some variances. She got it 7-0.

IX. Action Items.

1. Several items for the Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon. Fees waived for Harbor Use, Route Approved and Date Approved. All Passed 7-0.

2. Your electric bill going up a couple bucks per month thanks to a negotiated rate increase we approved for Oncor. I blame Fiat Currency! Passed 7-0.

3. LRE again! Dilapidated house going to be demolished. Eventually. Passed 7-0.

4. Mr Sevier wants Consent Agenda items that are associated with spending money have the amount listed along side the item. Done.

X. City Manager's Report.

Wayfinding signs directing folks to downtown was discussed. Once details hammered out with TxDOT, city will move forward with installation.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rockwall City Council 16 May

Relatively short meeting.

III. Proclamations.

1. National Safe Boating Week. Boating can be dangerous. Be safe. If you want some safe boating classes, check out Bass Pro Shops in conjunction with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

2. Recognition of YAC students.

3. Content removed due to extreme profanity by the author.

45 minutes later.....

IV. Consent Agenda.

Passed 6-0.

V. Appointments.

1. "Please waive fee at Harbor." Passed 6-0 without discussion.

2. YAC report on Senior Prom. It was a success! Near as I could tell it was fully paid for by donations.

VI. Action Items.

1. Issuance of Certificates of Obligation. Passed without discussion 6-0.

2. Mobile adoption unit purchased.

3. Adoption of code of ordinances. Also, all ordinances are now online.


For those not aware, on May 14th the city of Rockwall held the general election for the Mayor's seat and 3 open council seats. The results are as follows:


David Sweet, 1,565 (70.15%)

Glen Farris, 557 (24.97%)

Sam Buffington, 109 (4.89%)

City Council Place 1

David White, 1,067 (53.35%) <---that's me

Bob Lewis, 731 (36.55%)

Freddie Jackson, 202 (10.10%)

City Council Place 3

Bennie Daniels, 1,003 (50.63%)

Mike Townsend, 808 (40.79%)

Bill Watts, 170 (8.58%)

City Council Place 5

Michelle Smith, 854 (41.88%)

Connie Jackson, 645 (31.63%)

Dennis Lewis, 540 (26.48%)

On June 6th, I rise from the world of the proletariat - transitioning from the swordn in to the sworn at.

I will continue this blog, albeit in a form yet to be determined.

An attempt will be made not to irritate my fellow councilmen in my writing, but I make no promises...

Rockwall City Council 2 May

Apologies for the extreme delay since the last blog. I was slightly preoccupied...

Thus begins my second to last blog as on of "those" people:

III. Proclamations.

1. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Fact: Motorcycles are fun.
Fact: 4-Wheel cage drivers aren't looking out for motorcycles.

Motorcycling presents more risk thus requiring greater defensive posturing while operating one.

Also, I love motorcycles.
Mine on the way up to McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains:

2. National Day of Prayer. May 5th a county Mayor's breakfast calling for a day of prayer for our country.

V. Consent Agenda.

All passed without discussion 7-0.

VI. Appointments.

1. Ruth Peck had some things to say about Music Fest. Also gave some gifts to parting councilmen.

2. Fella came to explain "congregate care facilities." Basically, it was explained as a long term hotel-resort for the senior citizens.

Long discussion ensued.

VII. Public Hearing Items.

1. TIF stuff for PD-32. No none spoke, no action taken.

VIII. Action Items.

1. TIF stuff, passed 7-0 without discussion.

2. Gun range needs fixing. We share the facility with multiple law enforcement departments. Total repairs are $410,000, are part is about 27%.

3. SUP's for all future elder care facilities? Maybe, but not on this go round. Long discussion led to a motion to have staff look into requiring SUP's for any type of senior living facility. Passed 5-2, Sevier and Russo opposed.

4. Banners? We don't need no sticking banners. Ordinance banning all off premise banners passed 7-0, effective August 7.

5. Banner stuff for special events, related to item #4. Passed 7-0.

6. Changed maximum allowed height for front yard fences from 42" to 48".

7. Employees given a bonus (haven't had step increase pay raise in 2 years) due to higher than expected sales tax revenue. Police also got an increase in pay. Passed 7-0.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rockwall City Council 18 April

It's a two-fer! Posting 2 on same day, so don't miss the meeting from April 4th right here.

Executive Action.

1. 380 Agreement between city and Murphy Building Ltd. 7-0. Read about 380 agreements!
2. Harbor Heights investor (I think that's what I wrote) agreement. 7-0.

III. Proclamations.

1. Sons of the American Revolution. Three guys gave out some awards:

Law Enforcement Commendation to Sgt Jeff Welch.

Fire Safety Commendation to Ariana Hargrove.

And ________ _________ awared for EMS service. (Missed name, former councilman running for mayor distracted me.)

James Cullins for proper flag etiquette.

2. Little girl raised $5000 for American Heart Association. Read about it here.

3. Rockwall Environmental Action Day (aka Hazard Waste You Can Stop Putting Down The Drain or Burying Day) is April 30th. More here.

IV. Consent Agenda.

1. Passed 7-0. (Minutes)

2. Ramp closure off I-30 east of SH-205 for the Classic Rock Rotary Sprint Triathalon on May 15th. Won't be as inconveniencing to citizens as the event last year was.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chair Herbst. One item withdrawn, voted to allow winery in Harbor, first change in plan to first building at PD-32.

2. Former councilman Stephen Straughn introduced the new Chief Professional Officer for the Rockwall Boys and Girls Club. Lots of upcoming plans to make the club more educational and cannot do without the city's $$help$$.

3. Issue about parking in Meadowcreek Estates, no show.

4. Extension of SUP for BigTex Trailers for 3 more years. Passed 7-0

VI. Public Hearing Items.

1. Winery coming to the Harbor. Will be making some wines (all from Texas grapes) and selling all Texas wines. Passed 7-0 with one councilmember offering "Congratulations." for the applicant getting the SUP passed by council.

2. Change to first office building going up at PD-32. Proposed change includes a restaurant on the top floor. Passed 7-0.

3. Front yard fence built without permit from city or permission from council. Contractor said "all would taken care of" but all wasn't - he got a citation. Neighbors ok with fence. Passed 4-3 (Scott, Sevier, and Farris opposed).

4. TIF stuff changing on PD-32, waiting on meeting with TIF board to be held on May 2nd. Tabled.

VII. Action Items.

1. Show cause hearing to demolish house at 470 Nicole. Onwer has failed to respond to certified letters and has 90 days or blammo. Passed 7-0.

2. Long discussion about adding congregate care facilities. Seemed to be a lot of confusion from council on what congregate means and who wants what and when they want it and what is already in the code and how it works. (Hard to hear when you don't listen.) Anyhoo, city has had some inquiries into this type of facility, and code must be changed to allow it.

Motion made to allow this type of facility with SUP passed 5-2 (Sevier opposed - didn't want to force SUP, wanted in code along with already allowed uses like Nursing homes, assisted living, etc. Russo also opposed.)

3. Airport Road bond issuance. Passed 7-0.

4. Tabled to May 16th when the voting pool will be favorable to passage. (Some council were either expected to be absent at this meeting or the next, and the theory was if the super majority wasn't present, the motion would have failed. "Vote stacking" was a term used.)

For the people!

Rockwall City Council 4 April

Sorry for the grand delay - campaigning does take considerable time!

Executive actions:

1. "Real property change with Gibson Family". Passed 7-0. Me neither.
2. $5000 approved for sewer stuff. Passed 7-0.
3. Easement agreement. Passed 7-0.
4. Reappointment to water board. 7-0.

III. Open Forum.

No one. C'mon folks!

VIII. Action Items.

1. No vote on bond thingy. These votes pass on first reading - read caption, will vote at next meeting.

2. Samey-same.

IV. Consent Agenda.

Councilman Sevier pulled items 5&6.

Rest passed 7-0. Items included changing the AG lot at 3097 and 205 to Commercial and allowing Auto Repair facilities in downtown with SUP.

5. $800,000 contract awarded for Discovery Blvd Extension.

6. $650,000 contract awarded for water line replacement.


V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Vice Chair Connie Jackson. Variances for McDonald's approved, surgery center variances approved.

2. Zebra Mussels are causing trouble. They get into water sources and mess all sorts of things up. Can't live with 'em, can't kill 'em.

Water folks have tried chemicals, filters, and magic and nothing has worked to rid us of this tiny beast!

As a result our available water supply is reduced and voluntary water conservation is being requested.

- 40 minutes later -

Discussion ended.

Basically, we're up a creek without a paddle and a boat-load (figuratively and literally) of Dreissena polymorpha.

3. State legislation to "help" the Zoo get sold water from the city instead of AquaTexas. No real update, it's still floating around the halls of the State Capitol.

VI. Public Hearing Items.

1. "Big to do" about moving a front yard fence. Passed 6-0 with no council discussion.

VIII. Site Plans/Plats.

1. Gonna Upgrayedd the old McDonald's. Passed 6-0.

2. Rockwall Surgery Center is expanding and needs variances. Passed 6-0.

IX. City Manger's Report.

Comments from City Manger Julie Couch, Council members Sevier and Nielsen, and Mayor Cecil:

CIP committee convening, Ralph Hall turn lane open, Oct 2012 completion for 740, John King overpass on schedule, audit report "fabulous", no employee pay raise for 2 years, same 3 false alarms at harbor, average response time for fire department has gone up (construction played a major part in that.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

But what kind of BIKE was it?!?


Date: April 4, 2011


FROM: Sgt. Jeff Welch

Public Information Officer

Rockwall Police Department

“Rockwall Police Search for Speeding Motorcyclist”

Rockwall, Texas – On Monday, April 4, 2011, just after midnight, Rockwall Police were attempting to stop a speeding motorcyclist on Westbound IH 30. After accelerating rapidly to speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, the driver abruptly stopped the motorcycle on IH 30 approximately one mile West of Horizon Road and fled on foot down an embankment towards the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard. A foot search was conducted and officers were unable to locate the suspect. Based on information developed at the scene, it was believed the suspect fled into the water in an attempt to evade capture. Using Search and Rescue Units from the Garland Fire Department, Dallas Fire Department, and Rockwall Police Department, a thorough land search was conducted with no results. Additionally, personnel from Dallas Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue team conducted a search from a boat with no results. At approximately 4:45 A.M., the driver’s family was contacted by the suspect. An on-duty supervisor confirmed that the suspect was ok by contacting the suspect’s family member who spoke directly to him. No further water search will be necessary.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rockwall City Council 21 March

First meeting on the internets! Streaming audio was Rockwall's initial foray into the world of 1's and 0's moving into your PC at the speed of light!

III. Proclamations.

3. (I missed the first one as I was a few minutes late, but our Chief of Police received an award for being the antithesis of the LAPD.)

1 & 2. Barbara Coleson and Claudette Hatfield Day was declared for two ladies who have worked hard for downtown for many years.

Executive Actions included acquiring right of way, spending money and appointing the CIP committee.

IV. Consent Agenda.

Councilman Sevier pulled items 2 & 3.

The rest approved 7-0.

2. Mowing service contract, Councilman Sevier confirmed the contract renewal did not go out for bid and cost an additional $28,000. Passed 6-1, Sevier opposed.

3. HVAC replacement contract bid acceptance - not lowest bid, but lower bids did not meet requirements.

V. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chair Herbst presented 2 items. The first was to amend the Downtown Zoning district to allow Auto Repair, Minor so that Archer's can remain downtown - after he is granted an SUP.

The second was a change to a zoning (somewhere) to change an agriculture zoned area to a PD (single family). Opposition from folks because of the density. Item was continued.

2. Annual Financial Audit. Tax revenue up a little. "We are in the eye of the economic storm." And as anyone who has lived through a hurricane will tell you, the eye is the halfway point between destruction! We did about average compared against the four cities in comparison.

Audit available here.

3. Fella from Rockwall Surgery Center wants to expand, but first has to have city approve an offsite parking arrangement with Rockwall High School. Sound complicated? No. Made complicated? Yeah. But approved 6-0. (Mayor Pro Tem Farris left at some point.)

VI. Public Hearing Items.

1. Request for a zoning change for an area at 549 and 205. Wants to make an area zoned as AG into Commercial (or General Retail). Surrounding area is residential, and there is some opposition from neighbors (including a lawsuit to prevent claimed violation of deed restrictions.)

LOTS of discussion.

In the end, council moved ahead to rezone to General Retail.

2. Zoning change or the Downtown District to allow for Auto Repair, Minor.

See previous blogs for info. I can't possibly write about it for the 10th time - especially on a Sunday evening.

Lots of support, not sure if any opposition.

Passed 6-0.

1. Items delayed the LRE water rate increase. Passed 6-0.

2. Resolution to call for public hearing regarding LRE water. Passed 6-0.

3. Ammendment to Unified Development Code to allow for congregate care facilities. Similar to assisted living facilities without medical assistance or personal care.

Talk Talk by Talk Talk

Tabled for 30 days.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rockwall PD will not be appearing in any grainy cell phone videos anytime soon. And that's a good thing.


Date: March 23, 2011



Sgt. Jeff Welch

Public Information Officer

Rockwall Police Department

Rockwall Police Department is Awarded “Recognized” Status

The Rockwall Police Department is the 42nd police agency, out of over 2,800 agencies in the state (less than 2%) to be awarded “Recognized” status by the Texas Police Chiefs Association. The “Recognition Program” was developed a few years ago by the Texas Police Chiefs Association to assist Texas police agencies in meeting their professional obligations to their citizens. This is a voluntary process where police agencies prove their compliance with law enforcement’s current Best Practices.

Being “Recognized” means that the agency meets or exceeds all of the 164 identified Best Practices, which cover every aspect of law enforcement from pursuits, use of force, protection of citizen rights, evidence and property management, and other patrol and investigative operations. This “Recognized” status ensures that an agency has carefully planned for these critical issues, has developed policies and procedures to address them, as well as put systems in place to identify and correct problems.

Police officers exercise government’s highest powers – the power to stop and question an individual; the power to arrest and seize a person and his property; and the power to use force, including deadly force, in that process. Police agencies direct and control an officer’s activity through supervision, training, and written policies and procedures. Since supervisors cannot always be present, officers often operate alone. This means training and policies, along with the appropriate equipment, are even more critical to ensure proper performance.

The Recognition Program assures city management and the citizens that their Police Department is operating within the best practices of law enforcement. The review process of policies, the on-site visit to inspect equipment and facilities, interviews of staff, and proof of compliance in all areas took over a year. The Rockwall Police Department was approved for “Recognized” status by the committee on March 3, 2011. At last night’s City Council meeting Rockwall Police Chief Mark Moeller was presented the Certificate of Recognition by TPCA committee members.