Sunday, December 10, 2017

CCR 12-10-17 Potholes of Life

Potholes of Life can sometimes cause forgetfulness. As a staff member of the CCR, I accept the full responsibility. Regardless, good wishes to you and yours for the season. — Dylan Westie



Thursday, November 23, 2017

CCR 11-23-17 Dark Matter

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

“Dark Matter”

   “Just the facts, ma’am,” as Sgt. Joe Friday might intone.

   And the simple fact is: Staff of the CCR will be “going into the shadows” after the publication of this report.

   Don’t fret.  Don’t jump with joy.  Don’t think this is a permanent thing.  

   Hopefully, while we are addressing a family issue, the light at the end of the tunnel would suggest we’ll be back by the end of January 2018.  
   (That’s just 2 months for Aggies with limited calculation skills.)
  
   And as a matter of fact, staff of the CCR has already draft-posted — on the CCR blog site — a complete report which only requires minor tuning (read: grammar considerations) before hitting the magic ‘publish’ button to post on the Internet.  This, of course, would be followed by sending the report to all those on the e-mail list and creating a Dylan Westie tweet-reminder for other readers. 

   Publication of this pending report could be made during the “going into the shadows” period — after publishing this report — when the opportunity occurs.

   As a teaser, the report is entitled “Crony Capitalism.”  In addition to the wordsmithing in the report, staff of the CCR will also post official City of Irving documents which have been provided to the CCR that not only support the report, but identify what it actually entails to be a Crony Capitalist in ‘beautiful downtown Irving.’

   Readers will soon understand what drives a Crony Capitalist; how they operate under the covers with elected/city officials; and more importantly, how your property tax dollars are weaseled into their personal property projects — thereby, increasing their net worth — all at your expense.  Some Crony Capitalist might even consider their actions as representing true entrepreneurial excellence…as opposed to actually needing a governmental dole to successfully conduct their business affairs.

   So, for now, relax.  Become heavier-stuffed than a Thanksgiving Day turkey.  Enjoy the upcoming Christmas Season of credit card melting.  Tip a few glasses of champagne for the New Year to wash away the deleterious effects of 2017.  And await the radiating CCR reports which will be the start of a series exploring new wordsmithing adventures for staff of the CCR.  

   These new adventures will veer and tromp in the realm of issues and “cat kicking” which do not relate exclusively to self-absorbed local politicos affecting ‘beautiful downtown Irving.’

   Anticipate the CCRs return by merely waiting and listening for Arnold to intone, “I’m  We’re back!”


………………………..Mark Holbrook   




Monday, October 23, 2017

CCR 10-23-17 High Octane Torofeca

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

“ High Octane Torofeca© ”

   Well, dear readers, the staff of the CCR is still awake and aware.  While keeping an eye on local bureaucratic issues, it actually appears things have been running rather smoothly under the new regime.  The ex-queen is not even missed and city related issues are actually being accomplished.  Such a relief!

   However, it does seem as if a few of your elected officials have decided to forgo the staid processes, of those who sat in their seats of governmental authority before them, by charting a new and deleterious course in addressing zoning issues for ‘beautiful downtown Irving.’  

   The latest council action, on denying Zoning Case #17-0030, could have a long lasting effect on the city if not addressed in a rationale manner.  And the possibility of legal issues could exist if not addressed.

   It has been the general rule for city council zoning cases, until the October 17, 2017, meeting, that the process of zoning basically upheld: “property is zoned, not people.”  

   Sadly, one council member, Allan Meagher, recently led the charge to deny the zoning on a chunk of property at Northgate and the Bush Turnpike due, in part, to his personal feelings and apparent disdain for the developer.  Meagher’s derision of the developer centered around a current business the developer has in Irving.  
   (Note: The other business owned was not part of the zoning case before the council.)

   The property actually being zoned was slated to be modeled in the same fashion as a Quik Trip operation.  Sounds good right?  After all, on the Bush Turnpike from I-20 in Arlington north to I-35, there is not a facility for motorists to utilize off the freeway ramp when needing gas, refreshments, or relief.  

   And the Planning and Zoning Commission had approved the project development on an 8-1 vote.

   If the Planning and Zoning Commission considered the zoning to be acceptable, then what could cause the city council to deny the zoning on an 5-4 vote?  

   Actually, the zoning denial by the council could be condensed to two issues fraught with irrelevant facts: Allan Meagher and the city manager/staff recommendation.

   While Meagher’s comments were totally off target during the case discussion, his rationale of supporting the city manager/staff recommendation for denial just couldn’t fill a Mini-Cooper gas tank.  His high octane verbiage reeked with fumes of personal disdain for the developer.  This was evident when he accused the developer of gasoline price gouging at another business location during the Harvey hurricane days.  What?!

   Even when the developer offered to share all of his price and cost information, for gasoline pricing during the Harvey hurricane aftermath, Meagher responded that he wasn’t interested and didn’t want to see the actual data.  Really?!  

   It’s a sad day when facts are not relevant to an issue before the council. 

   Why was Meagher reluctant to see the developer’s data which might indicate he had not been involved in gasoline price gouging…even when it was noted the State’s Attorney General had declared the pricing actions as not being in violation of the law, or price gouging?  Better yet, where is possible gasoline price gouging noted in any zoning criteria as a useable defense to deny a developer their zoning?

   If the gasoline price gouging Torofeca-rhetoric wasn’t enough to fill Meagher’s shallow tank of ridiculous counter points for the developer’s property, then he weakly hid behind the city manager/staff recommendation to deny the zoning case.  Apparently, the realization of gasoline price gouging wasn’t working in his favor, so he shifted octane levels and relied on the flimsy city’s denial rationale for protective cover.  

   And to later question, by asking the developer, if his current business was a “big part of the community, as a consideration for zoning, was just another disingenuous load of Torofeca which Meagher piled on the discussion.  How many small businesses in Irving are a “big part of the community?"  What defines being a “big part of the community” for a small business in Irving?

   Will future zoning applicants need to file and receive certification for being a Big Part of the Community from council member Meagher to receive future zoning approval?

   Resident’s of ‘beautiful downtown Irving' should thank council member Dennis Webb for his level of concern and astute remarks regarding what property zoning in the city should be all about. 

   Webb proceeded to accurately dissect the flaky comments contained in the city manager/staff denial recommendation.  He noted several of the recommended items failed to pass the fume-test of validity on many points.  He listed how the recommendations identified factors which were either not relevant to the case before the council, or plainly failed to be a mitigating circumstance for consideration in a denial. 

   As noted, the council voted 5-4 to deny the property zoning apparently based on the developer involved with the project, not the absolute criteria of zoning requirements which have been recognized by councils in the past.  

   Not only does Meagher’s disingenuous actions, boorish behavior, and the council's denial of the zoning case establish a precarious precedent for future zoning cases in ‘beautiful downtown Irving,’ but the denial vote was based on Torofeca rhetoric, developer personality and non-consequential actions with another business, and weak issues noted in the overall denial recommendation by the city manager/staff.

   When you thank councilman Webb for properly considering that the city should prescribe to the facts of  property is zoned, not people, be sure to give a nod of appreciation to the other council members who voted with him to approve this zoning case — Riddle, Ward and Danish.

   Perhaps, Webb should request the city provide a remedial course in zoning for the council members who need a refresher course on how to properly zone property, not people.


……………………………..Mark Holbrook 



Sunday, September 10, 2017

CCR 09-10-17 Costly Glacier

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”


“Costly Glacier”

   The movement is so slow and only time will tell if the tip of the city’s tax collection berg crosses into the realm of assisting over-taxed citizens in ‘beautiful downtown Irving.’

   The final public hearing for the 2017-18 city budget and tax rate is Thursday, September 14, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. in Irving City hall.  After this meeting, the city council will later meet to approve the final budget and tax rate.

   Citizen attendance at the first public hearing was extremely minimal.  However, there are reports council members have received more e-mails than usual requesting consideration for reducing the tax rate.  As previously stated, tax payers are being hit hard with increased appraisal rates which have translated into the city reaping large piles of additional revenue.

   Even though Oscar Ward is apparently the only outspoken council member to voice reducing the city’s tax rate, there could be two additional council members who might lean to support such action.  Should this be the case, then only one more council member’s vote, bringing the total tax rate reduction supporters to four, is necessary.  

   The vote to squash the tax reduction effort requires a ‘super’ majority of six votes.  No ‘super’ majority is reached if four council members hold out  plan to vote to reduce the tax rate.  This being the case, then citizens would at least see a slight reduction in their property taxes for next year if the tax rate reduction passes.

   If you haven’t stated your opinion to the city council, then this will be your last opportunity to do so.  Advise the council that you support the effort to reduce the city’s tax rate, and aim for at least one more council member joining the scrum to allow four votes to achieve this task.

   Here are the e-mail addresses to reach members of the city council and city manager.  Let them know today.  After all, this is your money they are collecting and spending.  Shouldn’t you at least be the major stakeholder considered with what should be done?

Irving City Council and City Manager

John Danish   jcdanish@juno.com
Brad LaMorgese   blamorgese@sbcglobal.net
Allan Meagher   ameagher@cityofirving.org
David Palmer   david.palmer1@verizon.net
Phil Riddle   priddle@cityofirving.org
Rick Stopfer   rick@rickleads.com
Kyle Taylor   ktaylor@cityofirving.org
Dennis Webb.  webbdennis7@gmail.com
and city manager:

Chris Hillman.  chillman@cityofirving.org


   Help to slow and melt the city ice berg of increased property tax payments — to fund a bloated city budget — which is slowly creeping down the slippery slope of self-interest agendas.  A little heat on council members and city manager, from tax paying constituents, is the only heat guaranteed to slow the glacier of increased property tax revenues collected.  (See #1 below)

……………………………..Mark Holbrook


REMINDER:  
   (1) Over the past two years, city tax revenues from property tax collections have increased 25.8%.  Of course, your personal income, pension fund, social security, or retirement income has kept pace with this whopping increase…right?  If it hasn’t, then maybe you should be contacting those who are spending all your money from these egregious increases, but not reducing the amount you are having to pay in city taxes.

   (2)  Reducing the city’s tax rate does not eliminate all the proposed increased fees for water, sewer and garbage collection services the city council will soon be approving and implementing.  Reducing the tax rate might help offset some of the increased cost residents will face when they receive their bills for the services.



   

Monday, September 4, 2017

CCR 09-04-17 Relief x 2?

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

“Relief x 2?”

   Well, dear readers, it is really heartening to see all the folks of ‘beautiful downtown Irving’ coming together to assist with Irving’s newest group of temporary citizens.


   An enormous effort has been underway to provide a modicum of relief for hurricane Harvey evacuees.  Utilizing city resources and staff, individual and organizational volunteers, the basic and fundamental needs of evacuees form the Gulf Coast are being provided in a safe haven.  

   The amazing factor in this equation is the realization relief was needed by so many.  And Irving’s finest stepped forward to provide that needed relief.  With all the extra effort being exerted by meaningful individuals, life in the city was not disrupted and various sectors of the city worked to achieve a common goal…provide relief for those in need.

   While some might contend the following portion of the report verges on being political, the intent is to again emphasize the need of ‘beautiful  downtown Irving’ citizens now seeking tax relief from the ever increasing flow of bucks from their wallets.

   A  previous CCR report (08-28-17) detailed the fallacy of the city council’s talking points as to why they need to reap the increased flow of revenues associated with the egregious increase in 2017 appraised property values.  The CCR report also noted the city’s tax payers needed relief and the only way this could be provided was to reduce the 2017-18 tax rate.

   At the present time, there is only one council member, Oscar Ward, pushing to reduce the city’s tax rate.  The reduction he has proposed would be a change from the current tax rate to the effective tax rate.  While this is a good move, the reduction to city revenues is almost insignificant.  There would probably be enough loose change in the city manager’s proposed budget to cover this tax rate reduction without breaking a sweat. 

   Remember, a tax rate reduction doesn’t include the increased fees citizens will be paying for city services…water, sewer and garbage collection.  These increases are a stand alone issue which will drain additional bucks from tax payer's wallets.

   Councilman Ward could use your assistance.  It seems as if the significant and valid points he has made to reduce the tax rate are falling on deaf ears of eight council members.  
  
   Your support of reducing the tax rate for these deaf ears might just be the voice they need to hear.  And you can register your verbal opinions on Thursday, September 7, 2017, 7:00 p.m. when the council holds a public forum to address the 2017-18 city budget and tax rate.  The forum will be at Irving City hall.

   And if you cannot attend the hearing this week, the final public hearing to discuss the budget and tax rate will be held September 14, 2017.  However, at this stage of the game the council will be fairly committed with what transpires after September 7, 2017, and changes are unlikely to be made.  

   For those with a public speaking phobia, send your elected officials an e-mail and register your thoughts as to why they should provide tax payers relief by reducing the tax rate.  The e-mail addresses to register your opinions are:

Irving City Council and City Manager

John Danish jcdanish@juno.com
Brad LaMorgese blamorgese@sbcglobal.net
Rick Stopfer rick@rickleads.com
Kyle Taylor         ktaylor@cityofirving.org
and city manager:

   When writing to council members, be kind.  Be factual and non-condescending.  And remember, it’s okay to remind them citizens are at the helm steering this ship of state  community with their votes…not the bureaucracy, special interest, or cronies looking for a handout.

   Updating the old Alka Seltzer® commercial, “relief is just a 'tax reduction' away.”


……………………………….Mark Holbrook  



Monday, August 28, 2017

CCR 08-28-17 Irving's Zombie Apocalypse

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

“Irving’s Zombie Apocalypse”


   The time is growing short.  

   Denizens of ‘beautiful downtown Irving’ will soon realize how their city council has been turned into PowerPoint, brain eating zombies by the city manager with regard to the proposed 2017-18 city budget and property tax rate.  

   While munching on citizen brains (to keep them ill informed) this budget season, your Irving council members  Zombies will also be feasting on buckets of fresh, new tax revenues.  Expect plenty of gorging and self-satisfaction, by the Irving Zombies, as they provide what cronies, developers and special interest concerns want…instead of addressing what citizens actually need — tax relief.

   If you are looking for tax relief — by a lowering of the city tax rate — then you would be better served by putting pictures, of the Irving Zombie majority (at least eight), on a milk carton.  The caption on the milk carton would read: “MISSING — council members who once represented what citizens need.”

   Yes, dear readers, you have seen your property values escalate, by the Dallas County Appraisal District, faster than a zombie on crystal meth.  And your increased property value (unless you happened to protest the amount, which some Irving Zombies have successfully done) will certainly mean you will be paying more in property taxes when the Irving Zombies finalize the city budget and property tax rate.

   Of course, the zombie talking points uttered will have you believe maintaining the current tax rate (with the flood of additional new revenues) is critical to running the city.  And please, don’t fall for the zombie straw dog arguments of ‘our tax rate is one of the lowest in the area,’  or ‘look in comparison how high the IISD tax rate is.’  This could be followed by ‘there is no State income tax.’  Frankly, those issues are not germane to what citizens need from their elected Irving Zombies at this point in time.

   Items not mentioned by the zombies will be their spending for consultants previously let go by the council; new projects proposed for the budget which address zombie desires; and the continuation of listening to power brokers and string pullers over citizen needs.

   The zombies will also note businesses in Irving contribute 73% of the local tax buck pool.  Okay, that’s a good thing.  What the zombies will not state is that businesses have an alternative when having to paying higher taxes. The alternative is increasing the price of their products or services.  Unfortunately, tax paying citizens do not have this tool as an alternative — unless they cancel their cable bill to provide funds to pay higher taxes — in their arsenal.

   The stage has been set for citizen’s brains to be devoured by the Irving Zombies, who could be the poster children for all the other taxing entities in the area failing to provide tax relief to its citizens. 

   As the 2017-18 city budget and tax rate must be in place by October 1, 2017, the only opportunity left for citizens to protest — potential rampant spending, wasting of resources, and maintaining increased city tax revenues — will be in the two public forums held by the Irving Zombies.

   However, don’t expect a sympathetic ear should you desire to attend and speak at one of these forum sessions.  The zombie brains are already predisposed and addicted to the potential new revenue diet of increased tax bucks to support the city manager, cronies and special interest concerns.

   At this stage of the game, the only other option, available for citizens to reduce the city’s tax rate, would be for the Irving Zombies to experience the wrath of a city-wide tax protest group similar to the one formed in the early ‘80s.  The ’80’s group, which successfully pulled this effort off, was responsible for a drastic shifting of the city council mindset.  And this led to a higher level of responsibility and tax reform considerations by elected officials.  The group even sponsored and elected individuals to the council to ensure not only tax relief, but that ordinary, average citizen needs were met in a more responsible fashion.

   While the poor Cajun grandmother of the CCRs staff wasn’t formally educated, she did have one adage which seems appropriate for all the Irving Zombies reluctance to decreasing the city’s current tax rate.  She once stated: “the hardest thing to open is a closed mind.”

   And, dear readers, while the minds of the Irving Zombies might currently be closed, an e-mail note to them could be a small dose of reality to help them remember and overcome their addiction of amassing your tax bucks for self-aggrandizing agendas.  

   This might even cause the Irving Zombies to remember where the key to unlock and open their mind of serving citizen’s interest was placed.  Shouldn’t Irving Zombies have an open mind when it comes to spending your hard earned bucks? 

   Send your kind and “consider the next election” notes to Irving’s walking dead, the Irving Zombies, noted below  : 

John Danish jcdanish@juno.com
Brad LaMorgese blamorgese@sbcglobal.net
David Palmer   david.palmer1@verizon.net
Rick Stopfer rick@rickleads.com
Dennis Webb         webbdennis7@gmail.com
and city manager:
Chris Hillman         chillman@cityofirving.org

   The ball is now in your court.  As staff of the CCR was recently almost bitten by a couple of the Irving Zombies, we are seeking a protective shelter in an unnamed location which will be stocked with a pantry full of Patrón® and Blue Bell® ice cream.

   After all, one can never be over prepared for when the Irving Zombie Apocalypse occurs on October 1, 2017.


…………………………………..Mark Holbrook 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CCR 07-19-17 "That Lonesome Road"

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

“That Lonesome Road”
by: James Taylor

   Summer stay/va-cations seem to be taking more time than usual for staff of the CCR this year.  Add typically hot Texas weather to the equation and very little time has been spent burning up the MacPro and wordsmithing to track and note the foibles of your local elected officials.

   Have no fear…there still is a wad of unspent money in the city’s treasury for them to consider spending before summer ends.  

   Spending your tax bucks may reach new heights when the city council approves the 2017-18 budget.  And this budget should be very flush what with all the new revenues collected as a result of the egregious increases to Irving property appraisal values.

   Homeowners have been plagued by the continued and ever increasing real estate financial bubble…which they have no control over.  West and north coast carpetbaggers, with pockets full of money from selling 1,200 sq. ft. homes for $680,000, are bidding and escalating the selling prices of local homes to the detriment of residences who have maintained their neighborhoods for years on end.

   The following graphic, by Mark Holbrook, explains why citizens have very little, or virtually no control over increased property taxes by taxing authorities. 

                                                      

    Moving along.  To provide a couple of items dear readers might want to keep their eyes on in the coming weeks, the following is provided.

Bridge to Nowhere
   If the Irving City council holds true to course, they will be spending mega-bucks on a tourist destination never before witnessed by Irving citizens.  In fact, the new tourist destination has not been witnessed by anyone…mainly because, as an end destination, it doesn’t even exist at this time!

   The old bridge, which served as a pedestrian walkway over Hwy 114 to Texas Stadium, for Cowboys Red-parking ticket holders, was torn down.  The current plan is to build, by Texas Department of Transportation, a new bridge spanning Hwy 114. 

   Of course, ex-QueenB VD had her hands on the initial project planning and discussions and wanted TxDOT to ensure the structure would be a “signature” bridge which would, at that time, end on the old Texas Stadium site where her crony single source developer, OliverMcMillan, wanted to build a blasé shopping center and, hopefully, her tennis pavilion.

   With ex-QueenB VD now collecting your federal tax bucks, to fund her bureaucratic position with HUD in Fort Worth, there is little need for a “signature” bridge…much less one with her “handprint” all over the project.

   Here’s a strange thought for the city council: Allow TxDOT to build the bridge, which currently goes “nowhere,” and when the city council gets around to approving a development project for the Texas Stadium site have the developer fund their “handprint” on the “signature” bridge to currently “nowhere.” 

Roads to Somewhere
   While you were on vacation, the City Manager and James Corden of “Carpool Karaoke” fame took a few spins around the city singing the praises of needed road repairs which suddenly required attention.  
   (The term suddenly is used since citizens have been asking, begging and pleading for years for the city to fix, repair, or replace certain roadways in the city.)

   One has to imagine the current determination, that many highly traveled Irving roadways suck, is now front and center.  Since attending to ex-QueenB VD’s every whim and fancy, the city was remiss in attempting to redeem Irving’s 1,400 road lane miles of washboard driving created by her royal coach.

   And how will the decrepit  status of many Irving roads be addressed?  Dear readers, please sit down. 

   How about the City Manager conjuring a plan entitled: “Road to the Future: $100 Million in 5 Years.”

   $100 Million?  Five years?  Is this real money?  Did the roadways suck more than what was even anticipated?  Will the city have its own Yellow Brick Road?  Ouch!

   What will this plan do to the current tax rate and bonded indebtedness of the city?  Have these figures been provided to the general public?  Was citizen input considered when preparing the list of humps and bumps needing consideration?

   Just in case the City Manager and “Karaoke” Corden didn’t have the following on their play list, staff of the CCR would offer these two roadway tunes for their karaoke collection:

   “A Hard Road” (Black Sabbath) would be great harmony while tooling down the East bound section of Irving Blvd. from about Jefferson Street to the turn lane to Lee Street.  Previous “patching” of this section has only made the drive more shocking…to your teeth and vehicle shock absorbers.

   “Devils Road” (Headstone) epitomizes a significant problem with the new development on Beltline Road in the northern section of the city.  Primarily, the section going south from Hwy 114 to Walnut Hill is close to being the highway to hell.  Race Track and Quick Stop will soon be adding automotive sections to their operations to handle shock absorber repairs.  

   At least motorists can enjoy a slice of pizza or a hot dog while waiting to have your vehicle repaired.  

   Send your karaoke road request to the City Manager at: chillman@cityofirving.org , or attend the city council meeting, if and when, this issue is formalized and posted for citizen input.

Judge Judy Hits the Road
   The local network channel has determined Judge Judy is no longer necessary, or required for local citizens seeking legal advice.  Effective immediately, her program has been cancelled.

   Realizing many mouth breathers and those who move their lips when reading require some form of legal-counseling assistance, a new program on ICTV will premier starting August 1, 2017.  Be sure and set your calendar to watch the Kryptonite Idiocy Academy talk show, or KIA for short.

   The new ICTV program will take current topics, with a plethora of ambulance chasing pseudo-legal experts along with a fact fabricating panel, to burn, to the core, every major issue facing Irving.  Discussion on topics of the day, by panel members, could simmer viewer brain synapses similar to Superman bathing in a pit of kryptonite.  No individual or issue will escape the reach or judgement of the panel…even if they are not present, or aware they are being maligned.

   Viewers are cautioned to remember: Invited guest to the panel, who attempt to present facts, but disagree with panel member conclusions, will be swimming in the same kryptonite pit as Superman.

   The intro song, for the new program, is reminiscent of a tune from another ancient political investigative program.  Who could ever forget the lyrics to “What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?”  Remember Watergate?  Welcome to Irving’s inquisition of nonsense which is attempting to make nothing burgers out of Torofeca!  

   Also note how many of the Kryptonite Idiocy Academy panel members hum the theme song, off key and out of balance, while guest are attempting to correct or establish actual facts which represent the truth of the issue being discussed. 

   If you are looking for a program that serves as judge, jury and executioner without resorting to any facts, other than those fabricated, then be sure to watch Kryptonite Idiocy Academy.

   Views might also want to join the academy panel to help persecute innocent civilians.  If so, stock up on Kool-Aid for the premier episode and send them an e-mail.  

   The over indulgence of Kool-Aid will demonstrate you are in agreement with the panel members and ready to be an ill-informed sycophant to help chunk the next victim into the kryptonite pit.  

…………………………………….Mark Holbrook