Friday, January 14, 2011

ZAP! #39: Pole to Pole

ZAP! #39...January 14, 2011

This may be a first in the history of the CCR -- one ZAP!...two governing bodies singed by a bolt. The two bodies are the Irving city council and ISD school Bored.

Without a doubt, the denial by the city council of the Kroger zoning case for beer and wine sales at their MacArthur and 6th Street store was a political travesty. While watching the meeting, staff of the CCR couldn’t decide if they were witnessing a zoning case or a tent revival sans the fried chicken. Simply stated, the majority of the council bowed before the altar of political correctness and pressure. Funny, we always thought that zoning was about property...not doctrinal beliefs.

And the abundance of weasel words espoused by members of the council on how great Kroger was and is to the community rang about as hollow as an embellished confession. We already know that Kroger with all its locations and plants in the city is an outstanding corporate neighbor. However, the majority of the council found a new peg to hang their shallow-denial vote on...the “kids” of the IISD. Yes, Kroger couldn’t sell beer and wine in their store because a few kids might walk across their parking lot. Forget that the zoning variance of 60’ was acceptable to a reasonable person, it was the “kids” that required this overabundance of moral caution and nannying.

And while on the subject of moral caution, what the council managed to accomplish may not be as devastating as the charade perpetrated by the IISD. To state that the council was hoodwinked for the “kids” sake might be an understatement. And here’s why: (1) The IISD on October 19, 2009 passed a resolution requesting the council to vote against the Kroger zoning case for beer and wine. (2) On December 17, 2010, Scott Lane of the IISD completed a public comment form for the P&Z commission/city council meetings stating that the school Bored was in opposition to granting Kroger a variance. This action was documented utilizing the formal resolution adopted by the Bored in October, 2009. (3) The CCR has been informed that on or prior to December 17, 2010, the Superintendent polled school Bored members as to their current position on the Kroger case, as it was likely that a special Bored meeting would not be called to adopt a new resolution. Remember, there were new Bored members polled who were not even serving or a party to the original resolution (2009) when it was passed. Could the polling have indicated that the Bored was not 100% against Kroger if a new resolution had been presented for adoption?

Did the IISD actually misrepresent the 2011 Bored’s position at the council meeting? Were Bored members party to what could be perceived as a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act? Should the Texas Attorney General’s office be contacted to determine if the Open Meetings Act has been violated if there was polling of Bored members? If Bored members were polled about a position on a board matter, isn’t this the same as having a meeting...a meeting that is illegal since it has not been posted according to established guidelines for governing bodies? Pat Lamb, IISD administration, appeared before the council and stated “on behalf of the Bored of Trustees (2011) and administration” that the IISD was opposed to granting the variance to Kroger and proceeded to read information from the 2009 Bored resolution. Point of fact: Since 2009, changes had been made to the Kroger zoning and it was not the same case as first presented. Was the Bored (2011) against something they hadn’t even met, discussed and prepared a resolution to register their opposition against...which may not have been unanimous?

For a governing body that touts itself as being open and available to the public, working for the benefit of the “kids” and spending your tax bucks with abandoned glee, one has to wonder: Is misinformation regarding a community issue the proper moral approach to take as elected role models for the “kids?”

There were two additional losers with the denial of a zoning case that was only requesting a variance which should have been approved by the council -- Kroger and the public’s trust.

A reader sez:

"Council listened to the voters. Not the campaign cash providers." Anonymous

We Say: Sorry, but the deaf cannot hear. MH