Friday, February 4, 2011

CCR 02-04-11: Voter Cogitations

the Controversial Committee Report

“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

The elections are coming! The elections are coming! Do you know what your incumbent councilperson has been up to these past couple of years? Do you know what any challenger to his/her seat might want to do differently if elected? Is there such a thing as an “honest politician” or is this just an oxymoron played on an unsuspecting democracy?

There will be plenty to consider this coming election. Will national voter discontent regarding entrenched politicos filter down to the local level? Will the local electorate express these sentiments at the ballot box and attempt a trek back to sane representation with responsible fiscal spending designed to improve...not build bigger, more costly and strangling bureaucracies?

Here are some questions you might want to consider as you listen to all the spin and rhetoric or read the slick brochures that will fill your mailbox from the local politicos. Actually, this could be Part 1 of a two part series.

  1. Were you in favor of the mandatory requirement to license and microchip all dogs as the council ignored the hundreds of petition signers who were against this proposal?
  2. How comfortable are you with a city manager who has a salary and benefit package ($428,000+) that exceeds the salary of the president of the USA?
  3. As a small business owner, how ecstatic were you when the council passed a restrictive ordinance that could cause you to spend around $8,000 to construct an “enclosure” for trash dumpsters?
  4. Speaking of trash, why did the council allow the city staff to begin a “pilot” program that would force all home owners to utilize unsightly, unwieldy, and difficult-to-store trash bins for garbage collection?
  5. Did your wallet become anorexic when the council followed staff recommendations for two rate hikes to increase water and sewer rates 10%?
  6. Did your anorexic wallet shrivel even more when the council increased the current tax rate even though property values had decreased?
  7. Have you enjoyed all the redevelopment of old downtown Irving considering the developer-welfare program provided to McDougal for loans, re-buying of property, interest payments, and $12,000/month consultant fees? With McDonalds and Burger King representing the only new construction in this area, should the city change its slogan to” Irving: Where the burger is king.”
  8. What level of confidence do you have with the Entertainment Center management --- Billy Bob Barnett -- and his expenditure of funds as the city’s hired concessionaire?
  9. Did you chuckle when the CPA “engagement report” for Entertainment Center expenses was presented to the council and it was stated that “questionable” expense items noted were okayed by “unnamed city staff” members?
  10. Will your wallet flinch if the city council refinances some bonds and passes these savings to the Convention and Visitors Bureau budgets for covering their bond payment shortfalls due to erroneous revenue projections related to the new convention center? How will this action impact the city’s AAA bond rating?
  11. How will the city ever have quality restaurants in the Heritage District when the council body slammed the Kroger grocery store over a 60’ variance to their zoning case to sell beer and wine? Isn’t zoning supposed to be about property without misrepresentations by another governing body?
  12. Do you appreciate the thousands of dollars that have been spent on a new city logo (a horse head) that appears on everything from business cards to water towers and seems to pay homage to North Las Colinas?
  13. Since the city’s voodoo financing plan for the Entertainment Center is still in the courts, has anyone disclosed how much the lawyers for the city have extracted from your wallet for this exercise in flimsy financing?
  14. Have any of the city’s new storm troopers -- Civilian Code Enforcers -- visited your domain to issue a complaint?
  15. What is the city’s unreimbursed costs for playing nice with the NFL for everything Super Bowl during the “Al Gore Global Warming Blizzard of 2011”?

While everything was rosy as the Kool-Aid was served at the State of the City address, the staff of the CCR didn’t wonder if the city’s glass was half full or half empty. We believed someone stole the glass and was charging taxpayers for a replacement!