the Controversial Committee Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”
Hey kids! Let’s cut to the chase and get this over with early. Before the politicos start flooding your mailboxes with spin and hype, staff of the CCR will provide you with their thoughts and picks for the local elections -- city council and school board. Also, by letting you know early, this might ease the acid reflux from all the pablum-spiced brochures due to come your way.
The elections this season could determine if the city progresses or continues to stay in a rut by kowtowing to special interest groups or developers interested in making a buck at your expense. For the school district, crisp thinking needs to prevail over a current board floundering under administrative control.
We would recommend that you support and vote for:
District 4...Joe Putnam
Putnam has faithfully led a charge to protect tax payers from the voodoo financing of the Entertainment Center. His tireless efforts have helped shine the spotlight on a project that has the potential to crater finances of city budgets and jeopardize the city’s AAA bond rating.
Opponents: As a real estate agent, Fran Bonilla has profited generously from land sales in the Heritage District and apparently supports the chamber’s position on the Entertainment Center project; Phil Riddle is a retired city of Irving fireman who would complement another fireman already on the council. And don’t forget all the political brouhaha observed in the last city election by campaign funding from the Irving Firemen PAC.
District 6...Brad LaMorgese
LaMorgese is an attorney and political newcomer with no apparent connections to developers of the Entertainment Center. His insight into city contracts, consulting agreements and other fiscal matters would bring a fresh approach to keeping citizen concerns at the top of the city’s priority list.
Opponent: Bill Mahoney appears to be wired into the chamber of commerce or others supporting the current Entertainment Center debacle. If accurate, it is doubtful that he could provide fresh, free thinking or independence of action in these matters...especially with any close ties he might have to the current city manager.
District 8...Tom Spink
Spink has previously served on the council and championed a process of monitoring issues with the tax paying citizens in mind. His current outspokenness against the crippling financing of the Entertainment Center could be critical to putting this project back on a sound fiscal track. He is not supported by those with a pecuniary interest in the Entertainment Center project.
Opponent: Rick Stopfer’s soft-spoken approval of the Entertainment Center and the McDougal Heritage District projects over all the years he has been on the council leaves one to wonder if he actually represents developers, consultants, special interest groups or tax payers. The financial strains on tax payers from these projects and other consulting agreements has consistently had his stamp of approval.
The change that started after the last school board election should continue in order to rescue the district from a plethora of floundering decisions that not only have cost tax payers dearly, but also mirrored administrative influence that stymied critical and independent thinking.
District 3...Larry Stipes
Stipes is a businessman who would bring much needed expertise to the board. He knows and understands the role a board member should have in setting policy and could use familia experiences to assist in restoring the board to one of sound decision making.
Opponents: A.D. Jenkins previously served on the board and aligned with those who have helped to create the floundering issues that favored administrative perspectives over citizen concerns. (Some examples are as contained in V. Jones notations below.) Alecia Mott, while unknown, has an established career as a federal bureaucrat.
District 4...Norma Gonzales
Gonzales is a political newcomer who has been actively involved in the district as a parent and served on district committees designed to improve the system. Her fresh insight would not be contaminated by the entrenchment of shellback board members or administrative authority.
Opponents: Valerie Jones’ extended tenure on the board would only foster the floundering witnessed by the following actions -- approved the superintendent’s contract to 2016 before he had even served one year in the district; approve $4,700 in questionable personal legal expenses for the superintendent; approved $45,000 for renovation of the superintendent’s office suite; approve $150,000 for the administrative building fountain removal; led the crusade to deny a city zoning case against a Kroger grocery store; approved the $117,000+ for the flawed and very controversial “skin” study. Dinesh Mali previously ran for the board and garnered few votes and little support due to citizens not having a clear understanding of his position on issues.
While readers may not agree with all the picks noted above, staff of the CCR believes that the issues facing the city and school board are significant enough to generate a higher than normal interest in the elections. The political unrest that seems to permeate the city can only be cured by electing individuals who are not beholden to special interest groups or administrative dictate.
With that in mind, it would be conceivable to even elect political newcomers over incumbents who seem to have a warped track record of forgetting that their position is to represent the citizens. Fresh and analytical thinking should trump the lemming approach of governance currently found on the council and school board.