Thursday, March 22, 2012

ZAP! #82: Thanks, Dave

ZAP! #82

Top 10 Reasons Why David Letterman Might Think

Rick Stopfer Should Be Ashamed of His Council Voting Record

10. Supported and consistently voted for the voodoo financed $250 million Entertainment Center project that currently seeks to commitment $170 million in city bonds that might jeopardize the city’s AAA bond rating and possibly require property tax payers to cover potential deficits in city department budgets and/or bond debt expense for this venture.

9. Did not approve -- on a recent council agenda -- several significant contract amendment recommendations for the Entertainment Center agreement that would have: eliminated or modified a 100-year lease clause favoring the developer; provide more than $1 million/year in rental income by the developer to the city for the first 50-years; and require the developer to be held accountable and forced to comply with the city’s 60/40 alcohol zoning ordinance.

8. Consistently approved and supported Heritage Crossing (McDougal) redevelopment project that required the city to pay interest on McDougal’s $27+ million in loans for properties purchased that currently have an appraised value of $8+ million.

7. Approved tax hikes (three in a twelve month period) for Water and Sewer rates.

6. Approved a $1.3 million consulting agreement with Dean International -- without soliciting RFPs from other potential consultants -- that even provided for council travel junkets, but contained nebulous details of the actual work being performed for the city.

5. Approved a $2.2 million Irving Chamber of Commerce (a not-for-profit organization) agreement that included $485,000 of city revenues to acquire a 10-year lease for a suite at Cowboys Stadium.

4. Denied allowing citizens the right to vote on a non-binding referendum regarding the Entertainment Center project.

3. Witnessed spending $175,000 to obtain a bond rating review when city bond and financial consultants had already stated that for the city to sell $170 million in bonds would require double pledging HOT taxes and place property tax payers in line to absorb any Entertainment Center losses.

2. Approved a contract and benefit package for the city manager making him the highest paid manager in the State of Texas.

And the number one reason why Letterman might believe Rick Stopfer should not be proud of his city council voting record is:

1. He is an incumbent with a 14-year tenure on the council that appears to favor special interest groups, ex-mayor Gears’ lobbying efforts and chamber business interest over tax paying property owners.

It has been said by councilman Stopfer that Irving businesses pay 70% of the property taxes in the city. The fallacy of utilizing this logic in any council decision is that businesses can increase the price or cost of their products or services to cover any and all city tax increases. Homeowners do not have the same advantage...especially those living on fixed incomes.

Using this feeble rationale of who pays the most taxes, the next step by council members would be to ask all homeowners to move out of the city. This would allow those on the council who continually favor special interest groups and the chamber from having to be bothered by all the ‘pesky’ folks wanting their representatives to do what is right...not just what benefits those who might not even live in the city.

Perhaps, the larger question should be: Is Irving a community of citizens, or a mere tourist destination for those interested in making a buck?

……………..Mark Holbrook

P.S. While Letterman only noted ten reasons, astute voters will probably discover several more reasons to ‘retire’ incumbent Stopfer prior to going to the polls and voting in District 8 for their at-large council representative.