Sunday, August 3, 2014

CCR 08-03-14: More Flotsam and Jetsam

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

Got Maalox®?
     The miasma of hypocrisy will permeate the Irving City council chambers on August 7, 2014 when QueenB VD once again parades her "fluffy" ethics code before all the peons and serfs in attendance for ‘citizen input’ on agenda Item #3.  Considering the last time she placed this item on the agenda, the response was…well, zilch.

     If the queen would just drop the charade and be realistic in her attempt to revise, an already valid ethics code, she might actually see the light of day shine on a council vote.  

     For starters, the obscene amount for contributions to a campaign, using the queen’s proposed cap, is laughable at best and insincere at worst.  Making the playing field level for all campaign donors and placing the cap at $300/donor for an entire election cycle just might resolve one of the dilemmas in her "fluffy" ethics revision.   

     Of course, a $300 cap could cause great grief and gnashing of teeth for her sugar daddy donors and single source developers who might have voting strings attached to her scepter.  Really, how would the Ellis family be able to pump another $20,000++ into her coffers?  Would Simon feel slighted by not being able to send another check for $10,000?  Would Quillan ($10,000) and Gibbons ($17,500) feel their campaign contributions hadn’t bought the best representation possible?
     If her feeble and feigning attempts at transparency (snicker) for passing a revised ethics policy was made into a movie, would the title be: "The Ego from the Black NPD-Lagoon."

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza Ride Again and Again…
     Considering the Irving ISD has already spent $350,000+ to defend their 5-2 voting districts for board elections, the tireless and self-promotional law suit filed by Manuel Benavidez continues to clog the court system.  Hopefully, the decision, which will be rendered by a federal judge for his latest law suit, will be delivered as it should be…in favor of the Irving ISD.  This action would be consistent with how this same judge decreed in Benavidez’s first lawsuit filed against the Irving ISD on voting district composition.

     Newer readers of the CCR reports may not remember, but John Danish and Manuel Benavidez have been the poster kids and darlings for bringing single member voting districts to the Irving city council and school district.  Their activities on this issue started back in the early 80s.  Danish was much like Don Quixote charging establishment windmills with his trusted sidekick and aide, Benavidez, serving as Sancho Panza by providing him with lances.

     Fast forward to today and note the city and school district both have single member districts.  However, Benavidez has not been satisfied with the 5-single member districts and 2-at-large districts implemented by the school board.  So, he filed a second law suit to have the courts demand 7-single member districts.

     Sadly, even with the previous gerrymandering of school district voting boundaries, the plan has not gone as well as Benavisez (with three campaign losses in the city to his credit) fancied to please his self-assessed importance.

     In the city council districts established for predominately Hispanic voters, a Black and Anglo (Danish, for god’s sake!!) representative have been elected.  In the school district, a Hispanic was elected to the new district, but later resigned leaving the seat open.  It should be noted: No Hispanic filed to fill the vacant seat, which was going to be appointed by the school board, from the district established to reflect the majority Hispanic population! 

     With all this in mind, we perused an old issue of the CCR (8-24-2009) to see how what is happening today might be the same as occurring back in the early days of the single member districts issue.  Some things and some individuals just never seem to change…or go away.  With this in mind, the CCR re-prints:

Ode to Benavidez
Blessed disciple of a limousine liberal, if elected would be miserable
Couldn’t win with rhetoric so lame, figured white dudes must be the blame.
Election losses were all his own, he needed a judge to ring his phone.
Ruling his home a Hispanic nation, now electable only by self-flagellation.
City leaders believed themselves mystics, fumbled the ball on single member districts.
Activist judges and political flakes, a sad and comical Irving makes.

     Here’s a thought.  How much would the $350,000+ presently being spent on legal fees for Benavidez’s latest court frolicking been of benefit to the district’s After-school program…which is strapped for finding bucks to maintain?  Does it appear Benavidez may think more about his own political agenda than actually working toward making the district a better environment for students?  Just wondering.

Want Fries With That?
     "If you build it (and the city pays for it), they will come!"  It seems the cost of buying a burger at the revamped Big State Fountain and Grill might be a bit more pricy for tax payers.  The city council (Item #15, 08-07-14 council agenda) is planning to approve $75,000 for refurbishing the public parking lots on the owner’s property for this revamped pharmacy.  Additionally, the agreement for public parking on this lot is for five years.  After five years will the parking lot be converted to paid parking in 'beautiful downtown Irving?'  Only the property owner knows for sure.

     Note:  In the minutes of the June 26, 2014 Planning and Development Committee meeting, there is the notation which reflects the redevelopment of the old Big State Drugstore site will tap city coffers for 37%, or $202,000 of the total project cost.  Wow!  And all this time staff of the CCR figured the property owner was capitalizing the entire project with his bucks to "spark" development in 'beautiful downtown Irving.'

Missing in Action Photo Op?
     While giddily striking her Hollywood-ish pose w/mane flip recently, when presenting interim city manager Steve McCullough a proclamation for his service and ‘second’ retirement from the city, was there a valid reason for QueenB VD not attending his bon voyage reception this past week?  Could it be there was going to be too many other individuals having their pics made with Steve and this might agitate the queen’s suggested condition?  A rare occurrence when the queen misses the flash of the photogs! 

Money, Money Everywhere But…
     Did someone hit the re-play button on city developers being unable to finance city approved projects?  After BBB, LCG, McDougal, et al, one would think the issue of developers and commitments might be on an even keel.  After all, folks have been waiting and clamoring for dirt to fly and the skyline speckled with construction cranes from Davis Crane Service for pending projects.  

     In the case of convention center hotel developer, Mortenson, this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Mortenson just missed their second extended deadline for having their investment partners in tow to commence work on the hotel project.  The question now becomes: What will the city council do?  Will the council provide another extension?  With the current agreement now void, will the council seek a new developer?  Will QueenB VD raise her scepter to decree a single source developer, again?  Should the council contact Habitat for Humanity and see if they would want to build a hotel?  (Just think of all the people that could be served should this happened.)  

     Frankly, Habitat for Humanity could have a hotel built in about two weeks and wouldn’t need to lift any bucks from the city treasury!
…………………..Mark Holbrook