April 8, 2024 Newsletter

Home  ============ Citizens Defending Freedom vs. AISD Lawsuit ============== Taxpayers' Funds at Risk ============ April 15, 2024 Newsletter ============= Arlington City CouncilGrades ============= AISD Board Grades ============ April 8, 2024 Newsletter =========== April 1, 2024 Newsletter ============ March 25, 2024 Newsletter ============ March 18, 2024 Newsletter ============ ================D1  Jacob Franklin, Candidate for ===District1=== Tim Goss, Candidate for ===District1=== Mauricio Galante, Candidate for ===District1=== ================D2  Raul Gonzalez, District2 ============= ================D6  Long Pham, District6 ============= ================D7  Bowie Hogg, District7 ============== Chris "Dobi" Dobson, Candidate for ===District7=== ================  Jim Ross, Mayor ============= Helen Moise, District1 ============= Nikkie Hunter, District3 ============= Andrew Piel, District4 ============= Rebecca Boxall, District5 =============  Barbara Odom-Wesley, District8 ============= ================P1  Sarah McMurrough, AISDPlace1 ============= ================P2  Kendall Orr, Candidate for ==AISDPlace2== Melody Fowler, AISDPlace2 ============= ================P3  Larry Mike, Candidate for ==AISDPlace3== Kathi Arocha, Candidate for ==AISDPlace3== April Williams Moore, Candidate for ==AISDPlace3== ================  Aaron Reich, AISDPlace3 ============= David Wilbanks, AISDPlace4 ============= Justin Chapa, AISDPlace5 ============= Brooklyn Richardson, AISDPlace6 ============= Leanne Haynes, AISDPlace7 ============= Fact Sheet - November 8, 2022 Election ============ ++++++++++++  ============= Kennedale Observer Homepage =========== Kennedale City CouncilGrades ========== Kennedale Observer - Latest Newsletter ============ Prior to That Newsletter ============== ================M  Jan Joplin, Kennedale Mayor ============ Brad Horton, Candidate for Kennedale Mayor ============= ===============P2  Matthew Dyer, Candidate for Kennedale Place 2 =========== Ebony Berry, Candidate for Place 2 =========== Thelma Kobeck, Candidate for Place 2 =========== ===============P4  Bryant Griffith, Kennedale Place 4 ============= Chris Gary, Candidate for Place 4 =========== =================  David Glover, Kennedale Place 1 ============== Ken Michels, Kennedale Place 3 ============== Jeff Nevarez, Kennedale Place 5 ============== Kennedale City Council Compare ========== 1083 Bowman Springs Road Kennedale ============ What to Know About the Texas Raceway Project ================ Kennedale Financial Reports ============== Kennedale P&Z agenda ============== Kennedale City Council Agenda ============== Kennedale EDC agenda ==============



 

April 8, 2024 – Volume 18 Number 15

Highlights:

* Solar Eclipse.

* City council is still discussing the purchase of property for childcare facilities in executive session. No comments made to the public.

 

Taxpayers' Funds at Risk:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/rich_text_83.html

 

City Council grades:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/rich_text_39.html

 

AISD Board grades:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/blank_1.html

 

Citizens Defending Freedom vs. AISD

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/rich_text_14.html

 

...

 

Arlington is a city where citizens are relegated to being spectators, rather than players on the field. The SPECTATOR helps citizens know what is happening on the field. Only a few of the in-house team members are allowed to play ball in Arlington. The SPECTATOR helps citizens understand the game.

 

GAME SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 8: Solar Eclipse.

Tuesday, April 9: City Council meetings, 101 W. Abram Street, 2:30pm, 6:30pm. (You must preregister by 5:00pm to speak during citizen participation.)

Wednesday, April 17: P&Z meeting, 101 W. Abram Street, 5:30pm. (Work session at x:xxpm.)

Thursday, April 18: AISD Board meeting, AISD Administration Building, 690 E. Lamar Boulevard, 5:00pm. (You must be signed up online by 3:00pm if you wish to speak.)

Monday, April 22: Early voting for municipal elections begins, 8:00am - 5:00pm.

Tuesday, April 23: City Council meetings, 101 W. Abram Street, 6:30pm. (You must preregister by 5:00pm to speak during citizen participation.)

Tuesday, April 30: Early voting for municipal elections ends, 7:00am - 7:00pm.

Wednesday, May 1: P&Z meeting, 101 W. Abram Street, 5:30pm. (Work session at x:xxpm.)

Thursday, May 2: AISD Board meeting, AISD Administration Building, 690 E. Lamar Boulevard, 5:00pm. (You must be signed up online by 3:00pm if you wish to speak.)

Saturday, May 4: Municipal and School Board Election Day, 7:00am – 7:00pm.

 

From THE LOCKER ROOM

Arlington City Council Update

The council did not meet last week. They will meet this week. There are no committee meetings. The afternoon meeting will begin at noon and go into executive session. The open portion of the meeting will start no sooner than 2:30pm. The evening meeting will start at 6:30pm.

# # # # # # # # # # # #

Afternoon Meeting

The afternoon agenda can be found at: https://arlingtontx.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=9&event_id=2066 . The meeting starts at noon and goes into executive session. The open portion of the meeting is to start no sooner than 2:30pm.

The executive session agenda includes:

1. Legal Discussion Related to the Gas Drilling and Production Chapter of the Arlington City Code

2. Discussion Regarding the Purchase of Street Right-of-Way, Temporary Construction and Utility Easement Rights from 2500 West Division Street

3. Discussion Regarding the Possible Lease of Real Property in the Arlington Entertainment District for Signs

4. Discussion Regarding the Purchase of Property for Childcare Facilities

5. Mansfield Webb Road (Silo Road to Collins Street) – Necessity Resolution; Project No. PWST21004 A resolution determining the necessity of acquiring street right-of-way easements and temporary construction easements for the public use of constructing, reconstructing, maintaining, and using street improvements, and all necessary appurtenances for the Mansfield Webb Road (Silo Road to Collins Street) project.

6. Offers of Incentives to Business Prospects

 

[The fear of the childcare facilities is that this will become the next $6 million/year budget item, much like Rideshare. NOTHING has been said publicly on this subject, such as what is being considered.]

 

The open portion of the afternoon meeting will begin no sooner than 2:30pm. That portion of the agenda includes three work session items, two informal staff reports, and an update on the trash cart rollout.

Work session items.

1. Unity Council Update and Equity Dashboard Overview (presentation).

2. Storm water plan (presentation).

3. Police Department 2023 Use of Force Report (presentation).

Informal staff reports.

1. Arlington Multimodal Delivery Project Update (staff report). This May 8 “delivery” project is funded by the city and its partners ($820,874) and the federal government [unable to figure out why it is in such debt] ($780,182).

2. Arlington Housing Finance Corporation Homebuyer Assistance Program (staff report), activity through March 2024 (report).

# # # # # # # # # # # #

The evening meeting begins at 6:30pm. The agenda can be found at: https://arlingtontx.granicus.com/AgendaViewer.php?view_id=9&event_id=2089 . The agenda includes an executive session item, 27 consent agenda items, and two zoning case public hearings.

Consent agenda item 8.12 is for greater than $1 million (including potential bonuses) for construction of intersection improvements at Matlock Road and Interstate 20 and Green Oaks Boulevard and State Highway 360 (staff report).

The first public hearing is for zoning case ZA24-1 (100/120/150/200 E. Stephens Street) to change the zoning from General Commercial (GC) to Light Industrial (LI) (staff report).

The second public hearing is for zoning case PD23-40 (1850 Park Spring Boulevard) for Community Commercial (CC) uses, plus major auto repair (staff report).

# # # # # # # # # # # #

The Arlington Spectator's City Council grades:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/rich_text_39.html

 

Attached to each candidate's name is a link to a page with all their responses to the questions.

 

This week's question:

Other than public safety what is the most important issue the city council is currently facing? Why? What are your suggestions for addressing this issue?

 

District 1

Jacob Franklin - Arlington is the highest population city with zero public transportaion. I want to recitfy this as soon as possible and ensure our entire public transit infrastructure is improved as much as is reasonable.

Tim Goss - After extensive discussions within District 1 spanning several months, it has become apparent that North Arlington has reached its limit for multifamily housing, with residents overwhelmingly opposing further apartment developments. In response to this challenge, several solutions could be considered. Firstly, local government and relevant stakeholders could implement zoning regulations or incentives to encourage the revitalization of existing commercial spaces, promoting the establishment of professional job opportunities, small businesses, and retail and restaurant establishments.

Furthermore, collaborative efforts between local authorities and economic development agencies could be initiated to attract larger businesses to the area, providing competitive salaries for professional career positions. This could involve offering tax incentives, streamlined permitting processes, or tailored support services to incentivize business relocation or expansion in North Arlington.

Additionally, fostering entrepreneurship and supporting local small business growth through access to funding, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities could further enhance the economic landscape of the district. By empowering local entrepreneurs, communities can tap into their creativity and innovation, driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities.

Moreover, strategic partnerships with educational institutions and workforce development programs could be established to bridge the skills gap and ensure a qualified workforce for prospective businesses. By aligning education and training initiatives with the needs of local industries, District 1 can enhance its competitiveness and attractiveness to businesses seeking skilled professionals.

Overall, by diversifying the economic landscape and addressing the shortage of professional job opportunities, North Arlington can create a more sustainable and resilient community while harnessing the potential of locally owned small businesses to drive economic growth and prosperity.

Mauricio Galante – A significant challenge the City council faces is finding solutions to redevelop outdated housing, retail, and office spaces while ensuring economic prosperity. Some actions can help to address it:

1. Community Engagement and Input: Encourage participation in town hall meetings, surveys, and forums to ensure that the redevelopment plans align with the needs and desires of the community.

2. Strategic Planning: Plans should consider factors such as job creation, a mix of housing options, infrastructure improvements, and sustainable development practices.

3. Public-Private Partnerships: Collaborating with private developers, businesses, and investors can help leverage resources, expertise, and funding to maximize the impact of redevelopment projects.

4. Zoning and Regulatory Policies: Streamlining the permitting process, offering incentives for development in targeted areas, and implementing flexible zoning regulations can help encourage economic growth while maintaining the community's character.

5. Small Business Support: Implement programs and initiatives to support entrepreneurship, provide access to capital, and foster the development of local companies, particularly in underserved neighborhoods.

6. Measuring Success: To ensure accountability and transparency, regularly track and evaluate progress towards goals such as job creation, tax revenue generation, property value appreciation, and community well-being.

 

District 2

Raul Gonzalez - The issues I have worked to bring to the forefront in the last few years are the cleanliness of Arlington as well as concern regarding homeless persons and panhandling. Don’t Mess with ARLIGTON Texas should be a slogan we all live by. Arlington is our home, and we should work together to keep it clean. The city works with volunteer groups like the Fish Creek Cleanup Challenge but each of us must make sure we don’t inadvertently litter and pick it up where we can. Arlington can be the cleanest city in America, let’s get it done. I am proud to report that the city recently launched a dedicated page for Clean Arlington initiatives.

I have received more emails regarding homelessness and panhandling than virtually any other single item. These are serious and complicated problems for cities around the country. Arlington is blessed with generous people and caring organizations. The “Contribute to the Solution” signs seen at intersections list our Homeless Services website with organizations that help get people off the street. A constituent sent me a photo of a sign in Texarkana. Within a few months we had signs up and early reports show that Homeless Services has experienced a very significant increase in traffic. Ultimately, Arlington is generous; as long as persons give directly to individuals, they will continue to panhandle. APD’s “HEART” Team includes officers and staff specifically trained to engage with homeless individuals and those experiencing mental health crisis.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you on the Arlington City Council. You are always welcome to reach out to me. Let’s Work Together for a Better Arlington.

 

District 6

Long Pham – Did not respond.

 

District 7

Bowie Hogg Public Safety is always the most important issue, as we must have a safe city to have a thriving city. The second most important issue, I believe, is neighborhood integrity. Arlington is in a major redevelopment phase. We have a great need to tear down dilapidated buildings that do not benefit our community. With that we must always take into account our current neighborhoods. Residents that choose to live here must have their needs met and we should bring in developments that increase their neighborhood satisfaction and not decrease it. We must protect the road infrastructure and even consider road design standards to increase traffic efficiency and provide the neighborhood integrity that current residents want when they invest in Arlington.

Chris “Dobi” Dobson – Our city fails to properly engage with our residents. Less than 9000 residents chose the last mayor. We haven't had a townhall since August of last year. The Economic Development Corp that was advertised first as a way to help demolish "the most under-demolished city in America" and then as a "way to help small business recover from covid" instead when operating helped Textron and not small businesses. The last charter amendment took 25 emails and 11 days to put on the ballot, with no public input on the wording or types of amendments the residents want. The silence in Arlington has become deafening. When in office, I'll be hosting monthly town halls so that residents can have an ongoing and public record of communications with the council. I'll put out, on social media, videos explaining the meeting agendas the council has to help residents understand the business the city does. I want to use the Rangers Luxury Box perks I'd get as a councilperson as door prizes for people that voted in the most recent municipal election. I want to empower the residents of Arlington to critique and encourage the city as well as take meaningful roles in the development.

The city needs to convince the residents that it is a rational choice to not just pay taxes but to become invested in the city, and to care enough to make the city better by spending time engaged with governance. Whether in a neighborhood group, committees, town halls, or even trash removal days, residents take part for their betterment as well as a communal benefit. Residents' efforts must be respected and not fall on deaf ears, but be thoughtfully considered and judged upon their own merits. I believe in the 'wisdom of the crowd' which means that with greater participation the average of all guesses approaches the correct answer.

The Shorthorn story on contested city council races: https://www.theshorthorn.com/news/meet-the-candidates-running-for-arlington-city-council/article_29fa4eb0-f1f5-11ee-9f6d-d365da222bbc.html .

# # # # # # # # # # # #

Economic Development Corporation (EDC)

We suspect the next EDC Board meeting will probably be April 16.

Arlington’s EDC is easily the largest sales tax supported EDC in the state. This gives spending addicted politicians greater than $20 million annually with which to fund their buddies.

 

Upcoming Public Hearings

On Tuesday, April 9, the city council will hold a public hearing on ZA24-1, on the 6.91 acres at 100/120/150/200 Stephens Street where they wish to change land zoned for general commercial to light industrial.

On Tuesday, April 9, the city council will hold a public hearing on the 0.964 acres at 1850 Park Springs Boulevard where they wish to change zoning to more major auto repairs.

On Wednesday, April 17, P&Z will hold a public hearing on PD24-1, on the 10.73 acres at 498 Debbie Lane where they wish to allow for planned development of MF-22 (multi-family) for assisted living units.

On Wednesday, April 17, P&Z will hold a public hearing on PD24-6, on the 0.611 acres at 4901 S. Cooper Street where they wish to change CC commercial to PD for CC commercial for a restaurant with a drive-thru.

On Tuesday, April 23, the city council will hold a public hearing on SUP24-1, on the 1.424 acres at 3400 S. Watson Road where they wish to allow for a private club in 961 sq. ft. of the existing building.

On Tuesday, May 7, the city council will hold a public hearing on PD24-8 (6907 Joplin Road) wishing to change RS-7.2 to a planned development for RM-12.

 

P&Z Commission

P&Z met this past Wednesday, April 3. There was only one zoning case on the agenda. The meeting can be viewed at: https://arlingtontx.granicus.com/player/clip/4792?view_id=10&redirect=true .

(0:58) The zoning case was PD24-8, 6309 Joplin Road. They wished to change the RS-7.2 single-family zoning to a PD-RM-12 for eight lots of town homes on the 0.903 acres (staff report). The plan failed to meet requirements for lot size, lot depth, various setbacks, landscaping, and screening. It was approved, 9-0.

The next meeting will be Wednesday, April 17.

 

AISD School Board

The school board met this past Thursday, April 4. Dr. Reich was not present. He was out of town receiving a state pharmacy award. The meeting may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSSNgBRo1LE .

In executive/closed session they discussed:

1. Personnel Matters

2. Consult Attorney Regarding Potential and Pending Litigation

3. Discussion of Districtwide Intruder Detection Audit Report Findings – Texas Government Code, Section 551.089

4. Easement and Right-of-way for a tract of land approximately 5,132 square foot (0.118 acres).

(18:10) There was one speaker on agenda items, speaking on restorative practices based on the category of school safety. [Not stated, but he must have one of the positions being cut because of the lack of ESSER funds.]

(22:46) Discussion/Action items A + B, instructional materials, and technology allotment items. They were approved with two 6-0 votes.

(37:55) Consent agenda, no items were pulled or discussed. It was approved, 6-0.

(38:38) Discussion item A, 2025 Legislative Agenda.

Finance

Adjust basic allotment

Fund schools on enrollment vs. attendance

Reject student saving accounts/vouchers

Fund growing Special Education needs

Increase access to affordable employee's health care.

Student Achievement

Revamp accountability system

Fully fund universal pre-K

Funds for technology access.

School Safety

Increase allotment for school safety

Prioritize and fund support for mental health for staff and students

Fund multi-displinary threat assessment teams to ensure appropriate staffing.

(48:20) Discussion item B, HB3 and district improvement plan update.

(1:24:50) There were three citizen forum speakers on non-agenda items. The first spoke on promoting an event. The second speaker was a student in support of the speaker on agenda items, earlier in the evening. The third speaker was a restorative practice specialist.

(1:38:12) End of meeting reports.

# # # # # # # # # # # #

The AISD will have three seats available up for election, Place 1, Place 2, and Place 3. All school board places are district wide.

 

The Arlington Spectator's AISD Board Grades:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/blank_1.html

 

This week's question:

What is the most important issue the board is currently facing? Why? What are your suggestions for addressing this issue?

Place 1

Sarah McMurrough – Did not respond.

 

Place 2

Kendall Orr – Did not respond.

Melody Fowler – Did not respond.

The Arlington Report did a report on this race. The Fort Worth Report story: https://fortworthreport.org/2024/03/12/qa-arlington-isd-board-presidents-competitor-is-business-administrator-district-mother .

 

Place 3

Larry Mike – Did not respond.

Kathi Arocha – It’s not only one unfortunately.

BUDGET

There are some major challenges. We have a huge deficit and will have to re-evaluate overall options from administrative structure, efficiency opportunities, vendor agreements, any programs that may not be returning the expected result, asset ROI’s, etc.

With that being said, we also must partner with the parents who are leaving AISD Schools to understand their reasons for withdrawing their children. We must prioritize and develop a “Bring them Back” strategy based on their feedback. This will build trust and help with our funding gaps.

Consistency on policies we currently have will also help. This will send a clear message that regardless of which school a student is at, it will be handled the same in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.

Academic scores continue to struggle and the concern I have with Covid relief fund ending, we are losing vital resources such as Teacher assistants, after school care, tutoring, mental health resources, etc. These important resources are needed especially for our teachers. We must understand the impacts of these changes to develop swift effective solutions.

Safety is a priority. I have said it many times. We must have the appropriate measure in place to ensure our staff and students are secure. We also can’t leave out the discipline issues that are considered violent and/or criminal.

One possible option could be surprise K-9 searches periodically to lower and/or eliminate drugs and potential weapons. As for drugs, many kids aren’t smoking “weed”, they are choosing bake bars instead because this avoids the smell. I believe, having such strategy will have these students think twice before selling/bringing to our schools.

April Williams Moore – Did not respond.

 

The Arlington Report did a report on this race. The Fort Worth Report story: https://fortworthreport.org/2024/03/19/qa-3-candidates-are-vying-for-arlington-isd-school-board-spot-incumbent-chose-not-to-run/ .

 

April 2 AISD Candidate Forum

The Arlington Council of PTAs held a candidate forum at First United Methodist Church in Arlington on Tuesday, April 2. The Arlington Report has a report. The Fort Worth Report story: https://fortworthreport.org/2024/04/03/arlington-isd-school-board-candidates-discuss-budget-vouchers-engagement-at-community-forum/ .

 

ESSER Funds to Run Out

The AISD will be cutting 275 positions. The Fort Worth Report story: https://fortworthreport.org/2024/03/20/arlington-isd-cuts-275-positions-as-covid-dollars-expire-employees-raise-questions .

TEA Accountability Data:

2022 Accountability

2021 Accountability

2019 Accountability

 

In 2020, the AISD was tied for the highest M&O rate of all the school districts in Tarrant County. Since then, there has been NO tie. The AISD HAS the highest M&O rate in Tarrant County. [school district tax rates]

Top 5 of Tarrant County's 21 ISDs M&O Rates

1. Arlington ISD $0.824900

2. Fort Worth ISD $0.790400

3. Mansfield ISD $0.789200

3. Birdville ISD $0.789200

3. Everman ISD $0.789200

 

Of Tarrant County's 21 ISDs - Lowest Tax Rates

1. HEB ISD $0.921100

2. Burleson ISD $0.924700

3. Carroll ISD $1.002500

4. Azle ISD $1.025000

5. Fort Worth ISD $1.062400

6. Keller ISD $1.087500

7. Northwest ISD $1.090200

8. Everman ISD $1.094146

9. Arlington ISD $1.115600

10. Lewisville ISD $1.130100

 

Press Box

MISD Candidate Qualified?

One of the requirements to run for most, if not all school boards, including the Mansfield Independent School District (MISD), is that the candidate must be a registered voter. Place 2 candidate, Angel Hidalgo registered after the filing deadline had passed. The KERAnews.org story: https://www.keranews.org/politics/2024-03-28/mansfield-isd-candidate-removal-amid-questions-about-his-eligibility .

Ransomware group wants $700,000

Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD) held an emergency meeting regarding the ransomware attack on their “new” computer system this past Monday. The Fort Worth Report story: https://fortworthreport.org/2024/03/25/ransomware-group-demands-700000-from-tarrant-appraisal-district .

Tarrant County to use prenumbered ballots

The Tarrant County Elections will be using prenumbered ballots for mail-in voters in the November election. The KERAnews.org story: https://www.keranews.org/government/2024-04-03/tarrant-elections-office-will-switch-to-prenumbered-ballots-following-party-line-vote .

 

HELPFUL CONTACTS

The Spectatorwww.ArlSpectator.mysite.com

to be added/deleted to/from the mailing list e-mail: ArlSpectator@yahoo.com

We can be found on Facebook at ArlSpectator.

 

Taxpayers' Funds at Risk:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/rich_text_83.html

 

City Council grades:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/rich_text_39.html

 

AISD Board grades:

http://arlspectator.mysite.com/blank_1.html

 

City of Arlington website: www.arlingtontx.gov

 

e-mails of mayor and council

.................... first.last@arlingtontx.gov

mayor = jim.ross

district 1 (north) = helen.moise

district 2 (sw) = raul.gonzalez

district 3 (se) = nikkie.hunter

district 4 (west) = andrew.piel

district 5 (central/east) = rebecca.boxall

district 6 (all) = long.pham

district 7 (all) = bowie.hogg

district 8 (all) = barbara.odom-wesley

 

AISD website ....................... www.aisd.net

McMurrough............ - sarahforaisd@gmail.com

Fowler ................... - fowler.aisd@gmail.com

Reich......................... - areich.aisd@tx.rr.com

Wilbanks .......... - david@wilbanksforaisd.com

Chapa ...................... - chapa.aisd@gmail.com

Richardson ... - brooklyn.richardson.aisd@gmail.com

Haynes ................... - haynes.aisd@gmail.com

 

TEA Accountability Data:

2022 Accountability

2021 Accountability

2019 Accountability

 

Opinion Arlington

www.opinionarlington.com

 

ARC Political Watch Committee Reports

includes coverage of Mansfield ISD and national, state, county , & city

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1HBliPv5JKafA5bOnksLUi1_pCYUJ_mtL?usp=sharing

 

Texas Legislative Online:

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

 

To be added to/deleted from our mailing list please e-mail: ArlSpectator@yahoo.com