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June 26, 2008

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For Responsible City Government

Jerry's idea of communication with his constituents is a 2-hour "Town Hall Forum". Once there he lines up the "suits" and lets them put on a 1-hour 50-minute dog and pony show. Then he opens the "forum" to questions in the remaining 10 minutes. His evasive answers are shameful.

WCF

Space in this paper has unfortunately been given to Michael Davis, City Plan Commissioner for District 4 (Southeast Dallas). Does the writer of this blog understand who he is and why he may be so accomodating to Jerry Allen???

Michael Davis is the same guy sitting next to Tom Leuder at the horseshoe (appointed by Dwaine Caraway)that seconded Leuder's motion to approve the project that was shot down by every other commissioner on the CPC Board. Says he "he has family in Lake Highlands", but in his comments in support of his second, clearly did not show comprehension of the matter on the corner of Church/Skillman beyond the appearance of it being 'vacant" which we all know well has not been the case for the past 20 years.

Kinda like the comment by Jerry Allen in referring to the older homes on the corner of Church Rd. as "shacks". Perhaps for him, but they are and were called homes by the individuals who lived there all those years. Makes you wonder what he would call your home and how he would treat you if you were in the way of a rookie with no development experience that he had taken kindly to???

Unlike the "class act" comment made by Davis, this reflects a different side of the man as he operates in his own district by not even addressing, nor respecting, the concerns of the citizens in the immediately adjacent neighborhoods who overwhelmingly were opposed to the project at this location for all the reasons that have been clearly enunciated on this blog and in front of CPC and the City Council.

For those of you who are not aware, any CPC decision carries absolutely no weight in Jerry Allen's mind, so beware....or so he has stated to those involved in this case, whereas the CPC decisions were touted in all other cases with compatible zoning and carried the support of the immediately adjacent neighborhhoods.

This analysis makes you wonder further whether this was an attempt at revenge for vocal opposition he encountered on other cases from sources other than the Church/Skillman opposition and what his post CC agenda is??? Guess it won't be a million dollar single family home "er shack" on the corner of Church/Skillman now that he has ceded the corner to the empty nesters that Perlman keeps thinking will be occupants in his REALLY BIG HOUSE. Jerry's over 55, so guess he may have a free room for life??? Ya think???

Robert Russell

I am thinking that Sore Loser is actually spelled "WCF". We are left to wonder who this person may be as they continually hide behind the initials of a fine comedian. I am left to surmise that WCF is a "rookie" writer who has no writing experience.

Michael Davis-Dallas Progress

"WCF,"

Why not use your real name when you want to make nasty comments on here? And do your comments really bring neighborhoods together or make the situation worse?

Don't try to demonize me because I voted in a way that YOU didn't like. Contrary to public belief, people that I consider friends in LH didn't want that vote to pass. On the City Plan Commission, we vote our convictions separately and independently. Sorry to disappoint you, but it's not based on if we'll win or lose a vote.

Actually "WCF," as I have mentioned at the CPC on the day of the hearing, some of my family members are 50 year northeast Dallas residents and have been in Lake Highlands for 40 years. I have family all over District 10. I probably have as many LHHS graduates in my family as you. My family has built in Lake Highlands, lives in Lake Highlands, volunteered extensively in RISD schools, and will never leave Lake Highlands.

I'm not trying to get in a spitting match with you, but at least stop trying to apply selective memory when mentioning my name or what I said.

We have neighborhoods that have never been safer because of Jerry. Those neighborhoods will come out in force next May to re-elect him, and thanks to all of this uproar I'll be personally volunteering and walking for him.

District Four by the way, doesn't encompass much of "southeast dallas" But hey, it's only geography, right?

Native Dallasite

Interesting reading - this blog. Mr. Davis, please explain to me just how Jerry has made my neighborhood safer? The crime statistics I see each week do not indicate this. From my seat, all he has done is cow to any developer NOT living in Lake Highlands to build anything.

Mr. Davis, do you and your fellow CPC appointees consider your work important? I certainly do - and attending a CPC hearing in February proved to me that all of you come into that chamber prepared and knowledgable about the issues of the month. But, how do you feel about a sitting councilman that tells his constituents that your time and effort is meaningless? That the city council does not consider your votes and research in issues that reach them? Why have a CPC, why ask citizens to give up many hours of their lives for the city, if the city council (or at least the LH city councilman) considers your work worthless?

Those lovely apartments and strip centers? Well, they were the work of prior developers - like the current crop they came in with blank checks, an obliging city council, and many promises - oh yeah, they didn't live in the neighborhood. Where are those developers today? I've been around long enough to know that other than LPC, they don't stick around for the aftermath of their construction.

And whoever said that they and all the people in the L streets will vote for Allen's reelection? Have you actually talked - had a real conversation - with all your neighbors? I have encountered many, many people living in that area - and not one of them supports Allen for re-election.

This is not a west side of Skillman issue or an east side of Skillman issue. I have personally never seen so many citizens of LH so energized about a local issue. Jerry Allen ran unopposed - it will be interesting to see if this man who is so full of "aw shucks" can actually mount a campaign when he has opposition.

Personally I look forward to watching that. This man has avoided any direct contact with his constituents when it comes to the hard issues - a 10 minute cherry picked "questions from the floor" does not equate to any reasonable expectation of dialogue with your elected official.

And why am I not signing my full name? Because one of JA's supporters has publicly accosted those disagreeing with Allen on his support of any developer. While I won't paint all of his supporters based upon that man's actions, it does give one pause to question actions made and words spoken.

For Responsible City Government

Plan Commissioner Davis glibly remarks,"District Four by the way, doesn't encompass much of "southeast dallas" But hey, it's only geography, right?"

Mr Davis, please refer to the map at http://www.dallascityhall.com/government/council/adopted_map.html.

It's only geography, but is sure looks to me like District 4 is within the southeast quadrant of the City Limits. Maybe if you spent more time walking through your own district with that map in your hands, you'd figure out how to find your way back to City Hall and represent your constituents better than Jerry Allen and his lackey Plan Commissioner do for District 10.

wanting the best for LH

Dear Advocate Publisher,

Could you please put Jeff Siegel's column in the July Lakewood Advocate -LAST WORD - on this blog. He has some great insight into what is going on with our City Council and our City Councilman.

Just a few of his statements:

Most City Council members don't understand what they're supposed to do, which is to serve as a counterweight to the city staff. Instead, they get downtown and listen to the staff and watch Power Point presentations, and their eyes glaze over. It's almost as if they've been assimilated, becoming the pod people in the original
"Night of the Living Dead" movie.

As long as some assistant city manager says: "If we do this, Dallas will be an even more wonderful city than it is already," the council rolls over and puts its feet in the air like a puppy having its stomach scratched.

It is really a great article and you can understand, with seven new council members, why we are in the mess we are in with Jerry Allen in Lake Highlands. City staff is obviously scratching his belly. We saw it at the meeting at the Freshman Center with Alan Walne.

LH Fan

Here is Jeff Siegel's article. Makes you think.

A Mute Point:
While Residents Spoke Up About the Mockingbird Toll Plan
The City Council Remained Silent

The news last month that Highland Park was considering charging tolls along its portion of Lane was not surprising on two counts: First, that the town considered itself so special that it could get away with something so silly, and second, that our elected officials were almost completely silent on the subject.

The first point attracted the most attention, which is not surprising, either. An estimated 18,000 drivers use Mockingbird through Highland Park every day, and most of them don’t live there. This has always annoyed the thousand or so people who live on the street; they apparently feel they should not be bothered by the traffic because they live in Highland Park. The toll plan was an attempt by the town to appease its residents, and that it was withdrawn almost as quickly as it was proposed was due as much to public outrage as good government. (Check out our Back Talk blog at advocatemag.com to see just how angry so many in our neighborhood were about the plan.)

But it’s the second point that’s the most interesting, because it shows how little our feelings enter into the considerations of Mayor Park Cities and our other elected officials. Save for Angela I didn’t see one member of the council say one negative word about the proposal.

Think about that for a minute. A plan to toll Mockingbird, which would not only harm city residents but increase the city’s road costs (to pay for extra maintenance caused by the increase in traffic elsewhere as drivers avoided a tolled Mockingbird), didn’t elicit one comment criticizing the plan.

How is that possible? Consider that, earlier this year, when Hunt asked that a Lovers Lane zoning change be sent back to the plan commission to reconsider the traffic implications, North Dallas councilman Ron Natinsky lit into Hunt, calling her an obstructionist for slowing economic progress in Dallas. It was overkill of the highest order, but it was also telling. By Natinsky’s logic, it’s OK for Highland Park to listen to its voters, but if someone in Dallas does it, she’s being anti-growth.

And that’s why I wasn’t surprised by the council’s silence. Most of them, sadly, don’t understand what they’re supposed to do, which is to serve as a counterweight to the city staff. Instead, they get downtown and listen to the staff and watch Power Point presentations, and their eyes glaze over. It’s almost as if they’ve been assimilated, becoming the pod people in the original “Night of the Living Dead” movie. This is not to say that the staff is always wrong or is always trying to lead the council down some dark and evil path. Rather, it’s that the council members almost always accept the staff’s word on the staff’s say so, regardless of what the staff says. As long as some assistant city manager prefaces his or her comments with: “If we do this, Dallas will be an even more wonderful city than it is already,” the council rolls over and puts its feet in the air like a puppy having its stomach scratched.

How silly is that? Who runs a business that way, let alone a government? The bosses always question the managers. In fact, in our council-manager form of government, the council’s entire reason for being is to ask questions. Why are we doing this? Why hasn’t this worked? Has something else been considered? What’s this going to cost us? What happens if it doesn’t work?

And this isn’t being obstructionist. It’s good government. But, sadly, the council seems incapable of doing it, as the Mockingbird toll plan showed. Absent the guidance of an assistant city manager and a Power Point presentation, no one knew what to say. Which is scary. If no one can figure out that tolling Mockingbird is a bad idea, how are they going to deal with the hard choices coming up in next month’s debate over the deficit-ridden budget?

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