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Quotable Quotes

"Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.."
 - George Washington (1796)


"Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto."
 - Thomas Jefferson (1799)


"The ongoing migration of persons to the United States in violation of our laws is a serious national problem detrimental to the interests of the United States." - Ronald Reagan, 1981


"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?" - William J. Bennett in a lecture to the U. S. Naval Academy, Nov 24, 1997


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Note: To speed up this Blog Entry page, postings older than two months may be deleted...


These are old entries from the main blog page



12-23-2010: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

As the year comes to an end, I probably will not be writing anything on the blog.  I received a few video links that I wanted to share.  Please watch these and check back for others.  Please send me a link to any good ones that you like and I will try to view and add to this short list.
  • A Dog's Christmas Wish Video - An American Greetings Card short 1 minute film.  Once the video starts, right click the video and click "Show All" to make it bigger.
  • The Digital Story Story of the Nativity - Kind of a funny "What If" posted in a YouTube video.  What if Jesus was born in our present time?  With everyone using computers, internet, and social media, how might it have gone?  I thought it was really creative.  I do however, recommend the book (grin).
  • more to come?


12-22-2010:  A response to an anonymous comment

     A few days ago I received a comment on my blog about my oath of office page.  I doubt the name was real since the person filled out the contact form without real info.  I usually just ignore these type of anonymous comments because the person writing does not have the moral sense or courage to give real contact info or be honest about it.  However, they left the following comment which got that inner voice in me talking .  As a Christian, I attribute this to the Holy Spirit encouraging me to make a statement in hopes that this person will revisit and read the response.

     Their comment was, "I find it kinda funny to see you bolded the "So help me God" on the Oath of Office. Being as I'm atheist, that particular line holds no meaning for me. I'll uphold the duties of my office to the utmost, but I don't need the assistance of a magical boogieman to do it."


My response is:

    It saddens me to hear you have no knowledge or faith in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  I pray that your mind is opened and your heart accepts Jesus and that you get to know him.  I personally cannot fathom living a life with the belief that there is no God.  The more I know, the more I learn, the more I live - all this strengthens my knowledge that there is a God.  I am very fortunate to have learned this early in life.
     As a Christian nation, [learn your history...  in the 1700's the argument about 'freedom of religion' referred to all the Christian based denominations as we know them now.  Atheism was not tolerated back then as it is now.  but I digress...] ...  As a Christian Nation, our forefathers (past leaders) knew that the moral guidance from God is  necessary to lead others (please refer to my page on Christian Citizenship).  I would not vote for a non-believer to make decisions for me.  If you run for office, I do hope that you are honest about your lack of faith.  It is sometimes difficult for even believers to follow the rules but I think your lack of beliefs would encourage you to change them to suit you.  After all, you stated that a particular line has no meaning for you.  The authority of the rules is not mine, it is God's and thus that is where I derive my moral compass.  I hope that you fix your compass so that you may be guided onto the correct path.

     By the way, I take all my Oaths seriously.  Several mention God too.  I will do my best to do my duty to God and my Country, etc....

- John Gorena

p.s. - If God does not believe in atheists, do they exist?


12-20-2010:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 12-20-2010:
    • 05:30 PM, Lewisville Local Government Corp (LLGC) will have a meeting before the Workshop.  The agenda for the LLGC mentions that they are going into closed session then reconvene to take any actions on the topics they discussed in closed session.
      • After Meeting Comments:  I have been asked several times about this meeting.  It was a closed meeting and I am not on that Board.
    • 06:00 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • A. Lewisville Animal Shelter and Adoption Center Virtual Tour
      • B. Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few items that I think you might want to know about:
      • Items 1 & 2 are Public Hearings "Deeming Substandard a Single Family Dwelling."
      • Item 9. Consideration of Amending Single Family Residential Solid Waste Collection Service Levels.
        • ADMINISTRATIVE COMMENTS: At the July 12 and October 4, 2010 Council meetings, staff presented a review of current and offered collection options for residential garbage and recyclables. The primary discussion involved increasing the collection services for recyclables from once every other week to once per week at a cost of $0.52/month per resident. The current rate for residential solid waste including recycling is $11.34 per resident and the proposed rate would be $11.86 per resident per month.
        • Comment:  I have asked that we offer a recycling program to the apartments also.  They currently do not have recycling pickup and they make up more than half of Lewisville Dwellings.  This will be discussed at the Council Retreat in February 2011.
        • After Meeting Comments:  It passed unanimously. Services need to be approved by TWM and then it should start in the Spring - maybe early summer.
      • Item 10. Consideration of an Ordinance Amending the Lewisville City Code, Chapter 2, Section 2-201, Fee Schedule, Revising and Adding Various Permit Fees.
      • Item 12. Consideration of an Ordinance Amending the Lewisville City Code, Sections 15-87 and 15-88; Creating Turn Prohibitions On and Along Certain Streets; Prohibiting U-Turns and Left Turns on Main Street at Railroad Street and Prohibiting U-Turns on Valley Parkway at Timbercreek Drive.
      • Item 13. Consideration of an Ordinance Creating an Arts Advisory Board to Serve as Advisers to the Arts Center Manager in Relation to Center Programming and to the City Council in Relation to Hotel Occupancy Grant Awards.
      • Item 14. Discussion and Consideration of Appointments to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, Number One, Board of Directors.
      • Item 15. Consideration of Acceptance of Resignation of James Crockett From Place No. 4 and Michael Duval From Place No. 5 on the Old Town Design Review Committee; Declare Vacancies Exist; and Consideration of Appointments to Place No. 4 and 5 on the Old Town Design Review Committee.
        • Comment:  Thank you to Mr. Crockett and Mr. Duval for the time that they have spent on this board and all the good work they have done.

12-06-20100:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 12-06-2010:
    • 5:45 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • A. Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony (5:45 PM)
      • B. Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items (6:30 PM)
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few items that I think you might want to know about:
      • There are three items related to Gas Drilling:  Items 3, 14, & 15.
      • There are several Public Hearings on the agenda.

11-30-2010:   Holiday at the Hall (Christmas event).

Please note the details about the Christmas Tree Lighting which is also mentioned on this link and it will be Monday, Dec 6, 2010 at 5:45 PM.


11-15-2010:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 11-15-2010:
    • 5:45 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • A. Tour of the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater
      • B. Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few items that I think you might want to know about:
      • D. PUBLIC HEARING:  Consideration of an Ordinance for a Zone Change From Office District (OD) to Old Town Mixed Use Two (OTMU2) on a 0.437 Acre Tract Located at 314 West Main Street; Further Identified as the Davidson Place Addition, Lot 1, Block A; as Requested by Jouett Investments, Inc., the Property Owner (Case No. PZ20101015).
      • ITEM 5.  Approval of a Contract Between the City of Lewisville and Denton County for the Collection of Outstanding Fines and Other Amounts Pursuant to Section 702.003 of the Texas Transportation Code by Allowing the County Tax Assessor-Collector to Deny the Renewal of Vehicle Registration.
      • ITEM 14. Consideration of an Ordinance Prohibiting the City From Requiring Project Labor Agreements on City Construction Projects (as Requested by Councilman Watts).
        • See long version pages: 11, 125-127.
        • Pre-Meeting comments:  This is basically saying that contractors do not have to be unionized (Project Labor Agreements).  There is no city ordinance or policy that states contractors have to be unionized or not.  This is more of a clarification that states the City's position on this matter.
  • EVENTS THIS WEEK:  See Calendar of Events for more but here are a few I want to point out:
    • November 16, 2010; 6:30 PM - CDBG Advisory Committee (Click for time/location or call 972-219-3400 for more information).
      • Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee will hold a public hearing on
        • Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m., at the Glenmore Savage Community Room of the Lewisville Municipal Annex, 1197 W. Main St.; and on
        • Nov. 30, 6:30 p.m., at Shepherd’s House Church Family Room, 225 Milton St. The hearing is to seek public input regarding neighborhood issues, affordable housing needs, social service needs and the use of grant funds.”
    • November 16, 2010; 6:30 PM - Castle Hills Conservative Club Meeting
      • Begins: Tuesday, November 16 2010 at 6:30 PM
        Ends: Tuesday, November 16 2010 at 8:30 PM
        Location: Castle Hills Community Center
        Address: 2501 Queen Margaret; Lewisville, TX 75056
    • November 18, 2010; 6:00 PM
      • NOTICE:  Public Hearing - Draft Environmental Assessment for I 35E from Hwy 161 to FM 2181. 

11-01-2010:

Lewisville City Council Meeting on 11-01-2010:
  • 5:45 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
    • A. Discussion of Sales Tax Options
    • B. Discussion of Computer Devices for City Council Use
    • C. Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
  • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few items that I think you might want to know about:
    • D1. Public Hearing: Consideration of an Ordinance for a Zone Change Request From Agricultural Open Space (AO) to Light Industrial (LI) District Zoning on 1.99 Acres Located on the West Side of Holfords Prairie Road on Westhill Lane; Further Identified as Tract 25 of the P. Higgins Survey, Abstract 525, as Requested by Jose Torres the Property Owner (Case No. PZ2010-10-13).
    • D2. Public Hearing: Consideration of an Ordinance for a Zone Change From Light Industrial (LI) to Warehouse (WH) on 12.074 Acres, Located on the South Side of Business State Highway 121, East of Valley Ridge Boulevard; Further Identified as the Eastern Portion of the Thompson Addition, Lot 1, Block A and Tract 26 of the V. R. Sutton Survey, Abstract 1153; as Requested by Mitch Dudley Enterprises, Inc., the Property Owner (Case No. PZ20100912).
    • Item 4: Approval of a Master Development Agreement With Wynne/Jackson, Inc., for Services Related to the Lewisville Lake Master Plan Implementation; Approval of an Appropriation From General Capital Projects Available Cash in the Amount of $210,000; and Authorization for the City Manager to Execute the Contract.

10-23-2010: 

  • EaRly Voting Continues:  - Click heRe foR moRe.
  • Arts Center Cornerstone Ceremony
    • Where: Lewisville Center for the Creative Arts
    • When: Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (note that this is 30 minutes later and first announced)
    • What:  The Masonic Lodge #201 conducts on this ceremony, similar to the ceremony held at Fire Station #7. There will be a presentation of the colors by the Fire Department honor guard and a performance by a high school choir, among other activities. If you have not had a chance to visit the construction site recently, Jim Wear will be able to show you around before or after the ceremony -- it is quite impressive!
  • Lewisville Chamber Community Showcase
    • Where: Lewisville High School cafeteria and parking lot adjacent to Max Goldsmith football stadium.
    • When: Saturday, October 23, 2010, 10a.m. to 3p.m.
    • Why: A community-wide event perfect for marketing your company to consumers and other business owners.
  • "Meet & Greet" your southern Denton county elected officials - All Citizens of are invited:
    • Where: Lewisville City Hall; 151 W. Church Street, 3rd Floor
    • When: Wednesday, October 27, 2010;  6:00 pm
    • Details: Informal meeting, before our upcoming legislative session, with no set agenda, no podium, no pre-questions. Just a simple opportunity to meet your elected leadership.   RSVP's: Senator Nelson, State Representatives Solomons, Parker, Crownover have confirmed attendance. Senator Harris will be in Austin that night to accept an award from the Children's Advocacy Center and regrets not being able to make it.   ***Local mayors, councils, commissioners, and others have been invited. Please make time to come, visit, and talk with your local leaders.

10-18-2010: 

  • Voting StaRts 10-18-2010:  If you live in Denton County , the Denton County Website is the place to see a sample ballot foR youR pRecinct. HeRe is how to get theRe if you aRe shaRing this data with otheRs - theiR ballot may be slightly diffeRent thanks to geRRymandeRing, etc...
    • Voting Dates:
      • Early Voting is OctobeR 18 thRu 29, 2010
      • Election Day is NovembeR 2, 2010
    • Elections AdministRation website at
      http://elections.dentoncounty.com/go.asp?Dept=82
    • You can see youR voting location infoRmation and Sample ballot by looking up youR RegistRation- use youR voteR ID numbeR if the name and biRthdate do not woRk. This will take you to the complete page of wheRe you can vote with Date and times. At the bottom of youR info page you will see a link to youR sample ballot.  https://elections.dentoncounty.com/goVR.asp?Dept=82&Link=292
    • NovembeR 02, 2010 GeneRal Election EaRly Voting Dates, Times and Locations - Click heRe foR moRe
  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 10-18-2010:
    • 5:45 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • A. Discussion of Old Town Transit Oriented Development Plan and Mill Street Corridor
      • B. Discussion of Lewisville Center for the Creative Arts Naming Rights Agreement
      • C. Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few items that I think you might want to know about:
      • Item 2. Approval of a Resolution Adopting the Old Town Transit Oriented Development Plan and Conceptual Designs for the Mill Street Corridor Including Various Alternatives to be Decided During the Design Development Phase.
      • Item 4.. Approval of an Economic Development Agreement By and Between the City of Lewisville, Donald W. Kirkpatrick and Naomi N. Wilson and JSN/AAK Enterprises, LLC.

 


10-04-2010: 

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 10-04-2010:
    • 6:00 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • Review of Solid Waste Service Options
      • Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few that I think you might want to know about:
      • Item 12. Consideration of Revised Program Guidelines for the City of Lewisville’s First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program.
        • Comments:  Though I voted against the First Time Home Buyers Program on 07-19-2010 because "I do not think that Tax dollars should go to private transactions", it was passed and we must move forward.  This vote is for changes to the Guidelines submitted by the CDBG committee which are listed in detail in the Long Version of the Agenda starting on page 120.
      • Item 13. Consideration of an Ordinance Amending Chapter 7, Article XVIII, Oil and Gas Drilling and Production, of the Lewisville City Code, by Increasing the Minimum Setbacks; Changing Paint Color Requirements of Equipment; Requiring an Emission Control/Reduction Plan; Requiring a Processed Water Disposal Plan; and Requiring a Commercial Driveway Onto a Gas Site.
      • Item 14. Tabled Item: Consideration of an Ordinance Authorizing Entering into a Franchise Agreement With Denton County Electric Cooperative, Inc., d/b/a CoServ Electric Granting Non-Exclusive Right to Use and Occupy Right-of-Way Within the City of Lewisville for Construction and Operation of an Electric Transmission and Distribution System.
        • Comments: Staff recommends that the City Council table the second reading of the ordinance to the October 18, 2010 City Council meeting. See the Long Version of the Agenda starting on page 159.
  • There are two Republican Club Meetings this week:
    • Denton County Republican Assembly meeting:
      Tuesday, October 5, 2010
      06:30 PM Meet and Greet, 07:00 PM Program
      Where: Lewisville Chamber of Commerce building 551 N. Valley Parkway
      Speaker: MICHAEL SMITH , Executive Vice President of Heritage Alliance,   “What to do With All This Tea?”  How easy it is to Reclaim America one square block at a time. A 25-minute presentation with visuals.
      COME AND BRING A FRIEND -- STUDENTS ESPECIALLY WELCOME!
    • Denton County Republican Club
      Thursday, October 7, 2010
      06:45 PM Meet and Greet, 07:00 PM Program
      Where: Lewisville Chamber of Commerce building 551 N. Valley Parkway
  • Fire Department Open House set for Oct. 9, 2010 - The Lewisville Fire Department will hold its annual Open House on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Central Fire Station, 188 N. Valley Parkway. Activities will include demonstrations and displays, children’s activities, hot dogs, popcorn and special appearances by Life and Fire Safety clowns.

09-20-2010: 

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 09-20-2010:
    • 6:30 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.  Here are a few that I think you might want to know about:
      • Item 7. Approval of a Resolution Authorizing Agreements Between the City of Lewisville and Community Development Block Grant Sub-Recipients; Between the City of Lewisville and City Social Service Agency Fund Recipients; and Between the Economic Development and Planning Department and the Public Services Department for FY 2010-2011; and Authorization for City Officials to Execute the Agreements.
        • Comments: This item is for the approval of the agreements for the Social Services that will be receiving CDBG money that was approved on 07-19-2010.
      • Item 11. Consideration of an Ordinance Adopting the FY 2010-2011 Tax Rate.
        • Comments: This the final meeting to discuss the tax rate.  The tax rate was not increased this year.
      • Item 12. Consideration of an Ordinance Amending the Lewisville City Code, Chapter 2, Article VIII, Section 2-201 Fee Schedule.

09-15-2010: 

  • The results for yesterday's LISD Tax Ratification Election is good news.  The sad part is that there were only 6,149 voters who voted.  The LISD area encompasses a large area with many cities as shown in this LISD Boundary Map.  There are more than 44,000 registered voters in Lewisville Alone.
  Early Election  Total
FOR 1,013 {32.42%} 1,022 {33.80%} 2,035 {33.09%}
AGAINST 2,112 {67.58%} 2,002 {66.20%} 4,114 {66.91%}
TOTALS 3,125 {100.0%} 3,024 {100.0%} 6,149 {100.0%}

09-14-2010:  REMINDER:  LISD Tax Ratification Election TODAY.


09-13-2010:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 09-13-2010:
    • 6:30 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.

09-08-2010:  Flooding in Lewisville

  • Flood at Central Park on Edmonds lane, Lewisville Texas (Sept 08, 2010). The torrential rains that fell in North Texas made Lewisville a very wet place. So much water came so quickly that storm drains and creeks could not move the water faster enough. Timbercreek overflowed its banks. For those of you familiar with the Bridge there, that is DEEP water. Watch Video
  • Flood at Holfords Prairie rd, Lewisville, Texas (Sept 08, 2010). News report from Channel 4. Watch Video
  • Timber Creek Cat, Dog, and Human Rescue - Timbercreek; Lewisville, Texas (Sept 08, 2010). Timbercreek overflowed its banks and flooded the homes on the south side of Timbercreek Rd. (last time was about 1989 or 90). The Lewisville Fire Department rescue and evacuation operation.  Watch Video
     

09-07-2010:  PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • September 10-11, 2010, Feed My Starving Children will be doing 200K meals at Garden Ridge Church of Christ, in Lewisville. Sign-ups are now available here.
  • Lewisville Western Days is approaching fast.  September 24-25, 2010 (Friday and Saturday).  This is a ticketed event so please be sure to PRINT YOUR FREE TICKETS at http://www.lewisvillewesterndays.com.
  • Up in time for Western Days in Lewisville...  You may have noticed a new statue in front of Lewisville City Hall. It is called "Slicker Shy" sculpted by Herb Mignery and on loan from the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The Video is by Adam Vinnie Campetti who condensed a 6-7 hour day into 5 minutes and 33 seconds. Music by Stephen Bernd who works for Lewisville's Parks and Leisure services.  See the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjcWVmwhD2w.
  • Volunteer Opportunities:
    • Trinity Trash Bash - September 18th, 2010: KLB is bringing back the TRINITY TRASH BASH event! Join us 8am to 11am on September 18th in the northern most parking lot at the Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park for our waterway clean up for a morning full of fun. Free t-shirts, goody bags, and door prize give-aways to all KLB volunteers. Help us promote environmental responsibility and water equality by cleaning up Lewisville Lake shorelines, the Trinity River, and 16 local creeks that feed into the Trinity’s Tributaries! Please wear long sleeves, pants, and sturdy tennis shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty for the clean up!!! KLB is partnering with The City of Lewisville, LLELA, and T.R.E.E.S (a 33 member organization of regional Keep America and Keep Texas Beautiful affiliates) to help make this waterway clean up a success. To pre-register, please contact KLB at 972-436-5100.
    • Western Days Festival - September 24th and 25th, 2010: KLB is looking for volunteers to help hand out pocket ashtrays at the City of Lewisville Western Days Festival on Friday, September 24th and Saturday September 25th. Friday’s volunteers are needed from 5pm to 10pm, and Saturday volunteers are needed from 10am to 10pm. Contact KLB at 972-436-5100 to sign up as a volunteer for this event, or to get more information about this volunteer opportunity. Thanks!
  • eCycling Drop Off event Sept. 11
         A Free eCycling Drop Off event will be held Saturday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Lewisville, 1251 Valley Ridge Blvd. An eCycling crew will remove all acceptable electronic products from trunks or pickup beds. Any products not acceptable for eCycling will be left in the vehicle.
         Items that can be accepted include computer CPUs, monitors and peripherals, printers, Fax machines, keyboards, photocopiers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, home and office phones, cell phones and consumer electronics.
         Items that cannot be accepted include microwaves, smoke alarms and detectors, thermometers, dehumidifiers, large appliances (refrigerators, etc.) and non-decontaminated medical equipment.
         Media contact: Lisa Weaver, City of Lewisville Environmental Programs Coordinator, 972.219.3503
  • See City of Lewisville Press Release for any other updates...  Click here

08-30-2010

  • LISD Tax Ratification Election
    • Voting:
      • Early Voting: August 30 - September 10, 2010
      • Election Day: September 14, 2010
    • WARNING: The ballot is little misleading so here is another perspective… According to Denton County, the LISD tax Rate for 2009 was 1.4087 (see county table).  The ballot states "Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $1.4467 per $100 valuation in Lewisville Independent School District for the current year, a rate that is $0.02 higher per $100 valuation than the school district rollback tax rate."  What this means is that they can only raise it so much before having to get voter approval to pass the current roll back rate of 1.4267.
           Barring all the confusing talk about Maintenance and Operations (M&O), Debt Service Rate, roll back rates, etc.... They are asking you to vote FOR or AGAINST raising the rate a total of 0.038 (or 3.8 cents more per $100 of property value) from 1.4087 to 1.4467.
           What does this really mean to you in the form of dollars?  Looking at the LISD portion of property tax...  Let's say that you live in a house appraised for $150,000.  The added LISD tax of 3.8 cents per $100 of property value comes to about $57 more for a $150,000 home.  Therefore, the LISD taxes for this home will be about $2,170.00/year (at the 1.4467 rate).
      •  NOTE:  This rate does not include City and County taxes.  For Example, in the current 2009-10 tax year, Lewisville residents pay a combined property tax of 2.09871 per $100 assessed valuation.  The breakdown is:  LISD (1.4087 or 67%), Denton County (.24980 or 12%), and City of Lewisville (.44021 or 21%).  In our example of a $150,000 home, the combined annual property taxes are about $3,148.00 for the total 2.09871 combined property tax rate.

08-16-2010:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting on 08-16-2010:
    • 5:30 PM, Workshop Session. As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
      • Presentation of DCTA Projects and Review of Anticipated Service Schedules
      • Discussion of Railroad Park Naming Rights Agreement
      • Discussion of Regular Agenda Items and Consent Agenda Items
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.
    • After Meeting Comments:  My comments are going to relate to discussions made before and during the Citizens Forum.  View the Meeting online here and the discussion starts about 20 minutes into the video, be sure to continue watching through the Citizen Forum.
           I did not expect to be put on the spot, but there were at least three instances (00:20:00 through 00:50:00, 00:57:45, and 01:07:30).  I knew that the topic of alcohol at Western Days was going to be mentioned as listed in the agenda as "Review of Lewisville Local Government Corporation and Beer Sales at Western Day Event (Requested by Mayor Ueckert)".  Without previous information on what was going to be said, I had envisioned that there was going to be discussion on who was going to serve the beer/alcohol and how the money was going to be used, etc...  I was surprised that I was a subject of discussion during this topic.  When I was allowed to make my comments, I pretty much stated what I have previously written in the After Meeting comments for 08-02-2010 below.  It's on the video as mentioned above.

08-06-2010: REMINDER: Lewisville Budget workshop is scheduled for August 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM.  THIS IS AN ALL DAY MEETING AND IT IS AN OPEN MEETING.   Should be over by mid afternoon if it goes smoothly. The Lewisville Budget Workshop will take place in the Community Room of the Lewisville Municipal Annex (Library Building). 

  • AGENDA:
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: We will hear reports from departments all day about the budget, then a public comment section, followed by the council discussions on what to fund and not fund.  There will be a 30 minute lunch break.
  • WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO ATTEND? Because there will be public hearings on August 16 & 23, 2010 And there may not be any Minutes or a recording for your viewing before that time. Last year the minutes did not get voted for approval until after the public hearings and there was no video online either... YOU MUST ATTEND IF YOU CAN!
  • WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?  Download and SAVE the Preliminary Budget for 2010-2010 that will be discussed at the Budget Workshop.  This will also help you if you plan to speak in the open forum section of the day.  Save it to your computer and view it when you get time.
  • Questions asked about the budget workshop:
    • Can anyone come and sit and watch?  Yes, it is an open meeting.
    • Can I come late? Yes, people come and go all day.  Just be mindful not to disrupt the meeting.
    • Is there a citizen comment period?  Yes, it is on the agenda but the exact time when that will be addressed is not.  Depends on the previous items of the agenda and how long it takes to cover them.
    • Is there Wi-Fi access for my laptop?  Yes, the City Annex has Wi-Fi access.  I am not sure if a plug will be close by for you to use power.
  • After Meeting Comments:  Like always, I will make corrections as they are pointed out to me - these comments may change if I said something incorrectly.  There are several  topics I want to address in no particular order: 
    • It was a long day.  Overall, I think things will be OK.
    • I appreciate that a few citizens showed up and listened.  I received comments from several people that attended and some that could not attend.  No one filled out any speaker cards but it was overwhelming for most people.  It is not too late to speak up.  There will be a public hearing on September 13, 2010.  It is for citizens to bring up concerns - just like the citizens forum in every council meeting.  You can come speak your concerns about the budget at any meeting before the scheduled public hearing too.  To make a change will need a special meeting before the October 1 deadline.  Again, if you want to give comments about the budget, please come and state your points and case for a change.  I suggest that you be precise and be logical about your case.  It is not too late to convince the members of the Council to make a change.
    • The budget is pretty tight.  I may disagree with some things and some things did not go the way I wanted them to go.  That is, I think some money should have been spent differently or not at all.  I am just 1 of 6 on the City Council and it will be up to the citizens to make their views known - speak, vote, get involved, etc....
    • Recording Equipment:  An item of concern on the budget was the $50K to replace the old recording equipment and get the workshops video taped for the internet.  It died for a lack of second on the motion.  See the rest of this from my Status Report page about video taping.
    • Christmas Lights: The City manager gave us a sheet with several options that ranged from $6,431 (City Hall building and 14 tree trunks) to $14,270 (City Hall, Annex, many more trees, etc..).  A motion was made to use $35K (which is less than last year).  It passed.  I voted No because I think we should have spent much less than $35K on this.  I want to be clear:  I am all for Christmas and I am all for lights but I was not for spending that much in this economic crunch.
    • We did not lay anyone off or schedule furloughs.  We froze most vacant positions.  Other cities have laid off personnel and/or are scheduling furlough days.
    • We did not raise the City Property Tax rate, like what is expected from the County and LISD.  Of the cities that we compare, we have the second to the lowest city property tax rate and are below the average.  A word of caution, Our current city property tax is .44021 and the total effective rate (break even rate) is .47718.  Therefore we have to pull some money from other funds.  It is my opinion, I still have one, if the economy does not improve quickly, this will catch up to us and we may need to raise taxes a few cents in the next year or two.  I also think that we need more Police Officers and we will soon need more Fire personal when Station 8 gets built.

08-02-2010:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting 08-02-2010:
    • 06:00 PM, Local Gov't Corporation, Open meeting
    • 06:10 PM, Workshop Session.  As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.  Discussion Revision of Administrative Policy and Procedures Process
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.
    • After Meeting Comments:  My comments are going to relate to comments made during the Citizens Forum.  View the Meeting online here and the area starts about 7 minutes into the video.  Basically, a citizen questioned alcohol at City events and the existence of the "Local Gov't Corporation" (LGC, which is a committee).  I want to address these two main topics here and clarify my position as I do not think I explained myself well enough.
           First, she stated that her opinion was that the City should not have alcohol at City events.  I spoke to her after the meeting and she was not aware that the City had beer at previous events.  I can remember that there was beer or some sort of alcohol for at least a dozen years in the form of beer gardens, etc...  There was a registration and limit to beverage consumption, and alcohol was to be kept in these areas.  These were usually sponsored by a vendor or group.  Her opinion is shared by many people.  Though I do not drink beer, I am not against alcohol at these events.  What I am against is that the City is buying the alcohol and if my memory is correct, this is the first time that the City is actually buying it.  I think this should be done by a vendor or another group who will have the responsibility and liability.  Beer/Alcohol is a product.  It is like the City buying all the food to resell and make the profit.  Again, I think this should be like any other product sold by our vendors of the event.
           Second, the citizen brought up the issue of the existence of the "Local Gov't Corporation" (LGC, which is a committee) which is comprised of five of the six Council members - however, I am not on the committee.  That meeting was held right before the Workshop meeting.   I agree with the citizen that all the council members should be involved with voting on how City money gets spent.  After all, we were all elected to make decisions for the City budget, etc...  It was stated that the money comes from gas drilling permits and put to the LGC.  Regardless, this is City money.  A majority of the council is on the committee thus effectively making decisions that affect the City.  The LGC was created about 2004 or 2005 (not sure) and has been comprised of council members (not all the members were on the council).  I do not think there should be an LGC committee and I think that these issues should be part of the Council meeting. Until there are others on the council that feel like I do, I think this will not change.
           Also, it was brought up that I was part of the discussion at our February retreat.  I had been on the council for about six months and I was trying to limit conflicts as I am trying to work as a team with people who mostly disagree with my decisions and views.  The topic came up of selling the alcohol at Western Days.  I did not want the City to do the selling and I do believe that I mentioned (and also other meetings) that I did not think the City should get the TABC license which should be done by a vendor or group.  However, I am told that the minutes of the retreat do not reflect this.  I do remember, at the February retreat, that they were all wanting to proceed and there was no reason for me to make a stink about it because it will come up later for a vote - so I thought.  We discussed this topic in the Closed Session where minutes are not taken.  I did not rehash my views at the end of the retreat when summarized direction was given to staff because we had already discussed it.  I have stated my views in several meetings since then also (May 17, 2010 meeting minutes on page 10 is an example that I mentioned my opinion in a workshop meeting about not getting a TABC license in the Arts Center.)  The Western Days alcohol issue was all handled by the LGC which I am not apart of.  Well, at least it came out tonight.

07-24-2010:  Though the service does not officially start until August, the Lewisville Police department is now posting crimes in Lewisville online with a National Crime Map service that citizens can start viewing now. It gets updated twice a day. See it... Read more about it.. Check it out at www.crimereports.com


07-19-2010:

  • Lewisville City Council Meeting 07-19-2010:
    • 06:00 PM, Workshop Session.  As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.  Discussion of Unfunded Super Bowl and Arts Center Events
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.
      • PUBLIC HEARING: Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the Adoption of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2010 Annual Action Plan; and Authorization for the City Manager to Submit the Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  (pages 24 to 75 of the Long Version of Agenda).

        After Meeting Comments:  Here is a basic summary of my comments in the meeting which can be viewed on the City website. “The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.”

        • We received from HUD $635,106
        • Left over from last year at $134,743
        • For a total of CDBG money at $769,849
        • PLUS another $170,000 from the general fund for Social Services.  This is separate from the CDBG money but added to the CDBG budget.
        • Total of $939,849 (CDBG and General Fund)

             Our limitations for CDBG portion of the money (which is $769,849) are basically the following but there is a large amount of regulations, etc...:

        • Low/ mod income areas
        • Category I:  Infrastructure (we can spend 100% in this category)
        • 0 to 15 % CAP on Category II: Public Service Activities, which is $95,265
        • 0 to 20% Cap on Category III:  Planning and Program Management, which is $127,021.

             I Voted NO on this because I object to how the money is being spent in 'Category I:  Infrastructure', which is also called the “Bricks & Mortar” part of CDBG.  I do not think that Tax dollars should go to private transactions like the $150,000 that is being allocated to the private sale of 13 homes in the First Time Home Buyers Program.  And another $185,000 to make 'weatherizing' improvements to 5 homes.  That is a total of $335,000 to private transactions and private property improvements.  My solution?  I think we should spend the money on tax payer funded infrastructure projects and fix the streets/curbs/etc in these neighborhoods so that people will want to move into the neighborhood and invest in a home.  (I was the only council member that voted No and the Item passed.)
              A comment about Category II: Public Service Activities.  THESE ARE ALL GOOD PROGRAMS AND they ALL serve the community.  I encourage citizens to donate privately to the charity and non-profit organization of their choice.  I am not complaining about this category at all.  I did suggest that NEXT YEAR we look at the programs a little closer (our fiduciary responsibility).  Do we need to have some of these programs on a yearly stipend?  Especially when they have a sufficient revenue stream?  Maybe we do and maybe we don't - I really do not know.  Every organization will use the money if they receive it.  We should always be there to help in times of crises as they do serve the community.  They are independent companies, most (or all) are non-profits, and the services are contracted as stipulated per CDBG requirements.
             As mentioned above, we also took $170,000 from the general fund too.  Though I did not know it at the time, the City Manager wrote in the Preliminary Budget for 2010-2011 on page 16 that his intention "is to gradually reduce this further each year, if possible. When funding was first started by the City in the early 80’s, it was never intended to be permanent, and was supposed to be 'seed' money. In an environment of service cutbacks, this line will be among those that may have to be scrutinized more closely."
             Some of these programs are extremely vital and save the city money because of their multi-jurisdictional operation.  Without these organizations, each city would have to hire full time employees and create departments to provide these services.  Several high profile examples are:

        • CACDC - Chidren’s Advocacy Center for Denton County
        • CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates
        • Denton County Friends of the Family Victim Services
        • and others..

             Though I do not really have any companies in mind that we should wean off the tax payer yearly stipends, the CDBG committee did not allocate any funds this year to:

        • Boys and Girls Club - After School & Summer Care Program
        • Knight Light Charities-Financial Crises Center

             And finally, I want to say that I do appreciate the time and effort of the citizens on the CDBG board.  It is a tough board to be on and I do appreciate their time and service.
             An Article about the meeting in the Lewisville Leader, Click Here to View.
            

      • ITEM 2 & 3: LISD Variances for those of you that are concerned about LISD. (Pages 79 to 103)

        After Meeting Comments:  Complaints about what LISD is doing should be directed to the LISD board.  After all, they get about 70% of your property tax money and they are their own governing agency. 
             I voted YES to both and both items passed.
             Item 2 was for a temporary building for one year at the South campus for showers for the tennis courts.  LISD is moving the tennis program for Lewisville to the 9 & 10 grade campus in South Lewisville.  Those in tennis at the other two campuses will have to go to the south campus for that activity.
             Item 3 was for three variances that had been approved and because they were approved together, they needed to be voted on for a change in the third variance which increased the number of parking spaces from 1117 to 1458 (the ordinance requirement would about 2147 spaces).

      • ITEM 5: removing term limits from the TIRZ1 board. (pages 111 to 124)
        After Meeting Comments:  I voted NO because I believe in term limits.  (I was the only council member that voted No and the Item passed.)  Members of boards/committees are assigned by those on the City Council.  I do appreciate the time and effort from the members of these boards.  I also stated in the meeting that I think term limits are good for the city council too as I have stated in the past.
             Because of a comment made by one of the council in the meeting about, if I may paraphrase, a council member could not run again if they thought they served long enough...  I was asked if I would resign after two terms because of my recommendation for term limits.  My answer is, I will stay on the Council as long as the voters want me to be there or until I can get enough support for term limits to be on the ballot in order for the voters to vote on this issue.  Who knows, I might not run again as it is pretty tough to be the only person wanting to do these things... We will see...  The rest is up to the voters at our yearly city elections in May.
      • ITEM 9: PUT THIS IN YOUR CALENDARS:  Lewisville Budget workshop is scheduled for August 7, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. THIS IS AN ALL DAY MEETING AND IT IS AN OPEN MEETING.   Should be over by mid afternoon if it goes smoothly. The Lewisville Budget Workshop will take place in the Community Room of the Lewisville Municipal Annex (Library Building). 
        • WHAT TO EXPECT: We will hear reports from departments all day about the budget, then a public comment section, followed by the council discussions on what to fund and not fund.  There will be a 30 minute lunch break.
        • WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO ATTEND? Because there will be public hearings on August 16 & 23, 2010 And there may not be any Minutes or a recording for your viewing before that time. Last year the minutes did not get voted for approval until after the public hearings and there was no video online either... YOU MUST ATTEND IF YOU CAN!
        • WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?  Download and SAVE the Preliminary Budget for 2010-2010 that will be discussed at the Budget Workshop.  This will also help you if you plan to speak in the open forum section of the day.  Save it to your computer and view it when you get time.
  • Please see the City Manager's Weekly Update about upcoming events.

07-12-2010

  • City Council Meeting 07-12-2010:
    • 05:45PM, Workshop Session.  As Usual, this is an open meeting and I encourage you to attend.
    • 07:00 PM, Regular Council Meeting.  Please look over the Agenda - Short Version or the Long version with backup material.  Please look over the long version which has some backup material that might peak your interest.
    • After Meeting Comments: Concerning Item 10 (amended to the Agenda) at the Lewisville City Council Meeting Monday, July 12, 2010, “Consideration of the Moratorium on Gas Drilling in Lewisville”.  If you did not get a chance to watch the Meeting online or attend, I wanted you to know why I voted against the moratorium.
           When I first heard about this on Friday, I started making calls trying to get information of any credible data for concerns. I did not see any real evidence of any danger. No one could give me any proof.
           The vote was for a moratorium (a waiting period set by an authority) on drilling. The item for consideration was to postpone drilling for 120 days to 180 days. As stated, I voted against the moratorium because I did not see any reason for it. The reasons they (those in favor of the moratorium) stated was that they wanted to stop the drilling for Health and Safety reasons ... but there are not any facts to support that there is a problem. They cited Benzene concerns but the opposite is true and the data graphs show that the levels do not coincide with gas drilling. Benzene is basically mostly found in liquid (moisture too) and not gas – although there are traces of benzene all the time (especially at gas stations, in cigarette smoke, etc…).
           I would have voted for the moratorium if there was a strong reason for concern for safety. Our ordinance was just updated about 7 months ago and we had input from citizens, city staff, and experts. AND on this night, we also voted to review it again – please review it too.  A few months back, we also had voted to hire a professional consultant to keep tabs on the drill sites - basically our drilling cop.
           With all the regulations and standards placed on drilling companies, we need to CHECK & VERIFY that they are following the rules. After all, not following the rules is why there are problems like the BP oil spill and the problems in Dish, Texas. These examples are not the norm and are in reality very rare when compared to the thousands of thousands of wells that are out there. A Moratorium would not have made a difference but to add an unnecessary delay if any.
           If there is a problem that arises then we must respond effectively (not react to fabricated threats). We must watch and verify to make sure that there are no violations and make sure that no pollution occurs to our land, air, and water.
           I also believe that our country needs to be energy independent and not rely on foreign oil.  If the Ordinance needs to be changed then let’s change it but I think it is a good ordinance as written. I will not be in favor for making the ordinance easier, that is, I will not be in favor of variances that want to shorten the distance, etc... The Ordinance is quite thorough and you can read the ordinance online. Visit the City of Lewisville website at http://www.cityoflewisville.com to watch the meeting online or see the ordinance. You can also see the last posted version Municode online at http://www.municode.com which gets updated at least yearly. The Dallas Morning News had an article  ....
           FYI, I got about 10 calls about this topic. More than half were NOT in favor of a moratorium but that was not the reason for my vote which I have stated above. Of the 3 or 4 people that called that supported the moratorium, not one could cite a single verifiable true fact. They cited the fabricated bullet points that they were told about cancer and benzene but none of them could provide any documentation to really support it. One person cited the newspaper article but I pointed out that the DMN just repeated the concerns of people. One also mentioned that they have not sold their house yet. The real crime here is the fabrication of which I had first believed to be true until I started doing more research on the issue. Is there a chance of something happening? Yes. Is it a big chance? I do not think so. I think there is more of a chance of being in a deadly car accident but I do not stop driving because of it. I want you to know, that if I could have found any real evidence to be concerned about, then I would have championed for a complete shutdown of the drilling.
           Let’s keep an eye on it and watch it closely - CHECK & VERIFY.
      - John Gorena, Lewisville City Council, Place 4

 

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