Monday, October 26, 2009

Politics of Complaint: Trash and Blight

It's Monday and that means Open Mike Night at the Richardson City Council. This week's show lacked the passion of some previous shows, perhaps because it lacked any novelty as well. The topics were trash (Lookout Transfer Station) and blight (Richardson Heights area).

First up were two speakers who think the Lookout Transfer Station is an important issue facing the city of Richardson, but not so important that meetings about it should interfere with the holiday season. So, don't expect the city to explain to the Lookout neighbors until at least January why Richardson won't be sending the district's trash somewhere other than Richardson for transfer to some landfill that's also somewhere other than Richardson.

Next up were three representatives of neighborhood associations in the Richardson Heights area proposing their "Heights 2009" vision. They want the city to continue code enforcement of homes and apartments, get more aggressive about code enforcement of businesses, repave streets, alleys and sidewalks, build a new park, and put a moratorium on redevelopment along Spring Valley, US 75 and Belt Line until a master redevelopment plan is in place. No complaining in this presentation, no threatened tricks, just an open treat bag waiting to be filled with no hint of a price tag anywhere. Finally, a member of the Richardson Coalition took the mike to endorse the homeowners' wish list.

Open mike night usually permits each speaker five minutes. Mayor Slagel allowed the three HOA reps to divide up their time, fifteen minutes total, however they'd like. As it turned out, they divided up their time pretty evenly, but wacks out there who want more than five minutes to harangue the city council might have just seen a loophole. Bring your spouse or a friend or two and request five minutes for each to discuss the same subject, then ask for permission to divide up your time how you need. That way, one of you can get ten or fifteen minutes of weekly fame. At least for one week, before the rules are tightened to prevent habitual exploitation of tonight's exception to the rules.

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