Sunday, April 3, 2011

Andrew Laska's Commentary on Richardson's 2011 Elections

Andrew Laska is the President of Richardson Heights Neighborhood Association. He is the publisher of the Richardson Echo, an online news source for Richardson (that unfortunately looks like it has been moribund since early 2010). He is a co-founder of Preservation Richardson, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving a digital history of Richardson. He probably has a few more lines in his resume that I'm not aware of, but that will do for the purposes of this blog item.

Laska sent the following email promising to pass along his opinions about the upcoming Richardson City Council election. He doesn't say much in this first email, but promises that more opinions are to come. He also encourages recipients to pass it along, which is why I'm reposting it here.

After the jump, Andrew Laska's commentary.

Welcome to Andrew's Commentary on Richardson's 2011 Elections


I have received many e-mails with requests for my opinions on the upcoming 2011 Richardson City Council elections.

Rather than respond individually I have decided to do two things:
1) Send the same discussion and opinion to everyone who asked and
2) give many other people whom I have interacted with the option of reading my opinions.

With that in mind you have received this e-mail for one of several reasons. You might have asked my opinion of the candidates. You and I may have had discussions about Richardson City affairs in the past. You may have had contact with me such as when I supported the 2010 Richardson Bond package. You may be a friend on Facebook. You and I may have had interactions in our neighborhood. It could be some other reason. Whatever it is, I have interacted with you in some way and in that capacity I had your e-mail address.

If you don't want to read these opinions, then all you have to do is hit unsubscribe at the bottom and you will receive no further e-mails on this subject. You are also encouraged to pass on this e-mail to others and if your recipient chooses they may send an e-mail to and I will add them to this list.

What e-mails will I receive?, you might ask.

I will give my recommendation about candidates in the upcoming 2011 Richardson City Council election. I will give some commentary should a controvery arise. Many of you who know me well know that I interact with Richardson City government frequently as a neighborhood association president. I frequently deal with City Council members. I make my opinion known to City Government and many times -- because I am knowledgable of my area -- I am asked for my opinion by those in positions of responsibility and public service. I will send these comments out over several weeks and as things develop. My e-mail address is right here so feel free to ask specific questions.

My background for those of you who know less about me. I first moved to Richardson in 1968. I went through all levels of school in Richardson. Except for a few years here and there I have always lived here. I am now raising a family here. I am President of Richardson Heights Neighborhood Association (but in no way should my comments be thought of as coming from the association.) I was asked to serve on the Heights Playground Taskforce which helped decide the fate of the beloved rocketship and other equipment. I have been strongly influential in the visioning plan for the Spring Valley redevelopment initiative. I was arguably the most visible citizen face on the Richardson 2010 Bond election. I am a graduate of Leadership Richardson and I serve as an alternate on Richardson's Sign Control Board. I also attend many City Council meetings. I am also a voracious reader on all things about suburban growth and decline including many academic works. In fact, I have spoken to some of the leading researchers of suburban issues on occasion.

You may hear things, read news articles, attend public forums, read blogs, and even shake hands with candidates. Those are by no means the final word and in many cases they are hardly word enough. When it comes to many statements on blogs, those blogs often make claims that are flatly false and sometimes defamatory. There is lots of backstory that does not get told. Some does and I recommend reading Rumor Check: a Richardson based website dedicated to debunking politically motivated propoganda. I might end up telling some of that backstory and when I don't tell it (because it is too sensitive) you can at least count that my recomendations and endorsements take that into account.

The upcoming election is very important and I encourage you to be informed. Three current council persons have chosen not to run for reelection including longtime Mayor Gary Slagel. The next block of leadership will take a different direction because it wil have to.

Richardson is at a very pivotal point. It is an aging first tier suburb that needs to put its eye on renewal and thoughts into what it will look like in the 21st Century. It has done some of that but not nearly enough. I will tell you that some candidates do not get Richardson's challenge of aging. They might say they do but it is not in their gut like it should be.

I believe that some of the candidates that I will oppose could be destructive to Richardson's prospects for renewal. I believe that is true to such an extent that I would encourage you to go out and work for the "good guys" as I see them. That is my opinion of course but I feel strongly about it. You can disagree of course because after all this is America, baseball and apple pie.

I will give some of that background as we go along and I hope you will enjoy it.

There are two political action committees out there that presumably have a set of candidates they are pushing. They are the Richardson Coalition (which is officially called Richardson Residents for Responsive Government) that was formed in 2007 when Gary Slagel was ousted as mayor. There is newly formed group that formed in September of 2010 called the Richardson Citizens Alliance. In the 2009 the Richardson Coalition ran the table, and their entire slate was elected including ousting two one term incumbents. CLICK HERE to read more about that. The Richardson Citizens Alliance is focused on ousting anything establishment. CLICK HERE to read a Dallas Morning News story about them. For disclosure's sake I have interacted with the members of the Richardson Coalition in the past.

I think that is enough for now. I hope you will keep reading these e-mails and I hope you will pass them to friends, colleagues, church associates, neighbors and anyone else who might be interested. In fact, please pass this e-mail on to any Richardson residents who might be interested.

Thank you!
Andrew Laska

The opinions stated here are my own and are not paid for by any candidate.

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