Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Richardson's Taj Mahal

Arlington has its Cowboys Stadium, a billion dollar pleasure dome funded in part by local sales tax. Allen will soon have its $59 million, 18,000 seat stadium for its high school, funded entirely by ISD taxpayers. Garland has its $31 million, 7,000 seat Special Events Center, funded by ISD taxpayers.

Richardson has new softball fields at Huffhines Park. One resident calls the complex a Taj Mahal because the grounds were graded for better drainage and the railings on the outfield fences are padded. A softball field with pads - Richardson's own Taj Mahal. Once again, open mike night at Richardson city council meetings doesn't let us down.

83 And Under

Restaurant Scores

The Health Department of the City of Richardson conducts inspections of restaurants on a regular basis. The department publishes the results for all to see. According to the city, "Scores are based on a scale of zero to 100. A score of 90 to 100 is excellent; 80 to 89 is good; 70 to 79 is acceptable; and 60 to 69 is marginal." It's rare for any restaurant to be scored below "acceptable." Most are good or even excellent. Many achieve a perfect 100 score.

After the jump, a list of under achievers.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Outtakes: Down In Front

Before the game, Ellen suggested moving higher up in the grandstand if he wanted to take photos, but Mark was sure that this was high enough.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Berkner Football: It Ain't Over Until It's Over

Aric Stock: 89 yds passing, 77 yds rushing
From 2010 Football
The Berkner Rams learned that old Yogi Berra truism the hard way Friday night, losing to South Garland High School 24-17 in overtime. Berkner led 17-0 in the second half, had more first downs and more total yards, but still couldn't close out South Garland. What cost Berkner were turnovers (1 interception and 3 lost fumbles, including a muffed punt recovered on Berkner's 1 yard line that South Garland converted into a touchdown), penalties (including two ejections), and a prevent defense that allowed South Garland to drive 80 yards for the tying score with less than a minute left in regulation time. Congratulations to South Garland for not quitting early, taking advantage of every opportunity, and looking dominant at the end.

The season is still very young. How the Rams bounce back from this disappointing opener will be key to how the rest of the season goes. Next week, it's an away game against North Crowley, who lost to Irving Nimitz 38-20. There will be two teams on the field next week eager to register their first win.

The Berkner drill team and the Mighty Ram Band looked sharp. Remember,without the band, it's just a game.

To see more photos of the game and halftime show, click here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hey Boss, Can I Use You As A Reference?

Not if you are Stefani Carter and you are running for Texas House District 102. The co-founders of Sayles Werbner law firm, where Stefani Carter is employed, endorsed Carter's opponent in the race, incumbent Carol Kent.

After the jump, some conjecture on what it means.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?

From 2009 Football

The triple digit temperatures have given way to the 90 degree chill of Autumn breezes. That must mean it's time for high school football. From the game to the cheerleaders to the drill team to the marching band, high school football is the best entertainment value around, bar none. Take in a game this season, or five or ten.

For a look back at photos from the 2009 season, click here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Apology For Thinking Bad Of Joe Driver

State Representative Joe Driver (R-Garland) caught hell a week or so ago when he was accused of double-dipping from the state -- seeking reimbursement for his expenses as a state legislator from both the state and his own campaign. Now, as other legislators' practices are examined, we learn that most state legislators are "guilty" of the same "offense." I put quotes around those words because it's not as black-and-white that anything unethical or illegal is going on as the original story would lead us to believe.

After the jump, the not so black-and-white details.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

They Are Smoking Something At City Hall

Monday evening, The Richardson City Council voted to ban the possession and use of synthetic cannabinoids such as K-2 and products containing the substance salvia divinorum. The vote came after a long (for Richardson) deliberation by council members that went round in circles on some basics of the new ordinance without ever getting to the bottom of the issue. I'm as much in favor of open and transparent government as the next person, but last night's experience makes me wonder which causes more loss of confidence in government, the suspicion of corruption surrounding secret meetings or incompetence on display at public meetings.

After the jump, the debate over K-2.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Disorderly Conduct In Richardson

The City Council of Richardson is considering adoption of a Code of Conduct. (A draft ordinance can be read here. My earlier blog on the topic can be read here.) Initial public response to the proposed ordinance has been muted. A public hearing is scheduled for September 13. Before then, the public can bring their concerns to the attention of the council during visitors section of regular city council meetings.

After the jump, some disorderly areas of the Code of Conduct that I think the council should rethink and clean up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Libertarians Never Win

In a word, principle. In two words, simplistic principle. In a phrase, simplistic principle to the point of parody.

Q. How many Libertarians does it take to change a light bulb?
A. None. If the government would just leave the damn light bulb alone, it would change itself.

A simplistic principle applied reflexively to every problem is like a broken clock that's correct twice a day. When it's correct, you nod your head in admiration. More often you shake your head in utter disbelief. Libertarians are nothing if not consistent, even when it doesn't serve their electoral chances. That's why they don't win elections.

John Jay Myers, the Libertarian running for Congress in the 32nd District against long-time incumbent Pete Sessions, who is anything but principled, is no exception. After the jump, the Libertarian admirably gets it right on this summer's ginned up political wedge issue, the so-called Ground Zero Mosque (which is neither on Ground Zero, nor properly speaking, a mosque). Too bad it won't win him many votes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rod Dreher: Big Questions, Predictable Answers

You remember Rod Dreher. He was with The Dallas Morning News editorial board. He was the spiritual heir to William Murchison. Both think the world has gone to hell in a hand basket. You could always recognize Dreher's work. He would wring his hands about the downfall of Western Civilization because of gays or Muslims or the disappearance of the Latin Mass.

After the jump, what Dreher is agitated about now.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Man Without Ethics Is A Wild Beast

"I had taken a course in Ethics. I read a thick textbook, heard the class discussions and came out of it saying I hadn't learned a thing I didn't know before about morals and what is right or wrong in human conduct."
-- Carl Sandburg
"Integrity has no need of rules."
-- Albert Camus

The Richardson City Council is on track to deliver on three big expectations dealing with good governance that arose during the 2009 election campaign. First, the council has already instituted cable telecasts and Internet streaming of council meetings. Second, the city is expected to have the city check register online by the end of the year. Third, the council could have a code of ethics in place as early as September 20. (Update: The public hearing has been scheduled for September 13.)

After the jump, the deliberation over ethics.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Weather And History

Hot enough for you? Partisan politicking too heated for you, too? Well, quit complaining. The summer of 1860 was just as hot and the politics were even hotter. The results were catastrophic.

After the jump, the tragic story of the "Texas Troubles."

Friday, August 13, 2010

What I Learned About Richardson In Wikipedia

Things I learned about Richardson, Texas, from reading Wikipedia:

  • In 2004, Richardson was the first North Texas city recognized as a best workplace for commuters.
  • In 2007, Richardson ranked as the 5th safest city in Texas and the 69th safest city in America.
  • In 2008, Richardson ranked as the 4th best place to live in Texas and the 18th best place to live in the United States.
  • In 2009, Richardson ranked as the 2nd best city in Texas to raise kids.
  • In 2010, Richardson ranked 1st among Texas cities in the truthfulness of its Wikipedia page.

OK, I admit that one of those facts does not (yet) appear on Richardson's Wikipedia page. After the jump, other things that do.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Trash Talking On City Council

Yesterday, I blogged about the Richardson City Council's decision to approve a special permit to build an independent-living senior apartment complex in northwest Richardson, despite opposition from some neighbors. I complimented the city council on how the issue was handled. There is another LULU issue in Richardson that so far has not been a shining example of representative democracy in action.

After the jump, trash talking in Richardson.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Seniors Still Welcome In Richardson

Evergreen Senior Living Community
Evergreen Senior Living

Monday night, Richardson's city council meeting offered a rare example of controversy on the council. Richardson residents expressed opposition to a proposed independent-living senior apartment complex on the corner of Renner and North Star in Richardson's panhandle. Proponents argued that the property is unmarketable for retail. The opponents don't want more apartments, even if the residents will be nice, law-abiding seniors who will be tending their community gardens and enjoying their knitting and crochet socials. The part of the meeting devoted to public comments took 41 minutes to accommodate all who wanted to speak to the issue. The council itself was split. Maybe this wasn't exactly fireworks in the council chambers, but it's what passes for fireworks in "R Town".

After the jump, the outcome.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

FBCR: First Bank of City of Richardson


How can we boost church membership? I know, let's update our look and feel. A new logo maybe. Less stuffy. More modern. No crosses, unless it's so subtle it's almost subliminal. Something more like an Internet company. Or a bank. Something like one of these...

Corporate logos

Yeah, something like that will work. Do it! Praise the Lord! FDIC insured.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Working On Steve's Twitter


Twitter is hit or miss. Mostly miss. Many of the tweets of the people I follow are either (pick one) funny, insightful, informative, but many deservedly scroll off the bottom of my tweet roll none too soon. I'm frequently pruning my follow list in an attempt to increase the ratio of hits to misses. And I'm often on the lookout for promising new people to follow. Twitter offers friendly suggestions. One of the names that showed up on my own suggestion list was "abraxas27".

Clicking through I quickly judged abraxas27 a "miss." It looks like he set up his Twitter account in April, 2009. He went to the trouble to upload a graphic of the starship Enterprise to use as wallpaper. He posted seven tweets in two days, and then ... nothing more. Before I clicked away, something about abraxas27 caught my attention - his profile. I know I'm reading a lot between the lines here, but I couldn't help thinking, this explains a lot about the City of Richardson's website. But I'll let readers come to their own conclusions.

  • Name: Ed Snavely
    Location: McKinney, Tx
    Web: http://www.cor.net
    Bio: Web Manager for the City of Richardson

  • Steve I have sent you the image. 3:49 PM Apr 23rd, 2009 via web
  • Come see my screen.....! 3:44 PM Apr 23rd, 2009 via web
  • Steve are you working? 3:44 PM Apr 23rd, 2009 via web
  • Steve, It looks like twitter has fixed the image issues they had yesterday. We can set yours up later today. 12:37 PM Apr 23rd, 2009 via web
  • Working on Steve's twitter. 2:37 PM Apr 22nd, 2009 via web
  • I am currently working on a powerpoint. 8:30 AM Apr 22nd, 2009 via web
  • Good Morning I am testing my new twitter account. 8:28 AM Apr 22nd, 2009 via web

Friday, August 6, 2010

OTBR: The Classic Red Barn In Iowa

Latitude: 40.403300° N
Longitude: 94.832800° W

A child on a road trip with his family asks, "Where are we?" and the father answers, "Let's check the map. We're off the blue roads [the Interstate Highways marked in blue on the road atlas]. We're off the red roads [the US and state highways]. We're off the black roads [the county highways]. I think we're off the map altogether." It was always my dream to be off the map altogether.

After the jump, a few of the random places (and I mean random literally) that I visited vicariously last month that are "off the blue roads".

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Twitter Tracks: LeBron, World Cup, Richardson Symphony

Twitter tracks from July, 2010:

  • 2010 07 08 - I can't be the only one who watched more of the LeBron James special than watched of any NBA regular season game this season.
  • 2010 07 09 - When you woke up this morning, did the world seem completely different? Yes? That's how important yesterday's LeBron James announcement was.
  • 2010 07 09 - Crazy Heart: washed-up country singer whose career is on the skids, then things go downhill. I'd buy that album. The Wrestler with guitars.
  • 2010 07 11 - When Ellen walked in late and asked what she missed, I said, "nothing." The World Cup announcer was more blunt - it was a "pig of a game."
  • 2010 07 11 - The Richardson Symphony Orchestra is "in a toxic mess." You can't support music without supporting the musicians. http://goo.gl/JcCf
  • 2010 07 11 - What's the difference between an RSO musician and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four (H/T to Wanderer) http://goo.gl/JcCf
  • 2010 07 12 - Run, Newt, Run! Seeing Newt and Sarah on stage during a GOP primary debate would make for great political theater. I'm popping corn already.
  • 2010 07 12 - Richardson only the 30th best suburb in Dallas?!? Hey, there's always Garland (45th). http://goo.gl/rArX
  • 2010 07 13 - Selling Bonds Without Voter Approval: When state law trumps city charter. http://goo.gl/qlrM
  • 2010 07 14 - Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy Talks to Texas Observer About His Idealized Dallas (http://goo.gl/9Idr) - Spoiler alert: it's car-free.

After the jump, more Twitter tracks.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Women's Rights: Different Worlds, Related Advice

Dallas Police Chief David Brown got himself in trouble this week with comments about the increase in incidences of rape in Dallas. Half a world away, in Afghanistan, rape and mutilation and denial of rights to education, jobs and free movement outside the home are the issues women struggle with.

After the jump, how two very different worlds deal with crimes against women.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Richardson Seeks Gold Medal In Financial Transparency

During Monday's Richardson City Council work session, the subject of putting the city check register online was discussed. It's not like this should be controversial. The office of Texas Comptroller Susan Combs promotes government transparency, urging cities, counties and school districts to put their budgets, financial reports and check registers online. Plano has done so. So has McKinney and Frisco and Arlington and Irving and numerous other cities around Texas. Good governance was a new section added to this council term's statement of goals, specifically calling for transparency and financial accountability.

After the jump, where does Richardson stand on this committed goal?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beat Meets Heat. Neat.

Director George W. Jones
From 2010 08 Richardson Band

The temperature was 104° but that didn't stop the Richardson Community Band from playing their regularly scheduled outdoor concert Sunday night on the Fountain Plaza by the library. The music lovers who brought their lawn chairs and blankets were treated to a program of "Conductor's Choice", including two more Sousa marches (the 93rd and 94th played by the band while under the decades-long direction of George W. Jones), the always inspiring Battle Hymn of the Republic, an unusual arrangement of 76 and a Half Trombones, Rushmore and other musical selections that had the crowd tapping their feet and forgetting about the heat.

Come on out for the season finale on August 15 at 7:00 PM. The heat wave will have to be over by then, right?

To see more photos, click here.