Showing posts with label LocalPolitics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LocalPolitics. Show all posts

Friday, May 24, 2024

Council Recap: Comp Plan Planning

Source: h/t DALL-E

On May 20, 2024, the Richardson City Council reviewed and discussed the Envision Richardson Comprehensive Plan update and upcoming Community Summit 3. That was the agenda item anyway. In fact any details of the Comp Plan were missing and the plans for the community summit took up all the time.

Monday, May 6, 2024

A Time for Pigs to Die

Source: h/t DALL-E

Recently, I wrote about "Density versus Sprawl". I was referring to the choice the City of Richardson faces in updating its Comprehensive Plan. In another post, "The Road to Zero Degradation", I identified increased density as part of the solution to the eternal challenge of finding enough money to fix potholes. I said, "Mayor Pro Tem Arefin gets it, saying in a recent City Council meeting, 'We have to have revenue from new sources to get our infrastructure fixes.'"

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Council Recap: A New School in Richardson?

Source: h/t DALL-E

On April 22, 2024, the Richardson City Council considered a request by a private school to move into an existing church building on Abrams Rd. near Walnut St. The school is Coram Deo Academy, a classical, Christian, K-12 school with three campuses. It wants to relocate its Dallas campus on Alpha Rd to Richardson. Because of zoning regulations, a special permit is needed.

Monday, April 29, 2024

The Road to Zero Degradation

Martin Luther King Blvd, Dallas. Source: Google.

The City of Dallas has bond proposals on its ballot in the May 4, 2024, election. Proposition A will ask voters to approve "$521 million in bond money to repair streets, alleys, sidewalks, bridges and other transportation-related infrastructure over five years." That sounds like a lot. It isn't. It's not even enough to keep up. The Dallas Morning News has the details.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Density versus Sprawl

Source: Jim Schutze, Dallas Observer
Jim Schutze, Dallas Observer.

If the population of north Texas continues to grow, where we will house all the new people? There are only two options: either greater density or more sprawl. Lately, Jim Schutze has been writing on Facebook against so-called "gentle densification" efforts in Dallas. His arguments seem, to me, to lack logical rigor. It's not that he's not smart. He is. It might just be the nature of social media. Anyway, let's examine one of his responses to my own comment in which I suggested that sprawl is worse than density from a cost viewpoint. I said, "Sprawl creates the need for additional future maintenance. Density uses existing infrastructure."

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Wheel's Voters Guide (May, 2024)

Early voting for the 2024 local elections in Texas is underway. Election Day is May 4, 2024. On the ballot for Richardson voters (at least on my ballot) will be two races. Use Vote411.org to see your personalized ballot. Read on to learn how to vote.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Has Stefani Carter Been Up To


2013: Ringing Opening Bell on NYSE (Stefani Carter on left)

You may remember Stefani Carter. The former Texas state representative for parts of Richardson, swept into office in the 2010 tea party wave. The ambitious politician who attempted to climb to statewide office (Texas Railroad Commission) in 2014 only to discover that the moneyed interests had other candidates in mind. Who then scrambled back to her legislative race in north Texas but lost her seat when even GOP voters abandoned her in the primary for Linda Koop. The last time we checked in on her was in 2020. What has Stefani Carter been up to since?

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Council Recap: Missing Middle Housing

Source: h/t DALL-E

Part 2 of the April 8, 2024, Richardson City Council meeting. See Part 1 here: "Council Recap: Placetypes".

The City Council received a briefing from consultants on progress on updating the City's Comprehensive Plan. The "Key Policy Areas" presented were placetypes, missing middle housing, and vision for reinvestment areas. Upcoming public engagement opportunities will allow the public to comment on the consultants' recommendations. Here I will report on the City Council's own feedback on missing middle housing and the vision for reinvestment areas, as expressed in the City Council meeting.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Council Recap: Placetypes

Source: h/t DALL-E

On April 8, 2024, the Richardson City Council received a briefing from consultants on progress on updating the City's Comprehensive Plan. The "Key Policy Areas" presented were placetypes, missing middle housing, and vision for reinvestment areas. Upcoming public engagement opportunities will allow the public to comment on the consultants' recommendations. Here I will report on the City Council's own feedback on placetypes, as expressed in the City Council meeting.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Charter Review in Dallas

Source: City of Dallas

The City of Richardson is due for a Charter Review this year. It's a once-in-a-decade process. Likely, a Charter Review Commission will be formed, including members of the public. It's not too soon for members of the public to start doing homework to ensure the public interest is served. A good place to start looking is at the city to our south. A Dallas Charter Review Commission is in process of gathering and winnowing recommendations for charter amendments for that city. The Dallas Morning News has an update on its progress.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

ACFR: "There's No Fraud"

Source: DALL-E

For city finance wonks, Christmas comes twice a year: once in August when the City's budget is set and again when the City's annual comprehensive financial audit (ACFR) is published. The budget specifies the city's cash flow (its planned revenues and expenses). The financial audit details the city's assets (the value of city property, bank accounts, etc.) and its liabilities (outstanding debt, pension obligations, etc.).

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Future of High-Speed Rail is in Richardson's Hands

Source: Hunt Realty via D Magazine
Artist rendering, D Magazine

The future of high-speed rail in Texas is in Richardson's hands. Overstatement? Sure, but it's not completely wrong, either. The "hands" I'm referring to belong to our own Richardson City Councilmember Jennifer Justice. She's a member of the Executive Board of the North Central Texas Council of Governments. NCTCOG allocates billions of federal dollars for transportation projects. In contrast, the Richardson municipal budget is about $400 million. A hot project under consideration by NCTCOG right now is an elevated high-speed rail line through the City of Dallas going west to Ft Worth and southeast to Houston.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Council Recap: Outdoor Storage is the new "Edgy"

Source: h/t DALL-E

The Richardson City Council began consideration of a request for a Special Development Plan with a reminder of the vision for the Interurban Sub-district: "To create an edgy, mixed-use district built upon the existing bones of the district, focusing on adaptive reuse of existing buildings and targeted infill development. Exterior building materials should promote design creativity and unify the eclectic style envisioned for the Sub-district."

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Public Facility Corporations and Richardson

Source: RISD
Richardson ISD Student Density

The Richardson City Council held a short meeting on February 19, 2024, where most of the substantive discussion took place behind closed doors, in executive session, which the public (and by that, I especially mean yours truly) was not privy to. So the rest of this blog post is based on conjecture.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Lessons in Power

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass is not wrong, just incomplete. He was referencing slavery. It took a Civil War to get Texans (and other Southerners, but I live in Texas so let's keep this close to home) to concede their power to hold other human beings in bondage. When it comes to much less consequential matters, people sometimes concede power without a second thought. Sometimes they might not even realize that's what they're doing. The Richardson City Council is in process of ceding power to the Mayor, without a demand. It's an implicit power that Richardson Mayors have wielded since forever, soon to be made explicit by a compliant City Council. See "Committee Appointments" in "Council Recap: Rules of Procedure" for details.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Council Recap: Rules of Procedure

Source: h/t DALL-E

"7. REVIEW AND DISCUSS COUNCIL RULES OF PROCEDURE"

With that innocuous wording, the Richardson City Council took up a question that has long puzzled me. That is, why don't City Councilmembers drive change in the City of Richardson? I attributed it partly to lack of will, but also partly to confusion over whether they even have the power to set the agendas for the City Council meetings. If it's not on the agenda, they can't deliberate it, they can't make motions for it, and they can't pass the motions that bring change.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Council Recap: City Hall and Library

Source: City of Richardson

The Richardson City Council held a worksession February 5, 2024, to receive an update on the new City Hall and Library projects. The schematic design of City Hall is now complete and design development is beginning. There are enough details for the City Council and the public to have a good idea of what our new City Hall will look like. The new Library is farther along, with construction to begin in March, 2024.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Council Recap: Comprehensive Plan

Source: City of Richardson

The City Council and City Plan Commission (CPC) held a joint worksession February 5, 2024, to review progress on updating the City's Comprehensive Plan. Regular readers know just how much importance I place on this opportunity to reform Richardson's outdated regulations that limit a denser built environment, mixed-use developments, transit-oriented developments, missing-middle and affordable housing, and safe streets for bicycles and pedestrians.

Friday, February 2, 2024

The State of the City: It's an Outlier

Source: h/t DALL-E

The City of Richardson held its annual State of the City Address on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, highlighting the City's achievements in 2023. I'm here to give my instant feedback.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

When the Creek Ran Red

Source: Richardson Today

Recently, a spill of detergent from a car wash into a tributary of Richardson's Cottonwood Creek turned the water red. The good news is that, according to the City of Richardson, "the spill has been successfully cleaned, and water quality tests show normal results."

My compliments to the City of Richardson for its reaction and its communications about this incident. My compliments also to Councilmember Dan Barrios for elaborating about the spill in his own Facebook posts.

Now, it's my own turn. I want to elaborate on something Barrios said.