Monday, June 30, 2008

Re-naming of Industrial Blvd.

It was my honest belief that the Dallas City Council should not have considered an individuals name for the re-naming of Industrial Blvd., but the council ask the public for input and the public did participate by coming forth with the name of Cesar Chavez in overwhelming numbers.

I am a firm believer in public participation and I believe that the council should honor the survey and name the street Cesar Chavez.

Teachers at Spruce

How could the district be so insensitive to the teachers? Remember that this school has been low-preforming for 4 years and Dr. Hinojosa has been with the district for 3 years. Should he go also?

This is not in defense of bad teachers, because we all know they should be gone from the classrooms, but I still question if these teachers had all of the tools needed to move the students forward. You have to ask yourself why Samuel and Comstock improved but not Spruce. Should the DISD Administration get off the hook and not be held accountable?

It is not said openly, but I have heard that out of 23 high schools they are all low-performing but 5. We need a change in leadership at DISD. Bringing in all of these corporate honchos is not the answer to educating these young people.

Thought for the Week

Man cannot discover new oceans until he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Spruce High School

At the school board meeting last night, I was moved to tears as I listened to the parents and students speak about dismantling their school. What I ascertained from the speakers was that the DISD Administration had not done all that it could do to make the learning environment better. They had not put in the resources to make the students have added help to improve. They stated that in a 4 year period, the school had 3 different principals. Now just tell me how that makes since when the school was struggling to start with?

Dr. Hinojosa would have to take responsibility because he has been with the district for three years. No one wants to acknowledge that the district failed these children.

While the district can find money to pay high salaries to some administrators, they have failed to realize the high salaries should be going to the people who work directly with the children. There is a reason why students are leaving the district yearly, bad leadership.

Dallas Achieves is not working.

Why Not Name The DISD Administion Bldg. Kathlyn Joy Gilliam?

There were 24 names listed to speak on naming the DISD administration bldg. for Mrs. Kathlyn Gilliam. A woman who served on the DISD school board for 23 years and was the first African American to be president of the school board.

There were former school board members that served with Mrs Gilliam like Honorable Harriett Earhardt, Judge Thomas Jones and Honorable Robert Price. They all spoke of her compassion for educating all children. Other elected and former elected officials like Councilwoman Carolyn Davis said "All of us are standing on the backs of people like Ms. Gilliam" and Judge Charles Rose said "There is no other person who is better deserving of such an honor". Honorable Al Lipscomb said what we all wanted to say and that was "Just name the building".

The Chairman of the Board of the Dallas Black Chamber, Ronald Hay came to speak in favor of naming the bldg. and he told the board how Mrs. Gilliam had been honored by his organization with the Willow Award which is now the community service award. She was the very first awardee.

Also listed to speak was Minister Jeffrey Mohammed, Arthur Fleming, Brenda Fields, Debra Forge, Don Johnson, Cousin Linnie Henderson, Alpha Thomas, Michael Gonzales,LeVar Thomas, Roy Williams, Alva Lipscomb, Robert Guice, Honorable Diane Ragsdale, Olynka Green (New Black Panther Party) and me.

I do not get it. The vote was along racial lines and Trustee Ron Price played the game. After being questioned by Nancy Bingham, Ron Price talked about naming a school after Mrs. Gilliam if this vote fails. I do not believe him. How many new schools have been built since his election to the board-over 9 years- and he has not named a school after her? He must think we were all born yesterday.

Jack Lowe Jr. is such a disappointment. I have known him for over 30 years and each time I go to a school board meeting, I ask myself why he would move from Highland Park to be on this board other than his company, TD Industries, being able to get contracts. President Lowe insults the audience, seems to be lost most of the time and allows the superintendent to take control of the meetings. Jack Lowe Sr. also worked with Mrs. Gilliam on desegregation issues.

The Hispanic Board members vote shows why African Americans have so much distrust in them doing the right thing by our people. Adam Medrano abstained. I believe that he knew that his grandfather, Poncho Medrano, worked with Mrs Gilliam and his family has a good name in all communities. Jerome Garza's father Trini Garza also worked with Mrs. Gilliam, but Garza has been reckless toward African American issues on this board. I do not know what history Edwin Flores has here, but I do know that the North Dallas community should find another representative. He is awful.

This is a Billion Dollar budget and that does not include the bond program,1.35 Billion. It is not about education but all about controlling the money.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gary Thomas Has New Contract

Gary Thomas sailed through his performance evaluation without a hitch. Remember he owes the suburban members for keeping his job and will be obligated to put their agenda first.


Bernice J Washington/DFW Airport Board

Bernice Washington is a good choice for the DFW Airport Board. A very strong force in the community and she will be a blessing. Her name was submitted after Mayor Leppert tried to again nominate who he wanted from the African American community. The African American he wanted did not live in the city of Dallas. Thank God for council members who will not be swayed by the mayor.

Smart DART Board Appointments

There were nine not so smart Dallas City Council members who appointed a preacher -Jerry Christian and a dentist-Claude Williams who both bought no experience on such a board appointment and zero experience in transportation. The city of Plano appointed Loretta Ellerbe a former council member who was involved in transportation through the Regional Transportation Council (RTC) where she was a member.

The city of Garland appointed Tracy Whitaker who's experience includes Vice President of Xerox and manager of the Dallas offices. He has also worked in strategic positions for FEDEX/Kinko.

Compare Dallas appointees to suburban appointees and you quickly see why the citizens of Dallas will loose. Mayor Tom Leppert, Dwaine Caraway, Elba Garcia and Tennel Adkins we thank you for your poor judgement. The other council members who voted for Jerry Christian and Claude Williams were following their leaders.


RailDCTA/Denton County Transit Authority

I had an opportunity to speak to The Southeast Denton Neighborhood Group about commuter rail coming through their neighborhood. They have been included in meetings with DCTA but were concerned they were not getting answers to the questions that were being ask and wanted to have a better understanding of what to expect as rail becomes an intricate part of DCTA's transportation plan.

Thanks to the persons who recommended me to this group. It was a very interesting and productive meeting,and I believe that the participants in the meeting have a better idea of what to expect and will began to work closer with DCTA to structure a win-win situation.

I am a strong believer in public transportation and will continue to work from a regional prospective in transportation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DART President Gary Thomas/Performance Evaluation

Today at the DART Board meeting President Gary Thomas will get his performance evaluation. I was told this would the hottest issue on the agenda.

I bet he will get a big fat raise and probably a multi year contract and bonus because the suburban board members know what they are doing and they know they have the president where they want him. They do not care that he still has issues like over six years on the job and still getting management coaching, a billion dollar budget shortfall, low moral at the office, no appointed second in command, questions about contractor Archer Western and the $600,000 oops, and on and on with questionable actions.

Dallas will get left in the dust and you can blame Mayor Tom Leppert, Dwaine Caraway, Tennell Adkins, Mitchel Rasansky, Ron Natinsky, Jerry Allen,, Elba Garcia, Sheffie Kandae and Dave Newmann. DART will continue to meet with Dallas and tell them everything is okay, but see what happens to light rail. All emphasis are moving toward commuter rail in the region.

More Than One Path To Eternal Life

There is a wide diversity of beliefs and behaviors with people who are religious. With that in mind, there should also be the understanding that no one religion or faith has the only key to eternity. There are varying degrees of beliefs in the same faith and who has the ability to say which is right are wrong?

My strong wish is that people are believing in some higher being and are trying to live their lives in a way that will guide them to life everlasting. Living a faithful life is hard, but believing and trusting in the word can give you guidance and perseverance.

Mayor Tom Leppert and Dwaine Caraway Want To Limit Speaking at Dallas City Hall

I listen to council meetings as often as I can and know the names of some of the people that come down to speak often. They speak at the meetings about situations that they believe are not being addressed. In many cases the council members allow them their 3 minutes without comment.

The speakers at times find themselves in bitter discard with Dwaine (Dwayne,Dewayne) Caraway who often try to play the GATEKEEPER role and shut them down. Most of the speakers that are regular speakers at the council meetings are African American. Hence the term GATEKEEPER for Caraway is appropriate. Caraway in some instances have instructed the officers to remove the speakers from the council chambers, yelled at the speakers in a disrespectful tone, talked down to the speakers, and vowed to limit their opportunity to speak. Now the close alliance of Caraway and the mayor starts to take president over the will of the entire council. The mayor wants to limit public input. This is not the way the democratic process works. Maybe the mayor should return to Corporate America where the CEO speaks and everyone jumps or just shut their mouth.

Thank you councilwomen Voncil Jones Hill, Carolyn Davis and Angela Hunt. Please DO NOT DRINK THE WATER AT CITY HALL. There is a reason why the speakers take issue with Dwaine (Dewayne,Dwayne) Caraway and now Mayor Tom Leppert wants to limit speakers.

Thought of the week

I do not ask to walk smooth paths
Nor bear an easy load.
I pray for strength and fortitude
To climb the rock strewn road.

Give me such courage I can scale
The Hardest peaks alone
And transform every stumbling block
Into a stepping stone.

Gail Brook Burket

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Councilman Tennell Adkins is pushing for a tax increase to balance the budget for the city of Dallas and Dwaine (Dewayne,Dwayne) Caraway is saying he can not see what else they can do without raising taxes. Thank God for Councilwoman Angela Hunt who has not drank the water at Dallas City Hall.

The two councilpersons that are saying there should be a tax increase are not taking into consideration that there are fee (tax) increases that are already figured into the budget. Maybe they just do not get it. We are tired of tax increases. Citizens will soon not be able to own homes because they can not pay the taxes.

DISD Ethic's Ad Hoc Committee

I was surprised yesterday when I attended the D.I.S.D. Ethic Ad Hoc Committee meeting and took a look at the agenda. The question was raised by Board Member Carla Ranger about the way that the agenda was prepared with little information to let the public know what Ad Hoc Committee would be meeting. It was like they were trying to hide the fact that the Ethic's meeting was taking place.

I was not surprised to hear all of the tongue wagging about the very simple issue of a trustee being able to contract with the Dallas Independent School District. That is very straight forward and should not be hard to address. Trustee Bingham wanted to talk about fellow Trustees Medrano and Ranger who work for the City of Dallas and DCCCD receptively. She wanted to know if they should be able to stay in the room when there is discussion about those two institutions. I never could understand what that had to do with them making a profit from the district. Guess I'm just not as smart as Trustee Bingham.

Trustee Jerome Garza wanted to discuss the fact that the City of Dallas Councilpersons leave the room when they have a conflict and maybe the district should have the same policy, but he never elaborated on the fact that the Dallas City Councilpersons conflicts are not related to them having a contract with the city. Councilpersons nor Board Appointees can contract with the city at their time of service or for one year after serving. Usually the Councilpersons conflict are real estate related or they have stock in some large company.

Trustee Blackburn was concerned that whatever they decide should be within the law. He wanted public input but was advised by the superintendent that their should be parameters as to what the public could respond to. He also wanted a timeline that would allow them to bring discussion to the board in a couple of months. That did not seem reasonable since he wanted to call in experts also.

Trustee Flores, who is chairing the committee, was all over the place. I really thought his main function was to keep Trustee Ranger from pushing forward with her drafted ethics policy. It seems so elementary to me. If fellow trustees do not agree with Trustee Ranger's suggestion then at the appropriate time vote against it. Being disrespectful is unacceptable behavior.

To me the committee wanted to cast a wide net and comeback with nothing that will be in the best interest of the district and its stakeholders. I do not know of any other public agency in Dallas Texas where elected officials of the entity can profit directly from that entity by having a contract.

In Dallas its all about the money!!!!!!!!


Think of Juneteenth as black Independence Day.

On Monday, June 19, 1865, the Union Gen. Gordon Granger stood in Galveston, Texas and informed a group of residents that the world as they'd known it had come to an end: All slaves were now free.

The newly liberated slaves began celebrating immediately. They commemorated that day every year after, giving rise to Juneteenth, a celebration that is now observed throughout the United States.

Enjoy your holiday, give time to your family and pray for those who have struggled to make sure that your history is remembered.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thought for the week

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Edward Everett Hale

Townhall Meeting

It seems that Townhall meetings are the new buss words. If you are wondering why so many meetings these days, its because an election for council districts will be in May, 2009 and this is the smoke screen that is being put out for you the public.

It's amazing that on another site, someone "Thanks" the seniors on walkers and canes for attending a Townhall meeting. I just wonder what trick they pulled for that. I want the public not to be fooled by these people and I am wishing for new leadership in the African American community. District 4 and 8 need new leadership and I hope that people will come forth in those districts and run for council. I know that we can do better and we must do better to make sure that we do not have suck ups to Mayor Leppert and the Citizens Council. If you do not believe what I am saying just check their voting records. Talk is cheap but votes speak loudly.

Friday, June 13, 2008

DISD - Spruce High School

Spruce High School is expected to receive the state's lowest rating- academically unacceptable- for the fourth consecutive year when the state releases school rating this summer. This is an indication of how long this district will let the children continue to fail. Dr. Hinojosa has been the superintendent for 3 years and this means that during his tenure nothing has changed even though his staff has tried to implement change .

There were three options presented to the school board, but the one that might be recommended by the superintendent is to move some of the students from the low-performing school to Lincoln High School and Madison High School. What will this do to the ratings of those schools in the years to come? What resources will the district give to help these students? What will it cost to transport these students to the new schools?

I hope that the public will began to start paying closer attention to DISD. In the new bond package there will be approximately 8 new schools in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas and now we are considering moving students out of that area for academic reasons. In the last bond package Emmett Conrad and Jack Lowe, Sr. were built in the Vickery Meadows area. In the immediate area there are too few students and now the district is moving some magnet programs and other student shifts to have enough students in the new schools. It has also been reported that last year the district lost over 1,000 student therefore the student population is on the decline in DISD.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Goodbye Ann Lott

Tuesday's DHA board meeting escalated into heated words between the Chairwoman of the board and the President of Dallas Housing Authority over something that normally would not be so volatile. The big to do was about the Chairwoman proposing a policy that would prohibit staffers from adding religious messages or personal opinions to their official e-mail. The policy also would require that commissioners review agency newsletters, event programs,
invitations and other communications before they are made public. Ms. Lott, the President of DHA, took exception and felt the board would be taking control of the day to day operations of the agency.

It is reported that Betty Culbreath at one point referred to Ann Lott as "girl." Ms. Lott of course took offense to that. She wanted to be clear that she would not be spoken to that way.

Remember that Mayor Tom Leppert is the person who appoints all 5 of the board members and months ago he rushed over to the Housing Authority meeting for a photo op of him telling Ms. Lott that she had 6 months to put in place management tools to correct the accounting of the 3.8 million it received from HUD. There has never been any allegations that the money was taken just that it was not accounted for appropriately. Ms. Lott along with the board began to make what was reported by HUD and Ms. Culbreath as significant strides to improvement.

Mayor Tom Leppert is waiting to reappoint 3 of the members. If they do not vote to take Ann Lott out he will not reappoint them. We have seen this move before when he refused to appoint committees on the council until he got some votes done and then he punished council members who were not with him.

Ann Lott, has done a good job for DHA, but she is not apart of the INNER CIRCLE and will be fired by Mayor Leppert's board.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Naming the Dallas Independent School District's Administration Bldg. - Kathlyn C. Gilliam

Dallas School Board,

A very important action will take place in June, and that is the opportunity for you to vote on the naming of the administration building. In the process of your consideration, I hope that you will abstain from your usual slam dunk mentality and consider the facts about who deserves such an honor.

I am a DISD graduate and proud of the fact that I not only graduated from the district, but have spent countless hours in volunteer positions since 1981. I have firsthand knowledge that Kathlyn C. Gilliam worked to make a significant difference in the education of all children. While some would like to linger on style, lets recount the numerous accomplishments of Ms. Gilliam:

Without her fight for the court order, such specials schools as Learning Centers, Montessori and Magnet Schools would probably not be in DISD,and if that were the case, would we have the number two (Tag Magnet) in Dallas this year? She was the first African American Woman to be elected to Dallas Independent School District’s board, and a strong advocate for Minority representation in the district. In 1970 Governor Preston Smith appointed Ms. Gilliam to the State PTA Board, and in 1974 Ms Gilliam was elected to the school board without a runoff. She reached the top in 1980, when she was named President of the Dallas School Board with a unanimous vote. In 2006 “No Ways Tired: Kathlyn Gilliam and the De-Segregation of Dallas Public Schools” won first place at the Junteenth Film Festival for Best Documentary. This Documentary chronicled the community-based activism of Ms. Gilliam and the successful grassroots organization strategies that ultimately accomplished the desegregation of Dallas Public Schools.

Ms. Gilliam has been an instrument in development of Dallas Public Schools from Segregation to De-Segregation and should have the honor of naming the administration building after her.

We need the community to come out in large numbers and speak to the Board of DISD about naming the Administration building for Ms. Gilliam. The meetings will be held at 3700 Ross Avenue. Please show your love and support for an icon in our community while she is still with us.

There are two speaking opportunities:

Briefing: Thursday June 12th at 11:00 am. You must call Wed. June 11th before 3:00 pm.

Board Meeting: Thursday June 26th at 5:30 pm. You must call Wed. June 25th before 3:00 pm.

The number to call is 972-925-3700 ask for Board Services.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mill City Renaissance Association

If you want to sell property on 2nd Ave, Buy a business, long term lease, expand your business or just need to be aware of what can be done to preserve our business corridor. Contact Mill City Renaissance at 214-500-4233.

Thought of the week

One who makes no mistakes, never makes anything.

Josh Hixson in Preston Hollow Peoples reports that Councilman Mitchell Rasansky was thrilled with the vote by Dallas city council to tow uninsured motorist. " It took me four-and-a half years to get this" Rasansky said. The vote eventually was 9-6 when a vote to table lost by 8-7 (all minority councilpersons voting to table). The successful vote of 9-6 had only one minority councilperson, Dwaine Caraway voting with Rasansky.

Rasansky switched his vote on the DART board nomination and voted with Caraway and Mayor Leppert. Wonder why???????????

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lancaster Independent School District's Audit

There have been speculations about what would come out of the TEA audit, but most never thought that it would be at the level of the TEA considering appointing a financial conservator. That is one of the strictest sanctions that is available to TEA. There appears to be several reasons for this consideration:

1. Attendance inflation (letting seniors leave and counting them present when they were not in class). This seems to be a practice by some other districts.
2. Improperly spent $652,000 in bond money.
3. Reported a $3.6 million fund balance to the balance sheet; the actual was a balance of negative $2.3 million (used a short term loan to show the difference).
4. Kept inaccurate budget records, including failing to properly record a $6 million loan.
5. Charged travel expenses on a district credit card while receiving per diem allowances of those costs.

Carolyn Morris, the newly elected president of the school board is anxious to get answers from Superintendent Dr. Larry Lewis. We trust that she will give him ample opportunity to answer all questions by board member, but we also know that she will take whatever actions are necessary to improve the education of the children in the Lancaster ISD.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Greater Dallas Planning Council's proposed Transportation Policy Statement

The Greater Dallas Planning Council will be meeting on June 19th to discuss a proposed Transportation Policy Statement which includes consolidating and streamlining regional transportation organizations and agencies (DART,The T, and Denton County Transit Authority). It also is proposing to have a balanced approach of reallocating existing local sales tax authority (Dallas pays more in to DART than the other 12 member cities combined). The T only collects 1/2 of 1 cent and Denton County have only two cities paying into their system. That would make DART the cash cow of public transportation in this region.

While we should be working from a regional approach, Dallas will find itself the looser in this consolidation. If all will remember, after the Green line, Orange line and the extension to Rowlett, all other light rail projects are in the city of Dallas and they are in the southern sector which would include West Dallas. I worked very hard to make sure that in the DART long range plan (2030) the Southern Sector would get more light rail so that the residents would not have access to buses only.

Where is the city of Dallas on this issue? Where are the Dallas elected officials on this issue? Who on the DART board will question the wisdom of such a move by the suburbs?

Watch this very closely and remember that the region is looking at commuter rail not light rail. There are cities that are growing fast in the northern area like McKinney, Allen and Frisco who would benefit from such a strategy. The DART northern member cities like Plano, would also benefit from this consolidation. How does this benefit Lancaster, Cedar Hill and Duncanville?

Watch what happens in Arlington, a city who consistently said they did not want public transportation, but now that the Cowboy stadium is there, they want to jump pass other cities that have been paying in to the system over 20 years (reallocating of sales tax revenue). Who is going to pay for that?

Please keep your eye on this and watch what position Dallas will take.

Dr. Maxine Thornton Reese

It is always good to know that you are supported in your efforts to try and make Dallas a better place. Thank you Dr. Reese for caring about my well being. Thank you for being the kind of compassionate person that you are and thank you for all of your service in education with Dallas Independent School District and serving on the Dallas City Council in District 4. You will always be my hero.

All is well with me!!!

Project MANHOOD Leadership Institute

An academic enrichment program for rising 5th, 6th, and 7th grade boys designed to help them prepare for post-secondary education b building self-esteem through exposure to professional role models and mentors. Information session on Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 10:00 am. The location is Cedar Valley College Student Center-Building D. for information call 972-546-0977.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Housing Subsidy Downtown To Be Voted On

The City of Dallas wants to subsidize downtown mortgages. They say the reasoning is to create more affordable housing in downtown Dallas, so the City Council's housing committee voted to unanimously back a plan to subsidize downtown dwellers' mortgage payments. The new program, which would replace an existing downtown homeowner loan program which not a single resident has used, would provide up to $100,000 in public assistance to low- to moderate-income home buyers seeking to purchase downtown condominiums valued at $200,000 or less ( in this case, 1/2 of the purchase price could be subsidized). This was told to the council members by city housing director Jerry Killingsworth, and he said that home buyers using the program would face certain deed restrictions and liens to ensure its future affordability. There will be a formal vote of the full council on Aug. 13, Mr. Killingsworth said. The program does not apply to apartment renters.

I am sure that some of the home owners north, south, east or west of downtown would like such a good deal. Maybe even affording such a program to the fire department,police department and city worker would make more sense than using the funds to help more people live downtown. And when did $200,000.00 become low -to-moderate housing?

Is the City of Dallas facing a 50 million dollar budget shortfall?


On Tuesday Dallas County Commissioners pledged that they would not raise taxes next fiscal year even though they have a $34 million budget deficit. "No new taxes" declared Commissioner John Wiley Price. Four out of the five commissioners joined him in that statement.

Thank God some of the public officials understand that the taxpayers are in for a rough ride with taxes in the next few years. DISD will raise taxes based on the bond program,the city of Dallas has not declared, the appraisal of homes are up and DCCCD has not declared. These are very tough economic times.

Former Mayor Steve Bartlett

Good to see that former Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett is still working hard in Washington. We had a good working relationship when he was mayor. Now he is in the trenches concerning the housing debate by leading the Financial Services Roundtable. As the chief lobbyist for the countries 100 largest financial service firms, Mr. Bartlett is working hard these days because many of his clients are reeling from losses tied to subprime mortgages.

There has to be an answer to many Americans loosing there homes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

DART's $600,000.00 SNAFU

Frontburner is reporting that a person that lives near the new Hall Street Rail Station on the Green Line, sent word that workers were tearing up the tracks that were recently laid. DART explains it this way: The concrete pedestals put in place to support the tracks (about 6,000 linear ft.) were deficient. They say that the fault lies with the contractors and their intentions are to have the contractors absorb the cost of correcting the problem. I say watch for a change order.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dallas Housing Authority/Ann Lott

My heart goes out to Ann Lott because she is trying to do all that she can to hold on to her position at the housing authority. When some people form an opinion of you,valid or not, they will refuse to change.

Ms. Lott has tried to make the necessary changes to the accounting procedures to ensure that all monies are appropriately accounted for. She even has the Board Chairwoman saying that the agency has made significant progress, but her head is still on the chopping block. I hope that the lever is not pulled.

DART Board Nomination of Edward Okpa/Withdrawal of His Name By Dwaine Caraway

This is the document that was submitted by Dwaine Caraway to withdraw Ed Okpa from nomination to the DART Board. I hate that Mr. Okpa did not know that his name had been withdrawn by one of the persons who nominated him, the other nominator was mayor Tom Leppert. Mr. Okpa felt that Mr. Al Lipscomb was the cause of him not being voted on. NOT TRUE !!!!!