All Is Going Great In ALL of Addison By Susan M. Halpern Former Addison Council member (1992-1999)
I was thinking as the year turned about how great things are going in Addison. 2018 was the first full calendar year under the leadership of Mayor Joe Chow, and it was a fantastic, successful year. We enjoyed the fruits of a true democracy, with seven councilmembers working together to advance Addison’s interests. They did their work efficiently, and without the drama, hidden agendas, and staged theatrics the prior administration so often employed to misinform and mislead Addison’s residents and inappropriately prolong meetings. How refreshing it all was to watch and experience.
And the results speak for themselves. In addition to being peaceful and professional, the Council’s work in 2018 was also very productive. The wind turbine lawsuit was settled on very favorable terms. The long-running dispute with Farmers Branch regarding the creek was resolved on very favorable terms. The Belt Line Road project was concluded. Vitruvian continued to flourish as new phases were constructed. Our safety departments finally stabilized and returned to full staffing. We actually have candidates who want to come to work in Addison and our reputation is slowly returning within North Central Texas.
As I reflected on the year that was, it struck me that so much of what I was grateful for in 2018 was exactly the opposite of what we had witnessed for the six years prior to Mayor Joe Chow’s current term, at the hands of the previous mayor and his cadre. The manipulation, misdirection and active concealment of information have thankfully disappeared, and are relegated to the place of all bad memories. In 2018, no one person on the Council dominated. Discussions were respectful, robust and genuine. Indeed, not once during 2018 did a member of Council filibuster and threaten to extend the meeting into the wee hours as a method of bending others to their will, as the ex-mayor did repeatedly.
No, 2018 left those subversive and undemocratic practices behind. In 2018, under the leadership of Mayor Joe Chow, applicants were treated respectfully. Developers found a consistency of message that encouraged them to come back to Addison. Employees were finally able to breathe, out from under the weight of the toxicity the ex-mayor and his henchmen visited upon the staff during their misguided tenure on the Council. In stark contrast to what occurred during the six years of the prior administration, we now have real, actual transparency, including because it is rooted in truth. Under Mayor Joe Chow’s leadership, no one tried to conceal key documents, as the ex-mayor did in actively preventing the disclosure of the key Lea Dunn memo, all the while running his campaign of lies, misleading the public regarding matters the memo clearly refuted.
Since the May 2017 election, we have seen nothing less than the return of democracy – true and TRUTHFUL democracy – to Addison and it is just wonderful. And it is SO refreshing to be away from all the negativity and division the prior administration visited upon our town.
You could say that ALL IS WELL IN ADDISON. In fact, ALL IS WELL IN ALL OF ADDISON.
And yet, as we begin 2019, the negatives and naysayers are awakening, and clearly have plans to run for the May election (it will be a “slate,” that’s what they do). As is their practice, they are thrashing about, desperately trying to find an issue – any issue – that will allow them to create negativity. Remember their formula: create an issue, mislead everyone about it, convince everyone that the sky is falling, attack anyone who isn’t them, and claim that only they can properly address the issue. Every year around this time, they try to create controversy, in the hopes of finding something on which they can base a negative campaign.
And so they post and post, and misinform. We’ve seen them trying to create controversy over license plate readers. From there, they moved on to the men’s locker room at the Health Club. Next, they attacked the Addison Police Association, falsely claiming that it makes political contributions by way of actively discouraging the public from contributing (the APA does not make political contributions). When all that didn’t catch on, they attacked the Council about the meeting held at Town Hall between the Oaks North HOA and the folks from the Village on the Parkway. For heaven’s sake, the meeting wasn’t even run by Addison, and there isn’t any zoning case for Village on the Parkway. Indeed, I doubt there ever will be, as this Council listens to citizens, and I doubt seriously they’d ever force a multi-family development on the Oaks North neighborhood without strong consensus. Oh, how I wish we’d had such a good Council to listen to me and my neighbors about the multi-family development we had forced on us by the ex-mayor and his cadre.
But I digress. Again and again, on all these issues, the negatives and naysayers have been doing what they do: concealing material facts and information, mischaracterizing the issues, and misleading Addison’s residents. Negativity is what these people do, and it’s such a disservice to our town.
All of which brings me to the issue of the strange event that occurred during the recent January Mayor’s Coffee. The meeting was proceeding, when what should appear, but three men in suits who were not of good cheer (the negatives say they “stormed” in, but it didn’t rhyme). Yes, out of the blue, with no prior notice, representatives of the Target/Kroger’s center appeared at the gathering and claimed that Addison wasn’t working with them on economic development.
Now, you have to wonder: who in their right mind would approach economic development this way? We all know that these things are handled through communications with Addison’s staff in the ordinary course of everyone’s business. These folks meet with staff all the time, present their plans and ask Addison to participate. For its part, Addison has policies regarding participation because, generally speaking, Addison isn’t in the business of simply giving money away.
And, as it happens, Addison had indeed met with this owner in the past, and had invited him to make an economic development proposal. The owner never did.
So, how utterly bizarre for this owner to choose to appear at the Mayor’s Coffee, having made no proposal for economic development despite having been invited to do so, and suddenly make a very public accusation that Addison wasn’t working with him on economic development. How inexplicable that this owner would choose such a course. Truly strange. In fact, it’s so strange that you might even conclude that the whole thing was staged. That it was a setup. That it was nothing more than an effort to create yet another faux issue-of-the-moment.
I mean, do you really think it was a coincidence that this little event happened when the 2019 election season is just around the corner? And the negatives are reemerging and blogging and trying desperately to find an issue that will support their negativity? I don’t think any of it is a coincidence. And, I guess time will tell, and we’ll all know soon when the negatives and naysayers reveal their candidates (it will be a slate, mark my words!). And, if they try to claim that Addison isn’t working with the owner of the Target/Kroger’s center, then we’ll all have our answer regarding the strange event at the Mayor’s Coffee.
In the meantime, for me, the proof is in the pudding. Mayor Joe Chow and the current Council have surely proved themselves up to the task of serving Addison well. For that, and a great 2018 for ALL of Addison, I am truly thankful.
The Addison Way is back! Let’s keep that momentum rolling in 2019!