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North Richland Hills

Updated 06/09/13 04:47:39 PM

April 27, 2005
North Richland Hills last council meeting before election
Prior to the opening of a forty minute Citizens Comment period, North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino called for "no campaigning" at the Monday evening April 25 council meeting.  However, in this contentious election year, the determination who was or was not "campaigning" was predicated by which side of the political fence one was looking over.

An overflow crowd showed up for the last city council meeting before the May 7th election.  While the distinction bounces around cities in north east Tarrant County during election cycles, there is little argument that North Richland Hills is this year's hot bed of local politics.

Overflow crowd - Click on photos to enlarge.

North Richland Hills City Council puts citizen's comments at the very beginning of the meeting versus at the end as does some of the other city councils. The process is welcomed by citizens that want to get something off their chest without waiting around all evening.  On the other hand, the comments can set a tone for the rest of the meeting if laced with accusations and personality conflicts.  Since the comments are an open forum, without a specific item noticed on the published agenda, the council members are not allowed to answer questions or give comments by state statutes. 

On Monday evening, recognized critics of Mayor Trevino, Herb Parsons and Anita McNeese were the early speakers.  Parsons, who has had previous shouting matches with Trevino at a city council meeting, appeared subdued but threw in a few comments of support for one slate of candidates.  Trevino again reminded the crowd that no "politicking"  was allowed.  McNeese complained about an alleged $25,000 spent by the council on an out of town budget retreat and issues with the library.  Trevino instructed City Manager Cunningham to prepare a response to the issues about the library and the out of town meeting.

Any thought the evening comments would be limited to issues gave way to a personality confrontation when Myrtis Byrd went after Mayor Trevino for his alleged comments to her at the city's senior center.  Byrd said she was a 50 year resident of the city and spends a great deal of time at the center.  Byrd gave a tongue lashing to the Mayor referring to him as "Oscar."  Byrd said that on a visit of City Manager Larry Cunningham and the Mayor to the center, that "Oscar" told her she was "nothing but a trouble maker."  Ms. Byrd demanded that Mayor Trevino apologize to her.  The Mayor listened without comment.
Tim Barth spoke to the council, turning in his petition with 10 names giving him extra time for his presentation.  The 10 are required to stand for the Mayor to verify that a speaker has indeed that many folks actually in the audience that he is speaking on behalf.  Barth referred to comments by Council member Nancy Bielik that she was "the most hated person on council."  Barth said that he wanted to read a letter from Mayor Trevino addressing certain allegations. Barth pointed out that he would not have enough time but the full copy of the letter was on Local News When shouts came from the audience that Barth was "politicking", Mayor Trevino explained that Barth was simply "reading a letter."  
Confirming that nothing is particularly subtle in NRH politics, Rusty Caranfa said he wanted to specifically address comments from Ron West and his organization.  Caranfa said that West owns more than $250,000 in property in North Richland Hills however is quick to criticize those living in Hometown as if they are some group of elitists.  Caranfa says the library being discussed would be centrally located for all of the NRH residents.  He pointed out that because of the TIF that he pays more taxes.  However, he stated that he was glad to pay his share and that he was happy with the progress in NRH.

Denise Llewellyn spoke to the council making reference to the death of her 17 year old son on Rufe Snow in a street racing incident. 

Denise Llewellyn is featured in the March 17, 2005 edition of Family Living.  She related that since her son was killed, on August 24, 2003, that she has been on a crusade to educate other teens on the dangers of street racing.

The Llewellyn article is titled "The fast and the fatal".

After a brief background on her efforts, since her son Ryan's tragic death, Llewellyn took great exception to one of the city's current council candidates, Kerry West.  Llewellyn explained that she had been in opposition to the RV ordinance and a supporter of the West candidates last year.  Llewellyn said all that changed when City Council candidate Kerry West began to harass her about the car her son had died in that is used at public appearances and at school seminars.  Llewellyn said West had stopped by her home and challenged her right to park the wrecked car in her driveway on a trailer if RVs were not allowed the same privilege.  Llewellyn said that she doesn't know, "how many other citizens the NRH citizens group is harassing?"  She said that the effort to support her educational effort has been a tremendous financial strain and that she still volunteers her time without any pay.  She indicated that financially there was no other alternative to store the car used in her educational presentations.  

Llewellyn urged citizens to vote against Kerry West, at which time Mayor Trevino called her down to remind Llewellyn that there would be no campaigning from the citizens' podium.  After her comments, Mayor Trevino instructed Llewellyn to show the article to the LNO Editor in attendance at the meeting.  

The program conducted by Llewellyn includes the automobile Ryan was killed known as "It's Your Choice."  Anyone interested in requesting the program or making a donation to enhance the effort can contact Denise Llewellyn at 817-267-4242.


Kerry West at the Monday evening said he was surprised by Llewellyn's statements.

Kerry West confirmed to LNO that he did have a conversation with Llewellyn, however he says that it was nothing like being portrayed Monday evening. West said he had spoken to Llewellyn last year about the RV ordinance and that she was "a supporter of candidates we ran last year."  He said he stopped by because Llewellyn had signs of his opponents and he wanted to see why there was a change of mind.

West stated that "I listened most of the time."  He said Llewellyn had told him that she had been told by a municipal judge she could keep the car in her driveway.  Further, West said Llewellyn stated the judge said, "if you get a citation, I will dismiss it without a question."

Kerry said he ask her if she thought it was fair that she have a special exemption while a neighbor two doors down doesn't. Kerry said he told Llewellyn that they had fought for equal treatment of everyone and that, "we fought for her so she could keep something like the car in the drive way like she wanted to."

West said that he did not believe anyone should have a carte blanche exemption and he told her that day.  However West said, "the personal attack on me was totally unexpected and her perspective bears no resemblance to the facts of that day."

West said that Llewellyn spoke of bankruptcy several times.  He said that the service she is doing with the car is a great service.  "However, Llewellyn told me on a number of ocassions that her husband and her were having financially difficulties trying to keep up with her work and her desire to push the public service program," said West. 

West said he felt that Llewellyn's perspective was driven by the financial situation.  He said that Llewellyn stated the city was discussing an option to let her store the car in a city facility protected from the weather.  "In fact, Llewellyn said if our group would consider giving her money that she would consider changing her support," West said. 

On the political front West said that the term Libertarian "doesn't apply to me."  He said that he has no experience on any boards or commissions in the city because, "even if I wanted to past council would not have appointed me."

West said that there was no question that personalities have become too involved in this election and that he has attempted to "stay out of the fray."

West said however that the city council meeting on Monday night was "a campaign from start to finish." Concerning his Dad, "Ron West and I disagree on a lot of items, we are however in general agreement on city issues. Ron West is just a guy that expresses his opinion, like Ken Sapp," said West.

West said that the Mayor Trevino runs a "closed shop" and that he doesn't like facing the opposition.."he doesn't like people to confront them," West said speaking of the incumbents.

He said that the council could largely avoid the situation if they simply gave complete answers.  Concerning the players in this year's election, West said, "I think the fact you hear from folks that are prominent in debate has to do with each personality having strong opinions and not afraid to express them.  These individuals (Ron West and Ken Sapp), tend to draw attention. However, underneath the fracas you have 8 candidates running for 4 seats that are real and deserve the attention. Look past the fray and look at candidates.  Know what candidates are saying not what others alleged they are saying," said West.

"If folks are voting for Ron West or Ken Sapp they don't know what they are getting, so people should contact candidates, meet and talk and get information," concluded West.

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