April 27, 2005
Richland Hills last council meeting before election
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 -
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
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.
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.
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 Only.com. When shouts came from the
audience that Barth was "politicking", Mayor Trevino
explained that Barth was simply "reading a
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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,"
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.