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E-mails to the Editor 
2002
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Time Stamped June 20, 2002...4:21 PM

Subject: Letter to Editor

Dear Editor,

I am disgusted with malicious statements made to the press by Mayor Arp that are directed at certain city council members. Her quotes in today's Star Telegram are nothing less than a personal attack on a councilman and a blatant attempt to discredit his valid concerns regarding the city hall/library cost increase of $300,000 (not exactly pocket change to many Colleyville residents who also find the matter worrisome). If Arp is unable to refrain from making remarks for publication that only serve to belittle the sincere efforts of her fellow city servants, then she should remain silent. It's certainly no secret that Arp considers a couple of council members to be thorns in her political backside; however, the citizens of Colleyville have every right to expect that they will not be embarrassed by its leader making unprofessional, ill-mannered statements to the press. Enough!

Jenifer Zimmerman
Colleyville, TX 76034

Time Stamped June 06, 2002...4:07 PM

It's ridiculous that Linda Newton writes articles that mention her husband and makes no mention of the fact that she's married to him. The article I just read about the City Council meeting even had a VERY long quote by Richard Myers. There were no other quotes of that length in the article, even by other council members. Linda really shouldn't be writing articles about things that her husband is involved in, there's a conflict of interest. However, I understand you've only got a small operation and probably need every person you've got, so you could at least mention when the reporter is married to someone in the article. After all, that would be the ethical thing to do. Also, the editor should have cut Newton's quote anyway in order to shorten it. A quote of that length detracts from the smooth flow of an article.

Good luck,

Jeanne St. John
San Diego, CA

Editors note: St. John is a former Colleyville resident and the daughter of Jo Ann Gasper.

Time Stamped May 23, 2002...8:53 AM

Dear Editor:

I am grateful that LNO wants all points of view to be expressed.  Therefore I must correct statements made in an e-mail posted on LNO May 1, before the May 4, 2002 election. In that letter, my opponent made comments regarding me and a political action committee (PAC).

Only those comments which had to do with me will be addressed. I will discuss only errors of facts and not comment where there may be a difference of opinion. Furthermore, I had no control over a PAC which supported me. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on issues related to the PAC.

For the ease of your readers, the statements from the May 1, 2002 letter are quoted. A response follows each citation.

#1: Public records show that my opponent [Jo Ann Gasper] has reported spending $11,241.15 to date and has collected $4,969.29 in contributions for both the November 2001 and May 2002 elections." [Richard Newton has reported in his letter receiving $9,130.00 and expenses of $8,072.41.]  My total receipts reported are $3,614.00 and expenses of $9,196.31.

#2: "She [Jo Ann Gasper] received a significant contribution from local developer Kipp Whitman."  Kipp Whitman contributed $500 during the special election. Readers will have to judge for themselves whether or not this is a "significant" contribution.

 

#3: "It is ironic that my opponent [Jo Ann Gasper] signed the voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices that states ""I will not use campaign material of any sort that misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts . . . .."" I would expect that commitment to extend to materials published by specific PAC''s as well as the candidate''s own publications."  I have complied with the voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices.  I have no control over the actions of the Political Action Committee (PAC).

#4: "My opponent [Jo Ann Gasper] filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission two months after the last election complaining that I had used the term ""return"" on my signs." The complaint was for violation of "Texas Election Code Title 15, ¶255.006 Misleading Use of Office Title (c)." This section clearly states the language required of a person who is not an incumbent.  The signs used during the November special election did not meet the language requirements of Title 15, ¶255.006 (c).

#5: "Officials at the Commission [Texas Ethics Commission] have confirmed that this is a misrepresentation of the status of her complaint."  After the Texas Ethics Commission accepts jurisdiction ("Texas Ethics Commission Rules, Chapter 12, Subchapter B. Filing and Initial Processing of a Sworn Complaint, ¶12.71. Notice of Jurisdiction)," the next step in the process is described in "Texas Ethics Commission Rules, Chapter 12, Sworn Complaints, Subchapter C. Investigation and Preliminary Review, ¶12.81. Initial Investigation." Since the Commission has accepted "jurisdiction", the next step is "Investigation and Preliminary Review." Therefore, the use of the term "investigation" is appropriate.

#6: "She [Jo Ann Gasper] forwarded copies of her complaint to the Star Telegram as soon as she filed it in January in an effort to solicit news coverage but was ignored."  The Star Telegram requested copies of the complaint April 24, 2002 and published a story.

#7: " [Jo Ann Gasper] has gone so far as to inquire of the city manager if I violated the Colleyville Ethics Ordinance by not reporting this on my Financial Disclosure and Business Conflict of Interest Form when I applied to run for office."  The City Manager was asked the proper procedure to follow if a person wanted to file a complaint under the Colleyville Financial Disclosure Ordinance.

 

#8: "The fact that my opponent lobbied for the inclusion of the curious ""Misdemeanor Involving Moral Turpitude and Felonies"" section on the recently adopted city financial disclosures requirement,..." The Ethics Committee had included "moral turpitude" in the proposed city financial disclosure ordinance. A person cannot lobby for "inclusion" of something that is already included.

 

#9: " [S]he [Jo Ann Gasper] called the Star Telegram and maligned an innocent citizen after I nominated that individual for appointment to a city commission. She claimed that the individual had a conflict of interest even though Mayor Arp stated during the meeting that she did not."  The Star-Telegram called me. I expressed my opinions regarding what I perceived as a conflict of interest. The first I heard that Mayor Arp said there was not a conflict of interest, was the May 1, 2002 "Letter to the Editor."

Thank you for the opportunity to correct factual errors which appeared in a letter to the editor.

Yours truly,
Jo Ann Gasper

Time Stamped May 21, 2002...4:44 PM

To the Editor:

When I got a campaign flier in the mail two weeks ago bragging about an increase in commercial building permits in Colleyville, I started asking questions.  What I found out disappointed me.  The flier showed over 19 million dollars in Commercial Building Permits issued in 2001.  This was offered as evidence of an improving tax base.  After a little digging I found that the two largest building permits, amounting to over 10 million dollars, were for the city’s Justice Center and for a Church.  These projects will not add to the city’s tax revenue.  The flier which supported Gasper, Feldman, and Tigue was paid for by Citizens for Colleyville, Mark Jones, Treasurer.  The candidates and Mr. Jones, a sitting member of the planning and zoning commission, should have known this was a misrepresentation of the facts. 

Jody Short

Time Stamped May 07, 2002...8:07 AM

I have been seeing and hearing negative comments about the future grocery store to be built in the Town Center. It's being torched by people who have no knowledge of what the store is going to be, which I think is a shame !!
Last year I made a trip to Lubbock to call on a distributor to United Stores, a regional chain of competitively priced grocery stores in North Texas. The buyer I met with asked me if I had seen United's new Market Street concept store. He said it was the talk of the grocery world, and that grocery executives were flying in from all over the U.S. and Europe to see it. I told him I thought Lubbock was only famous for Buddy Holly, Mac Davis, Bob Knight, and the Red Raiders.
Upon entering the store, I was very impressed with the size and neat appearance of the layout. It is not like a HEB Central Market, Tom Thumb, or Simon David.  It is a city in itself, and appeals to all income levels.
I was very pleased when I heard they were going to open one in Colleyville, and hope it will attract new businesses for the city.  It's going to draw people of other towns because of the wide assortment of items they carry.  United also is big on helping out in the community.
So I hope everyone will quit complaining before they have a chance to witness the "Market Street" Experience.

Sincerely,

Mel Manuel
Colleyville

Time Stamped May 06, 2002...7:01 AM

To the Editor:

 I see from the paper this morning that Donna and Ginny are still
whining.
 Ginny thinks this campaign was very dirty and Donna thinks we need
 healing.
 Gee, did I miss something? Were the apologies earlier? Did you ever hear
 either of these ladies apologizing to the city for hiding offers of
 financial gain, while they were on the Council, from someone with
business before the Council?

 No, I don't think so! All we have heard is whining and that they didn't
 accept the offers; but they didn't mention the offers either, until
caught and forced to do so. Instead, they continued to bend over backwards to
 help (with the Couch's property, with our money, and with our park property)
 the developer who made these offers. I know it was inconvenient timing for
you Ginny, but it wasn't dirty. What was dirty was your failure to disclose,
and to continue voting on the Village!

Donna is worried about the need for healing. Charlene Hostin had it
right when asked what the city needed to improve its image, "We Need New
Leadership." Donna finds no problem in being the lead campaigner for a
slate of candidates for the city council and for the school board (incredible
that she should have the audacity to try to interfere with the school
election), and then, almost the next day, asking for healing (since she lost five
out of six of the races she needs healing.) Donna, is it going to be hard to
 work with all these people, when you just tried so hard to defeat them?

We all saw Donna at the polls Saturday campaigning for her slate. I told
 her to her face that morning, that doing so cheapened the office of Mayor. I
don't think she understands or cares, as all she had was a 'smart'
remark for me as I left. The office she holds is one of trust and honor. It is
not one to be used (as she has time and again) for her personal political
agendas. No Colleyville mayor (nor did, at least most of, the previous
Council members) in recent memory has so used the office to publicly
campaign for city candidates. Only Donna, and her bunch of lackeys (the
bunch is growing smaller) do this. Maybe we can put a permanent stop to
this lack of respect for the office in the next election, because
paraphrasing what Charlene said, "We still need more new leadership."


Clif Holliday
Colleyville

Time Stamped May 03, 2002...5:01 AM

Dear Editor:

On Tuesday April 9th the Brookmeadow’s Homeowner’s Association (BMHA), conducted its annual meeting. This is neither an earthshattering event nor reason for community revelation. Most Homeowner Association’s annual meetings are private and should be conducted as such. BMHA is also a private group and meetings must be kept that way. The leadership of the association chose to invite Mayor Donna Arp and City Manager Lindley to speak about current Colleyville matters concerning budgets and traffic congestion. I was quite surprised Mayor Arp and City Manager Lindley chose to be present during BMHA’s discussions concerning budget matters, rather than wait until this was concluded and then joining the meeting. There is nothing startling about the associations spending, however, it is still private. I wanted to hear the proposed solutions for traffic congestion on Glade road and city spending and chose not to express my displeasure with their presence. Much to my dismay both the mayor and city manager chose the opportunity for "campaigning." In as such that they chose to campaign during the BMHA meeting, I feel no obligation to keep private their discussions.

Mayor Arp used the occasion to describe the various activities she was pursuing. These require considerable expenditures - yours and my taxes. In particular we were lectured on the disadvantages in securing a "Wal-Mart" food store at the corner of HWY 26 and CB road. Mayor Arp informed us the store would annually generate only $60,000 for the city coffers. This was not an amount Ms. Arp felt would significantly offer a benefit to the area. I still am puzzled as to the enormous benefits of the proposed "upscale" grocery store being planned on HWY 26 near Hall Johnson vs. the less than elite Wal-Mart. There must be some intrinsic value of an abandoned Chevron station and Payless Store vs. a revenue generating Wal-Mart.

As an executive with one the largest corporations in the world I have discovered a rudimentary economic theorem - more revenue is better than less revenue. Tax revenues from both might be a quaint thought!

While receiving this sermon on finances, I was anxious to hear how Colleyville would be replacing the lost tax revenues of the vacating K Mart. This was never discussed. The upscale grocery boutique was too crucial to discuss lost tax revenues from K Mart.

As I mentioned earlier I do not believe a private homeowners meeting should be made public, but these two determined this was a "campaign" stop. Ms. Arp is a politician - her "talking points" were consistent with what I would expect from a political stump speech rather than a homeowners update. Mr. Lindley followed the financial sermon with ample time to discuss the traffic congestion on Glade. He chose for us to be subject to his long-winded harangue against Local News Only.com (LNO). I was totally unaware of LNO or any photos of a firehouse in Colleyville on a web site. He apparently has a tremendous loathing with LNO and made this known repeatedly. Until this time I had never heard of LNO, but thanks to Mr. Lindley’s near weeping monologue I visited the site and found it to be quite informative. Mr. Lindley described firefighters in Colleyville as being in a terrible emotional state about pictures which according to him "were doctored." Mr. Lindley, I have met firefighters in cities all across this country and I have never known one needing your sympathy. As to your disgust with firefighters being ‘political pawns’ - I somehow believe they have more on their minds than pictures on a website which may or may not show deteriorating conditions at a fire house. Hey, I’ve got an idea---let’s lure another high-end grocery store to 26 and CB road and get some tax revenue to upgrade their building!!!

I must admit my genuine disgust with these two has much more to do than the discussion of an elite grocery store, photos on web sites or mud slinging campaigning. We in Colleyville are building new city buildings on Bluebonnet. One will be a justice center. Apparently on Sep 11 a portion of the facility will be dedicated to police and firemen Ms. Arp displayed near delight when informing us of the dedication of the justice center facility. There was NO inflection of mourning, but almost a smugness of an "in your face" attitude. There will be a dedication in spite of the enormity of the national loses of the day.

I hold neither animus, nor political like or dislike toward either Ms. Arp or Mr. Lindley. I resent their arrogant manner toward a dedication on Sept 11. My family (and this includes me), have and continue to make physical sacrifices in the defense of this country. My grandfather immigrated to this country shortly after WWI. In each war and conflict a member of our family has served with distinction; in each war permanent wounds and deaths accompanied our service. I display the U.S. flag and my divisional flag with respect and reverence for the honor associated with defending the freedom of this country. Very few in this country would find pride in dedicating a building on Dec 7 – this is a day for remembrance of the terrible losses on that day. Certain days are consecrated and somber-Sept 11 is such a day. Today as we speak, my cousin is serving in harms way defending this country – he shares my views on a not dedicating a memorial of any kind on Sept 11. I have spoken with several colleagues where I work (we lost employees at WTC) and no one thought it appropriate to dedicate a facility on Sept 11, including a memorial to police and firefighters. I fly the U.S. flag and my military divisional flag with enormous pride - honoring the sacrifices made and being made. Sept 11 is a sacred day for the military in a somber and humbling manner. Many brave military members perished on that day at the pentagon. While non veterans may not fully comprehend the emotional impact of this day for veterans, accept that this day instigated an unending anguish for the military; that we immediately began an enduring crusade without the serenity of mourning our lost brothers. Sept 11 marked only the second occasion of a massive destruction of our U.S. military stronghold. As a former member of "AMERICA'S GUARD OF HONOR" I call for you to accept there is no tribute worthy of a dedication at this point. Until the military finds our victory we can never begin our remembrance of loses at the Pentagon and those who have perished in this conflict. There should be NO memorializing while we are dying in this war. Your selfish desire to wrap your emotions around a memorial to police and firefighters is an insult while so many soldiers are in harms way.

John Cheneler
Colleyville 

Time Stamped May 02, 2002...4:44 PM

Editor

Actions speak louder than words.

I never thought I would be so embarrassed by Colleyville's city government.
Over the last two years many irrevocable decisions have been made by the
voting block of this city council that have destroyed the positive course of
our city's future.

We will never have the Municipal Center we were promised. The relocated City
Hall does not even have room for all the city employees.  

Colleyville has always found it difficult to attract commercial development
because of our location and our low density development but because this
council, excepting Richard Newton, has turned down so many acceptable
commercial applications due to their political agenda and their favoritism
for certain developers we are now heading for financial problems.

This is at a time when we need stability more than ever.  We are not
fulfilling our obligations to our citizens for parks and sports facilities.
We are not providing the support that our existing businesses need to grow
and thrive. Annual funding needed to run the library is purely mythical.
This year we directed every city department to accept a 5% budget decrease,
yet the Mayor still states the goal of "City of Choice for Employees".  It
is embarrassing.

The truth is that Colleyville needs civility.  We need leaders who are able
to bring people and projects together rather than dividing them.  We need
leaders who tell the truth.  We need leaders who don't need "Spin".

I know each and every candidate that I support personally.  I know their
integrity.  I know their intentions.  Whether or not they will be given the
opportunity to put our city back on a positive course depends on every
voting citizen and whether or not they care enough to do something positive
for our future.  In Richard Newton, Charlene Hostin and Rich Hendler we have
a slate of officers that will once more make us proud to live in
Colleyville.

Luann Edwards
Colleyville

Time Stamped May 02, 2002...10:57 AM

In response to a letter submitted to LNO clarifying my positions,
it has been alleged that I am responsible for the actions taken
by two different Political Action Committees.  This allegation is
not true.

Neither of the  PACs discussed, acted as my agent. I first saw the
advertisement in the paper when reading the paper. I did not know
about the publication or content of the advertisement in advance
of publication. Nor did I know about the content of a letter distributed
by a PAC during the last election, until I received it in the mail.


Yes, I did learn from the last election. I did not tell adequately
tell the citizens why I was the best person for the job-my qualifications
and positions.

It's time we work together for Colleyville future,

Jo Ann Gasper
Colleyville

Time Stamped May 01, 2002...11:23 PM

Dear Editor:
 
Finally, a TRUTHFUL article on the GCISD Curriculum Audit only to have it "disappear" from your editoral column after being posted for only a few hours.  What happened to Mr. Rodriquez's article?  
 
Andrea Hoelzl

Publisher note: Its back on, see below. 

Time Stamped May 01, 2002...5:33 PM

I read Dave Lieber’s article, “District earns respect by inviting criticism”, in the April 30 edition of the Star-Telegram. As a candidate for GCISD School Board, Place 5, I find it imperative that I clarify facts that have been overlooked or misrepresented in his editorial. The purpose for commissioning the GCISD Curriculum Management Audit was to support the removal of the (former) GCISD superintendent, Jim Thompson, who correctly stated that a deficit audit only identifies deficiencies and weaknesses. Alone, this can be demoralizing to citizens and the staff of a district that often succeeds in its attempts to provide quality education for its students. Unanticipated was the severity of the criticisms directed at the current board, which is now being downplayed in light of the May 4 election. As most citizens will not read the report on their own, it is important that the findings, including illegalities and improprieties attributed to the current board, receive greater scrutiny than the press or the board members themselves have given to date.

The GCISD Curriculum Management Audit report focuses on two important areas—instruction and board governance. According to recent press reports, “Preliminary results show that our two high schools have the highest TAAS scores ever!” However, these scores reflect our sophomores’ highest achievements on a test of eighth-grade (not tenth-grade) skills and, out of context, they may appear commendable. But put these scores in context, and any celebration of these results should be less exuberant.

Given the unparalleled resources of our school district, the type of experiences that our students bring to our classrooms, the high caliber of teachers, and the excellent facilities, we should expect more that strong eight-grade scores from our tenth-grade students.

How did the long-range plan to restore GCISD to academic excellence under the tenure of this current board contribute to exceeding these scores? Oops! Didn’t the Curriculum Audit (p. 21) find the current board out of compliance with state law and required district policy in their lack of long-range planning guidance and very little effective long-range planning? And, on p. 24, what leads the authors of the report to conclude that missing objectives in the district-wide supporting plans “would have contributed directly to achieving the goal of earning an accreditation status of Exemplary through the state’s accountability rating system”?

The second focus of the report is on board governance. As noted in the column facing Mr. Lieber’s on p. 8B, Ms. Nicholson responds to the issue of personal agendas by incorrectly identifying the tenure of the board. The board membership changed in June, 2001, not after the November audit. The individuals critiqued are those currently representing our district. In addition to the findings of unlawful…exercise of political power and fractious board member behavior (p. 14) you noted, it also identified other grave issues. These include nonconformity to the board members’ legal role (p. 16) and actions identified as inappropriate, not measurable, not assigned to a responsible person, had no budget, and were unlikely to contribute to improved student achievement (p. 21). Are these the actions we, as a community, truly want guiding the education of our school children?

Voters: please don’t confuse a politically-motivated spin on a truly important document with self-serving actions by members of the current board. This report is not a profile in courage; instead, it is a timely warning to both voters and elected officials that drastic—not minimal—changes need to be made. As the current board isn’t even accepting of the critique, implementation of corrective action is a logical issue of concern.

Without anyone on the board having a background in education, it is clear that the current board members do not possess the knowledge to make effective decisions for our children, teachers, schools, and school district. Even more scary is that the current board members don’t know what they don’t know. Our children, our parents, our teachers, and our taxpayers deserve more than a political twist on a story. GCISD is a good district. It has the potential for greatness, but not under the current leadership of our school board members. It’s time to make the RIGHT choice!

Jesse Rodriguez

Time Stamped May 01, 2002...9:39 PM

Dear Editor:

I have been reading with interest the various responses of the Arp, Tigue, Feldman and Gasper camp, including councilmembers Rice and Hocutt, to the Myer's offers to both Arp and Tigue.  Most seem to take the opinion that there is no wrongdoing because in fact no business was transacted.  This position ignores legal precedent and the concept of conflict of interest or perceived conflict of interest, as very correctly pointed out in the Star Telegram editorial and column by Dave Lieber.

Since Mr. Rice and Ms. Feldman are attorneys and will hopefully read this, or have it forwarded to them by supporters, I suggest you review two Florida District Court of Appeals decisions that relate to this type of behavior.  Jennings v. Dade County, 589 SW2nd 1337 (Fla. DCA 1991) and Snyder v. Board of County Comm. of Brevard County, 595 So. 2nd 65 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991).  These cases stand for the principle that zoning proceedings are "quasi judicial" and therefore require procedural due process without prejudice.  Offers and or substantial communications from one side (the developer) to decision making council members, without the knowledge of or the other side (interested citizens) represented or present, amount to "ex-parte" communications (or those where only one side is heard).  It is roughly equal to a trial where the judge hears only from one side and the other side is unaware of what has been communicated to the judge related to the case.  The Florida decisions cited above, and others around the country where serious zoning scandals have occurred, condemn and prohibit the exact conduct undertaken by Arp, Tigue and Myers in the Village case.  Just consider for a moment the language of Florida Attorney General Advisory Opinion AGO 94-71:  "the court concluded that the allegation of prejudice resulting from ex-parte contact with decision makers in a quasi judicial proceeding states a cause of action . . . the court  (in Jennings) stated that upon proof that an ex-parte communication has occurred (just like the Arp, Tigue communications that Myers confirmed in public), there is a presumption of prejudice.  The burden is then placed upon the party who initiated the ex-parte communication to show that no prejudice resulted from the contact."

What does all this mean?  Whether or not Arp or Tigue availed themselves of the opportunities presented to them by Myers is really not the issue at all.  The mere fact that Myers presented the proposals to them would legally prejudice the subsequent zoning/city approvals for the Village because these offers were kept secret.  Whether Arp rejected on the spot, a month later, or a year later, again is not really the issue because they were kept secret and Arp and Tigue participated in all of the Village approvals.  If we were in Florida, the facts as we now know them are sufficiently egregious to state a cause of action (enough for a suit) that could potentially reverse all of the Village approvals as a result of prejudice.  I know you Arp and Tigue fans are saying well this is not Florida.  True, however, the courts in Texas have not clearly addressed this issue and the Florida cases would certainly be persuasive.

The real point is that the behavior undertaken by Arp, Tigue and Myers is flat out wrong.  Those of us who followed the Village and its approval process closely sensed a long time ago that something was clearly wrong as too much consideration was given to the Village with little or no public debate.  No other development in the City has received TIF Funds, but coincidentally after the Arp offer from Myers, the Village gets an increase from $3.8 to $7.5 million.  Whether Texas law was violated may be unclear, however, violation of the public trust cannot be tolerated.  Those critical of the disclosure of the Arp and Tigue proposals by Myers say its just sour grapes on the part of former Councilman Mike Taylor, or its just a stunt to try to hurt the Village, or (as nonsensical as Arp's comment may be), that its just a lifestyle difference of roads and Walmart.  None of that applies.  We simply want honest and open city councilmembers who make decisions based on the issues themselves and not based on who the applicant is.  We don't want those who look to secretly gain financially from their position on council to continue.  After these elections, regardless of the outcome, Ms. Arp should consider resignation.

My vote goes to Rich Hendler, Richard Newton and Charlene Hostin.  Lets bring ethical behavior back to Colleyville.

Steven H. Magee
Colleyville

Time Stamped May 01, 2002...8:47 PM

Dear Editor,

I’m writing in response to the email submitted by my opponent, Jo Ann Gasper, which was posted on LNO April 30, 2002.  The advertisement she referred to in her email was submitted for publication only after her PAC placed ads in two newspapers the previous week that contained several false statements about my record.  Several of those statements were repeats of the false statements contained in my opponent’s political mailers that she distributed prior to the November 4 special election.  That flyer contained eight statements that were absolutely not true and seven more that were misleading.  A summary of those statements and the truth was available on my web site during the fall election.

My opponent also allowed an extremely derogatory two-page letter to be distributed during the fall campaign.  That letter was signed by Bill Dennis and was paid for by a PAC.  My response to that letter was also posted on my web site during the fall campaign.  My voting record and my position on controversial local issues were both falsely stated in my opponent’s literature and that of her supporters during that election.

My opponent took a different approach this time.  Her printed mailer omitted the statements published in her previous campaign and she allowed her PAC to make the false statements.  The PAC ad contained erroneous information about campaign contributions for myself, Rich Hendler and Charlene Hostin, as well as false information about my record.  The ad criticized my campaign contributions from developers and showed that my opponent had only reported $100 on the April 5, 2002 campaign finance report with the notation “no fund raising”.  Public records show that my opponent has reported spending $11,241.15 to date and has collected $4969.29 in contributions for both the November 2001 and May 2002 elections.  She received a significant contribution from local developer Kipp Whitman.  I have reported receiving a total of $9,130.00 and expenses of $8,072.41 for both elections, and I have received an additional $1,475.00 in contributions since the last reporting period.  The majority of my contributions have not come from developers.

The PAC that placed the ad that misrepresented my record lists Mark Jones, who serves on the Planning & Zoning Commissioner with my opponent, as treasurer and the only reported contributor of record is Citizens for Mayor Donna Arp.  Ginny Tigue is named as the “person appointing treasurer” on the required financial report.  The stated purpose of the PAC, Citizens for Colleyville, is to support candidates Ginny Tigue, Jo Ann Gasper and Dana Feldman in the May 4, 2002 election.  It is ironic that my opponent signed the voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices that states “I will not use campaign material of any sort that misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts…”.  I would expect that commitment to extend to materials published by specific PAC’s as well as the candidate’s own publications.

I disagree with my opponent’s interpretation of her voting record.  She voted for the most intensive commercial zoning available (CC2) for developer Raman Chandler, a Gasper supporter, on McDonwell School Road even though residents in the area were opposed to it.  Her statement that residents requested the high density residential zoning as a buffer from the CC2 is misleading because the buffer would not have been needed had the CC2 zoning not been granted.  Since the zoning change was granted a large portion of the land has been purchased by the Keller Independent School District for an elementary school.  Chandler did not own all the property when it was zoned. 

My opponent filed a complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission two months after the last election complaining that I had used the term “return” on my signs.  I had been elected to public office in Colleyville five times prior to that election (now six) and consider the term “Return Newton to Council” appropriate.  My opponent is now claiming that I am being “investigated” by the commission and has gone so far as to inquire of the city manager if I violated the Colleyville Ethics Ordinance by not reporting this on my Financial Disclosure and Business Conflict of Interest Form when I applied to run for office.  Officials at the Commission have confirmed that this is a misrepresentation of the status of her complaint.  They are required by law to review every complaint that falls within their jurisdiction and this one has not yet even been heard. 

I believe that my opponent filed this complaint solely as a publicity stunt for the current election.  She forwarded copies of her complaint to the Star Telegram as soon as she filed it in January in an effort to solicit news coverage but was ignored.  This conflicts with her written statement to a citizen recently in which she said, “I did not want this to become public” when referring to the ethics complaint.  She finally succeeded in getting newspaper coverage of the issue in last week’s Star Telegram.  The fact that my opponent lobbied for the inclusion of the curious “Misdemeanor Involving Moral Turpitude and Felonies” section on the recently adopted city financial disclosures requirement, where she now implies that I should have listed her complaint, leads me to believe she premeditated these accusations solely to be able to use it as an election issue.

My opponent has also implied in an email to the city that I failed to list on my financial disclosure form that I was on a particular board that doesn’t even exist.  In addition, she called the Star Telegram and maligned an innocent citizen after I nominated that individual for appointment to a city commission.  She claimed that the individual had a conflict of interest even though Mayor Arp stated during the meeting that she did not. 

It appears to me that after running in three elections my opponent has improved her campaigning skills.  In fact, she is to be commended for finding a way to get a free ad on LNO by complaining about my ad placed in a different paper.  However, it is my opinion that the citizens of Colleyville would be better served if those wishing to hold public office would simply spend some time serving the community in order to develop a portfolio of qualifications that they can refer to in their campaigns rather than trying to win an election through misrepresentation of their opponent’s years of service.

Following her defeat last fall my opponent embarked on a quest to create as much negative publicity as possible for me, including complaining about the records I was requesting from the city in my attempt to properly represent the citizens.  One would expect my opponent to empathize with my position in view of the fact that she attempted to obtain “thousands of pages of internal documents” from the federal government according to a Washington Post news article.  A citizen that I have never even met contacted me after being offended by the ad in which my opponent’s supporters misrepresented my record.  That citizen made me aware of negative publicity regarding my opponent’s federal career that I could have chosen to use in my campaign but did not.

I agree that it is time for us to work together for Colleyville’s future, but some people need to stop playing political games before that can be accomplished.

Richard Newton

Colleyville City Councilman Place 4
Former Mayor of Colleyville 1992-1994, 1997-1999
Former Colleyville City Councilman Place 2 1989-1992 
 

Time Stamped May 01, 2002...3:13 PM

Letter to the Editor;

The apologists for Donna and Ginny's latest indiscretions offer us the opportunity to visit fantasyland with out turning to the 'funnies.'

Perhaps the 'funniest' of all, if you have a perverted sense of humor, comes from Village partners Myers and Miller (our Ethics Committee Chairman!).  They seem to think that is 'normal business practice' to privately offer (acceptance, or lack thereof, of the offer is completely beside the point) a sitting public official a lucrative business proposition concerning an affair currently under that politician's jurisdiction! If that is their idea of business ethics, they are in the wrong country! They belong in one of the third-world countries, where every official is more or less for sale. I hope
that is not the normal practice of business here!

As usual, however, it is hard to beat Donna herself for 'funniness.' She seems to think (or at least claims to- we all know that this is really just a theatrical plea for emotional support, like Ginny crying rather than
answering a question at the Candidate's Forum) that people are against her because of her stand against widening some roads several years ago. Well, Donna I know a lot of people who are against you and your lackeys, and I am yet to hear any of them mention those roads as a reason. (Most of them were also against widening those roads.) The things I do hear people mentioning as to reasons that they are voting against Donna and her latest attempt at stacking the Council with more of her Lackeys include: numerous violations of the public trust; failure to openly and honestly communicate; total disregard for the good of Colleyville in the face of any political
expediency; a cheapening of the Mayor and Council offices by city officials directly campaigning in city elections for other positions (this was never done by elected officials, pre-Donna); and failure to take responsibility
for  (or often to even admit-until caught) actions.

As I review this, it isn't so funny. It is very serious. We will take the first step towards correcting this situation by re-electing Richard Newton, and by electing Rich Hendler and Charlene Hostin. This will deny the Council to Donna, and offer us the opportunity to restore the good name of Colleyville.

Clif Holliday
Colleyville

Time Stamped May 01, 2002 .. 12:45 PM

Dear Editor:

The time has come for a change in Colleyville. 

The Star Telegram articles have expressed the realities and opinion of most of the citizens in our town.  For some time the current city council (with the exception of Richard Newton) has been living in a euphoric state or dream world.  Some of this I can understand.  However, the fact is that two of our councilpersons are attorneys.  Why did they not counter to the problems and ethics of the proceedings reportedly being aired in local papers and community?  They, of all people, should have responded to the ethics code.

Most of our professions and/or vocations are governed by rules and ethical codes.  Are we null and void in Colleyville of these ethics?

The time for change is NOW - May 4, 2002.  Please help the city by electing Rich Hendler, Charlene Hostin and Richard Newton.  They understand the precarious situation our city is in.

Ed Baker
Colleyville.

 Time Stamped April 30, 2002..5:15 PM

Dear Editor

A recent political advertisement, printed in another paper, has made claims that are inaccurate, misleading and misrepresentations  of my experience and platform. The facts are:

. The advertisement implies that I attack with "untruths and distortions." My recent campaign brochure mailed to voters provides the "Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Gasper" and answers the question "Why would someone with an MBA and over 30 years of professional experience, including national policymaking, want to serve on the Colleyville City Council? Because she cares." I am the only person discussed in the recently mailed brochure.

. The advertisement says that I have "continuously misrepresented."  My brochure and  website www.joann.gasperonline.com accurately reflect my
experience, my position on the issues facing Colleyville, my vision for the future, my proposed solutions for future challenges, and my background. My campaign has been about my qualifications, my abilities and the reasons that I am the best person to serve on the Colleyville City Council.

. The advertisement says that I voted for "high density residential and inappropriate commercial zoning." I voted to restore the commercial zoning on property which had been changed to a tax exempt use. I supported the request made by the citizens  for a higher density single-family residential development to serve as a "buffer" from the commercial property.  This vote  supported commercial development and supported  the citizens' desire  to protect their neighborhood.
Promoting quality economic development and while preserving our neighborhoods is a major goal of mine.

. The advertisement is a "red herring" questioning my reporting of campaign contributions.  All required campaign contributions and financial disclosures  have been filed in a timely manner. State and city rules for the conduct of a campaign have been followed. Full
disclosure has been given.

. The advertisement implies that I have "no record of service or list of accomplishments." I have a record of more than 10 years of  public service including eight years federal government (Reagan administration) and almost two years city government experience (Planning and Zoning Commission). My experience includes running a
federal agency with $154 million budget, managing a $40 million research demonstration project, and being an advisor to Secretary of Education William Bennett. My work has been recognized internationally.

Law students are taught that if they do not have the facts on their side-they should argue the law. If they do  not have the law on their side-they should argue the facts. If they have neither the facts nor the law to support their position, then discredit the person. It is clear that the  advertisement has  neither the facts nor the law on its side.

It is time that we all work together for Colleyville's future.

Jo Ann Gasper
Colleyville

 Time Stamped April 30, 2002..11:16 AM

In the 4/22/02 letter to the editor, there appears to be a mistake in the interpretation of the Charter of Colleyville. The "direct interest" would have been the direct investment in the Village project by the Tigues, which did not happen. Also, the "proposed or actual contract, ..." refers to the Village project and not the documents between the developer and Tigue/Arp.

There was not a direct interest in the Village project by either Tigue or Arp so why would there need to be a disclosure? That's my interpretation.

David Peck
Colleyville

Time Stamped April 29, 2002..4:22 PM

Dear LNO:

Thank you for your detailed and well-researched update on the "new Luxury Hotel" which the mayor and the Village developer announced shortly before the special election to fill the Place 4 seat on City Council.  But you really could have saved your time and effort.  It is no surprise that nothing further has happened on this project since it was obviously released to fool the public as to the prospects of Highway 26 looking like anything other than a street in the Bronx with all of its boarded-up storefronts.

For anyone who can spell economics the prospect of someone building a "Mansion-style hotel" in Colleyville was always laughable.  For what reason would all of these wealthy, upscale people be coming to Colleyville?  Is there a major tourist attraction like the Alamo or Six Flags?  Do we have an ocean, river (Bear Creek is not it) or mountain for them to see?  Is there a Deep Ellum, Greenville Avenue,  Sundance Square or Bass Hall?  Do we have gourmet restaurants, unique pubs or nightly entertainment?

Although it may come as a shock to our "upscale, rural atmosphere" doyens, people may not want to come to Colleyville just so they can bask in the well-coifed and sartorial splendor of our upscale magnificence. They might actually want something of substance for their money.

Even Grapevine and Southlake, which actually do have entertainment venues, a number of good restaurants, a Town Center with excellent shopping, Grapevine Mills, a quaint downtown and numerous other facilities to draw tourists, would have a difficult time sustaining such a property. But if there was any prospect of such a hotel being built, like with the Opryland facility in Grapevine, Mayors Stacy and Tate would have already
wrapped that package.  Those two cities and their leaders know economic development and how to build dynamic communities fueled with large sales tax dollars to improve the services to their citizens.

Our accomplishment is to brag about building a library- with the $700,000 per year needed to operate it nowhere in sight.  Of course everyone knows what a tremendous sales tax generator the Library, along with Lee Lighting (most sales are to builders who pay no sales tax-and how often do you buy a chandelier), will be in replacing the tax base loss represented by Payless, Kmart, Luckman's Silk, Sweet Magnolias, Taco Bell, Diamonds by
Winston and all of the others.

However, there is no need to waste any more time on this endeavor by sending proposed names for the new hotel to the mayor.  One name and one name only fits this hotel.  THE MIRAGE in Colleyville.
 
Frank Carroll
Colleyville
 Time Stamped April 28, 2002..11:48 AM

Dear Editor:

Let me be the first to say that I was never on Council, and have not one political aspiration to be the Mayor.  But I do go to many of Colleyville's different open committee meetings as a citizen, almost every Council meeting, and read every angle of every story put out in regard to Colleyville.  As a citizen, these are my conclusions: 

For Mayor Arp to claim herself as "politically naive" is possibly the largest lie she has ever told, and that number is legion.     

Richard Myers' story gets tweaked every time he tells it about the great proposal to sign up the Mayor as The Villages' brokering agent, and his innocent offer to a sitting Councilwoman and her husband to invest in the project.   

The Villages' Tom Miller can't figure out why the Ethics Committee he chairs has taken criticism despite not yet producing an actual Ethics recommendation.  They did provide a "Disclosure" document-I went to the meeting where the Committee curtly refused any suggestion to include the names of business partners or even to reveal partnerships over in say, Dallas.  Since the entire Committee was selected to exclude citizens who applied before the deadline so they could be hand picked by Councilwoman Feldman after the closing, it is pitiful irony that Miller cries he is the victim of politics.  You have to know what Ethics are before you get selected to write the guidelines.  Last we heard, they were copying some from other cities.

The defense provided by the Villagegate Coalition is that all of the turmoil and revelations about the condemnation and sweetheart deal of the Couch property, the phony hotel with the expected incentives, the surprise median, the illegal parkland trade, the coincidence of City Hall and Library moved to the Villages-the time frame not so distant from the fabulous investment opportunities offered to two of our elected officials-all of this is just politically motivated?

I am a citizen.  I have voted in the past for Arp and Tigue.  But there is something so wrong about this Villagegate business that it transcends cavalier dismissal as political mischief.  Arp, Tigue, Myers, Miller, et al-they are disrespecting the citizens to claim it as such, and in fact, can only respond by getting churlish because their no one caught them before now.

Linda Baker
Colleyville
 Time Stamped April 24, 2002..8:28 PM

Dear Editor, 
As candidates for the GCISD School Board move into the final days before election, I wish to recommend Freda Ward as the most valuable candidate for Place 7.  Freda is uniquely qualified to serve on the Board.  She has years of positive involvement in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district as a dedicated leader, loyal committee member and as a current parent of two school-age children.  Freda's campaign slogan says it all ... "For the Children."
 
The results of the GCISD Curriculum Audit should be a wake-up call to all voters that we need a change.  We need new leadership in our school district!  The audit reflects that not only are there governance issues between the current School Board and Dr. Singer but, there is no curriculum management.  Every conscientious voter needs to read this audit thoroughly before they vote.  Teacher morale is currently at the lowest it has been in years, and our district has gone from "exemplary" to "recognized" under the current Board "leadership."
 
I want a change! I am voting for Freda Ward!  Many people have recently talked to Freda to express their concerns over the current school situation.  I have noticed that she listens attentively and then questions.  Freda is an energetic and tireless searcher for solutions to problems.  She cares - about the schools, the teachers and the children.  She pledges to work diligently to make our school district better.
 
These and other traits that characterize Freda Ward make her a valuable candidate for the GCISD School Board.  Let's elect Freda Ward to Place 7.  We will be proud that we gave her our vote. 
Louise Moore
 Time Stamped April 23, 2002..6:09 PM

Dear Editor,   

Do Ethical Elected Officials Attract Written Offers....I Think Not

Dear Editor:

When I came to Colleyville in 1996, I couldn't have cared less who was on the Council or who served as the City's Mayor.  I was interested in other things and took for granted that everyone got a fair opportunity.  Having tried to do business here and having watched "most" others try to do business here, I found that I was terribly wrong. 

I have been reading recent articles in the Star-Telegram where Mayor Arp and Mayor Pro-Tem Tigue assert they have done no wrong because they said "no" to certain written "business offers."  In my opinion, it is more than naive for anyone to swallow these assertions of innocence.  Business simply doesn't work that way.  Substantial business discussions and general agreement to terms precede the expense of document preparation.  Offers, in writing, don't just appear unexpectedly. 

Despite what they assert, it has been more than obvious to those that attend City meetings that Arp and Tigue continued to push the very "Villages" agenda they purportedly declined.  That of course raises the question of whether in substance the offers were in fact declined or might simply have been replaced by something else.  

Supported by obedient Council candidates that rode the long Arp/Tigue coat tails and a certain "liar flyer" into office, it was really easy to get this "Villages" deal done it seems.  Throughout all the zigzagging and "kicking the ball down a confusing field" the major press sources never questioned any of the bewildering Council moves.  For example, they didn't question the motive to "cover part of the Hall Johnson Rd. with dirt fiasco " that occurred at the first Council meeting that the coalition existed. Nor did they before of after the fact, credibly test the faulty cost analyses that showed a cost benefit now turned high cost to the citizens to relocate the City Hall and Library to the "Villages."   

Arp and Tigue have, expended dog years politically schmoozing Colleyville's elite citizens and the press. After their initial election to office they were ineffective pushing their agenda because they were opposed by other Council members that disagreed with them.  Nevertheless, after being elected unopposed as I recall, these two "society mavens" subsequently bonded together a strange mixture of the elite, the major media and the adjacent to "commercial property" homeowner activist groups to solidify a path to power and build a powerful Council coalition that can literally do anything if it is allowed to continue. Those of us who go to City meetings have literally seen them use the rule book when it benefits them and disregard it when it didn't. 

It was actually stunning to read an objective Sunday Star-Telegram editorial and see Dave Leiber's column today take a hard look at the actions of the current Mayor and Council.  I actually didn't believe in my life time the DFW major media would peer through the false vale of Arp and Tigue, no matter the circumstance.  It is certainly nice to see the disingenuous efforts of Arp/Tigue begin to earn them the stature with the major media their years of schmoozing and self serving efforts should afford them.  

As for Mrs. Tigue and the other Council members up for election, now it is up to the voters to either leave this absurd but powerful coalition in place or balance it so that there is protection for those outside your circles.  For Council seats not up for reelection this term, I say mend your ways, think objectively and do what is right for all of Colleyville!  To the press, I say maintain your skepticism of all.  Nobody presents anything to the Council without financial motive and very few attend Council meetings without motive.  Every vote has a consequence to those at the Council meetings and those at home.  Think about what is going on.  The more it zigs and zags the more skeptical the press and all concerned should be. 

At my core, I could still care less who the elected officials are.  I only want a fair place in which to live and to do business.  It doesn't currently exist.  I hope it changes May 4th. 

If this gets published, I want to thank LNO for not limiting me to 100 words as the "major media" does.  That frustrates me and ultimately leaves my point of view largely unexpressed.     

Jim Ivey
Colleyville
 Time Stamped April 22, 2002..12:15 PM

Dear Editor, 

You guys are doing a great job for Colleyville!  I also like the updates in format (appearance) you continue to make.  Have a nice day!

Anita Vanetti
Arlington, Texas

 Time Stamped April 22, 2002..11:15 AM

Dear Editor, 

In watching the candidates at last night's Colleyville Lion's Club Candidate
Forum, one question kept occurring to me -"What planet is Ginny Tigue from?"
Time after time, she said things that made me wonder why she would brag
about her four years experience on the Council. Examples:
* She said here are no coalitions on the current Council. Ginny, are all
those 4-1 votes (5-0 before Newton replaced Marlin) just accidents?
* Indicated that the Council was meeting with Rte. 26 businesses to allay
all problems about the upcoming rebuild of that road. However, Ginny's
opponent, Charlene Hostin, reports that she has actually visited with many
of these business owners and that they all are concerned about what is going
to happen on Rte. 26. Ginny, I guess they remember being totally surprised
about the 'Yellow Monster' that you and the rest of Donna's Council
inflected on them.


* She indicated that we needed a variety of businesses in Colleyville, but
we need boutiques in our central area. Ginny, are these boutiques supposed
to go with the non-existent Monopoly Hotel you and Donna spoofed us with
last year?


* When answering a question about how to improve the perception of
Colleyville having an unstable political climate, Ginny stopped talking to
hold back tears. Ginny, very touching, great theater, but your opponent's
(Charlene Hostin) answer, "We need new leaders and new leadership," seems a
lot more to the point. Tears won't do it. New leaders will!
* Ginny, in talking about the Library, noted that it had been in progress
since 1985. Well that was when a Gala was held that brought some of the
current people into the Library issue, but in fact, it had been in the
planning stages for years before that. Ginny, not everything starts with a
Gala!

One other thing of interest about Ginny's talk was that she used the forum
as a stage to deny the current allegations in the various papers about her
being potentially financially involved with the developer of the Village.
She ended one talk with the words, "I didn't do it."

She doesn't seem to get it (again!) The Charter of Colleyville says (Section
14.02, paragraph C) "A person, who is subject to the Section and has a
direct interest in any proposed or existing contract, purchase, work, sale,
or service..." it goes on to require that those persons (elected or
appointed officials) shall not participate in discussion or vote on such
subjects. The next paragraph (Section 14.02, Paragraph D) requires that a
sworn notice of any such conflict be filed with the City Secretary.

Note that the language says, "Proposed." It doesn't say that a contract has
to be final or accepted. It appears to me that this "appearance of
impropriety" (even in the absence of actual, completed contracts) is what
the Charter anticipates. I think Ginny and Donna should have read the
Charter more carefully.

Clif Holliday
Colleyville

 

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