Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Hudson Challenge

Soon after the May 10 elections, this reporter had occasion to speak with Mayor Don Hudson about a number of new and recurrent problems in Wilmer and his proposals to deal with them. Current events have prompted our reminiscence of that conversation.

Much of the conversation was "off the record", but we did report the Mayor's planned crackdown on drug houses and bootleggers in Wilmer in a story on May 22. Click Here to View the Story.

During the conversation we discussed a number of things, including reporting the news. Mayor Hudson stated it was this reporter's duty to uncover the facts and report on mistakes and misadventures by the city's elected officials and government employees. He further went on to say unequivocally that if he or any other elected official left evidence of wrong doing or corruption lying around for someone (me) to find, then they deserved to have it made public. If I recall his exact words were to the effect "If I'm dumb enough to leave evidence lying around, I deserve to have it reported." How smart is that?

Since then, Mayor Hudson has threatened this publication with vexatious litigation following our reporting the misuse of Cottonwood Valley Park. Since that time Mayor Hudson has talked to this reporter only twice: once to acknowledge receipt of an open records request and his decision to charge a fee to research city ordinances so we could read them, the second time more recently to "debunk" our report of misuse of public property for improper "pre-employment" drug testing - and to ask that we submit an open records request to Wilmer PD, for which he wouldn't charge a fee. We have since corrected the details of that report which were erroneous (see our blog comments) and avoided the needless exercise of requesting police records - although we have not published details of exactly what preceded the drug testing incident (although we received a well written report of these events available for publication).

Hudson questioned the credibility of our sources on that story, but in his phone call he stated flatly "I know where the information came from" and did not inquire about our sources. He wanted to know if the information was given willingly and we confirmed that it was. He even wanted our cooperation to discredit our story by verifying non-existent Wilmer PD records. Hudson did not ask for a correction or a retraction to the story, and stated he wasn't going to . How smart is that?

We have received numerous reports from reliable sources that Hudson decided to blame City Secretary Crystol Birdwell for intentionally "leaking" that information. For the record, Birdwell was completely dismayed that WPC had the evidence in hand and actually commented that a break-in must have occurred. Now we understand that the City Hall is in "lock down" mode, and Wilmer PD installed spy software on all the computers. The City Secretary knows she wasn't the source on this report, and of course I know she wasn't in anyway involved. Yet Hudson is supremely confident he knows exactly who and where the story came from - and has acted accordingly. How smart is that?

Now Hudson and his majority on the council are pushing a blatantly illegal process to zone property not in the city limits - and to ignore the P&Z Commission recommendation against the proposed zoning. We understand that none of our elected or appointed officials have filed any conflict of interest affidavits regarding this property. We have confirmed members of both the P&Z commission and the City Council have family financial interests in properties adjacent to the proposed development. And this is for the same developer (Xebec) involved in the Cottonwood Valley Park "party" we reported that seemingly sparked Hudson's ire. How smart is that?

While we cannot speculate on the state of Mayor Hudson's mind, we can conclude his confidence and bravado is unquestionable. The unorthodox replacement of the City Secretary and Public Information Officer again calls to question Hudson's ethics in running the city. But of course, we shouldn't be surprised that our primary public official has so little regard for the people of Wilmer considering he resides in Ellis County (Palmer). Never mind that a number of licenses and public records were changed just prior to the election to indicate Hudson's residence was in Wilmer.

Conventional wisdom is that while ignorance can be overcome by education, "you can't fix stupid".


The Liars and Losers Club said...


Oh Joe, you are a saint. I get to be first to respond on this one (if you are not holding a comment already you lil devil...wink).

How accurate you are. YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID. IT IS WHAT IT IS! (and no, this is not Linda Root, but oh how we wish we could get that gem back after we have seen so much worse that she ever showed us). Isn't it amazing the power of the voter, expecially an uninformed or mis-informed voter. This group is such a huge embarassment to the effective operation of the City of Wilmer. They have shown us that they are all about un-resolved campaign bribes...errr...ummm promises, mis-management of money and information, careless and inappropriate firings, rediculous employee hirings and replacements, and the list goes on.

The last administration was well on the way to a one-million dollar surplus funds account, a drastic lowering of the tax abatement rate and better salaries for the employees, as well as better protection for our citizens in town. Hudson and Lange have totally destroyed that, and have now placed Wilmer back in the toilet as far as the business community is concerned. Public relations for Wilmer is now non-existent unless you are with the Allen Group. We are the laughing stock of the Dallas County area and are sure to be considered fair game for a City of Dallas take-over (Allen Group allies) by mere consideration of our inability to conduct a professional business ethic.

Thanks Council, you have really served the City of Wilmer in Grand Style.

WE ARE LAUGHING AT THE SUPERIOR INTELLECTS (along with everyone else in Dallas County and North Texas) that you THINK you are. You have done nothing for the City of Wilmer that we can hold our heads up high about. You have only made a decent situation unbearable for your own self-serving cause(s).

GO HOME AND HIDE, WE DON'T WANT YOU, and we are about to show you.

Anonymous said...

Joe, would you mind letting me know who is on the P&Z board?

Editor Publisher said...

To Anonymous 9/4/08 11:18AM
Members of the P&Z Commission include: Stan Bell, Dennis Vandygriff, Rolando Leal, Victor Pena and Bertha King

Anonymous said...

Hey liars and losers club, you seem like an intelligent person. I have a question for you.What are you going to do to make the city of Wilmer a better place for you and your family? What are you going to do to make things change? Some people that are complaining the most have lived in the city most of their lives and look at it. It hasn't changed. If you are going to complain I would like to believe that you and all of the other concerned citizens would have a solution in mind to correct the problems. It's still the same old run down town with the same old complaints with no hope of improvement in sight. Some people are against the new developments that could bring progressive change to the little run down town... Why? Because they want to see houses with flowers and little white picket fences and children on swings just like the good old days. That sounds nice,but it won't happen without tax dollars,infrastructure,schools and people that want to live here. You can have your parks and green spaces and ponds with fountains and swans and ducks for the children to feed bread crumbs to. It takes development and people that are able to do the research necessary to find out what steps other successful small towns took when faced with new development that would change the face of the community. What is that phrase, If you keep doing what you have always done,you will always be what you have always been. You guys keep bring up problems with this administration, they bring up problems with the last administration. What difference has it made. After all of these years, regardless of who is in charge, it's still the same old little run down town with no hope in sight.
So my question again, liars and losers club, what are YOU and the other CONCERNED CITIZENS going to do to make the city a better place to live for all of us?
Remember the tall sign that used to be on top of the hill beside the highway promoting the City of Wilmer? It read Wilmer Is Lively Mature Energetic Resourceful (WILMER). What is your sign going to say?

the liars and losers club said...

The trend in Wilmer is toward competitive industrial development. Competitive. The introduction of the Union Pacific Intermodal between Wilmer and Hutchins guaranteed that.

How far the development spreads and how deep into our community it goes is up to us. We can turn a deaf ear and blind eye and watch as it takes us completely over, or we can run this town like a professional business and elect business men and women who will in turn appoint professional employees dedicated to the organized, professional and responsive operation of the city.

We will then need to become more active and interactive in the daily operation of the city to help see it steered in the right direction. Planning and development should work hand in hand. Solid efforts applied to the planning of streets, the development of business districts, residential districts, industrial and manufacturing districts, hospitals, nursing homes, retail and commercial districts, parks, recreation centers, schools etc. Residents becomming involved and making their opinions and choices clear and concise is paramount to the overall good. Yes it will take tax dollars, but the tax dollars are coming from the new industrial development. What we need to remember is that word competitive.

It is extremely important that we watch what our elected officials are doing with our city and our money. There are several bad apples out there that would love to let Wilmer pay millions for it's development and would pay the elected lawmakers in Wilmer huge amounts of money to see it happen. WATCH OUT. Some have already tried to get the City of Wilmer to approve a thoroughfare plan of roads to help bring in more traffic congestion, primarily comprised of 18-wheeler container haulers through the city and have the residents and taxpayers pay the $7 million Wilmer portion of the bill. Fortunately the previous council caught it and stopped it. However, they are still out there, still trying to get Wilmer to fund their development this time by bringing in a huge development project of water lines, sewer lift stations and a street widening and re-surfacing project. What they aren't telling you is that the project is only for the industrial park that they are bringing in at our expense, their profit, and a development that the residents will never drive through.

While we are allowing the Allen Group to hold land and do nothing with it, while we are allowing the City Council to make a mockery of our process, while we are sitting around dickering with high tax abatement rates, the competition (Hutchins, Dallas, Lancaster, Terrell, DeSoto, Seagoville, Dallas County and all points in between are running all over us taking away vital business leaving us the carcus of the lot. We are too busy in-fighting and letting the self-serving elected cheeseheads work deals under the table, in the back rooms and deep down the west end of Neck Road in Palmer, and losing out on the collective spirit and the best intentions that can help create a new Wilmer.

Industrial development is here to stay, we are the hottest market in the southern United States right now, and giving away all of our tax dollars to attract what is already coming here is futile, but we speak to deaf ears in City Hall. They think we do not know what we are talking about, and they feel that we need to give away money to make money....well no we don't. The development is coming whether we give them an abatement or not. Lower the abatement percentage and keep more of the tax dollars and spend it forward into the development process for Wilmer.

Public safety needs to be enhanced and upgraded. Fire and Police services need to be upgraded to keep up with the new development. Streets need improving. Water and sewer needs improving. As the need increases, revenue must increase too. We need to prepare for the new burdon we create with the new development.

It all starts with the elected officials, and the chain is no stronger than it's weakest link. We have no strength right now. Our weakest link is our council. There is no attraction to Wilmer when the Mayor has seen fit to interfere with the process of setting up the 4A-4B tax revenue stream to entice future business and build roads and parks, when the Mayor and Council keep such a high tax abatement percentage which effectively gives away all of the commercial tax dollars and leaves the continued and excess burdon of paying for city services on the backs of the residents, and poor representation that keeps new businesses from even considering Wilmer for their future home in the first place. We are currently sitting approximately $900,000.00 short of where the previous administration projected our surplus revenues to be by this time. This is not because they did not do their job, it is because the current administration did not follow through on the positive growth and successful plan that was started by the previous administration. They, instead, began a new plan of back room deals, secret meetings, terminations, intimidations, lock-downs, phone-taps, threats of firings and harassment of employees and citizens. You can't run a business with a team of paranoid nutbags.

Some of us still believe you can have your cake and eat it too. Researh yes, find out. But then BUILD A PLAN AND APPLY IT. Bring in the new businesses and in effect bring in new jobs. But plan your development where you have places away from the hussle and bussle to take your kids such as parks, amusement centers, movie theaters, YMCA/YWCA, etc. It starts with the residents. Tell the Cheeseheads what you want, and if they do not provide it, bring in new council members, hopefully a new group that aren't cheeseheads like these idiots. If you don't get involved, it won't involve you.

Or will it?

Anonymous said...

Please define "mis-leading comments" from your vote section. Thanks again for all you do Joe.

Anonymous said...

What if...... Lancaster annexed the city of Wilmer?

You would immediately have professional council members,city planners, code enforcement, fire and police protection. From what I can tell their planning and zoning is excellent and follows all applicable guidelines and is enforced accordingly.

No one would have the ability to access the cookie jar. The elderly current and past male council members (specific, not general) can go home and watch the Price is Right while sipping on their Ensure milk shakes. (where they should have been all along.)

The City of Wilmer could have several planning groups specific to the community.You would have the support of all of the professionals Lancaster has on staff to make it happen.

The Lancaster City limits already extend to Sunrise Rd. Move it a couple of miles east and it's done.

From what I understand, this was actually an option years ago but Lancaster turned it down.The difference now is we actually have something to offer.

I could very well be missing the big picture when it comes to what the city officials have planned for the future. However,this seems to be the best answer to all of the issues I have noted on the blog.

Just a thought.