Addressing Real Issues with Real Facts

Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket by artist Kaws

The Bottom Line

in Addison Texas elections 2016/City Manager/Finances/Infrastructure/Property Taxes by

Here we are in the final week before Addison residents will learn whether the progress that’s been made to right the wrongs of financial controls and continue to expand our tax base in the positive ways that we’ve come to appreciate will allow us to move forward. Or, will we enter a period of deceit and distortions, bickering on the Council, and a push for a step pay plan that will guarantee tax increases for years to come?  That’s the real bottom line question. 

The barrage of negative false information has reached an unconscionable level of deception. The question is, why are some so desperate to unseat three incumbents who have been part of a council that has made the sometimes difficult, yet right decisions to maintain the unique environment and services that Addison citizens expect and enjoy?

Ask yourself, are you honestly unhappy with the lifestyle afforded you in Addison?

Are you honestly unhappy with all of the positive things that make Addison the envy of most towns around us?

Are you honestly unhappy that we now are implementing financial controls to ensure that your tax dollars are actually tracked and going where they are supposed to go?

Are you honestly unhappy that we have an incredible new City Manager and a bright, competent staff to support him?

So, what then, is it that is really behind the hate-filled effort to deceive people into believing they must unseat the incumbents?

It may be worth looking at some facts. 

Fact: Psychologist Carl Jung said, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do”

If you look at the campaign materials of the incumbents, you’ll see actual realities of what they have done to grow Addison’s tax base, to ensure that employees are paid at competitive market salaries and to fix sloppy and risk-filled financial controls. The opponents’ materials, on the other hand, have few details, much vagueness and many false accusations.

Fact: Paul Clikeman, Ph. D. explains that, “Truthful statements usually contain specific details”

“Those who fabricate a story, however, tend to keep their statements simple and brief. Plus, a deceptive person wants to minimize the risk that an investigator will discover evidence contradicting any aspect of his or her statement; the fewer the facts that might be proved false, the better.”

Given these experts’ explanations, it seems appropriate to look at the opponents’ campaign material and the “Code of Fair Campaign Practices” signed by all candidates.

Let’s start with just a few of the Code infractions.

I will conduct the campaign openly and publicly and limit attacks on my opponents to legitimate challenges to my opponent’s record and stated positions on issue

Opponents have falsely accused the incumbents of “overspending the budget” on numerous occasions, in print and in their discussions with voters. This inaccuracy has been addressed on many occasions, including by the Town’s City Manager, yet the opponents continue to present it as a truth.

Al Angell’s latest mailer states, “They have raised your taxes.” They have not raised your taxes.  As a former businessman one would hope that he certainly knows that when the Dallas County Appraisal District increases the value of your home, your taxes increase. Valuation and the DCAD, not the incumbents, have caused any tax increases.

I will not use campaign material of any sort that misrepresents, distorts, or otherwise falsifies the facts, nor will I use malicious or unfounded accusations that aim at creating or exploiting doubts, without justification, as to the personal integrity or patriotism of my opponent   

A recent Facebook post by Paul Walden is just one example: “This council has been the opposite of conservative. They’ve spent money lavishly on studies of dubious value by outside consultants, given tax money as incentives to developers for projects that residents don’t want, spent bond money designated for all of Belt Line Road on just half of it and raised your taxes four out of five years.”

Oh, my goodness, where to begin. He apparently considers money spent to find out that the financial controls were so lacking that millions of dollars could not be tracked; so lacking that it got the attention of the State Comptroller’s Office auditors.

Walden apparently thinks that a market study to ensure that employee’s pay is competitive was a waste of money. Most organizations would call that prudent research to ensure accountability.

As for incentives to developers, a traditional practice by Addison and its surrounding communities, Walden fails to admit that this Council didn’t burden the Town with long-term interest rates like a past council did for the Vitruvian project. He also fails to acknowledge that not every resident was against the recent Sam’s redevelopment and that the council needs to address an entire community, not just a special segment.

And as for the bond money for the Belt Line Road project, it has been well documented that the reason money allocated is not enough to cover all of Belt Line Road as planned is because past management chose not to have a qualified engineering firm do a cost estimate for this specific project and instead management based the costs on the Spring Valley project which was done years earlier. Therefore management projected inaccurate costs. All of Walden’s accusations are misrepresentations and complete distortions of facts.

I will immediately and publicly repudiate methods and tactics that may come from others that I have pledged not to use or condone. I shall take a firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this code or the laws governing elections 

Here’s just one defaming and deceptive post from Liz Oliphant, who holds an active role in their campaign: “Addison residents, listen up! The current incumbents don’t support our police, fire or other employees. They even refused to pay a cost of living adjustment to our retirees or cover the increased insurance costs! The mayor was even heard to say, “Why should we care about them (retirees), they don’t work for us anymore.”

If you want to continue to receive the level of service you’ve always experienced, you need to vote for Angell, Duffy and Walden.”

Liz deceptively had the audacity to put quotes around a statement that was never made. As one who has worked with journalists most of her life, Liz should be aware that unless you have proof of something being said it is unquotable.

Sue Halpern has written volumes of defamatory accusations and misrepresentations that other supporters and the opponents themselves have reposted rather than repudiated. Their supporters have so badly harassed early voters at Fire Station #1 that the election judge had to approach them and put 100 foot signs up on the grass and in the middle of the street. One woman even gave an incumbent’s supporter an unladylike, undignified finger gesture. All of this equates to a level of disrespectful and unethical behavior not seen in past elections.

And then there are the statements of the opponents’ campaign materials. 

 Al Angell:

“Served on the Planning and Zoning Committee.” 

Fact: He did serve on the Planning and Zoning Committee from April 2011 to August 2012

What he doesn’t tell you is that according to attendance records he missed 45% of the meetings and was asked to step down.

“Will help transform City Hall.”

Fact: We have a perfectly capable professional called City Manager whose job it is to manage City Hall

Just what does he intend to transform? How does he intend to transform things?

 “Eliminating incentives for developers.” 

Fact: Well, kiss goodbye any additional developments like Addison Circle or Vitruvian coming to Addison to grow our tax base

Infrastructure incentives are traditionally provided to developers. If Addison is unwilling to do what every community around us does, future developers will pass us by.

Jim Duffy:

“Charter member of the Addison Midday Rotary Club.”

Fact: This is the same Rotary Club that is known as Ron Whitehead’s club; the same one Whitehead used $37,241 of your tax dollars to fund this private organization

“Stop budget overruns”

Fact: There have been no budget overruns

This is distortion that all three opponents continue to spread despite being called on it several times. When Cressman Tubular, one of the Town’s largest sales tax contributors moved their tax base to another location it left a shortfall of more than $1 million in revenue. Money was transferred from the Reserve Fund, which is exactly what that fund is for. What would Duffy have done instead?

“Inappropriate expenditure of bond funds.” 

Fact: Mr. Duffy is shamefully implying that bond funds have been used for something other than what they were designated for. For what, he doesn’t say

As a former council member, Duffy should know this is blatantly illegal. The truth is, there has been no inappropriate use of bond funds.

Paul Walden:

“Improving infrastructure”

Fact: This is exactly what’s being done

Addison Road has been resurfaced. All utilities are being put underground along Belt Line, new and improved lighting has been installed along Beltway, walking paths have been extended and Midway improvements are in the planning stages. Is Walden not aware of this?

“Raised your taxes four out of five years.”

Fact: Tax rates were as follows from 2011 to 2015:  .58, .58, .5718, 5618 and .57915

What has gone up is the Dallas County Appraisal District’s valuation. When home values go up, so do taxes.

Despite numerous attempts by several to correct this inaccuracy, Walden and his supporters continue to try to mislead voters with this distortion.

“Ensuring transparency.”

Fact: When a man addressed the inaccuracy of Paul’s post on his Facebook page that the council had overspent the budget, Walden deleted the man’s post

The man reposted it and immediately Walden removed the post again. So much for transparency. Here’s the second post, taken from a screenshot:

“Andrew Dunn: Hmmm. Don’t like the truth so you deleted my original post? Well, again, you must have told this lie so often that you believe it. Running for Council you should know that to overspend the budget is illegal — something the City Manager clarified when this lie was presented previously. Guess this is the way you did your maneuvering when you were on the Farmers Branch Council. Well, Addison isn’t Farmers Branch.”

Here’s the unfortunate bottom line

It doesn’t take much to see what kind of a future lies ahead for Addison if this kind of anger, hate and deceit prevail in this election.

This is just one more reason why facts really do matter before you cast your vote — real, viable, documented and verifiable facts!

Photo of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket interpretations by KAWS courtesy of BFLV on Flickr

 

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