“Before us lie two paths — and dishonesty. The shortsighted embark on the dishonest path; the wise on the honest. For the wise know the truth; in helping others we help ourselves; and in hurting others we hurt ourselves. Character overshadows money, and trust rises above fame. Honesty is still the best policy.” Napoleon Hill
Unfortunately, Addison’s Council election has come to a sad point where there is so much deceit, misrepresentation and personal hatred being injected into the campaign that voters really have one of two paths to decision-making.
Who is elected to City Council will determine whether we will take our community forward, building on the positive changes that are being implemented and moving forward with a highly qualified new City Manager, an extremely professional Chief of Police and an exceptionally competent Financial staff, or whether we risk returning to sloppy financial controls, decisions like the one that left the city with costly, inoperable wind turbines and three white guys who have shown little indication that they care to play well with others.
Harsh words? Hardly as harsh as the tactics being employed by the three men and their leader who are maneuvering to unseat incumbents that have made hard but wise choices to do what’s best for Addison in the long-term and to be fiscally responsible. Unfortunately many of this threesome’s latest tactics have compelled us to address the fear, misrepresentations and distortions that have intensified.
We begin with the Candidates Forum — a well-intended event to provide residents the opportunity to hear from the candidates themselves. Instead the opponents have behaved like spoiled children — insisting on clearing dates with their schedules, allowing them to influence the format and pouting and refusing to participate if they can’t control the event. So are these guys grown men or sniveling crybabies?
The Candidate Forum
Monday night, three candidates (the incumbents) had the courage to face residents in a two-hour session that enabled voters to hear detailed information from each of them.
Three (their opponents) never intended to attend. Instead they sent their small army of supporters to the event to do their best to intimidate residents who sincerely wanted to hear from all of the candidates.
“Never in recent years have I seen such deceit and intentional misrepresentations,” said a longtime resident who attended the event.
Part of what this resident was referring to were opponents’ supporters who stood outside of the conference center and handed cards to people as they arrived; cards which were printed with lame excuses of why the candidates themselves were not there. (More about what was printed on the cards later.) In many instances they bullied people to take the cards.
But these malcontents didn’t stop there. Some actually went inside the conference center and tried to force people visiting with one another or standing in the food line to take the card. One woman literally got in the face of and verbally attacked the woman behind me in the food line for not taking the card.
A man who approached another attendee who was not interested in hearing the negative ranting was verbally attacked with the same bullying technique. What a sad day for Addison.
Excuses for Not Participating
Following are the excuses printed on the cards being handed out for Jim Duffy, Paul Walden and Al Angell:
“This is NOT a Town-sponsored event. No one will say who solicited sponsors for this event.”
Fact: By law, it is illegal for the Town to get involved in political events thus it cannot sponsor a candidate forum
One would think someone running for Council would know this. As for who solicited sponsors — is this an inference that businesses that are willing to support an open forum have a hidden agenda? What an insult to any Addison business.
“The date and time of the forum was set without consulting all six candidates. The three challengers were just told when the event was going to be. No one offered to find a date when all six candidates could be here.”
Fact: ALL six candidates were given the date at the same time
The Town is fortunate enough to have paying clients who rent our conference center, thus a date choice had to be determined by availability. It didn’t seem to matter to these same candidates that the Addison Business Association didn’t consult them about a date or anything else for their Forum, yet two of the opponents participated.
“The candidates have been asking for weeks: Who is the organizer, who chose the moderator, who set the format? No one will answer these questions.”
Fact: It has been no secret that Skip Robins previously organized the forum and asked Bob Heckman to take over this year since he was Chair of P&Z
Heckman’s choice was certainly appropriate as he does this type of work professionally; in particular he facilitates events for the Metrocrest Chamber as well. All candidates were informed of the moderator — a non-resident Judge, selected specifically to ensure impartial moderating.
“The format and process for asking questions seems to be designed to benefit the incumbents.”
Fact: As reported in Facts Matter previously, this is totally false; the format provided ALL candidates the same opportunity to submit questions and address questions from the audience
Paul Walden has also been telling people that the Metrocrest Chamber and the Addison Business Association refused to participate because of the format. This is absolutely not true.
Fact: We called Erin Carney, President of the Metrocrest Chamber, to verify why they were not a supporter
“We, as a governance committee and a board, decided it would be best not to participate in one [forum] because we represent not only one business community, we represent three — Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Addison.
“If we do one for one community, we have to make that available for all three and possibly the school district and larger elections, whatnot and that is just simply not in our budget.”
Carney also added that she personally attended the Forum and thought that the format and questions were very appropriate. She also praised Bob Heckman saying that as a longtime resident of Addison and a professional, he added an important contribution to the event. As for the ABA, they had their own forum.
Aren’t facts amazing? And isn’t it interesting how some are twisted and distorted?
As one attendee said, “It looks to me like these guys were just scared to have to answer some of the things they’re afraid to say publicly.” Whether that is the case or not, it sure was one way to avoid having to explain all the misinformation they’ve been spreading.
Unfortunately this campaign has become so contentious by the opponents and their supporters that some people expressed to us that they are actually afraid to put signs in their yards and afraid to actively show their support for fear of retaliation.
One resident who is determined to keep incumbents’ signs in his yard is actually installing a hidden camera— it’s gotten that bad.
Fact: Perhaps one of the worst examples of sign theft was best stated in Blake Bernard’s letter to the editor in the Saturday (4/17) Dallas Morning News
“…it’s despicable that opponents of the incumbents have stooped so low that they can’t even show respect for the dead,” he wrote, noting that Rick Witherspoon, who passed away last year, was a great supporter of the incumbents, thus his ex-wife and executor of his will, gave permission to the incumbents to place their signs in the yard of Rick’s home.
“But as soon as the incumbents’ signs go up, within hours, even in broad daylight, opponents remove the signs and destroy them.”
This location is not alone in sign theft. All incumbents report that numerous homeowners have called them to report sign removal.
In other instances, opponents’ signs have been placed without permission. One owner of commercial property even had to go to the extent of removing the opponents’ signs and writing to them demanding that they refrain from putting their signs on any of his properties.
Despite this written request, those candidates’ signs were once again placed on his property. While some of this sign stealing has gone on in past campaigns, all reports are that it has never been this bad. That alone sends a real message.
Regardless of how someone feels about a candidate, removing political signs without permission is against the law. It is a Class C misdemeanor with a potential fine of up to $500.
Either the opponents and their supporters are not aware of this (which is no excuse) or they simply don’t care.
Another Deceitful Letter
Fact: A letter entitled “Save Our Neighborhoods!” is being hung on doors filled with intentionally misleading and fearful conjecture regarding the approved project for the Sam’s site
What’s worse, the signatories have been so deceitful that they have purposely distorted the developer’s renderings by Photoshopping a fake rendering of a future view to look nothing like their actual renderings and more like a scene out of the Soviet Union.
The letter is signed by: Sabina Bradbury, Guillermo & Denise Quintanilla (he’s the man who accused the mayor of poor ethics at the recent Council meeting), Neil Resnik and … well, guess who? Dave and Jeri Marold who just happen to be the parents of Ron Whitehead’s son-in-law.
This letter with the dishonest rendering was addressed at the candidate forum. Mary Carpenter called for the opponents to disavow it. Janelle Moore brought actual renderings for residents to see a more truthful view.
This dishonest and disrespectful attempt to defraud voters was a major topic of discussion among attendees following the forum.
And Yet More Distortion of Facts
A letter to select residents from Jim Duffy states: “In recent years, there has been growing concern among residents over tax increases, budget over runs, backroom deals with developers and cronyism at City Hall.”
Fact: The fact is concerns about increased taxes should be addressed with the Dallas County Appraisal District; when they increase the value of homes, taxes increase
I doubt that Duffy or any other Council member can influence that. And, as a former businessman, one would think Duffy should know this.
Addison’s tax rate on the other hand, is lower than it was four years ago.
Fact: To state that there have been budget over runs is not only a distortion of the truth; it is in fact a lie
First of all, the Council doesn’t do the spending. Second, by law a Town cannot spend more than its budget without Council approval — which has not happened.
As a former Council member, Mr. Duffy should know this so either he is being intentionally deceitful or he is extremely forgetful and hasn’t kept up to date.
Fact: To infer that any backroom deals have been made with any developers is an out-and-out lie
To suggest such is disingenuous, hypocritical. To further suggest “cronyism” at City Hall is shamefully disrespectful to an honorable new City Manager.
“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.” Criss Jami
This quote pretty well describes much of what opponents are presenting as well as the writings of one former Council member of the 90’s who seems to have a penchant for posting long personal vendettas filled with what I call “the salt method” of writings.
Sprinkled in among the distortions is always a small element of truth; just enough to make some people think the entire message is true when in fact it’s filled with personal innuendoes and deceitful misrepresentations.
There’s a lot a stake in Addison right now. Voters are faced with two paths. Either we will have a Council that …
- Works harmoniously; disagreeing occasionally but doing it with respect.
- Has a track record of making decisions that are not always easy, but in the long run are the right thing for Addison’s future.
- Has a vision for Addison’s future rather than taking us back to the 1980’s.
We will have a Council with individuals who:
- Are willing to manipulate the truth.
- Want to commit the Town to a guaranteed pay system which, regardless of performance or the economic times, must be applied; the same system that has bankrupted many California towns.
- Want to go back to the days of the 1980’s instead of having a vision for the competitive needs of an ever-changing future.
That’s why facts matter before you vote.
Photo: Contrary Thoughts by Nevil Dilmen