I imagine there's a whole lot of lottery jackpot dreaming going on this morning.  I saw that one of the jackpots has a cash value of  over a quarter of a billion dollars ($269 million) so I decided to dream a little.

Imagine not one but two rooftop gardens like this in downtown Garland:  One on top of our old hardware store and one on top of our new Makerspace building.


$40- $50 million dollars is donated for this project

1.  Makerspace is built on grass plot on square. (It will be a pretty building designed by Garland architects blending the styles of our new city hall with the styles of the older building around our square--two stories and there will be plenty of space left for parking and a picnic area with picnic benches and trees

[I know some people might not agree with me in regard to putting it on the grassy area on the east side of our square.  However I think it belongs there for many reasons.  First of all it anchors the east side of the square with a building.  Right now that space looks like what it is:  a place where a building was demolished--a vacant lot. The only thing it lacks is weeds.   Second of all a makerspace can be a hub for our community.  It belongs downtown and in a prominent space--not stuck off in some industrial park somewhere.]

  • Has gutters and a rain catchment system
  • Has a garden roof
  • Has a permeable parking lot with pots of edibles and flowers
  • Has an special area for Kid makers
  • Has a commercial kitchen
  • Has plenty of classroom and collaboration space

 [Note:  the Car bays; woodworking shop and welding area will be built on a side street off the square OR we might add a basement for these makers]

2.  The long-empty Hardware Store on Square is purchased and is turned into a MAKER supply store

All the profits from the sale of goods from this store will go to support the membership dues-free Garland Area Makerspace

  • During the time the makerspace is being built we might use half of this building for our maker headquarters perhaps.
  • The Maker Supply store will also have an urban garden roof

3. Another building on the square will also be purchased and will be used as a MAKER STORE.  This is a store reserved for selling only items made by Garland Makers.



Kindness "ROCKS"

6:30 PM tonight

North Garland Branch Library

3845 North Garland Avenue (in a strip mall)

Bring your favorite kid(s) to the library tonight for a special maker event hosted by our local librarians!  The children will be painting kindness messages on rocks.  They can take the rocks home with them and then place them somewhere in Garland.   



A rock I painted last spring – 2017 – E Berry

Most projects never seem to mature as fast as I think they should and such is the case with establishing our Garland Area Makerspace. Even though we have been approved and received our Certificate of Formation to do business as a nonprofit in the state of Texas; even though we have received a sizable donation of the latest in wood-working equipment; even though plans are in the works for a maker store on our square; even though we will be touring some possible locations for our makerspace next month—the truth is:  I want to have a makerspace this minute—wah!  Some folks are born with the patience of Job and then there are hurry-up people like me.  In the end, I suppose we all balance each other out and there is a place for each of us in this world.

One thing about makers and makerspaces in Garland:  Our Garland Area Makerspace is not and will never be the only makerspace in Garland.  We already have makerspaces all over our city—in people’s kitchens, garages, yards, in our schools and especially in our libraries.  In fact, libraries all over the USA are fast becoming hotspots and centers for makerspaces—especially for children, but for adults as well.  Our great Garland library system is making sure that we encourage the maker spirit in our community.

Malia Moore- Librarian at the North Garland Branch Library

Malia and her staff at the North Garland Branch Library have planned a great event for adults, their children and grandchildren this Thursday.  From 6:30 to 8:00 PM one of the larger rooms in the library will be set up for rock painting.  It’s all free—from the materials (rocks and paint) to the instructions.

These rocks will be painted with messages and words of kindness.  The maker children are encouraged to take them home and then find a special location somewhere in Garland to place their kindness rock.

It’s a great idea!  I plan to be there and I hope you will too.  Bring a kid—yours, your grandchild, or perhaps a neighbor or friend’s child.  Let’s teach our children—not only the fun of making, but also the importance of kindness.  

Let's support maker activities in our schools and libraries.

Event:  Kindness Rocks

Place:  North Garland Branch Library 3845 Garland Avenue (in a strip mall)

Date: Thursday March 15, 2018

Time:  6:30 to 8:00 PM (come and go)


Margaret Knight (1838 to 1914) – American inventor with 87 patents to her credit.  I wonder how many male fishermen realize they have a woman to thank for the reels on their fishing rods?


March is National Women Inventors’ month.  Students rarely hear about great women inventers in school but there were quite a few of them.  In celebration of the recent award of a Certificate of Filing to the Garland Area Makerspace from the State of Texas as a an official nonprofit, licensed to do business in the state of Texas, it’s more than appropriate to pay homage to women and children makers and inventors.

We already know about people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Eli Whitney and other male inventors, but few have ever heard of women such as Margaret Knight.  Yet, she was probably the most famous 19th Century woman inventor.  Margaret was born in 1838 in Framingham Massachusetts.  By the time she died in 1914, she held no less than 87 U.S. patents.

Among her many designs and inventions is the flat-bottom paper bag that we take for granted today. In 1868 Knight invented a machine that folded and glued paper to form the flat-bottomed brown paper bags familiar to us today.

Margaret’s most remarkable invention to me was one that she made when she was only 12 years old.  Her father died when Margaret was young and the family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire.  She left school and went to work with her siblings in a cotton mill.  When she was 12, Margaret witnessed an accident where a worker was stabbed by a steel-tipped shuttle that shot out of a mechanical loo.  Within weeks she invented a safety device for the loom that was later used by other cotton mills.

Health problems prevented Knight from continuing to work at the cotton mill but she went on to hold many other jobs including home repair, photography and engraving.  In 1867 she moved to Springfield, Massachusetts and was hired by the Columbia Paper Bag Company.  Some of her other many inventions included lid removing pliers; a numbering machine, a window frame and sash and several patents related to the rotary engine.


Do you know who was responsible for the electric refrigerator?


Florence Parpart with her invention of our modern day refrigerator.   She filed the patent in 1914.  She not only invented the refrigerator and put the old-fashioned ice boxes out of business, she also marketed them at trade shows.


Never discount the vast potential for creating useful inventions offered by young minds.


Rachel Zimmerman 12 year old inventor with her Blissymbol Printer (1984) – Courtesy Space University

Margaret Knight doesn’t have the corner on 12-year old female inventors.  In 1984, Canadian Rachel Zimmerman, at the ripe old age of 12 invented an apparatus to assist people who have difficulty communicating.  Her software program enables nonspeaking people to communicate through the use of symbols. Her invention, the Blissymbol Printer transcribes the symbols into written language.  Today, after completing degrees in physics and space studies, she works for NASA.


Here in the DFW area, we have our own special female inventor heroine.


Bette Nesmith Graham—--born March 23, 1924 Dallas – Died May 12, 1980 Richardson-- single mother, secretary at Texas Bank and Trust invented “Liquid Paper” (First named “Mistake Out”).  She sold her first batch in 1956.  Nine years later she had a new corporate headquarters with annual sales of more than a million units.  She maintained the company until 1979 when she sold it to Gillette Corporation for $47.5 million.   (Just in time for Bette as personal computers were introduced about five years later.  There is a lot to be said for knowing when it is time to leave the party.)


Who do you think invented the windshield wipers?

Mary Anderson and a copy from her patent for windshield wipers filed in 1903

It’s difficult to imagine a world with moving vehicles that don’t have windshield wipers, but such was the world for Mary Anderson.  She visited New York City in 1902 and noted the frequent delays when the streetcar driver had to stop and wipe off the windshield.  She returned home to Alabama and invented the windshield wiper.  Her invention was manual with a handle inside for the driver to move when needed.

Anderson got many letters of rejection for her invention—most of which said that the patent was not of such commercial value as to warrant their consideration.  Although she never earned any money for her window cleaning device, She finally got posthumous credit in 2011 when she was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.


Come celebrate makers with us and meet the Women and Men who are building the Garland Area Makerspace.  We would love for you to join and work with us to create an inventor incubator for our community.

We are creating a makerspace for our community that will become a warm, diverse and productive incubator for innovators and inventors of all ages and genders.  We invite you to bring your ideas and assets to our next meeting.

We are open to the public

We meet at 7PM on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the North Branch of the Garland Library (located in a strip mall).  3845 North Garland Avenue – Garland Texas 75040


Laura Castillo and Rosie Perez from the City of Garland Neighborhood Vitality along with the Garland Kiwanis helped to make the recent “Try Something New” Volunteer Fair a huge success.

Volunteerism is an ancient concept.  Aristotle said it well over 2,000 years ago:  “ What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.”

Lao Tzo, another ancient wise man, had this to say about giving to others: "The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own."  


The “Try Something New” Garland Volunteer Fair hosted by the City of Garland and our local Kiwanis was a huge success.  I don’t have an official headcount but from 6 to 8 PM the large area of the Atrium was crowded with Garland residents seeking information regarding all the volunteer opportunities in our community—and there are many:  from serving on one of our City Boards and Commission to working with members to help establish one of newest nonprofits in our community, our Garland Area MakerSpace.


Debut for the Garland Area MakerSpace - Next Meeting Tuesday March 13 7PM

We made our public debut as an official organization at this event and I’m happy to report that we had sixteen people sign up to join us in our efforts to bring a makerspace to our community.  If you missed this great event, you can still join us.  Find out all about makerspaces by stopping in at our next meeting at the North Garland Branch Library—Tuesday, March 13th at 7PM- 3845 North Garland

Many folks including two of our City Council members stopped at our table:  Councilman BJ Williams stopped by and signed our sheet to receive more information and Councilman Robert Smith also stopped by to let us know that he also supports our efforts to bring a makerspace to our community.


Mark Bushnell, Garland Area Makerspace board member, chats with Robert Smith and Deborah Morris about makerspaces.

Robert Smith, Garland City Council Representative for 8th District stops by the Garland Area Makerspace table.  Shown with him is Deborah Morris, another Garland resident who is interested in the potential that makerspaces offer our community.



Loving Garland Green President, Jane Stroud, shared her joys of our beautiful community garden with visitors.

Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green (official stewards of the Garland Community Garden) talks with interested visitors.  As one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green, this group is near and dear to my heart.  If you are interested, you are invited to attend our next meeting, Monday March 5 at 6:30 at 216 East Kingsbridge 75040 (between Crestone and Naaman School Road).


Mary Ann Zyla and Rose Taylor at the Achievement Center of Texas table.

The Texas Achievement Center is located at 2950 North Shiloh Road in Garland, Texas. This organization is a licensed non-profit day care and day habilitation center for children and adults with special needs. They make every effort to offer families services that support those children wherever possible. In providing a wide range of services in the least restrictive environment, students at the Achievement Center can grow and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. At the center, they work toward greater independence and a more satisfying way of life.  If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, you might want to stop by the Texas Achievement Center.  Although our Garland Area MakerSpace is nearly new, I talked with Rose and Mary Ann about the possibilities of connecting with them and their clients in the future.


So many of my friends from other great Garland volunteer organizations were there as well:  Pam Swendig from the Good Samaritans; Ana Maria DeYoung from GAFFA; the folks from Earth X; Preservation Garland; the GISD Family and Community Engagement and many more.  I even saw two political hopefuls there:  Deborah Morris City Council candidate for Garland’s 2nd District and Mr. Louis Moore, candidate for Mayor.  Chalk one up for them.  It’s good to see they support volunteerism.


Community Conversations Connect People

There is absolutely nothing to compete with the problem-solving effectiveness of people talking together and sharing ideas.

Community problem solving happens when ordinary citizens come together to talk about change they would like to see.  Such was the case last night on our downtown square at one of our local coffee houses in Garland, Texas. Deborah Morris, one of our active local citizens who lives in the 2nd District, invited the public (with a special invitation to the Latino members of Garland) for an informal meeting to share ideas about how we might work together to make Garland more viable and inclusive for all.

One of the many things I was reminded is how few degrees of separation we have among others and ourselves. But unless we actually get out and talk with people we cannot make these connections.  

Left to right:  Koni Ramos-Kaiwi—Community Advocate, her son Paco, and Sandra Perez

For example, I met Koni Ramos-Kaiwi last night.  Koni is an articulate community advocate for our Latino residents.  I came home with one of Koni’s business cards.  Words on the back of the card encapsulate the way I rather imagine that Koni lives her life. These words also mirror what I try to remember when living my own life:  It only takes one person to change the world. 

Not only did I learn through conversation that Koni and I have shared inspirations for our community, Charlie learned that he had an even closer connection to Koni.  Koni mentioned that she is from Donna Texas.  Charlie said, “Oh my sister is married to a guy from Donna.  They live in Michigan now.”  Turns out that Charlie’s brother-in-law is Koni’s uncle.  How’s that for a tiny, connected world?

We all have special gifts to bring to the table of our community.  Koni’s son, Paco, is another example.  Paco has cerebral palsy and has been in a wheelchair all his life, but that has not stopped him from living a full life.  Among other things, he has a college education and children.  One of the suggestions from Paco was that our Garland Code Enforcement Department creates a job for an inspector solely to ensure that all our public places are accessible for people with disabilities.  Paco cited a recent example from his own life:  he went to the park with his nieces and nephews but he had to watch them from the curb because there was no wheelchair access to the park.

We talked about streets and sidewalks.  Not all problems can be solved instantly.  Sometimes our tendency is to blame “the City”, but more often than not “the City” and the residents must work together to solve these problems. And some problems are not the responsibility of our local government. For example, as Deborah Morris pointed out when the discussion turned to sidewalks: driveways and sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner.  Sometimes, people simply cannot afford such repairs.  We can work together and build solutions.

Another interesting topic discussed regarded the importance of the appearance of our community.  There may be some who think that making things look pretty by cleaning up our yards and planting flowers is not important.  The truth is that a well-kept community sends many positive messages to the world. 

Peter Kageyama (author of For the Love of Cities and The Love Affair Between People and Their Places) speaks to the importance of creating emotionally engaging places.  We know that people tend to take care of what they love. 

And we need to not only love our yards and properties.  We also need to love our neighbors while remembering that it only takes one person to change the world.  Who knows?  That person may be you.

Cookie Rodriguez loves Garland. 

Speaking of love, Cookie Rodriguez was there last night. Cookie is another Latino community activist we are so fortunate to have in our community.  Cookie was born in Puerto Rico and came to Garland by way of New York City. Cookie heads up the non-profit Christian-based Nu-Life Outreach Center and Street Church (D-Boy) Ministries.

Speaking of beautiful people and things reminds me of my friends, Betty Roberts and Reba Collins of Keep Garland Beautiful and yet the removal of another degree of separation.  Last night I met Mr. Louis Moore who just happens to live across the street from Dawn Peacock, a friend of mine who was also at the meeting last night.  Mr. Moore and his wife had Reba from Keep Garland Beautiful design their pollinator garden.

COME TO THE VOLUNTEER FAIR.  Tonight at the Atrium in the Granville Arts Center here in Garland from 6PM to 8PM and learn how you can love your community better.


Deborah, thank you again for hosting the conversations with Latino people from my community last night.  I have the feeling that a lot of good things will come out of that event.


Photo Wiki Commons

In case you don’t know, Loving Garland Green is the official steward for the Garland Community Garden.  We meet the first and third Monday of the month at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive, 6:30 to 7:30 PM.


At our Monday February 19 meeting Jane Stroud, our President, has promised to bring some Hopniss for us to sample.  If you’ve never heard of Hopniss, you can join my club.  Until a few days ago when Jane educated me, I had not heard of this plant either.  This edible is also known as the “American Groundnut.”

Hopniss is our North American answer to the South American potato.  It is a tuber from a bean plant.  The beans, flowers and shoots of Hopniss are all edible.  The first European reference to Hopniss comes from Thomas Harriot, the resident scientist with Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1585 voyage to Virginia.

This plant has been found as far west as Colorado.  The Hopniss is reported to be a hardy plant that loves to grow in wet places such as stream banks, around the edges of ponds.  Yet it is also drought tolerant—this is a suitable candidate for growing in our gardens here in North Texas.

Old World/New World Garden Patch

As mentioned previously on this blog, we plan to have an Old World/New World bed down at the Garland Community Garden this year.  Half of this bed will feature plants fro the Old World the Europeans brought to the New World and the other half of the bed will feature the plants from the New World that the Europeans took with them back to the New world.  Hopniss will be among the plants featured in the New World section,


Update on Fava Beans and Tulips in the Garland Community Garden

Most beans prefer warmer (but not too warm) weather.  However, the Fava Beans prefer temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees F.  About three weeks ago I planted 15 Fava beans in three different places in the Garland Community Garden.  Shortly after we had that cold snap with temperatures dipping into the teens.  I had given up on them.  Then on Thursday (Feb 15) Low and behold!  The Fava beans have broken through the earth with their lovely dark green leaves.  I think all the beans have germinated.

Jane and I counted emerged tulips on Thursday as well:  28 of 50 tulips are now poking through the soil.


If you want to have fun, learn more about what you can grow in our North Texas area, or taste some American Groundnut, come to the next meeting of Loving Garland Green:

Monday February 19 – 6:30 to 7:30 PM – 216 EAST Kingsbridge Drive 75040 (between Crestone and Naaman School Road)


Mark your calendars for this great community event.  If you’ve “kinda, sorta, woulda, coulda” thought about joining those who belong to and support nonprofit organizations in your community, this is a great chance to meet members and leaders of nonprofit enterprises in the Garland community and explore what possibilities these organizations might offer you to serve and grow.

If you’ve wondered about Makerspaces and especially if you’ve wondered about all the magical tools that maker members use and share, be sure to come to the Fair.  The Garland Area Makerspace group will have a table. You can learn all about what makerspaces bring to the community and you can take a look at a 3D printer in action.  As far as nonprofit organizations go, the Garland Area Makerspace is “nearly new”.  We filed our Articles of Formation with the State of Texas today.

Of course there will be many more opportunities and organizations represented at our Volunteer Fair.  We hope you’ll stop by the beautiful Atrium in Garland Texas.

Admission is free, but it is recommended to RSVP now to help the Kiwanis in getting an accurate count of people in attendance and the number of swag bags.



The Garland Makerspace Discovery Group will be sending off our application to obtain our Certification of Formation as a nonprofit organization in the State of Texas this coming Wednesday.  Our name will be the “Garland Area Makerspace.”

Of course we are very excited about this giant step for our local community but we are looking ahead to the next step, which will be to promote and educate people regarding makerspaces, maker technologies, and what they offer communities. We want our community to be as excited about the possibilities offered by makerspaces as we are so they will join us in our collaborative effort to make our community and world a better place.

Ask three people what a makerspace is and you are likely to get three different responses.  Two things about makerspaces are certain: makerspaces are reshaping education and encouraging entrepreneurship in the USA and the world. They are cropping up everywhere all over the landscape. Many U.S. schools (grade schools and high schools alike) as well as public libraries now have makerspaces.  In fact, Garland Texas may have the largest makerspace in the world.  It's called the Gilbreath-Reed Technology Center which is designed exactly as a makerspace.  This facility, however is only available to Junior and Senior high school students in the Garland ISD.

Makerspaces with adult memberships are places where all kinds of makers come together under one roof:  from blacksmiths to those who use 3D printers to create prototypes.  These makers vary in expertise from the beginners to professionals who earn a living with their maker skills.  The physical structure of the makerspace as well as the necessity of sharing some of the same tools among various members from different disciplines is such that it naturally encourages collaboration—not only between those of the same discipline but also with those from different disciplines.  When diversity is added to the pot, all kinds of exciting and beneficial things can happen.



Among all the great tools and equipment available for makers, the Garland Area Makerspace will eventually have several 3D printers. A lot of people think that 3d printing is the latest technology when actually it has been around for more than 30 years.  Chuck Hall invented this type of additive manufacturing technology in 1983.   Born in 1939, Mr. Hall is even older than the Baby Boomer generation.

Why all the fuss about 3D Printers Now?

Since 3D printers have been around so long as an additive manufacturing tool, why are we just now hearing about them you might be asking.  The most likely explanation is that the patent on one of the most common 3D printing technologies, fused deposition modeling (FDM), expired in 2009. Until then, the only places where we could find a 3D printer would be in an industrial facility.  Now instead of $200,000 and more, the 3D printers have arrived to the consumer market for under $2,000 and their sales are growing.  According to Wohler’s Report 2015: Gartner:  In 2009 3D printer sales were 1, 816 compared to 232,336 in 2015.

How does 3D Printing work?

The process for 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process.  Things are built layer by fused layer.  Instead of ink, the printer uses various kinds of materials (plastic, metal, resin, stone, etc.) that are melted at high temperatures in the printer and then poured out in very thin layers onto the building deck of the printer.  The printer “knows” where to pour the material because it has received digital instructions from software in a computer that is communicating to the printer wirelessly or through a physical connection—just as your ink or laser printer knows what words or images to print on paper. 

The computer “talks” to the 3-D printer much in the same way that your computer “talks” to your printer to print out a page.  However instead of Word, 3D printers require software such as Auto-Cad that creates images, which are then sliced into layers for creating the three-dimensional object.  Also, just as you can scan photos and documents into your normal printer, you can scan real objects into your 3D printer—provided you have a 3D scanner.  To do this you place the object (such as a kitchen spatula) on your 3D scanner, scan it, and then send to print.

Who uses 3D technology now?

The medical and prosthesis field use 3D printing extensively.  For example, the majority of today’s hearing aids are 3-D printed.  Dentists use this technology to make things like retainers.  Aircraft manufacturers use 3D printing to make aircraft parts such as 3D print fuel nozzles.  Architects use 3D printing to create models.  Shoe manufacturers use this technology to print soles.  These are just a few examples.

Tiny Home fans take note: one of the most exciting examples of the potential I’ve seen for 3D printing in action is a home that was printed in less than 24 hours in Moscow.  This 409 square foot house features a hall, living room, bathroom and kitchen and cost $10,134.  Apis Cor and PIK collaborated on the design.  Below is another example of a Building on Demand (BOD).  This building is located in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn and was built in the spring of 2017.   

We may not be creating such large objects with the 3D printers in the Garland Area Makerspace right away, but who’s to say what the future will bring us?

CC BY-SA 4.0 – Touted as the first building in Europe made with 3D construction printing – spring 2017


 Monarch on Zinnia Garland Community Garden Summer 2017

Domestic Monarch Recoveries – 2017 Source: [accessed 2/9/2018]

There were 854 domestic recoveries of tagged Monarchs in 2017.  These would be the ones who didn’t make it to Mexico.  From the 100 that were tagged and released by members of Loving Garland Green in the fall of 2017, only one domestic recovery was made.  We are hoping most of the others made their way to Mexico.  I look forward to reading the reports of recoveries from Mexico.  For now the Monarch Watch tagging database is down.

The information on the tag for the one found from our tagged 100 Monarchs is

Date 10/16/2017
City:  Garland
State: TX
ZIP 75044
LAT:  32.966796
LONG: -96.666145
NOTES:  monarch was on the ground, seemed stressed, not able to fly/climb, Found on Canterbury Dr.

Now is the time to plan your 2018 pollinator habitat

Wild Senna –among the seedlings I’m growing for our April seed sale at the Garland Community Garden.  Wild Senna is an uncommon plant in most butterfly gardens—yet it is nonetheless a great plant.  It is a shrubby perennial that grows to be 3 to 5 feet tall and produces lovely bunches of yellow blossoms from July to mid November.  Pollinators love it—especially our native bees.  Senna is also an herb that is the active ingredient in Ex-Lax.

According to the Monarch Joint Venture-- a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration—now is the time to begin planning your 2018 habitat projects.

Now is the time to plan your 2018 habitat project or Monarch Waystation planting.  Monarch Watch is taking pre-orders for milkweed purchases through the Milkweed Market. Most species are $74 a flat of 32, and Texas species are $93.50 for a flat of 50 plants. (Purchases are made at time of pre-order.) Share a flat with another gardener, or use the plants as a fundraiser.  They can resale for up to $5 a plant! These are restoration-quality plants that are trimmed prior to shipping, and because they are pesticide-free, they may carry aphids. Delivery is expected to begin to most locations in early May and to Texas in April, depending on weather. 


Today is going to be a beautiful day.  I hope you are able to enjoy it.


So why do so many people not participate in local government?

Local government and the people we elect to sit on our City Council, have a lot of power over our lives and the quality of life in our community.  They set the overall direction and vision of our community through long-term planning and then ensure that it is achieved.  Local government is responsible for managing and delivering a range of quality services to the community such as public health, recreational facilities, local road maintenance and public libraries.  They are the ones who make local laws that the rest of us must follow. These laws cover issues such as activities permitted on public land, whether potholes on your street get fixed, codes that govern what you can or cannot do on your own property, animal management laws, use of infrastructure and more.  These people have a lot of power over us.  In fact they directly impact our lives much more so than either state or federal governments.

Local government does not always listen to the people.

Although they are supposed to listen to the voices of the people, it is important to remember they do not have to.  We don’t have to look back any further than October of 2017 to see an example of this in action in Garland.  On October 17, 2017 six members (majority) of the City Council voted against the wishes of over 200 residents who had signed a petition asking them to hold off on demolishing the Armory at Central Park.  The armory was demolished at taxpayer expense less than two weeks later.  The signatures were placed on their desks prior to their vote.  There can be no mistake they knew what they were doing but getting their way was more important to them than representing the voice of the people.  Two of the members who ignored the expressed wishes of the voters are running unopposed for the upcoming May election—David Gibbons and Rich Aubin.  Voter apathy doesn’t run much higher than this.


You have until February 16 at 5pm to file to run as a candidate for Garland City Council in our May election.  Please step up to the plate.

It’s easier than you may think to step up and serve your community. 
Filing information:

The City Council is made up of ordinary Garland residents.   If you are not a felon and are duly registered to vote in the City of Garland you are eligible to apply.  If you have a friend whom you think could serve our community—talk them into running.


Only Ten Days from Date for City Council Candidate Filing in Garland

So here we are in Garland, just about 10 days out from the deadline for candidate filing as a member of the City Council or the office of Mayor and we have no candidates who have filed to run against incumbent David Gibbons in District 1 who was elected two years ago with no opposing candidate; Rich Aubin in District 5 another incumbent running unopposed the second time for his second term; or Deborah Morris running for the first time in District 2.

Since the mayoral election will be a special election, we have to wait until City Council announces it before those candidates step forth, but several people have petitions of interest circulating for this office.


Garland is a minority/majority city

When it comes to race, I’ve noticed that it is a topic that is somewhat designated as impolite to bring up for discussion.  And I don’t know if it figures in as a significant factor in this discussion on why non-Hispanic whites make up 36.7% of the population of Garland while 75% of our City Council are non-Hispanic whites.  I wonder what would happen in Garland if more of the majority not only stepped up to the plate and voted but also ran for office?

Garland is a Minority/Majority City—meaning that we have more Hispanics, Latinos and people of color than we have white/non-Hispanics—yet serving on our city council we have one Hispanic and one Black man.  The map above shows distribution by percentages of white non-Hispanics in our city.  The darkest rust color indicates the highest concentration of white non-Hispanics at 78%.  The light gray is at 2% or less of white non-Hispanics. Source:

There are people who will tell us that race doesn’t matter in the USA, but when I look at charts like the one shown below, I have to ask, Really?  Is this distribution just an accident? Is perhaps part of this reality related to representation in local government?  I don’t know, but I do know that in order for representation in our government to better reflect the demographics of our city, more than the typical 5% of registered voters are going to have to not only show up at the polls, but also run for local offices like City Council.


If you know of someone in Garland whom you think would make a good City Council member, send them the link to this post.  Better representation makes better communities.  Another point: Perhaps the reason we have such low turnout of voters at local elections in Garland is because we so often only have one candidate to vote for.  In these cases, those who say "why bother" have an excellent point.  In those cases, vote/don't vote = same outcome.  Only ordinary people like us have the power to create a better world with better representation.


Unlike national campaigns for Congress, or even state elections, you don't need a large bank account to win a local election for City Council.  If you have good ideas and if you are willing to walk neighborhoods and talk with people face-to-face for the next three months, you have a good chance to win your election.  One person at a time.