Mayor Athas holding a tagged Monarch at the Garland Community Garden--a garden that never would have happened without his determined and diligent support - Labor Day Weekend 2017
AND Mayor Athas resigned:
Last night at the Garland City Council meeting Mayor Athas announced his intentions to resign as Mayor. Here is the statement he published last night on his Facebook page:
"I gave notice tonight that I will be resigning as Mayor in the near future. I have accomplished all my goals that I had when I ran for mayor. There are, of course, always new things to do and there are some things I must still do for Garland but it is my intention that the citizens have the opportunity to select a new mayor in May, 2018, the normal date for city elections.
I will not force a special election. Personal agendas have bloomed on the council to the point that the citizens and staff suffer from poor governance and I can't morally be a part of it. I have been very, very proud to serve the citizens and the city of Garland. We have come a long ways together, made a lot of progress, and we can always be proud of our city and our history."
Unfortunately Even an Overwhelming Majority of Citizens of Garland Were Unable to Stop the Bulldozers Last Night.
There is something rotten indeed in the leadership of a city government when they will not listen to a majority of citizens who appear before them to ask for the opportunity to present alternatives to the wanton demolition of buildings valued at $700,000. It would appear the majority on the Garland City Council seem determined to demonstrate to the citizens of Garland that they are the deciders--not the people. So much for grass roots in Garland, Texas. Grass roots is now scorched earth in our community.
Last night at the City Council meeting numerous citizens--at least 30-- got up and asked the City Council to put their plans on hold for demolishing the building at the old Garland Armory. Another citizen got up and presented to Ms. Goebel a petition with 122 names on it from Ms. Goebel's district asking her to give citizens the opportunity to present sustainable alternatives to demolition. There were a handful of perhaps four who got up and supported demolition of those buildings, but the overwhelming majority of Garland citizens were appealing to the people who are supposed to represent them to wait until citizens had the opportunity to weigh in and present sustainable alternatives to demolition.
In addition, according to their testimony it was verbally expressed by many citizens of Garland including the residents living nearby the proposed park where the demolition is to take place that the City Council had left the residents in the dark regarding plans that were made behind closed doors. Many residents had no idea plans were in place to demolish those buildings until a citizen's group knocked on their door asking them to sign a petition to stop the bulldozers.
It would seem to me that some some members acted in ways contrary to furthering their political aspirations, but time will tell that story in May of 2018 when we have elections for City Council and a new mayor in Garland.
Members of the Garland City Council Who Voted Against Even Listening to Citizen Presentations Supporting Sustainable Reuse of Existing Buildings
Here are the members of the Garland City Council who voted to not listen to presentations by citizens for adaptive reuse of buildings at the old Armory site in Garland:
David Gibbons District 1 - Up for re-election in May. Mr. Gibbons was elected with no opponents. Can you really call that "elected"?
Anita Goebel District 2 - Ms. Goebel- even though 122 residents of her district signed a petition that was presented to Ms. Goebel at the City Council meeting last night [compared to 25 for demolition presented by Eric Stuyvesant (reportedly a fellow with ambitions to be mayor)]. This is her last term. We can hope that someone who is more friendly to environment and saving taxpayer dollars will rise up to take her place.
BJ Williams District 4 - This is Mr. Williams last term and some say that he has ambitions to be Garland's next mayor. Considering his lack of attention to voters on this issue, I will not be supporting him in those efforts.
Rich Aubin District 5 - Like Mr. Gibbons Mr. Aubin is also up for re-election in May. And like Mr. Gibbons, Mr. Aubin too was a shoo-in to the City Council due to voter apathy. Let's hope that he has some serious competition in May.
Robert Vera District 6 - Beyond the fact that he went along with the herd on the vote to demolish buildings prior to listening to various citizen groups present sustainable alternatives. About the only thing I know about Mr. Vera is that he was elected in May of 2017 and thus is not up for re-election in May.
Scott LeMay District 7 - This is Mr. LeMay's last term and Like Mr. Williams, he is rumored to have mayoral ambitions.
Garland Mayoral Hopefuls?
Let's hope that what happened last night at City Hall in Garland Texas will be enough to get more voters out of their recliners in May of 2018 to participate in the Democratic process.
As far as I know there are currently only three people in Garland at the moment rumored to have Mayoral ambitions--all of whom stood up last night and said NO to sustainable practices in the City of Garland.
A special thanks to Robert Smith and Jerry Nickerson--the only two council members who stood with our Mayor on the side of the majority of citizens at that Garland Council meeting last night.
LET'S MAKE SURE WE STAY FOCUSED ON THE REAL ISSUE HERE--Ignoring the Voices of the Majority as well as the guidelines checks and balances and protocols in place for transparent local government.
This is not about makerspaces. This is about something far more serious--ignoring the voices of the people when they stood up and asked for the chance to prepare presentations for several proposed sustainable uses of a space hastily slated for demolition by the City Council--a dog shelter, an indoor batting facility for little leaguers, a new kind of facility for Senior citizens, and a makerspace. The City Council refused to even listen to the people they were elected to represent. They had their own personal agendas to push forward and that was it.
ADDENDUM COMMENT FROM READER: (ADDED 2:27 PM 10/18/2017)
Liz, saw your blog post this morning, and it was right on. I did want to point out two small corrections in case you wish to edit.
We presented 129 signatures by petition (229 would have made no difference), and as far as my count, only two people asked for the demolition to proceed: Eric Stuyvesant and the Parks Board woman. The two skateboard pros were from out of town, not citizens, and neither of them asked for the Armory to be razed or even said Central Park was a good location. They were brought in to paint a positive picture of skateboarding, which was fine. They were excellent advocates for the sport.
ADDENDUM ON SUSTAINABLE CITIES (Added at 9:36 AM 10/18/2017)
The retention, rehabilitation and reuse of older buildings can play a pivotal role in the sustainable development of a city. Equally important, reuse and retention of older buildings can benefit the environment through the reduction in waste generation. Members of a City government should be promoting environmental and economic sustainability—not trashing it.
Many cities conduct an economic review to compare the cost of demolition and rebuilding with the cost of retaining and reusing the buildings. Also more often than not a targeted public conference on the sustainable reuse of the buildings is held that involves local authorities, developers and interested citizenry.
Here in Garland it would appear the City Council is our only self-appointed decider. Aren’t we lucky? We don’t need to waste our time participating in local government as they can make all the decisions for us. We only get to see the plans AFTER the City Council has decided to move forward on them. This is their idea of sharing information with the public. Of course the voters can be allowed to make decisions regarding finishing touches--such as placement of shrubbery and the like--just not those bigger decisions that matter. What a pathetic attempt to put lipstick on the pig to make it appear as if the public play any significant role in the major decisions made in our community.