Sign on the front porch of a home in the 2nd District of Garland, Texas sums up some of the main ingredients of our community profile:  God, Family, Country, Dallas Cowboys, Maker Creativity, Legal Immigrants and Spunky people – November 19, 2017

Thankful For My Community

I know there are folks out there who say that Garland has an “image” problem.  I disagree.  And I do hope that efforts to gentrify our community don’t run too deep and turn Garland into a cookie cutter Highland park lookalike—although that depth of transformation would likely need the hand of God.  I spent a third of my life in Minnesota and in many ways Garland reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s fictional town of Lake Woebegon. 

The biggest news in Garland for the month of November—even bigger than Thanksgiving in my opinion is the effort being undertaken to recall Councilwoman Anita Goebel so I'll write about that first.  All this activity is particularly astounding against the backdrop of our voting history as a community which to date has been rather dismal.  Still hope possibly prevails as already more registered voters have signed the petition for her recall than voted to elect her in the last election.

Although I no longer believe in the tooth fairy, I still believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, God, and that our government is not so broken that it cannot be fixed—provided that people participate in the democratic process.  Thus I am one of the people who are walking around the Second District in Garland, Texas collecting signatures on a petition to recall Anita Goebel and urging people to participate in their local government. 


Yes we still have the right across the USA to recall elected officials that we believe are not acting in our behalf.  I’m proud of my community for reminding our nation of this right. – November 19, 2017


In the opinion of many that I have talked with (and I’ve talked with over 500 Garland citizens over the past month) six council members should be recalled, not just Anita. 

The behavior of these six council members is indeed puzzling.  They are acting like six people in a boat who fill their pockets with rocks, bind themselves in chains, and then leap into Lake Woebegon shouting "Let's swim for the shore."  In other words, their behavior is seemingly so self-defeating that just doesn't make any sense at all.

1.  We currently have six Garland City Council members who think they don’t have to listen to the people who elected them. [They ignored signatures and comments from over 200 citizens asking them to put a hold on the bulldozing of the Armory building and rushed ahead to demolish the Armory building. (You can still view these signatures and comments at .The signatures and comments of these citizens were placed on City Council member’s desk prior to their voting to demolish the Armory. Yet these six knew “best”.  They voted as a group to demolish this building with a tax value of $700,000 that several groups wanted to repurpose for community use.  It isn’t like we didn’t have over 2,800 acres of parkland that had no buildings to demolish.  Perhaps this bunch has a wrecking ball syndrome.  Anita and David Gibbons also referred to the Tensley/Lyles home (possibly the oldest residential home in Garland) as a money pit that should be demolished. ]

2. We currently have six Garland City Council members who think they know more than experts.  [At a council meeting in October, Councilman Rich Aubin asked a man who had years of experience with skate parks if he thought the foundation of the armory could be reused in the design and build of a skate park.  The man told him that the foundation would actually be a hindrance and would likely increase the cost of the build. The council ignored this expert’s advice and voted to demolish the building any way.]

3. We currently have six Garland City Council members who think they don’t have to pay any attention to the checks and balances that we have in place for our local government.  [In making their decisions to locate a dog and skate park at Central Park, first of all they provided criteria to the Parks and Recreation Department for the location of a dog and skate park—in spite of the fact that not a single one of these council members are park experts.  Second of all, these council members ignored an important part of the checks and balances of our local government for making these kinds of decisions:  They totally bypassed the Parks and Recreation board—even though all of them, including the Assistant City Manager, Rick Vasquez, knew the proper protocol.]


On the Joys of Gathering Signatures to Recall Anita and learning more about my community


East Linda needs to be repaired now.

Priorities May Need Adjusting

One of the benefits of walking around this area of Garland is that I can gain a better understanding of my community and people’s needs and opinions.  For example, I live in the 8th District and until now I didn’t fully appreciate people’s complaints about the roads in Garland.  Now I do.  If you live over in Firewheel, or perhaps in the 8th District as I do, amble on over to the 2nd District and take a drive down East Linda and you’ll understand.  Until someone proves otherwise, I dub that road the roughest road not only in Anita’s district but in Garland, Texas.  Now some, even those on my team may cringe when I ask this but I am known for presenting uncomfortable truths—in fact, sometimes I even get called a “disgrace” for doing so. 

What the HECK is wrong with our prioritization skills when we are spending thousands of dollars to improve alleys in the 8th District and we have citizens in the 2nd District who must drive down E. Linda every day of their lives?  Yes, I know there are perhaps other roads that get more traffic and we need to repair our alleys because our City trucks drive down them and repairing them can cost tax payers money.  But tell those tales to the hundreds of citizens who live on Linda.  Would you like the street running in front of your house to be in this condition?

Although I understand we are talking apples to oranges here in terms of money already allocated for certain purposes, plenty of people don’t see it that way.  A lot of folks on streets that resemble Linda in the 2nd district are asking:  “Why are we spending several million dollars for a dog and skate park when we have roads like this?”  They do have a good point.


Garland is home to Some of the most creative gardens in the state, if not the planet.


Gardens in Garland are among the most creative that you’ll find anywhere in the DFW area – A Yard in Garland Features a Manikin Head – November 19, 2017  Now, where else could you find a garden like this?

Apparently Creative Yards Can Survive Garland Code Compliance Efforts

In spite of all the energetic efforts of the Garland Code Compliance department of which I understand from residents in the 2nd district that Anita is an avid supporter to the extent that she even calls code compliance on her neighbors*:  Creative landscape design continues to thrive in the 2nd District.  *Needless to say, several of whom signed the petition to recall her.



Instead of feeding pounds of chemicals to a lawn each year so their front yard looks like everyone else, these Garland residents have opted to grow plants they can eat in their front yard. – Garland Texas Nov 2017



Another example of Maker Creativity and Garden Artistry in Garland Texas – November 19, 2017



Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green, in the Garden- November 18, 2017

 Garland Community Garden

As usual, with me, the conversation returns to the Garland Community Garden.  I love this garden for so many reasons—how it came to be; how the children of our community love it; how it represents the possibilities that arise from diversity; how we can all learn from it; how peaceful it feels to be in it; and many more reasons.  Like Garland itself, our Community Garden is not some sterile row upon row of raised beds in wooden rectangular boxes.  Instead, it is an organic arrangement of many various types of garden beds—from containers to hugekultur mounds.

On Saturday, Jane, Burgi and I went to the garden to prepare a bed for planting tulips in early January.  Members of Loving Garland Green are the stewards of our Garland Community Garden and we sponsor several citizen science projects throughout the year.  Included among them is the project to rescue and tag Monarchs returning to Mexico.  To date this year we have tagged 92 Monarch butterflies.  The tulip bulbs we will be planting in January are part of an international Citizen Science project to measure Climate change across the world.



Burgi Bartlett, Loving Garland Green Board Member shows off a bundle of greens she harvested from the garden – Garland Community Garden November 18, 2017

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