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Michael Davis

12/27/05  Hunt and Bolton and Uninsured Drivers -- there's a connection.

When the law of the land only applies to some, there is no law.  When there is no law, there are no rules.  When there are no rules, there is anarchy.  We live in a lawless city that has been the #1 Crime Capital of the USA for 6 or 7 years.  It all starts with Our Downtown Betters (the ODB) who have created a climate of anything goes if you have the power.

Dallas is a city of robber barons and street hoodlums.  There is no difference between the street hood who holds a pistol to your head and demands your money and valuables and the powerful robber baron who holds his power and wealth to the head of politicians and demands they hand over our municipal money and valuables for his personal use.

Street hoods use violence to intimidate their victims to keep quiet.  The ODB are punishing Mayor Miller for standing up to the town's biggest robber.  No matter that she wasn't successful in her effort and that Billionaire Son of a Bigamist Ray Hunt got his $6.3 million tax abatement, the ODB do not allow mere citizens to challenge or question their plans for wasting our tax dollars -- not even when that mere citizen is the Mayor of the City.

Gromer Jeffers Jr.:  Highlights of an action-packed year in politics
Tuesday, December 27, 2005 / The Dallas Morning News
... The Hunt debate
   City Manager Mary Suhm and most of the council supported a $6.3 million tax abatement for billionaire oilman and developer
Ray Hunt.
   Ms. Miller did not.
   Her aggressive opposition to the plan, which included a thinly veiled threat to Ms. Suhm, reminded many of the mayor's days as a bomb-throwing council watchdog. As a council member, Ms. Miller routinely criticized Mr. Hunt and opposed plans that would benefit his interests.
   The mayor's opponents contended that in opposing the $6.3 million abatement, she was simply continuing her feud with Mr. Hunt. Ms. Miller said she was protecting the interests of Dallas taxpayers.
   The council, as expected, approved the tax break. And the dust-up left many in the business establishment recommitted to finding a candidate to beat Ms. Miller in 2007. ...

Isn't that comforting?  Mayor Miller stands up for Dallas taxpayers (both homeowners and business owners), and the ODB see it as an offense against nature as they think it should be.  If they succeed in ousting Laura Miller, no aspiring politician will ever stand up to them again.  Few would anyway.

  Mayor Miller was right to oppose the $6.3 million tax abatement for that Son of a Bigamist Ray Hunt because she knew it was just the beginning of what we will have to shell out to accommodate his family tradition of choking every cent out of any deal, and more.  Not only will the Hunt blood suckers be coming back to the council for another transfusion of our tax dollars with that pending one-sided land swap, but we very likely will have to deck most of Woodall Rodgers to be sure Hunt's new building has a park at its front door.

Weeping William Blaydes and Flip Flop Oakley, et al, will be more than happy to have the ridiculous Woodall Rodgers Park be even more ridiculously expensive to keep their good buddy, Ray, happy.  Don't know what will happen to their egos when Ray picks someone else to be his horse to unseat Laura Miller.

Woodall Rodgers park planners make an effort not to overreach;
Dallas: Building more than 3 parts may be too costly, impractical

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 by DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News
   The question isn't so much whether Dallas will build a "deck park" spanning Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Uptown and the downtown Arts District. More important are when, how big, and at what cost?
   Keeping the park under budget ? $60 million ? and on schedule ? completed by decade's end ? may involve building something smaller than what's in the most expansive proposal, city planners acknowledge.
... anything more extensive than three main park segments would create several engineering challenges that would probably cause costs to spike. A six-segment park would, for example, require tons more building material. Huge fans underneath the deck would probably be needed to clear automobile exhaust.
... A more realistic scenario is building three park segments that would cover the canyonlike stretch of Woodall Rodgers from St. Paul Street to Pearl Street, said Dallas park and recreation director Paul Dyer.
... A key variable in this public-private funding venture is billionaire oilman Ray Hunt, who is building his 15-story Hunt Consolidated international headquarters one block west of where the deck park's core section would end.
   Business people involved in raising private funding for the park say that Mr. Hunt may want it extended in front of his headquarters ....
Initial plans for the park, unveiled in February, call for $20 million in federal funding; $15 million to $20 million in city funding; and $15 million to $20 million in private donations.
... To date, the private and public officials coordinating park plans have secured a $10 million federal grant and about $3.5 million in private donations, said Jody Grant, chairman of Texas Capital Bank, who donated $1 million of his own money. ...

They will do what Ray Hunt wants regardless of the cost or time delay or engineering complications.  It's just our tax dollars being spent unwisely.  It's not real money.  At least it's not that Billionaire Son of a Bigamist's money.

The first time I heard someone talking about putting a lid on Woodall Rodgers and planting a park on the lid, I was sure it was a joke.  This is Dallas.  It's hot in the summer and freezes in the winter.  Pretty hard to get grass to grow on real ground, much less a fake park.  That was years before 9/11, and the threat of terrorism we now live with on a daily basis.  All we need is to create another tunnel for some wacko to sabotage.  A tunnel for cars and trucks is an invitation to disaster.     12/28/05 James Northrup:
Putting a lid on Woodall Rogers is probably not a great place for a park. Since it will shake, smoke and bake, even street people will avoid it. For a lot less money, we could build a real park, with real trees with deep roots and lots of shade. You know, on land.
   Putting a lid on Woodall Rogers will encourage development north of downtown - you know, where it is direly needed.

When the ODB and city officials started talking about it for real, I just put it up there with all the other promises not kept in this town.  Supposedly, a park across Woodall Rodgers will hook up Downtown with the booming Uptown area.  Another one of those ODB transfusions for Downtown's survival?

I love Downtown, but it is not the only part of this city in distress!  It's like deciding to only feed one child when you have 5 or more.  What do you have if it lives and the rest of the family perishes?

Aren't you tired of all the multi-million to multi-billion dollar projects that are going to be the key to "turning around Downtown"?  The Nasher Collection was supposed to lure airplane loads of tourists and art lovers to Dallas and pay for our capital investment in all the new streets and sidewalks and amenities around the Art Museum.  Last I heard, even Ray Nasher is disappointed in the lack of attendance to view his collection of sculptures.  Not only are hordes of tourists not showing up -- crowds of locals are not there either.  As much as they spend, the Park Cities elitists and the ODB are never going to make Dallas a city of East Coast styled culture lovers. 

  Because no one did "hydraulics" testing before the Trinity Project bond election, the only way to make it work is to demolish our historic viaducts and construct those ugly and inappropriate String Thing Bridges across a sewer trough.  Again, we are promised tourists will flock to Dallas in droves to see those ugly things.  Mayor Miller calls the String Thing Brides Dallas' Eiffel Tower.  Have you ever gone to a city just to see the local bridge to nowhere?  You might go out of your way while you are in some town to see a particularly famous bridge, but you are not going to take a trip anywhere specifically to see some bridge.  Particularly when it spans a stinky sewer trough.

Then, there's the question of where we get the money for the three ugly String Things.

Numbers spark debate in Trinity bridge project;

   The Trinity River Project has always included plans for a series of signature bridges, and the Dallas City Council settled upon three when it approved the project's Balanced Vision Plan.
   However, some council members said the number three is now is open for discussion. In fact, one council member said a third signature bridge is not needed.
... City Council member Mitchell Rasansky said he thinks that two bridges is more than plenty.
... Both the first bridge, which is an extension of the Woodall Rogers Freeway and the second, which will replace the bridge at Interstate 30, are fully funded.
   The third bridge is scheduled to go at Interstate 35.
   But while the Texas Department of Transportation is replacing the existing bridge regardless, a Calatrava suspension bridge can more than double the cost.
   "...The $65 [to] $70 million differential between a regular bridge and a Calatrava Bridge, can it be used for the roads and the streets and other transportation needs for the City of Dallas?" Rasansky said.
"... I think the Trinity River will be the focal point of Dallas if we do it right," said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
... The debate has arisen at this time largely because the city has started to discuss the next bond project, and whether to include some of the funding to make the Interstate 35 bridge something more than TxDOT standard issue.

What difference does it make that a String Thing Bridge costs $70 million more than a regular bridge?  The ODB and most politicians with the exception of Councilman Rasansky don't see $70 million of taxpayers' money as real money.  They feel no fiduciary responsibility to spend our tax dollars wisely.

The ODB and most politicians don't make wise decisions about much of anything.  One of the dumbest things that has happened at City Hall in many a decade was former City Manager Ted Benavides picking Terrible Bolton to be the Chief of Police.  There was never any justification for selecting Bolton other than his pigmentation.  There were other Black candidates who were much more qualified.  Benavides followed Charles Daniels' recommendation.  Some say Bolton was County Commissioner John Price's man, and Daniels and Benavides just did what JWP told him and Daniels to do.

However Terrible Bolton got to be Chief of Police, it was a huge mistake the ODB tried to make work.  Hiring him was a huge mistake.  Keeping him was a King Kong mistake.  Everything the guy touched turned moldy.  Remember that press conference with all those guns exhibited to divert attention away from the fake drug exposure?  What was it he said about getting those fake drugs off the street would protect the public?  Wasn't there something about his grandmother not being able to tell the difference between sheetrock and illegal drugs?

Bolton demoted qualified commanders and promoted incompetents.  He lowered the standards of police hires and made excuses for losers.  One loser TB rehired just confirmed his original rating as "ineligible for rehire" was valid.  Knowing that Funches has been patrolling Northwest Dallas where I live certainly is disquieting, but don't judge all cops by this rogue because our Northwest substation has a bunch of great police officers and a Deputy Chief who work hard to improve things in our troubled area.

Dallas officer faces domestic assault charge
04:15 PM CST on Tuesday, December 27, 2005

By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News
  An 11-year Dallas police veteran with a history of disciplinary problems was arrested after Carrollton police said he assaulted his wife at the couple?s home.
   Officer Ransom Funches, 37, who patrols northwest Dallas, was arrested at about 3 a.m. Monday on a Class C misdemeanor family violence assault charge.
... He quit the department in 1999 and was listed as ineligible for rehire because of his disciplinary history. However, former police chief Terrell Bolton rehired him in 2001.

The difference in Terrible Bolton and our new Chief David Kunkle is incalculable.  You can imagine where TB would have come down on towing cars of uninsured drivers.  It is disappointing, but not unexpected that Councilman Fantroy would be opposed.  If someone other than Mayor Miller proposed this new crime-fighting tool, Fantroy might support it.  He puts his animosity toward the Mayor ahead of what is good for the city and his constituents.  He seems to assume that most of his constituents are law breakers who drive around without insurance or a drivers license.  That's a pretty contemptuous attitude toward the residents of his district.

Dallas weighs towing policy; Miller wants uninsured vehicles involved in accidents impounded
Tuesday, December 27, 2005 by EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News
... Mayor Laura Miller is floating a new impounding plan to the City Council ? one in which uninsured drivers involved in accidents would have their vehicle towed straight to the pound.
   The goal, Ms. Miller says, is to keep people who aren't authorized to drive from getting behind the wheel, preventing costly, sometimes fatal, accidents. These drivers wouldn't get their cars back until they show proof of insurance at the pound.
... Locally, Arlington, DeSoto, Haltom City, Irving and Mesquite impound cars of uninsured drivers ? those who are pulled over for specific traffic violations as well as those involved in accidents. Plano and Rockwall County will start towing Sunday.
   "When a third of all car accidents in the city of Dallas involve people who don't have insurance, it's clear we have to do something about the situation," Ms. Miller said.
   But the idea, which will be debated after the holiday break, is receiving criticism from some southern Dallas council members, who say the measure could unfairly target immigrants and low-income drivers.
... council member James Fantroy said. "We've got enough problems trying to reduce our crime ? and now we want to target people that are living in the southern part [of Dallas], who may not have a nice, new car. ..."
...  The state Department of Public Safety estimates about one in five Texas drivers has no auto insurance.
   Impounding the cars of uninsured drivers is not about racial or economic profiling, Ms. Miller said. It's about protecting drivers who are obeying the law. ... "We are specifically targeting the people who are in an even more egregious situation: They are getting in car wrecks and the people that are the victims are not able to collect. That's not fair."
   The biggest question marks involve the city's pound: Is there room for more cars? Is there enough manpower to manage the influx? Will this tie up officers who ought to be on patrol?
   "It's a small facility, and from what I've heard, they already don't have enough staff," Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia said. "I'm definitely concerned about officers taking too long doing this. I want them to patrol. I want officers on the street."
   Chief Ward ... believes there is space in the pound for the upsurge (on an average day, there are about 375 available spaces in the 2,500-car capacity pound), he says pound employees would have to work more quickly to get cars in and out. Vehicles that aren't claimed within 30 days are put up for auction.
... Police officers support the impounding idea, Chief David Kunkle said. They're sick of responding to accidents where uninsured drivers give them fake names and addresses, he said. And they're tired of standing by helplessly as these same drivers speed away ? leaving their victims with hefty auto bills and no avenue to collect.
   "There are so many drivers just openly thumbing their nose at the law," he said.
... "Everybody should have a driver's license and proof of insurance," Chief Kunkle said. "There's really no excuse not to."
For the life of me, I cannot imagine why Councilwoman Garcia would oppose towing cars of drivers who do not have insurance or a divers license when they get stopped by a police officer or involved in a wreck.  She says she doesn't want officers taking too much time related to having cars towed when the driver has no insurance or a drivers license.  She wants the officers patrolling the street and not bothering lawbreakers like uninsured drivers.  Does she disapprove when police officers arrest and jail bank robbers or car thieves?  That takes them off the street, too.      12/27/05 James Northrup:
   Fantjoy doesn't want it because more than half of his constituents are uninsured!
   Ditto Dr. Elbow Room Garcia and  Prof. Thornton Expressway.
   It's a litmus test of lawlessness among one's electorate - District by District.
   Let's see how the fence sitters come down on this one.  Something good can come from this.  For or Against will make it a scofflaw meter.

Exactly what are police officers supposed to do if they are not to get lawbreakers off the street?  If illegal immigrants are driving around without a Texas drivers license or car insurance, they should have their vehicle confiscated.  The idea that 30% of drivers involved in car accidents are uninsured is frightening.  Mr. Fantroy's concerns are misguided.  If lawbreakers have their cars towed until they can follow the rules, all of our insurance premiums might become more affordable. 

If a car stays in the pound over a month, we sell it at auction.  We can designate the proceeds of selling cars taken from lawbreakers to hire new police officers.

I've got news for Council members Fantroy and Garcia.  There are illegal drivers in North Dallas, too.  We have lots of people who are not qualified to drive operating great big vehicles -- as in enormous trucks.     12/27/05  Michael Perry:
I STRONGLY support towing cars driven by uninsureds.  I have been involved in 2 separate accidents where the drivers not only had no insurance but had no drivers license. 
   I would like to see this taken a step further.  If an uninsured driver is stopped for any driving infraction their car is impounded before an accident happens.  People who do not have insurance by STATE law are not to be driving that vehicle regardless of whether they live in South Dallas or North Dallas.
  My gym has been doing extensive renovation and just finished creating a big play room for children to stay and be supervised while their parents exercise.   The room was just completed a couple of weeks ago.  Christmas Day, some guy in a big pickup truck raced across the parking lot, jumped the driveway and plowed right into the wall of the play room.  Lord knows what chemical was fueling his brain.  Thank God, it was a holiday and no children were there because someone would have died. 

If you think the driver was insured or even had a license, I've got a String Thing Bridge to sell you.
Picture courtesy of Gary Turner, Crime & Politics  

We cannot allow people to ignore our laws at any level.  If one person does not have to submit to our rules of government, then no one should have to obey authority. 

It doesn't matter the size of the crime.  If we have a law, we need to obey it or get a legislator to change it.  We cannot ignore wrong doing, whether the lawbreaker is poor or a rich robber baron. 

We can't allow bad guys to take advantage of us.  To acquiesce to wrong doing is to participate in the lawlessness.

We must take a stand for law and order. 

If we must put a lid on Woodall Rodgers (which is a bunch of nonsense anyway), we should do it the most cost effective and simplest way possible to reduce immediate construction and future maintenance expense -- no matter what Ray Hunt and the ODB try to force on us.

Mayor Miller is on the right side in this towing issue, and we need to get behind her and be sure our council representative is with her on this.  Chip Northrup is also right.  How the council votes on towing cars of illegal drivers will certainly be a good test of who believes in law and order and who is just at City Hall for self-gain and self-promotion







  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8