I was on that council and one of the 4 that stood in opposition to the Gang of 5 in their unlawful attempt to suppress an election. I will say right here that Doug's account squares with my memory of how the Gang of 5's failed scheme played out. The false charges Doug describes by the bitter losers of that court battle are nothing but nonsense and hogwash. What Doug and the rest of Let Us Vote! achieved not only saved elections in Garland, but may have had impact nation wide as well. Had the Gang of 5 set this precident, I am convinced that there would have been attempts at suppressing elections all across the fruited plain.
When Larry Jeffu$ was getting paid $60,000 by the Button campaign as a Political Consultant, he produced a media campaign against me saying I was being "investigated by the FBI". The truth was I was having my security clearance upgraded and was being investigated by Defense Investigative Services as part of the normal background investigative process for Industrial Security. These kinds of lies have, unfortunately, become a trademark of campaigns run by Larry Jeffu$. Don't let it get you down Doug!
I saw that article in the DMN. And sorry to say, that is one reason a lot of good people do not run for office. They don't want their dirty laundry aired out in public, and if the facts aren't 'newsworthy' enough, sometimes politicians have to get creative with the truth. They think truth is like a ladder - works better with a generous slant to it. Hang in there, all of this will pass. Like I have told you before, I like your blogs, I like how you keep us informed.
We had truly hoped that this race would not be lowered the wallow in the gutter as so many political races end up.
Is there anywhere we can look up what the 3 previous city council members accomplished while in office? It would be helpful to see who really did something for the city and it's people, and who did nothing.
Larry, in his post above, states that neither he nor I are ballistics experts but I am more familiar with some of the tools available for analysis and use than I was and I appreciate his bringing them to my attention.
To be accurate on one point, I did not say the range was "legally out of compliance." What I did say was, "State law, passed in 1991, Health and Safety Code; Title 9. Safety; Subtitle A. Public Safety; Chap 756. Miscellaneous Hazardous Conditions; Subchapter D. Outdoor Shooting Ranges, Sec. 756.042. Construction Standards states: 'The owner of an outdoor shooting range shall construct and maintain the range according to standards that are at least as stringent as the standards printed in the National Rifle Association range manual.' There are other requirements in that same section that are not met by the GPSR."
I do not know if the range meets NRA standards. In the same chapter are requirements for insurance, which according to media reports the owner has admitted not having. However, I do not know if there is another section that allows self-insurance as with automobiles. I do not know if the range is in violation of any law and won't jump to any conclusions without evidence.
If the range is being operated unsafely, it is not the responsibility of the cities of Rowlett or Garland to make the necessary changes and repairs. That would be the party responsible, the owner, not the taxpayers.
I have had cordial emails with Mr. Athas about the ballistics of this case. Neither of us has any credentials about ballistics. I will restate that Rpwlett zoned the annexed property with knowledge of the gun range. At that time, evidently Rowlett officials saw no problem. There had been a previous incident (long time ago) with a bullet hole in the 4-H building in that area. The dump between Garland and Rowlett has, to my knowledge, not filed any complaints about the range. Yes it NOW is an unused landfill. Mr. Athas has informed me that the range has legally out of compliance since 1991. Has it been inspected or cited for non-compliance by Garland? I beleive there is a Texas State Rifle Association sticker on the door. CCL and private instruction has been taught there for years. NOBODY NOTICED a safety problem in 20 years? IMHO, the owner would have fixed the problem or gone out of business. Per Texas statues, shooting at occupied buildings is a felony offense, so why is this case being tried in a civil suit, and through a proxy name, paid for by Rowlett tax money? Would that money not be more efficiently spent in a joint effort to make the range safer? If it is a safety issue, FIX IT! IMHO, Rowlett and Garland are denying culpability in the situation and pinning a target on the back of GPSR owner for the April personal injury suit, guilt by previous guilt.
And Mr. Athas, I see in your response to Larry that you assert that GP&L is frequently repairing the lines in that area due to bullet strikes; but the Dallas Morning News (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/yahoolatestnews/stories/090310dnmetgunrange.296e141.html
) reports "But GP&L said Thursday that it had performed nothing other than routine maintenance in the area.
"Currently, we don't have an issue with the gun range," utility spokeswoman Elizabeth Kimbrough said. "We've never had an outage from it, and it's not impacting service."
I think we all want the range to be operated safely; but I'm also concerned there is a bit of a rush to judgment here.
Let me get this straight. The city of Rowlett is financing a lawsuit against a local business owner. As part of this lawsuit, they are going to seek a temporary injunction which will likely bankrupt the business. And they are going to do this when they can't prove that the rounds came from the range? Doesn't it strike you as a bit arbitrary to shut down a man's livelihood when you can't even determine where the rounds came from - and considering there is a good mile of uninhabited land between the range and the incidents you describe, it isn't like the possibility that the shots were fired from outside the range is especially farfetched.
What is going to happen if you run Mr. Day out of business and then it is later determined in court that the rounds were not fired from his range? Is the city of Rowlett going to pay those damages to Mr. Day since it financed the lawsuit?
@Larry: Sir, you don't know me and you obviously don't know of me, which is why I wonder why you would call me a liar.
The FACTS support everything I've said.
I don't present a ballistic distance report, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept presents a chart showing how far a bullet can travel. And using Point Blank, the software you mention, if you select a target one mile away, with a .30-06, 150 or 168 or 180g bullet, you only need to aim a few degrees up to make it. Aiming at the power lines is guaranteed to make it.
I don't know why you slander the entire Rowlett Police Dept and claim they are all corrupted by a pay check. I'm not familiar with the Rowlett Police Dept, but, as the son of a highway patrolman, I know most officers are very conscientious and wouldn't compromise their integrity for any politician. If the Garland Police Dept were conducting a similar investigation, the council and administration wouldn't know who was conducting it and would have no influence over it. To follow your logic, paycheck equals control, how do you explain the speeding ticket I received in Garland (deserved) and the one in Rowlett (undeserved) and the respective fines I paid?
State law, passed in 1991, Health and Safety Code; Title 9. Safety; Subtitle A. Public Safety; Chap 756. Miscellaneous Hazardous Conditions; Subchapter D. Outdoor Shooting Ranges, Sec. 756.042. Construction Standards states: "The owner of an outdoor shooting range shall construct and maintain the range according to standards that are at least as stringent as the standards printed in the National Rifle Association range manual." There are other requirements in that same section that are not met by the GPSR.
Personally, I don't understand why you choose to ignore property rights of those around the gun range. The range can send a round as far downrange as the land they own, no further. There is no property right that gives anyone anywhere the right to fire onto the land of others. I don't believe you would argue that your neighbor whose house was built before yours could indiscriminately fire bullets onto your property or through your house. I don't believe you would argue that a hunter can shoot deer on someone else's property. The developer that built the homes in Rowlett and the city of Rowlett did nothing improper allowing homes to be built a mile from the range. You may disagree but that is your opinion and is not the law in Texas (or anywhere).
If Mr Day continues to deny that rounds are leaving his property and fails to meet state law on the operation of the gun range, I think there is a danger to other ranges. If I operated a gun range and followed the law (and my mother does, in Central Texas), I would be very concerned if someone else refused to and endangered my rights and livelihood.
My blog says nothing about $500,000 to make the range safe. You read that in today's paper. Quote: "It is estimated the improvements to the gun range could cost $500,000." The story does not attribute this information to anyone. There is no evidence who supplied that estimate and it would be pointless for me to speculate, let alone declare something I have no way of knowing.
And if you read to the end of that article, then you saw the quote from Garland Mayor Jones, “If the owner of the range is willing to work with us and with the professional recommendations of the NRA and other shooting range experts, I feel certain we can come to an acceptable resolution.”
So your contention there is a movement to close the range is without any evidence and all the public statements from everyone involved, including the man shot, is that they would like the range operated safely.
I encourage people to be skeptical of government, to look for counter explanations, but I also think they should draw valid conclusions and not invent facts.
Of course one would like the taxpayers to pick up the costs of these accidents" including utility pole replacements .one cannot fund a hobby that way. For ex, when we moved here years ago , I had always had horses but the build out made me realize I would have to wither forgo the this love or go out to Parker county.One drive was enough to redirect me to other interests - just a suggestion.'
Mr. Athas: I appreciate your email stating that you don't wish to close down the range, but facts don't support your comments. You present a ballistic distance report which is invalid. Any real ballistic calculator(try Point Blank, it's free) will show that NO hunting high power rifle could make that shot under the range conditions as shown in your photos(1.5mile with restricted shooting elevation of ~10 deg and a ~30' berm @ 110 yds). Rowlett police dept. surely has in depth knowledge of ballistics, but they work for the city. This points to shots taken 'by intent' so the case should be tried under criminal law. You state that by law, the range must operate in accordance with NRA 'rules?', but has the case called the NRA to de-certify the range? DANGER - this will set a court ruling that MAY allow most rifle ranges in the state to be shut down. So hunters have no place to sight in rifles - so NO hunting? A multi-million dollar business in Texas, just think of all the lost sales and jobs at shooting supply stores. By law, Rowlett cannot file a suit so they use Chicago style under the table money to finance the suit. Home owners in the 'area' must notify buyers of the danger of the range, Rowlett zoned the area and the board should have done due-diligence in zoning. The only recourse for home owners is to sue Rowlett for loss of value. Your blog states the range owner estimates the a cost of $500K to make the changes above and beyond what he has already done, his loss in the case opens him up the the follow on suit from Mr. Domin who it is reported, owes $200k in medical expenses. The owner could be forced to pay $1M. Don't show this to kids, but someone is really angry at the range http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=8&f=8&t=423267. I don't have any vested interest in the range other than a casual rifle shooter who will have to travel 50 miles to nearest range. So yes, I do believe that you as a council member and the city of Rowlett really do have the intent of shuting down the range.
So Rowlett went judge, attorney and plaintiff shopping to get an injunction. So who is paying the attorney fees? Yes, it is a FMJ (prohibited at the range), the report was at 7:30 just before 8PM closing. Police have NOT been able to determine trajectory - or anything else. The range keeps attendance and caliber logs. Has anyone checked to see who was shooting that nite? If someone in my family were hit I'd be going after the city for zoning; the builder and realtor for failure-to-notify. I wouldn't buy a house in the path of a range. I used to go fishing in the creek behind the range, never worried about it. The GBT corridor will get zone to serve adult beverages and many people will get killed, but it's all about tax money anyway, not saving lives. I also moved from Dallas County as the politics stink. As the judge, city att and plaintiff att are all anti-gun buds, my guess is that the injunction will be granted.
Firewheel Bible Fellowship has sold their property on Firewheel Pkwy and relocated to Castle Dr to the former Victory Park Baptist Church site, which is the site that the line crosses. To the best of my knowledge, the original post is completely accurate but I can understand the source of confusion. I've inserted a bit more info in the caption in hopes of making it as comprehensive for everyone as possible.
This statement is in error: "The line passes through the Firewheel Bible Fellowship Church and the gray block in the bottom right corner, about 1.75 miles, is Back Elementary." Firewheel Bible Fellowship Church (or what was Firewheel) is located on Firewheel Parkway west of the Centerville intersection. The line is nowhere close to this facility.
We have had this conversation over this old piece of property that was cheap to convert into a shooting range before.The police range is elswhere and built to specs.
It is time, before someone dies or is permanently and seriously disabled , to close it.Bankrupting an owner after a death or critically disabling someone, it not the answer. Be proactive - good for Rowlett!
While I can't say that the bullets are not coming from the range, I can say it is very easy for anyone to enter the land between the two areas and fire any type of weapon they wish. Maybe the city should look at ways of better securing the old landfill to make sure that people aren't using it for their own private gun range. The City of Rowlett and its Police force can not definitively prove that the rounds that hit the houses or even the one that struck the person came from the range. They just believe that that is where they came from.
With that in mind, I think that the city should work with the owner of the range to make sure that the range is safer but should also make sure that people aren't shooting weapons where they shouldn't.
It was a very creative meeting with good ideas from citizens. Our area in D 8 is not served well as one would have to walk 2 miles to access Beltline or 78. I had hoped over the years that a on call or other idea would work. Lots of talk about public safety and DART police as well.Not flattering.
Hurrah! Long time coming, but this will be nice. I'm sure the Garland Symphony Orchestra will also appreciate not having train horns sounding in the middle of concerts.
Of course, my ideal train horn solution would involve instructing the engineers to maintain the silence except in stormy weather when we're under tornado watches and warnings. The rumble of the train sounds eerily like an approaching tornado, and we're always relieved to hear the horn in those situations.
@Kev: There is no specific timetable. Timing is dependent on funding because much of the realignment will be a new bridge above the flood plain and the cost of the new section will probably well exceed $20 million.
The residents in our area use the " old" NSR to 78 and Brand
a lot. Over the years we had asked for improvements and both were on the Citizen Bond Comm in 1997. They were reported by our transportation dept as grade F. Something " funny " happened and they were dropped. As the town homes came to be prior to their being built and subsequent bankruptcy, these residents testified at PZ that these roads needed to be improved first.
I really do not know how the unimproved section will handle additional traffic. There are no sidewalks for the students who walk home.
My understanding of the last census is that Garland is a majority minority city. This census counted all who live here including young people. Young people are DART users to school and back.
I am simply restating the census outcome for the record.
Tracey was an excellent board member. Per my memory only Don Raines equalled his committment. We must remember that DART rules are not as easy on conflicts and to recluse from a conflict as they follow the federal funding rules. Federal funding is at stake.
I felt Tracey's strength was involving the whole community.I was pleased to sit on his citizen board.Having served on DART committees since the mid 80's , I trust that outreach to citzens will continue.Tracey's idea of a transportation forum for Garland is one to be followed in the future.
Oops. Sorry I should have waited on my earlier post about the logo. I should have read your description before I made up my mind that the city wasted its money. Now that I know what the design stands for I am more convinced that it was a waste of money. When it takes an entire paragraph to explain what the logo is supposed to mean and how it represents Garland how is that supposed to do anything to brand our city? Maybe you should have hired a better branding agency.
What a waste of money. Couldn't the city find a better way to spend its money like repairing the streets, cleaning up the parks, or anything else that makes life better for its citizens. But hey, at least we have this silly new logo with a slogan that doesn't really say anything and makes very little sense and says nothing about our city.
Roundabouts are the most confusing traffic problem and a waste of money. People have no idea how to use them and they seem to cause more problems than they solve. Put in a traffic signal if people are unable to use the stop signs correctly. This is another giant waste of money for the City of Garland.
I feel like someone in the traffic decision making process went to Europe and had an "oooh, shiny" moment in a roundabout there. This is now the 2nd traffic circle on Brand Rd. (which I travel evey day). I didn't like the first one and the second one is even worse. Quite frankly I'm sick of it.
Fortunately I am a cautious driver otherwise I would have been in a couple of accidents already. Some people blow through these circles as if nobody else was around and others won't enter the circle unless there are no cars in sight. I can see where the one at Campbell and Brand probably relieves congestion along Campbell during high traffic times but I don't see where safety could possibly be improved. In fact to my mind safety is being sacrificed there. I hope at some point the city sees fit to put in a traffic light instead. Unfortunately once something like this is installed it is almost impossible to get it changed.
As far as the supposed statistics are concerned I'm with Mark Twain who liked to say that "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
One last thing to consider, if you go less than a half mile east, west, or north of this intersection you'll find yourself on a 4 lane road.
I love the new logo !! We need to do something to freshen up Garland bring more tourists and businesses. I am tired of paying one of the highest electricity rates in the state and almost the highest property taxes in the metroplex. If we always do what we've always done we will always get what we have always gotten. Time for the old heads in Garland to change
My house backs up to Campbell road and is just out of view in the picture above. I think this is a terrible idea. The distinction between roundabout and traffic circle is ridiculous (there is actually a sign that says traffic circle posted) a light is what is clearly needed. Ridiculous.
You have a point that I forgot to mention. How will business large and small feel about the cost of changing all their letterheads, billlngs, address changes to suppliers and clients?Home owners and working folks will have to notify all the relevant taxing depts - this list goes on and on
I know the idea of N Garland becoming it's own city has floated for years. How much would each homeowner have to pay the city for passed bond and other costs for a divorce?This kind of talk about 2 Garlands can only divide people more. When I first moved here, S Garland was the "place to be" with accountants , attorneys and the like. Now it has been let to run down. We really cannot afford to let elitism rule and divide us. Someday the " Firewheel ' area will be like Richardson Sq - same owners , and run down like S Garland. I noted a web site purporting to rename the city .Can we PLEASE stop alienating one another? I live in neither area and can onlyb reflect as a Garland citizen.
If you're unfortunate enough to have shelled out $$ for a new Energy Star dishwasher, you're in even worse shape! Most ES dishwashers "save" energy by doing away with the pre-heat function, which means you now need to run the hot water at the kitchen sink until it's really-really hot before starting the dishwasher... wasting however much water goes down the sink to accomplish that. (I only learned this after moving to a new house and shopping carefully for an Energy Star dishwasher. Huge mistake. Can't wait for the thing to break so I can throw it away!)
Mayor (May 11 - now)
Mayoral Candidate (Feb - May 11, '13)
Average Citizen (May '12 - Feb '13)
Council Member (June '06 - May '12)
Council Candidate (Apr - June '06)
Over a thousand posts by Councilman Athas, now Mayor, on all aspects of city government are archived here; none have ever been deleted. The range is wide: from behind-the-scenes reports to simple community updates. Software updates make some of the older posts appear somewhat different than originally posted but the facts are the same.