Well, that was a disappointing outcome to the Ranger game, eh? This may sound weird to most people, but Fluffy and I agreed that tonight's game may be the first that we've ever watched start to finish and paid attention to (mostly). I find it to be great background noise while I work.
Work Speaking of work, it's been staying busy, which is a good thing, but it has limited the time I can spend on things here. Today I had to go in and work on getting a new development server setup so that I can upgrade to a modern version of the database and language I use. It seems that Windows 2000 has somehow become outdated as a server OS, and it's hard to find stuff that will run on it. So we've upgraded to 2003. If it were up to me, I'd run on Linux, but there's a piece that we have to use SQL server for. I've also bitten the bullet and switched my code repository from CVS to SVN - I know, probably years after I should have. The project I'm working on now, it's kind of funny: It's the last project I worked on in 2007/2008 before I left my employer and spent 3 years wandering in the desert. Turns out we'd built this thing, and they never rolled it out. We're finally getting them to that, and finally getting live users. Now is the fun part of it where we get to see what all kinds of interesting shit happens that nobody thought to plan for. Mostly business process type stuff, but also just what types of data problems. I love this part because it's compressed learning. You learn so much from rollouts.
Ballot Propositions I spent hours last night in the wee hours of the morning researching / reading / corresponding / writing about the Texas constitutional amendments on the ballot, as well as the Lewisville stuff.
I'm trying something new with them, which is to use the multi-page feature that Xoops has, so you'll be able to see each section on its own page, even though it's one blog post. I get annoyed when other sites use that too much, but I figure this is one where the post might go too long otherwise. Plus there's that chance that more page traffic from the multiple clicks would drive a bit more ad revenue. The extra $2 we might earn is way worth it to spend hours researching and writing. ;)
Anyhow, I have to work Sunday, so I'm not sure when I'll get around to finishing the research and posting it. Ideally it will be before Monday when early voting starts. I may just end up having to say screw it and go with what I have. I shot from the hip on the Lewisville ballot propositions and had someone send me a correction within like 30 minutes, pointing out that contrary to what I thought, car dealers don't collect sales tax for the City. I guess those guys have better lobbyists than others.
In two separate incidents that have come to light this week, high school basketball programs in Lewisville and Flower Mound lost coaches.
Flower Mound High School has replaced its basketball coach after a "hazing" incident involving members of the team. We've heard rumors about what happened, and if true, it was about as bad as it could get. The district is not releasing any information about the incident or the students involved citing federal privacy laws. District Spokeswoman Karen Permetti had these comments in response to our inquiry:
Due to FERPA, I can't elaborate on the incident at Flower Mound High School. What I can share is that a parent notified the school on Oct. 6 regarding an incident that had happened at the school. We immediately launched an investigation placing Coach Freet on administrative leave. The investigation is completed. Based upon the results of this investigation, Coach Freet accepted a non-coaching position in the district. Five students were involved in the incident and have been disciplined as outlined in the student code of conduct.
Mr. Freet opened the high school in 1999 as varsity boys basketball coach."
The article states that Freet was not directly involved in the incident.
Lewisville is one of only 16 cities in Texas with a AAA credit rating from both of the major ratings firms. The city has achieved this over many years of strong fiscal stewardship.
Part of this stewardship has been to ensure that the city provides excellent services for our tax dollars. Our Police and Fire Departments win numerous grants, awards and recognition year after year for their innovative policies.
While reviewing the best ways to enhance our public safety over the next several years the City Council determined that we could leverage an additional 1/4th cent sales tax, of which we are one of very few cities in North Texas to not have the State allowable limit of 8.25%, to fund these Police and Fire enhancements. Because it is a sales tax increase it must be voter approved.
Lewisville has a strong track record of using these types of voter approved funds. Facilities like Railroad Park, the MCL Grand Theater, our portion of the A-Train, and our water parks have all been funded by these types of elections, bringing our citizens a better quality of life.
The proposed Public Safety District districts would raise approximately $4.6 million annually and would be evenly divided between our Police and Fire Departments. This would last for five years at which point the citizens vote to maintain the funding or remove it.
This money doesn’t just go into the operating budgets. A group of citizens have spent the last several months refining the proposed expenditures of this funding. Police would provide 10 additional patrol staff and automated dispatch tools to ensure continued police operation in the event of a disaster. It would also fund additional code enforcement. Fire would enhance our emergency medical service and provide funds for a new fire station to reduce response times. Detailed plans are available at City Hall and in a mailer delivered to residents shortly.
Election Day is Tuesday November 8th from 7am to 7pm. Voters would have to vote at their local polling location. Early voting is on October 24th-29th October 31st-November 2nd, 8am to 5pm, and November 3rd-4th 7am to 7pm. All early voting is at the Lewisville Municipal Annex at 1197 W. Main St. or the Denton County Elections Office in Denton.
I’ll be voting for this increase in services for our police and fire departments. The city has proven to be a good steward of our tax dollars; this will be an effective way to improve our quality of life and safety. Please join me in continuing to make Lewisville a strong community on November 8th.
Protesters demonstrated briefly this afternoon in front of Lakeland Baptist Church in Lewisville, the site of conference put on by the group Reclaiming Texas for Christ (RTC), a group that promotes a Christian-centric view of civics. The conference program lists topics such as "Exposing the Radical Islamic Agenda in the United States" and "Original Intent: America’s Judeo-Christian Heritage". The group lists numerous Republican elected officials and party operatives as committee members.
The protest, organized by the group Metroplex Atheists had less than about 15 participants, some from the umbrella organization Dallas Fort Worth Coalition of Reason. Terry McDonald, the event's organizer and group president said that even though the RTC group's website claims that they are not political, the very notion of claiming a political subdivision makes it political. McDonald worries the group is promoting theocracy. "I'm honestly more afraid of groups like this than I am of the Muslims," McDonald said, referring to RTC's program item about radical Islam.
McDonald said that his group supports freedom, and the separation of church and state. "Texas belongs to all Texans, not just the Baptists," said McDonald. The protesters brought signs out at the corner of Cedar and I-35E, next to the church at about noon, just before attendees were set to arrive. The purpose of the protest was not to be anti-religious, but rather to oppose religion in state affairs.
One of the speakers, Timothy Barton, is a speaker from the Aledo, TX based WallBuilders, LLC., which promotes Christian influence in civic affairs, public policy, and education. The group takes its name from a biblical story of Israelites building a wall around Jerusalem to protect the city.
Well, Wednesday is normally my night for karaoke and beer, but I had some work to do, and Fluffy had some derby stuff so she couldn't be home with the kids. I worked while the Ranger game was on. That was a disappointing ending. Sure looked to me like the ball bounced off his foot or hit the ground.
Tonight was the first meeting of the LISD Strategic Design Committee. We had a chance to meet the other members and get a better sense for how the process is going to go. As I mentioned before the team is 30 citizens, 6 from each feeder pattern in the district. Only 5 of the members are LISD employees, including Superintendent Dr. Steve Waddell and Associate Superintendent Dr. Penny Reddell.
There was some short introduction to school finance, and a talk about academic accountability. I'm still excited about the process. In early November, we'll be spending a couple of long days cloistered at the Bolin center laying out broad goals, then there will be more teams of citizens on six different committees that will take on specific subject areas in a more detailed fashion. The Strategic Design Committee will then come back and examine those plans in light of the overall goals.
For what it's worth, the district is sincere in wanting this to be a citizen-driven process. One little thing I can bring to the table is being able to get input from others in the community here on the blog and in person. I've already heard from some people who have shared some interesting ideas and situations that I just probably wouldn't have thought about otherwise. Please feel free to weigh in with your ideas and concerns.
Anyhow, I don't have much time tonight, so that's all. Here are some links and pics: