Sunday, March 13, 2016

Open Letter to Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro-Tem Aubrey, TX

Below is a letter I sent to Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro-Tem Aubrey, TX.  This is in response to a misleading Letter to the Editor he submitted.


Jeff,

I read your Pilot Point Post Signal Letter to the Editor on March 11, 2016.  While this does not appear to be your work, it was a nicely written letter.  This was of course in response to my letter to the editor on March 4, 2016, in which I recommended that certain council-members resign if they failed to see and address the issue that was right in front of them.  While it disappointed me that you felt necessary to mention me by name in your letter, the deeper disappointment is that you don’t seem to understand the extent of the problem with the 5.5 million dollar debt.  Unfortunately, for the citizens of Aubrey, you seem to miss the point quite frequently. 

The 5.5 million dollar expenditure on the new water system is not something I would not support without additional information.  Whenever staff starts misleading us, it should be a sign to require a deeper explanation.  You disagreed with me on this and I respected your position.  The thing that makes me angry about this situation, is the fact that we are spending this money for new infrastructure without repairing the current dilapidated sewer system.  Which should be our first priority and responsibility. 

As you know during the council meeting on February 16, 2016, long time Aubrey resident, Mr. Sissiney spoke at depth about how raw sewage backed up in his yard when it rains.  After being told for decades that we could not afford the necessary sewer repairs, he was disappointed that we were spending 5.5 million dollars in new infrastructure, without addressing the well-known and long standing issues with our current sewer system.  It deeply disappointed me that Mr. Sissiney has had raw sewage backing up in his yard for 32 years and this city has done nothing about it.  What further disappointed me was that you actually have been to Mr. Sissiney’s home when the raw sewage was running through his yard, and yet you still voted in favor of spending 5.5 million dollars on new infrastructure without repairing the dilapidated sewer system.  However, your letter to the editor completely avoided the sewer problems, which was the main reason I asked for resignations.

Now one might think that you avoided the sewer issue intentionally and tried to mislead the public into believing that I was upset solely on the 5.5 million dollars of additional debt, which makes your point plausible.  This would have been a typical political move by an experienced politician.  However, after sitting next to you or the last year, I would have to believe that you truly do not understand the real issue.  I also, do not believe that you’re not intellectually capable of strategizing something like that.  Call me a fool, but I really don’t think you get it.  However, if you’d really stated the facts about the issue, it is likely that most people in Aubrey would agree that you should resign.  However, with the intellectual capability previously mentioned, doubt you’ll get that either. 

While several council members callously disregarded Mr. Sissney’s plea, you particularly disappointed me.  Not only have you seen the raw sewage bubbling in his yard with your own eyes, but you were apparently friends with his son.  You were someone he respects and trusts, and you’ve let him down thus far.  Just about every person in Aubrey has had their children’s picture taken with this man, as he plays Santa Clause at all of the local functions, and the city of Aubrey has literally shit on this guy for 32 years.   I have always had a saying that “Once you know, you can’t not know”.  This saying has never been more applicable than it is right now, and you know

This has not been the first time that we’ve not seen eye to eye to on a major issue.  If you recall, you voted to support the artificial inflation of our property tax rate.  We gerrymandered the debt, so that we could charge Aubrey citizens a few more bucks in property taxes this year (which still didn’t leave enough money to fix the sewer).  Unfortunately, you did not see a problem with this, while I felt that this was not ethical or transparent.  However, when I spoke out publicly about this, you got upset, stating that I was suggesting the council was either “shady or ignorant”, and you didn’t appreciate that.  However, in this matter, you had to be one or the other.  Either you didn’t get it, or you didn’t care, and either way it’s wrong for the government to act this way and bad for the people of Aubrey. 

I made you aware that I was circulating a petition against using this manipulation practice in the future, and although you were firmly in support of this practice 9 months ago, you’ve asked me to hold off on the petition until after the election.  Although, you’ve said that you can defend all of your votes, guess that one was the exception.  Maybe you weren’t as proud of that as you thought.   

We have both worked on each other’s campaigns.  I have spent both time and treasure to get you elected in the past, but it’s clear that you are not the person I thought you were.  You do not commit the time it takes to be a good city councilman, nor are you are as ethical or moral as you like to have people believe.  You have good image in public, but I suspect that if people really got to know you, they would be disappointed as well. 

You said in your letter that “everyone knows where you stand”.  Unfortunately with apathy and the lack of involvement of the community that is not a factual statement.  It should read that “everyone knows where you should stand”, because you know as well as I do you, your votes on council do not reflect the public image you portray.  The lack of involvement and level of ignorance that you bring into most votes is embarrassing.  If you really “stood for the people of Aubrey”, you would actually support the people, which currently you’re not.  While that is a nice catchphrase, we both know you have no idea what you stand for.  If you really stood for the people of Aubrey, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and I would be helping you get re-elected. 

You also pointed out that you do not “vote on principle”.  I think that says a lot, does that mean that you do not have principles?  Or do you even know what principles are?  Mirriam-Webster defines principle as - a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.  So I guess in your own words you do not have a foundation for your beliefs or behavior.  If you had good principles (which your public image portrays), then voting with your principles would reflect that, and again we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

It has often bothered me that you’ve put so much effort into complaining about people who live in the Aubrey Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), who show up to our meetings to make comments during citizen’s input.  However, it does appear that you don’t mind if the comments are positive, but if there is a complaint attached, you bellyache about having to listen to them.  Perhaps you don’t understand open and transparent government.  These are public meetings and everyone has the right to attend and have their voice heard.  The Constitution of the United States, which you’ve taken the oath to support and defend, guarantees people’s rights to redress government.  The meetings are a mechanism to do this in a general law city.  Many of the things that we’re doing have a direct impact on those that live in the ETJ.  Them exercising their voice is something that good public official would welcome, not complain about.  Your statement that you are “always open to contact, and I am always willing to hear your points of view on the subjects the city council may be handling”, is not accurate.  For the most part, people that I know to have called you, said you were a nice, but had no clue on the stated subject, even if you voted to support it, and you were absolutely no help.  All of the people who support you, support you because they’ve never needed your help with anything related to your position on council.  If they ever had an issue, they’d find a whole different Jeff Perry than the one on Facebook.

When you encouraged me to run for this seat, you said you needed a good vote setting next to you, which I believe you’ve gotten from me.  But what does that matter when you consistently vote with the herd?  You basically vote however the mayor and city staff want you to vote.  You’ve shown no courage to be your own man, but rather a puppet for the regime, a regime that does not reflect the image you portray.  Frankly a bobble-head sitting your seat could’ve done the same job you’ve done over the last year.  I have voted with my principles, and I know why I voted for or against each and every time.  We’ve all made mistakes and I am big enough to admit those mistakes, and try and do better in the future.  You appear to hope nobody really knows how you’ve voted, because if they knew the subjects as well as you should have when you voted, your house of cards would come down. 

Sincerely,

-- 
Calvin Tillman
Aubrey City Council Place 4
tillman4texas@gmail.com
940.453.3640

13 comments:

  1. Calvin, I appreciate your courage to vote against the rest of the Council in their haste to sell Aubrey down the river without taking the time to read and understand the long term effect of Council decisions. I attended one meeting where Council woman Deborah Goin scoffed when someone asked her if she had read the information packet on the topic they were about to vote on. She went on to say, "I don't have time to read that!! I work all day." She then proceeded to make a motion to pass the issue that she hadn't even read! So, Thank You Calvin, for having a head on your shoulders, the willingness to buck your fellow Councilmen/women, and the commitment to know the facts before you vote with the "Herd"!

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  2. You are being a little hard on Jeff Perry. He tried to do the right thing last meeting and made the motion to table the item until March. Before it could be called to vote, staff double teamed him and bullied him into withdrawing the motion. Kenny must have been afraid the whole truth about the rotten sewer system was about come out, if it was continued as an agenda for March, so he leaned real hard on Jeff to back away from doing the right thing for the original residents of Aubrey.

    I feel confident, Jeff would do it differently if he could. I just know, now that he has had time to think about it, he will try to stop the $5.5 million bond package before it is to late. So Tillman, you need to back off and give Jeff one more chance to prove what he is really made of.

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    1. I would love for Jeff Perry to reconsider his votes for issues soley on the word of Matt McCombs, Kenny at the Water District, or Mark Kaiser. Do your homework Councilman! Be a leader instead of a follower. Look into the facts. Look for feasible alternatives. It is your job as a responsible City Councilman. Anything less is simply irresponsible from any of Aubrey's City Council. Why did it take Councilman Tillman calling out his fellow Councilmen to get their attention to be responsible, in the first place? Way to go, Tillman!

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    2. We have one good Councilman; well maybe two. Councilman Huber finally woke up, but now he isn't running for re-election. Aubrey is in BIG trouble with this unqualified board if they don't wake up. Like this ridiculous 5 acre ordinance they passed for land outside city limits. Are they serious? Gotta be big developers paying them off to pass something stupid like that. Just saying.

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    3. Perry brought this on himself. Tillman just called him on it.

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    4. Yes Perry DID bring it on himself. Calvin, called Perry out on seeing the overflowing sewer problem and still voting for a Bond package that did not address any sewer solution. When Perry was prompting Sissney to say that he had been there before to see it in the RAIN .... it was telling that Sissney replied, "yes you have been out in the rain, and you have been out in the snow too". (There was no snow this past winter, so how many years has Perry know about the perpetual problem and chosen to IGNORE it?)

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  3. Did anyone else notice that the Financial Audit 2015 was reviewed after Mr. Sissney spoke to the Council telling of his years and years of anguish? Mark and Janet raved about what a good job the Department heads had done and how the Sewer and Water Department turned a profit two years in a row. Seems like it made $257,000 profit in 2015. They should have spent that money on the sewer repairs.

    There will never be a profit from the Sewer and Water department again, once the SUPER HUGE payments begin on the $5.5 million bond package. After the other guy talked about his sewer problems on North Street, you got to wonder, how many Aubrey people really do have bad problems with raw sewer spilling? Maybe the BUYERS SHOULD BEWARE, if they do not like Aubrey sewer, up close and personal.

    The two people who complained about serious problems with the raw sewer spills, were shunned, as Perry, Goin and Pearson thumbed their noses at their genuine plea for help, while making the motion and approving the HUGE debt for the future residents over in East Aubrey. SAD, Really SAD! They are making Old Aubrey pay for New Aubrey, and get no benefits – just bigger bills.

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    1. To ignore these people who have genuine problems and just go forward with the Bond debt which does nothing to help them is a disgrace. It however signals what the Citizens can expect going forward from this Council, who have deaf ears and robo-minds. Blatant disregard for our neighbors, families and friends who have suffered way too long! They have been lied to long enough, believing that Aubrey has NO MONEY to fix it. WAKE UP COUNCIL - SUPPORT THOSE WHO VOTED YOU IN.

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  4. Don't know how many saw this in the Denton Record Chronicle but it's hitting close to home. I don't know whether Aubrey's deal with the devil (Centurion American) or with the Upper Trinity River Water Authority is more onerous but either one can squash Aubrey financially.

    "County Judge Mary Horn recently received a $5,000 campaign donation from Robert Maxey, a former vice president of Centurion American, one of the largest developers in North Texas. Maxey has been rumored to be donating money to several candidates’ campaigns, including Little Elm Mayor David Hillock and Flower Mound Mayor Tom Hayden. It’s rumored that Maxey made the donation sometime around the time of Lincoln Park’s demise. Interestingly enough, Mary Horn is not running for election. “Maybe Centurion American needs support for the transfer of a CCN,” claims one rumorist." - See more at: http://www.dentonrc.com/entertainment/denton-time-headlines/20150806-were-denton-dammit.ece#sthash.uNR4bUsw.dpuf

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    1. What Upper Trinity Water deal are you referring to? I thought the $5.5 million water bond is bad enough. Is all of our water going to be that super expensive Upper Trinity water from now on?

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  5. Aubrey has signed a contract to supply Jackson Ridge with water and sewer provided by the UTRWA. The UTRWA forces you to sign a contract that is a take or pay contract. In Aubreys case, the contract requires Aubrey to pay for 300,000 gals per day (which is enough to supply all 1200 homes at full build out)...but Aubrey will be paying this when the first house is built in Jackson Ridge. The UTRWA rate is six times more expensive than Mustang pays for well water. Aubrey currently is 100% well water which should be considerable less than Mustang; however, the Aubrey rate (before the latest increase) was 28% more than Mustang. With the $5.5million bond, it's estimated that will add $40/month to the existing water bill just to pay the principal and interest. This is a train wreck heading straight for Aubrey IMHO

    I think the contract with the UTRWA is much more onerous than the $5.5million new well and storage tank...by the way from the experience that Pilot Point has had with their well drilling the Aubrey well will certainly be more than $5.5million and will certainly take more than 18 months to complete. Peter Carrothers (outgoing Board member of Mustang Water and two term City Councilman in Clear Lake Tx)

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  6. Was Perry behind this additional debt?

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  7. Is the question whether Mr. Perry was the mastermind behind this $5.5 Million debt, or is the question if Mr. Perry supported this debt? I think the first question would be unknown, and irrelevant. Only Mr. Perry could answer that. However, if asking the second question, the answer is fortunately found in the City Council Minutes and Audio files. These are items of a public record. All open session of a City Council meeting is audio recorded. The meeting minutes are approved at the following meeting, and once approved, will be added to the City website. As to answering the basic question, as I think it was intended, Mr. Perry was supportive of the $5.5 million debt to the residents of Aubrey. He supported it knowing there was no mechanism in place to fix the current issues, yes there are a lot of issues with the infrastructure with Aubrey's water and sewer system. Not to mention many of our roads. He also supported this bond debt knowing this had nothing to do with supporting current residents, or the needs of those residents. Furthermore, he knew this bond debt would not ever help to reduce the City's well above average debt per capita. Furthermore, he knew that this debt, was being added at the same time there were developments and agreements coming into play for the City, that although City advisors explained were sound and win win, there was a great deal of speculative gambling on the part of the City in order to keep costs per home down. In other words, our water bills would go up. There was never a person to deny that, at least not at any Council meeting I attended. However, the water rates would be directly affected by new home growth within the City limits of Aubrey. More homes develop, and SOLD, the less our water rates will climb. The fewer homes, the higher the rates will climb. This was explained prior to the water bond. During the water bond debates, if you can call them that, our financial wizards explain to the Council that due to our aggressive pay off, and expectations of growth, we as a City would be fine paying off our bond debt. I am not sure I want to assume anything right now. I would love to make jabs, strike fear in hearts and minds, and use speculation. But is that not what has been our downfall as Americans for generations? The price of oil is driven by speculators. Food costs have shot up, in no small part do the cost of fuel increasing and certain food types being diverted to fuel production. Yet when we speculate about development and growth in our community, and that speculation drives the costs of our water, or in this case, gives local politicians a false sense of security and security that they betray their principles and values, and the trust of their constituents to approve large debts? Again, I am a history guy myself. I believe there is no sight like Hindsight. I hope my fears are just foolish, and that the decisions of this Council, while perhaps with best of intentions, do not lead to the destruction of our Town. We can debate this whole thing all day long, but only time will prove if the Aubrey Council 2015-2016 was right or wrong. And just for the record, the bond debt is not the only issue that will be affecting our water bills in Aubrey. As Mr. Carrothers states, the Jackson Ridge development has entered some very strange and complex areas, both legally and financially. Being tied into the UTRWA is new territory for Aubrey. Let us just hope our elected officials and their staff did not bite off more than Aubrey's residents can chew.

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