Citizens who have had to endure the sounds of heavy trucks and construction continuing at all hours of the night and morning can now rest a little more peacefully. During last night’s city council meeting a new city ordinance was unanimously approved, which limits construction times, especially in residential and planned developments. This also means that heavy trucks can’t drive through your neighborhood and sit idle waiting for 7 am to roll around. If violations occur, it’s best to get a picture or license number of the vehicle(s) and notify the city of the offense. Violators can be fined $500 per offense. The new ordinance will soon be available to review on the city website.
I have submitted an action item for February 14, 2017, meeting agenda to fill the unexpired term vacated by the late Councilman Klutts, which shall include both nominations and a vote of the city council, so that whomever the council votes to fulfill the remaining term of office may be sworn-in that night.* I further requested that this be the first item on the agenda, following citizen comments so that the new member may participate in the items that will come before the city council.
I will place into nomination the name of Adrienne Balkum, who has agreed to serve if chosen by the city council.
Mrs. Balkum has been a supporter of mine since I started Citizens for Representative Government of McLendon-Chisholm [CFRGMC], which was organized to inform citizens of M-C about actions that were taking place inside our city government that ran contrary to the will of the people. She helped organize her neighborhood in support of my campaign and for the successful Tax-Rollback initiative where she helped counter and clarify the misinformation that had permeated the election.
Though she is a resident of Sonoma Verde [SV], she is an outspoken champion for preserving the wide-open spaces to help protect the unique, more rural environment of the city. She is also committed to preventing any future housing developments that may try and violate our city’s 1.5-acre minimum per home-site ordinance.
Adrienne has been a fixture at city council meetings; an advocate for limiting the size and scope of government that is accountable to the people.
She has earned the respect and admiration of many in the community and especially inside the SV development for her efforts to hold both the developer and the homebuilders more accountable. I even met with Russell Phillips, the developer of SV (and also Kingsbridge & Mira Vista, among others) who acknowledges that Adrienne is a force to be reckoned with and that her involvement has helped to improve communications between his company and residents and heightened accountability that has helped to improve homeowner satisfaction.
After the new year, Councilman Klutts and I had discussed whether or not he planned to campaign for another term of office. While he was willing to run for another term, he was also interested in stepping aside IF a willing and interested candidate could be found that would be as strong an advocate on the council for preserving the rural lifestyle and limiting the size and scope of the city government as he had been. Adrienne was one of those that we discussed as a possibility since he was also very much an active participant in CFRGMC and had been surprised and impressed that a resident of SV was so closely aligned with his points of view.
For all of these reasons, I believe that Adrienne Balkum is the best person to fulfill Jerry’s unexpired term.
If she is approved by the council, she also plans to run in May to keep the seat.
Finally, a reception for citizens that might be interested in meeting Adrienne will be held on Thursday, February 9, from 6:30 pm until 7:30 pm at the City Hall building.
*[Section 22.010 of the Local Government Code gives the city council authority to fill a vacancy.]
I will certainly miss Jerry, who was an uncompromising conservative on the council who cared deeply about preserving the rural lifestyle of our wonderful community. Following is his obituary.
Jerry Lynn Klutts, age 72, a lifelong resident of McLendon-Chisholm, TX, passed away January 21, 2017.
He was born May 30, 1944, to Hilbert Opha and Veta Jane (Parsons) Klutts. Jerry was born and raised in McLendon-Chisholm: being the fourth generation resident of the Klutts family farm. He was a member of Chisholm Baptist Church.
He worked for U.S. Steel for 20 years and then as an aircraft mechanic at American Eagle for another 20 years. He served as City Marshall for McLendon-Chisholm for seven years, was a Rockwall County Constable for ten years and currently was a city councilman for McClendon-Chisholm.
Jerry had the heart of a craftsman and could build anything, including his home, furniture, airplane hangars, cattle guards or anything he imagined. He enjoyed farming, fishing, and hunting. He also loved to fly and even had his own airport, complete with a landing strip, hangar and airplanes. Jerry was always doing something. Adored at work, he was the practical joker of all time. He would help anyone anytime.
He loved any fried or sweet food and looked forward to his orange slice cake every year.
A loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. Jerry (Papa) cherished spending time with his grandchildren. His infectious laugh and loving heart will be deeply missed.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife of 50 years: Rita (Robinson) Klutts; son: Stephen Ray Klutts; daughters: Sherri Ann Klutts, Katherine Leigh Kennedy and husband Troy and Tammie Richardson and husband Rodney; grandchildren: Jay Shallow, Julia Shallow, Jenna Shallow, Rex Kennedy, Cy Kennedy, Ava Kennedy, Leah Hill, Janice Forsythe and husband Mike, Jerry Carnes, Kelly Killingsworth and husband Tim and Benjamin Brown; and eight great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter: Laura Ann Hill.
In addition to flowers, please consider making a donation to Chisholm Cemetery on behalf of Jerry at: Margaret O’Conner, Treasurer, 353 League Road, Rockwall, TX 75032.
The survey results show overwhelming support for the city to increase the sales tax rate, which is why I made the motion to put this measure on the ballot for the voters to formally approve in this May’s municipal elections.
This fulfills my campaign promise that any increase in taxes should only come with the expressed consent of the people. The survey provides expressed consent, however, placing this on the ballot gives voters full control.
That’s representative government!
Results from the survey are in and I have written a full report on the findings, which have been submitted for consideration of the city council to approve for distribution. The council must decide whether or not to include the citizen’s comments with the report, where negative comments made about specific people have been “redacted” (blackened out).
I am very much in favor of keeping the comments as part of the written report, with the redactions, as they help to provide context to the empirical data and punctuate the levels of satisfaction/concern/outrage that the results reveal. Once it is approved it will be posted on the city’s website. I will also be posting here.
Documents provided to me yesterday by Jay Webb, which are Altura’s corporate filings with the Secretary of State, demonstrate that the information contained in the online corporate search engine, which show James B. Webb, AKA “Jay Webb,” the chairman of the city’s P&Z Commission, as President of both Altura Homes Texas Gp, LLC, and Altura Builders, LLC, and where Justin Webb is listed only as the registered agent, is inaccurate.
The documents contradict the search engine, where it is his son, James (“Justin”) J. Webb who is the President & Director of Altura, not James (“Jay”) B. Webb, confirming that he never lied about his affiliation to Altura during a September 13 city council meeting, as I had asserted here on this website, in my letter to the editor that was posted in the October 22, 2016, edition of the Rockwall Herald Banner, to my supporters in an email, and at this week’s city council meeting. I am making corrections to all of them.
I have been fighting against those who have knowingly presented false or misleading information to deceive the citizens of M-C, which is why I am vigilant to substantiate my arguments with facts-of-evidence.
I recognize that my credibility can be lost should assertions that I make prove to be wrong even when supported by empirical evidence, which later proves to be inaccurate. This is why I’m equally vigilant to correct the record.
I don’t care about being right; just getting things right…especially where I am wrong!
I received a demand-letter to turn over emails sent to me from supporters who responded to my request for their input on the budget and tax rate before last month’s budget vote [see post: “Double Standard in M-C“] to the City Council through the City Secretary.
In accordance with my understanding of the state’s open record requirements, because I read a representative sample of them as part of the budget discussion, immediately after receiving the request I forwarded those emails. Along with each forwarded email, I requested that the respondent’s name, email address, and any reference that might identify them be redacted BEFORE they are distributed.
Some may ask, “why would I want to protect the identities of my supporters?”
It’s really simple, some of my supporters are close friends of the same people who oppose my conservative stands on the council, and would therefore not want their support for me to be disclosed, a point that many have made clear. A number of citizens have seen their long-standing relationships end abruptly after expressing a difference of opinion with thin-skinned current and former government officials. Some have experienced ridicule and have felt castigated for standing their ground, which is why so many of them who voted for me are depending on me to be their voice to limit the power and scope of government so that the vitality of their personal relationships and reputations in the community are not threatened.
After all, M-C is still a VERY small city [less than 2,500]!
My Good Faith Response
I forwarded the emails that were read in-session completely intact, in case the purpose of the request, which remains undisclosed, was to verify that the responses came from bonafide M-C citizens. This also provides the city with a permanent, un-redacted electronic version of the emails, before redactions are made, should the full and complete documents ever be required in a court of law.
I am hoping that this action exhibits good faith in adhering to both the spirit of the law and this demand.
Disregard for Citizen’s Rights & Welfare
While the individual making the request WAS willing to receive the emails with the citizen’s personal identity redacted so that he could see them before Tuesday’s city council meeting, they refuse to take that option off the table for in the future.
From the most basic standard of human decency, what motive beyond verifying citizenship could one possibly have to leave open the option to disclose the identities of my supporters at a later point, IF NOT TO EXPOSE THEM TO TREACHERY?
I care deeply about the welfare and safety of my constituents who I believe have the right to express their opinions to an elected office holder that is compiling a general sense of where supporters stand on an issue, without fear of disclosure or repercussions. I firmly believe that should the identities be revealed they will not remain confidential for long.
My Stand Against Leftist’s
I am resolved to stand firm in my conviction that distribution or opening access to respondent identities from the forwarded emails outside of my terms is a violation of each citizen’s rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, based upon facts that prove that there exists a reasonable probability that the disclosure of my supporters’ identity or identities will subject them to threats, harassment, or reprisal from either Government officials or private parties, where I am prepared to present, in a court of law, specific evidence to support these assertions by demonstrating past or present harassment of citizens when support of me or point(s) of view that reflect opposition to past actions of the city council, were exposed.
I have also received counsel from attorneys with a non-profit law firm that works to protect religious freedoms and first amendment rights of Americans, who advised me to wait for a response before taking any further action.
I have been further advised that I may be required to provide all of the responses, not just the representative sample that was read and has already been submitted, to which I have no objection, so long as (1) the identity of the person(s) are fully redacted before distribution (which includes the name, email address, and any reference that might identify the citizen), and (2) Councilman Short affirms the right to privacy of citizens that responded to me by relinquishing, in writing, any and all expectation(s) that their identity or identities be revealed or disclosed to anyone beyond the City Secretary, now and in the future.
If either of the two aforementioned terms cannot be agreed upon and those making the request contend an inherent right of access to the identity or identities of citizens who express their opinion(s) to me, their elected representative, then I will not hand these over until a court of law has ruled on the matter.
I still believe that the US Constitution is the highest authority in our Government at every level, as expressed by the original intent of its framers. How far we have come from respecting the free speech of our citizens and protecting their privacy to now attempting to violate that trust as a way to threaten and batter the people into submission.
Give me Liberty or Give me Death!
- Should the city council sell the current city hall and 10 acres acquired without resident consent to pay off city debt and rebuild the financial reserves?
- Should the city keep the current tax to save to build a more reasonable building which could house a larger fire department, meeting hall, and a few clerk offices? (THERE IS NO NEED FOR COUNCIL OR MAYOR OFFICES!!!!!)
- Should taxes be lowered once reserves are built and a reasonable city hall is built and paid for in CASH?
- Is it important for the new city building be built in DOWNTOWN MC? (It is to me!)
- Should the planning and zoning committee only be comprised of MC residents that have NO interest in land sales or development on those lands? (I think many would be furious to find out how the committee is built now.)
- Should there be a term limit for MC city council members and the mayor?
Since I was elected, I have been advocating for the city council to conduct a citizen survey, which I feel will help foster a change in mindset for more “representative-minded” government. I believe that it will help to quash the arguments of our city’s high-minded liberals who assert that citizens want to see our city government grow and expand. Maybe this will finally settle whether or not citizens want our city’s 1.5 acre minimum per homestead standard enforced.
Even though the Mayor and members of the Council received an MS Word version of these questions almost two weeks ago and were asked to send in their proposed changes or suggest questions of their own, only Councilman Wayne Orchard did that (the link to the proposed survey questions is included at the end of this post).
So for any member of the council to suggest that the questions are bad, improper, or unfair would be the acme of hypocrisy, since they have offered nothing in contrast.