I live in Grapevine. I own my dream home in a neighborhood where my neighbors consider each other extended family. I am 34 years old. I have a wife, a son and a dog. We spend our money in Grapevine businesses and the majority of our family time either on Main Street or our beautiful parks. I stay deeply involved in what’s going on in the city at a government level, and I support term-limits for elected city officials.
Term-limits are essential at every level of government to insure liberty. Public service is by it’s very nature a service to the citizens…not a career path. If a council person’s agenda cannot be fulfilled in 9 years, then I believe there are bigger issues that need to be addressed. Due to voter apathy (4% or less on average), we can no longer rely on municipal elections alone for accountability.
If you have not already voted in the City election which started on Apr. 29th, please vote FOR term-limits on the last day you can vote which is May 11th at the Grapevine Community Center from 7am to 7pm.
There are many good reasons to support term limits in Grapevine, and maybe even a few not to. But the reasons to oppose it listed on a recent mailer don’t qualify. The flyer insinuates term limits cause red light cameras, high taxes, parking meters, and corruption investigations. Does that make sense? Ft Worth has cameras but no limits. Southlake has limits but no investigations. In fact, it’s Grapevine that was sued for secretly hiring a lobbyist and then made headlines for contesting the case and losing. The flyer is scare tactics.
Are the only folks able to lead with wisdom and integrity those in office now? How embarrassing if true! The issue is not competency; it’s longevity. A life-long career on Council isn’t healthy. It leads to shady partnerships and backroom deals, stagnant ideas, and short-sightedness to other possibilities because all you can see is your own plan. Polls show most of us support term limits. We need to prove it! Vote YES on 5/11.
The municipal election is upon us and this cycle we, in the City of Grapevine, have a number of votes to cast. We have two contested council seats; and, an amendment to the City Charter to include a consecutive terms-limit.
I support the terms-limit amendment and efforts of the A Better Grapevine (www.bettergrapevine.org). The voters should note that this is a consecutive limit; therefore, a councilperson may run for as many times as s/he wishes, for as long as it is not three consecutive terms. This will allow productive council-people to be around to serve without monopolizing a council-seat.
Early voting: Apr. 29th – May 7th (Grapevine Community Center) and the general election is on May 11th (contact the City Secretary’s Office 817-410-3182 for questions on the election, its time, location, etc.). See you at the polls.
M. Aram Azadpour
After seeing no movement on HB 889, mandating that city council and independent school districts (of a certain population) video record and post online their open meetings, I called the author State Rep. Pat Fallon.
I told a staffer that I attend as many council meetings as possible, but sometimes miss and can’t catch up later because my city won’t video record its open meetings.
Residents have been told if we care, we will show up and that audio recordings are “enough” transparency, but how are we to know whom is speaking? On a council including five men, would an average citizen know each member by their voice alone? Of course not.
Shortly after, I was invited to testify before the Texas Legislature’s Technology Committee. I recorded my remarks through Rep. Fallon’s closing statements on our family’s HD camera and small tripod (http://bit.ly/HB889). He said doing this in 1993 was cutting edge, in 2003 it should be done, but in 2013, it’s been 20 years.
Grapevine should be a leader, not 20 years behind the times. Transparency should be embraced, not due to state mandate, but because it’s the right thing to do.
This coming Thursday is the deadline to register for Grapevine’s May Municipals. It will be a full ballot, with two contested city council races and the term limits city charter amendment election.
I’m looking forward to voting in the contests for Place 3 and Place 4, as well as for term limits, because public Grapevine needs citizen legislators not career politicians. Grapevine needs innovation and modernity, like video recording council proceedings, an open and honest checkbook online and accountability to and respect for its citizens and business owners.
Last year, our family moved within Grapevine and we’ve changed our voter registration to reflect our current address. Have you moved? Make sure you’re registered by April 11 and mark your calendar for early voting, April 29.
(with A Better Grapevine, http://bettergrapevine.org)
Letter to the Editor
Few would consider Historic Downtown Grapevine to be a haven of bars and rowdy nightlife. Yet there is an idea among our city council that Grapevine is one beer away from becoming a Wild West saloon district.
Grapevine City Council on March 19 denied approval of a request to sell beer by local restaurateur Gary Farina, owner of the popular Farina’s Winery and Café. This denial by council has not been well received by many in the community and sends a growth-stifling message that Grapevine might not be as business friendly as its reputation.
According to Mr. Farina, guests often come into his cafe, sit down and order a beer. Finding no beer on the menu guests leave and go to one of many others restaurants nearby that do serve beer.
Taking the NIMBY position, the Mayor strongly asserted that the denial was needed to keep downtown Grapevine from becoming a “haven for bars.” His comments might have seemed more valid if Mr. Farina was a new applicant proposing adding another entirely new restaurant that serves beer and wine. But Farina’s is an established mom-n-pop restaurant.
With support from other Grapevine restaurants and businesses, Mr. Farina approached council with a simple appeal to help his small business compete among other Main Street restaurants that do serve beer. Mr. Farina wasn’t adding tables or seating, or extending his hours. He wants is to compete within the mix of Historic District restaurants the city council has already approved. Mr. Farina wants to grow and to succeed. Yet council questioned his veracity and discounted his comments.
As Mr. Farina stated, “I’m not extending my hours. I only want to add beer to the menu. And I do not want to serve mixed drinks.”
To which, council member Stewart scoffed, “Oh, you’ll be back here in six months asking to serve liquor.”
“No, I won’t,” said Farina.
Farina’s Winery and Café is one of seven winery tasting rooms in Grapevine. Council member Spencer made a valid observation that the City has spent “millions of dollars” to create and market Grapevine as a tourism destination where visitors can enjoy a wine tasting experience. Because of Texas alcohol laws, if Farina is permitted to serve beer, he can no longer claim winery status. That would be a loss to our city, said Spencer.
But Farina’s is also a full-service restaurant, something the other local wineries are not. And Mr. Farina clearly stated to council his understanding of the potential consequences losing “winery” status. Isn’t that his business risk to take and his decision to make?
So, yes, tourism is a key component in the local economy. But why deny an established business owner the right to compete within the restaurant rules city council created?
Grapevine City Council’s NIMBY attitude sends a growth-chilling message of business constraint to ALL Grapevine small business owners. And Grapevine restaurant and businesses ought to be very concerned.