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Old 02-06-2008, 12:23 AM  
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Semi,
I think a number of us did stand with you in the last election. That's why Prather didn't get elected. It's too bad we lost Robertson.

I certainly think that there needs to be a solution to the Sagewood issue. One that can fairly be applied so that the problem doesn't just move elsewhere in town, like it did to Sagewood.

I think city hall needs to answer why the existing rules aren't being enforced in Sagewood. I've said it before, I don't want anything draconian anywhere in town, but there is a huge disparity in how the rules are applied in different areas of town. You suffer from that disparity.

Threatening that everyone will suffer because you are, is not a way to get my further support. I understand your frustrations. I think you need to direct them at the people who have failed to enforce the rules, not potential allies
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:12 AM  
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Dan,

The quote is accurate, as I was at that meeting and asked the same questions re: how this ordinance would be any different, if the existing rules were not being enforced.

Everyone just tap-danced around the answer and I was left with the impression that the chief of police is disinterested and ineffective and so more of the burden would shift to the fire marshall. I'm sure my interpretation is not entirely accurate (and maybe not accurate at all), but that is the risk people run, when they do not give a clear answer.

My problem is that we did not dream up this new ordinance. This is what we were presented with, when we demanded that the problems with Sagewood be addressed (and for the record, there were neighbors at the meeting, complaining of problems outside of Sagewood as well, so this is not as isolated as people want to make it).

We are desperate for a solution, so we allowed the mayor and city council to take some time to explore this idea and get back to us with some details. Sadly, what happened was before anything was brought back to us, the whole thing erupted in public and we were made to look like the unreasonable sponsors of this ordinance, when in fact, many of us had questioned it from the beginning and in all likelihood, we would not have blessed it if given the chance. We would have demanded a better solution.

Instead, it is in the public and we are being made out as a small group that is dividing the community over nothing and trying to force these regulations through. Meanwhile, all of the focus is on this ordinance and very little, if any, is on the actual issues. I see little pressure from outside our neighborhood (and the few others that were complaining from the beginning) to do anything other than kill this ordinance.

Killing the ordinance is fine and as I said, we probably would have done that on our own, if things had transpired the way we were led to believe they would, saving ourselves from the added stress of being vilified by an equally vocal minority who seem to have little interest in our issues.

After the ordinance is killed, the problem will still have to be addressed and I sincerely doubt that the landlords, board of realtors, property managers, etc, will stand with us, as they have already stood against us twice.

If the intent is to stifle the growth of the city and keep it a little college town between Austin and San Antonio, so be it. Just don't blame the handful of us who actually bought homes here after college for the lack of growth. We're not the ones holding this city back.

Eljefe and Dan,

I am not threatening that any other citizen should suffer because I am. My point (not clearly made, apparently) is that our elected officials are going to have painful meeting after painful meeting until this is resolved. Unfortunately, that is going to cost *all* of us and if the next "fix" does not work, the meetings will get even more painful.

Edit ***

It occurs to me, though, that it is not just us and City Council that will suffer. Anyone stuck in this mess (renters, landlords, anyone concerned one way or the other) is going to continue to suffer until there is a real solution in place. That is largely due to the fact that we're not going to drop the issue until it is fixed. While that is not what I originally intended to say, perhaps it was a Freudian slip, as it was obviously rattling around in my head.

This is a problem that needs a broadly supported solution.
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:24 AM  
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Also, as to the name of "our" committee, I can't say that I know a whole lot about it. When the ordinance idea was presented to us, we were told that there would be a committee with representatives from homeowners, landlords and renters (student and non), who would explore whether an ordinance like this could work or if there might be a better solution.

That was the last anyone I know heard.

Obviously, the group was formed, but I have still not heard who is on it, when they have met, what they have discussed, or anything else. Yes, I could have gotten the information (or at least some of it) as others have, but it is not "our" committee any more than it is your committee. It is the Mayor's committee and City Council's committee and we have been kept in the loop no more than anyone else.

It is comments like these that lead to our feeling of isolation. We're taking the heat for a solution that was the ONLY option given to us (and not offered by us) and which was attributed to us and ripped apart before we even knew it was out there.
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:44 PM  
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Semi,

I?m glad that you neither take responsibility for the proposed ordinance nor want the entire town to suffer and am glad that you want to hold the council?s collective feet (or worse) to the fire. If city officials, elected or otherwise, aren?t doing their job, then it?s time to make them suffer. Keep attending the meetings and bring a torch and pitchfork-wielding mob with you. It can actually work. It kept the University form getting Comanche Wells. Persistence is the key. As for feeling isolated, never go looking for it and expect a little of it from the not-affected-by-it crowd and from your opponents.

I?m saddened but not surprised that the officials tap danced around the issue. Unfortunately, that?s what they do, and I?ve come to expect it. I?m afraid that the meeting you refer to was only one tap dance in a very long recital. When I spoke to a certain mayoral candidate about this, he kept telling me I had nothing to worry about ? a tap dance ? so he could keep pushing this proposal through. In this case, either he was truly unaware of what this proposal contained, was pushing his pet ordinance or knew it couldn?t work, and advocating for this issue to look like he was doing something. I?m not sure and I certainly haven?t heard back from him. Another tap dance? I?ve seen some mayors in this town tap dance like Shirley Temple?

As for the task force, I?m pretty sure you?d be disappointed. Less than half of the committee members attended the last meeting. There are no renters, student or otherwise, on it, and the majority are landlords or realtors. One is a former student and none of the people who did attend the last meeting owned property in San Marcos, although some of the absentees do. That little fact doesn?t bode well for this proposal?s future, nor does it help that two of the biggest political groups oppose it. They council?s task force are slated to meet again February 11th, 3 PM at the City Council chambers.

It looks like the council ?mishandled? this situation by dreaming up a particularly unattractive proposal and hanging it on you, to invite opposition, before dumping it into the court of public opinion, which will garner more opposition, which means the council no longer has to fight this thing alone. That?s why I put mishandled in quotes. I like how you put it ?We're taking the heat for a solution that was the ONLY option given to us (and not offered by us) and which was attributed to us and ripped apart before we even knew it was out there.? My experience with local politicians tells me that if they want to try and avoid an issue, they will find a way to do it. Sometimes it?s as simple as not answering the question, pleading ignorance, grandstanding, or creating a diversion.

To me, this speaks of an unwillingness to really do the job and solve the problem, because they have other options that they apparently won?t use. So I?m pretty sure your interpretation of the lack of clear answer was on the mark, just as I?m sure your assessment of the police chief as being ?disinterested and ineffective? is on the mark. I?ve heard some very disturbing stories regarding officer conduct on this site, in the Record and from ordinary citizens.

If they want to avoid an issue ? regardless of who they are and claim to stand for, you need to wonder why and know who is pulling their strings and why. To quote Eljefe, ?I think city hall needs to answer why the existing rules aren't being enforced in Sagewood.? Perhaps the Candidates? Debates would be the perfect time. Just don?t expect a real answer, which might just be the candidate or incumbent playing into your hands. It makes me wonder if all the housecleaning going on at City Hall is in our best interests and if that effort shouldn?t be put elsewhere. I can think of some other housekeeping that needs to happen?

Perhaps it should focus on the notion that they already have the power to hold landlords responsible for noise complaints and aren?t doing it. Didn?t people used to get fired over stuff like that..?
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:54 PM  
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I'm afraid to ask how a proposal so poorly regarded by the landlords and realtors came about, if the majority of the members of the committee are landlords and realtors.
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:15 PM  
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Also, if you needed any more evidence that we rightfully feel isolated, check out what the ******bag ICONBLDR had to say recently about this issue on the main page of 78666.com.

http://www.78666.com/News/news_info....9160&Last=Home

Sadly, there ARE a lot of empty lots, because nobody wants to build in our neighborhood. I regularly clean up the ones near my house, picking up beer cans and bottles and cases and fast food wrappers, as I have mentioned here time and again.

I also mentioned the ******* renting a house to grow pot. These are all problems we are trying to solve. But ********* like ICONBLDR have somehow determined that WE are the problem for wanting this fixed.
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Old 02-06-2008, 03:14 PM  
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Interestingly enough, there is an article in the University Star today (god that site is a mess) http://star.txstate.edu/News.html, which talks about how stepped up enforcement has made a big difference.

We have seen this sort of improvement in the past, too. We just can't seem to get the chief to stay on top of this. He knows when it will get worse and why, but despite this and despite years of alleged effort, he is at a loss for any way to proactively address the issue and maintain order.

His take is “We can go out there and write tickets until our fingers bleed, and that’s not going to solve the problem,” Police Chief Howard Williams said. “We’ve been writing tickets and making arrests out there for years, and the problems continue.”

Yet, the problems have died down once again and there are fewer officers going out there and fewer tickets being written. It even sounds like the residents of Sagewood are happier. So why can't our chief maintain order once it is established?

I also liked his comments that Sagewood was only the 7th worst location for noise complaints. Imagine, there are six areas where he is doing an even worse job at, well, doing his job!

My heart goes out to those neighborhoods and I look forward to finding out where they are and getting those folks on-board as well.
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:29 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semi-native View Post
I'm afraid to ask how a proposal so poorly regarded by the landlords and realtors came about, if the majority of the members of the committee are landlords and realtors.
My understanding is that they didn't come up with it; the fire marshall did. Many people see it as him trying to get more jurisdiction. The committee is charged with trying to polish this proposal.
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:31 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semi-native View Post
Also, if you needed any more evidence that we rightfully feel isolated, check out what the ******bag ICONBLDR had to say recently about this issue on the main page of 78666.com.

http://www.78666.com/News/news_info....9160&Last=Home

Sadly, there ARE a lot of empty lots, because nobody wants to build in our neighborhood. I regularly clean up the ones near my house, picking up beer cans and bottles and cases and fast food wrappers, as I have mentioned here time and again.

I also mentioned the ******* renting a house to grow pot. These are all problems we are trying to solve. But ********* like ICONBLDR have somehow determined that WE are the problem for wanting this fixed.
And oddly neither of you feel that the city is really doing their job... In the following post you point to the Tx State article and Williams calls the situation a symptom and not the cause. And goes on to say that we can write tickets until our fingers bleed. Sounds like someone doesn't want to take or maintain control of the situation does it? I see why you're frustrated.
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:35 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartian View Post
My understanding is that they didn't come up with it; the fire marshall did. Many people see it as him trying to get more jurisdiction. The committee is charged with trying to polish this proposal.
Right, my bad for being unclear.

The commission was (I thought) supposed to review the ordinance and either say that it will work or that it won't. If the commission is largely landlords and realtors and those groups feel that the ordinance won't work, then why was that message not brought to the Mayor and Council by the commission and why were the Mayor and Council not directed to find a better solution?

Why are any of us even being dragged into this, if the commission appointed to investigate this are not in favor of it?

Of course, I know that the Mayor and Council are not bound by the decision of the commission and they have ignored similar advisory boards in the past, but honestly, why waste everyone's time? Why waste the time of the people on the commission, if their views are going to be disregarded and why waste our time with an unworkable solution? Why not just go play golf with special interests and save us all the headaches?
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