This Week in Council Memos: The State o' N. Central, Fire Trucks, Flow Control and More!

Categories: City Hall
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Probably should have broken this week's stack into about 12 different items, seeing as how one of the docs is 178 pages (many redundant) just on flow control, which involves forcing all solid-waste collectors in the city to dump everything at the city's McCommas Bluff Landfill or other city transfer stations. It also includes building a so-called resource recovery facility, which, long story short, converts wastes to energy the city says it can sell. Marys Suhm and Nix are demanding the council vote on this proposal -- once a vague concept floated as a revenue-maker during tough budget times; now, for some reason, an urgent must-do -- at Wednesday's council meeting, and it looks as though the votes may be there.

Still: Mayor Mike's an undecided, so he says; the solid-wastes folks have pretty much said they'll sue the city over this; and some living, working and studying near the landfill think the idea kinda stinks despite the vague promise of a "Southeast Oak Cliff Investment Fund" worth no more than $1 million annually, per the separate ordinance on Wednesday's agenda. Last night, the council re-received every briefing ever given on the subject, as well as a new "fact book" with a happy ending (and a picture of Tennell Atkins's California field trip) that will surely result in a follow-up email from the National Solid Wastes Management Association that says it's all lies, a waste of taxpayers' money and bad for everyone and everything.

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But if trash talk doesn't do it for you, how about the green going brown on N. Central Expressway? That came up at council Monday -- the piss-poor job TxDOT's doing on removing and replacing the landscaping on 75, which becomes the city's responsibility next year. It's being done in phases and stages, with bridges next on the to-do list (TxDOT's looking for folks to "adopt" the bridges, including NorthPark Center, which won't return calls). Oh, and to answer Sandy Greyson's question, "Who is watering dead vegetation on Central Expressway?," that'd be a TxDOT contractor, who says it's not dead, but "new," promise.

There's also a memo from Interim Fire Chief Louis Bright III to Scott Griggs and Delia Jasso in which he tells the council members that parking one of the city's fire trucks is good for business, since it saves $2 million in staffing, fuel and maintenance. Echoing City Manager Mary Suhm, he says it's all about "improved efficiency."

So, jump already. Lots to see, even in the fine print. Like, for instance, did you know Dallas/Fort Worth Airport has paid Vinson & Elkins around $237,000 to fight off concessionaire Gilbert Aranza's lawsuit? Now you do. The Green Path for Dallas' Trash MemoFriday Memos Sept 23 2001 1
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BCulbreath
BCulbreath

DFW legal staff works for Dallas City Attorney Tom Perkins ,and the Dallas City Council.DFW Airport Board of Managers nor DFW staff can hire anyone all legal decisions are the call of City of Dallas and Tom Perkins.This year we tried to get that changed but Dallas City Council refused to discuss change yet the money comes from DFW budget and we also pay City of Dallas and Fort Worth for legal services.$200,000 city of Dallas,189.000 city Fort Worth.Betty Culbreath,member of DFW Board.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I don't understand how, under the ethics rules of the Texas Bar Association, the City of Dallas can be providing the legal counsel for the DFW Airport Board.  On an ongoing basis, there are many issues that would involve significant conflicts of interest between the City of Dallas and the Airport Board.  How are these conflicts of interest addressed?

Fedup
Fedup

There is a long history of litigation over flow control including several trips to the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal judge has just overturned flow control in one jurisdiction and refused to reconsider his order.  In El Paso litigation over flow control has delayed implementation of that ordinance for several years. When a city tried to take over someone's legitimate business without compensation they will fight. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't understand this issue or works for the city and doesn't care if it runs up millions more in legal bills.    

Pizzaman
Pizzaman

Mayor Mike Rawlings is looking at his first major political disaster if he backs flow control. In his first months in office he will have: fallen for a bunch of empty promises from Mary Suhm. screwed the business community he was supposed to support, made Dallas a more expensive place to do business, helped create a political slush fund for a councilman who backed his candiacy and dragged the city into expensive litigation. Instead of ending the controversy he will prolong it as the case makes its way through the courts and the media starts to focus on the waste and mismanagement in the sanitation department. Rawling's promises of vibrant growth in the Southern sector will turn out to be the same empty promises made by previous mayors.Two years into his term the money promised Southern Dallas will turn out to be a pittance and the political infighting for the scace dollars will be another headache for the mayor. Once Mike shows Suhm he will drink the coolaide she will continue to feed him dumb ideas. Shes on her way out. He will pay the consequences.   

Plasma Burner
Plasma Burner

If all of you really think these guys will sue Dallas, you're all lacking in even a modicum of business savy.  Hauling companies sueing the city?  Sure they will.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Well, perhaps Mary Nix and Mary Suhm could co-teach a class on "business savvy" (two v's, by the way) for us rubes.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I just finished going through the numerous flow control proposals--- wow, what a bunch of crap (no pun intended). This is one of the most patently ridiculous, non-sensical staff recommendations I've ever seen. Also, one of the most duplicitous--- they manage to distort, mislead, and misdirect on all sorts of issues. Beyond that, the logic is fatally flawed.

If one is to believe the City's pitch-- Mary Suhm and Mary Nix are brilliant venture capitalists who have figured out a way to print money by arbitraging the current value of city trash (less than zero, as evidenced by the City's requirement to charge for the service) for some future fairy-tale land where the stuff is regarded as "treasure," with companies fighting each other for the right to buy it from Suhm and Nix (who were clever enough to corner the trash market first).

This is so extremely silly--- if there was ANY money to be made from this venture, there would be companies lining up for the right to set up such a service, and willing to pay Dallas-- not the other way around. The fact that there is NO ONE (other than Queen Mary and Mary Nix) willing to do this speaks volumes.

Firefighter765
Firefighter765

You are correct. The city has misquoted articles and misdirected the city council on so many fronts it is difficult to count them all. Investigative reporters are working on the story now and I can guarantee you it won't be pretty.  By the time the council figures out what has happened Nix and Suhm will be gone. The best thing that could happen to these two con artists would be for flow control to fail. It would save their jobs.  

Abby
Abby

Wylie - If you have scoured the doc for misinformation, where is it?  Waste Management's own CEO has valued the waste at $90-$200 per ton.  Let's get the trash for Dallas first, then we'll vet the companies who want to come process it and pay the city through revenue sharing.  BTW, what makes you an expert in the waste business?  Oh wait, I'll bet you're an engineer!

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Abby... Waste Management's CEO made the statement at a Green Energy conference, and it framed as a hypothetical (which may be why the sentence you are referring to started with the word "IF."

Here is the quote in its entirety:  "IF we're in a position where we can pay the customer, because we can extract $100, $200 of value out of the material (per ton) and our competition extracts $25 of value out of the material and we're extracting $100 - $200 we start paying the customers."

He spends a substantial amount of time during the same talk explaining that the technology doesn't exist yet.  Indeed, he says "RIGHT NOW, once you contaminate it (recyclables) with garbage, that destroys the value."

There are absolutely zero cities in the U.S. right now that have an arrangement such as the one you describe, in which companies "come process it and pay the city through revenue sharing."  The reason no such arrangements exist is because the technology does not yet exist to operate resource recovery facilities in such an economically efficient manner.

In addition, the same New York Times' article which City staff selectively quotes to support its position (which appears to be that resource recovery is cool and trendy because a handful of far away cities and towns do it) contains the following nuggets of information:

- The City of New York pays $65 per ton (over THREE TIMES the current City of Dallas rate) to have a portion of its waste processed at a waste-to-energy facility.

- Waste-to-energy plants involve huge upfront expenditures. As but one example, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has been considering bankruptcy because of a $300 million loan it took out to finance a waste-to-energy plant.

Fschen
Fschen

The technology to recover profits from waste material exists now and OEC will be the first to build a recovery plant in the USA

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Ah yes Central Expressway and the $300,000.00 the council approved for foliage back in winter/spring of this year!   $300,000.00 after a painful budget process that included cuts to parks and libraries with a tax rate increase!   “Oh we have to cut services to balance our budget but now that it is done lets spend spend spend!   After all it is only tax payer monies and we can get more any time!”, the city council and staff refrained.  And on top of this nonsense a record heat wave and drought.    Come on Dallas it is not like the foliage has just become “living challenged” recently-it has been this way since the Central upgrade was finished!  This is another example of the city refusing to spend the tax payer monies in a responsible fashion.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

I havent seen the inside of a librarie since the internet was invented, I see Central several times a day just like serveral hundred thousand of us that live/work along the corridor. We all remember how nice and green it was until about three years ago.

It was a beautiful highway, when it was maintained. What you should be bitching about is why they let the initial investment die (stopped water / removed it, covered half with rock) only to require another investment

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I must confess the view I have of Central is at 60 mph in the valley of the freeway.  Can never remember it being green except in early spring.   But of course the city can't maintain any thing either.

I too have not been in the library for many years-reports I hear about the down town one is that it is over run by homeless people but I have not observed it myself-only readers commenting about the problem.

I do not think that we are well served by our elected officals.

Goodbyemary
Goodbyemary

The city staff presentation continues to contain incorrect information. I guess they think if they keep publishing the same lies often enough they will become fact.

Fedup
Fedup

Investigative reporters are about to blow the lid off the flow control scandle that is currently brewing at City Hall. Any council member dumb enough to sign on to this flawed and corrupt program will get their heads handed to them when the lawsuits begin and the money doesn't show up at the landfill.  The picture of Atkins vacationing in California (at public expense) will become a city hall classic and can be used in someone else's political campaign.  Flow control will be a political cow pie of epic preportions and everyone who votes for it will own a piece of the scandle that will follow. The council will try to blame the staff (who have secure pensions and will probably be long gone when the cow pie hits the fan) but the councilmembers names will attached to the program.       

Abby
Abby

Lot's of factual information here, I see.  Thanks Fedup!  I think your name says how we feel about you too!

Plasma Burner
Plasma Burner

C'mon Observer!  This is more important than showing your lack of understanding of a simple subject.  You've been sent 3 press releases which explain the basics of both sides of this deal.  Step up y'all!

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