Is Council Candidate Philip Kingston a Neighborhood Advocate or a Bully?

PhilipKingstonMug.jpg
After this month's city elections, we repeated a quote that District 14 candidate Bobby Abtahi gave to the Morning News alluding to Philip Kingston, his opponent in next month's runoff, as "someone who sues their neighbors." Kingston wasn't pleased. He called shortly after to offer a barbed response, calling Abtahi a "stranger to the district" and arguing that he had no idea what neighbor-suing Abtahi meant.

Technically, anyway, he may have a point. It's his wife, a lawyer named Melissa Kingston, who is suing the couple's neighbor Avi Adelman, who doubles as the most loud-mouthed neighborhood activist in East Dallas. Another lawsuit was filed recently by the Kingstons on behalf of the Belmont Addition Conservation District, but it was filed against a local developer who, Melissa Kingston argued, was flouting the neighborhood's building restrictions.

But even if Abtahi's statement was technically correct, what he was alluding to was the Kingstons' governance of the conservation district, which history shows they do carry out with a heavy hand.

Melissa Kingston is the head of Belmont Addition's so-called "enforcement committee," which "periodically reviews proposed building plans, monitors construction in the BACD and works with City staff and builders in order to ensure compliance with the terms of the BACD ordinance," as she described it in a court filing. It was in that capacity that she sued the developer. And it was in that capacity that she threatened to sue their soon-to-be neighbor Brittany Bailey.

Bailey and her husband had purchased a property on Goliad Avenue with the intention of building a new, prairie-style house. City staff approved the plans, determining that they were in keeping with conservation district guidelines, and gave them the go-ahead to could start building.

But not long after starting on the foundation, the enforcement committee filed an appeal with the city's Board of Adjustment, forcing them to stop. WFAA had a brief report on the impasse in December.

Adelman, when he's not Photoshopping Philip Kingston's face into unflattering pictures, has been chronicling the story with obsession, posting materials submitted to the Board of Adjustment, including emails between Bailey, Melissa Kingston and city officials.

According to the docs, the Kingstons first caught wind of the new construction last August. Melissa Kingston immediately reached out to Bailey through the home builder to welcome her to the neighborhood and gently remind her of the conservation ordinance. At the same time, she emailed a city building official to object to their garage, which was below the grade of the home. "There is nothing that permits a subterranean level in our CD," she wrote.

What followed was a chilly exchange of emails over several months as the Kingstons -- usually Melissa, but sometimes Philip -- sought to persuade Bailey to change her plans. That culminated in the Board of Adjustment appeal, which Philip Kingston expressed regrets about.

What we have here is a disagreement with City staff about the interpretation of the CD ordinance. We shared with you, your builder and staff a detailed explanation of our concerns in August long before your plans were approved. We also reached out to you and your builder as soon as we knew you were coming to the CD. We do this specifically so that we can help builders get plans approved and avoid conflict.

Unfortunately, when there is a disagreement over ordinance interpretation that is not resolved through discussion, the sole remedy the neighborhood has is to use the Zoning Board of Adjustment to challenge staff's interpretation. ... I have confidence in the arguments presented in the appeal and anticipate prevailing, but actually going through with the BdA hearing is not BACD's preferred option. What we would much prefer to do is sit down with you and your builder to understand the project from your perspective and explore whether there are changes that can be made to meet your goals for the house and the neighborhood's concerns as well.

That's what happened several months before, when the Kingston's objected to another set of city-approved plans for a home on their block of Palo Pinto. They ultimately entered into a detailed settlement with the builder.

But Bailey was not so amenable to compromise. She opted to make her case to the Board of Adjustment and, on a 3-2 vote in February, she won.

In an email exchange with Unfair Park, Kingston objected to the notion that he and his wife were the driving force behind the appeal. "The committee has 20 members, and I didn't even vote on whether to pursue the appeal because I was trying to craft an agreed solution, which my record of email communication confirms," he wrote. " When that failed, my involvement ended. BACD is not unlike any other conservation district in that we all have people who work on ordinance enforcement."

One can bet that's not how Abtahi would frame it, particularly as the District 14 runoff is sinking ever deeper into the mud. And these neighborhood issues are a something of a Rorschach test anyways. Neighborhood defender or nitpicking bullying: It's in the eye of the beholder.


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185 comments
dallas1845
dallas1845

Just want to say these comments are hilarious. I find it interesting the article only mentions the legal side of neighborhood advocacy. I can't comment, but wouldn't interviewing some of his neighbors be, you know, kind of important for this story? Same with Bobby....

MattL11
MattL11

I guess if you don't want your building plans nitpicked to death, don't live in a conservation district? This whole thing is a textbook example of a tempest in a teapot.  

John_Lawyer
John_Lawyer

Maybe someone needs to read this section of Texas law to Philip, his wife Melissa and heck all the people who might be thinking about voting for him in a few weeks.

It's gonna be hard working as a city council member if you are in jail.

Texas Penal Code - Section 37.11. Impersonating Public Servant

§ 37.11. IMPERSONATING PUBLIC SERVANT. (a) A person commits an offense if he:

(1) impersonates a public servant with intent to induce another to submit to his pretended official authority or to rely on his pretended official acts; or

(2) knowingly purports to exercise any function of a public servant or of a public office, including that of a judge and court, and the position or office through which he purports to exercise a function of a public servant or public office has no lawful existence under the constitution or laws of this state or of the United States.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 189, § 7, eff. May 21, 1997.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

At least I don't live in the Medrano Dynasty anymore. 

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

These people all suck and sadly the cream of the suck has risen to the top. 

rroyb
rroyb

Both of these candidates are flawed, the best one, Jim Rogers, finished third because he didn't have the money - everyone knew he couldn't be bought.  So now we've got two, one that will support neighborhoods and one that won't.  For me the choice it easy - I suspect it is also easy for someone that wants to build a 20 story office building next to a 2 story house.  I find it hard to vote for someone that time and again has voted in favor of the city not keeping it's commitments, rather than someone that may go a little overboard in trying to get the city to honor it's commitments.

parmalion
parmalion

Philip and Melissa Kingston are big neighborhood bullies. They are the freaks of the neighborhood. Their arrogance is maddening. But the good news is that we do have good people in this world doing good deeds. http://t.co/o7HpRb8vjI

AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

I am still laughing from the campaign call I got this afternoon.  "Are you gonna vote for (pause, pause), Swingston?"

AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

This is so entertaining.  Very cute the Kingston campaign pays their consultants to troll blogs to comment.  Excellent fun for a Friday night.

VernBytes
VernBytes

Bobby Abbtahi must be desperate to sink to this level.  I guess he has realized he can't win based on his platform, being in favor of the Trinity Toll Road, lack of experience and depth of knowledge of the issues.  The Dallas neighborhoods have spoken and they no longer want yes men in council that will kowtow to the wealthy special interests that back them.  That is why good people like Scott Griggs beat Jasso (another yes woman like Bobby) and Adam Medrano won his seat.  Despite the same people that support Bobby trying to marginalize Griggs by cutting up his district, Griggs still won.  Bobby is bought and paid for.  Bobby raised a lot more money from a few wealthy special interest groups and still couldn't beat Philip.  Philip was backed by neighborhood money.  Go Dallas neighborhoods!

EricNicholson4
EricNicholson4 moderator

@GuitarPlayer We have a pretty high bar for deleting comments, but you can't call people pig fuckers, okay?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan 

I had no idea there was this level of bitterness in that area. on the one hand it's great that people care and are so involved, on the other hand all one can say is wow!

markwilliams2323
markwilliams2323

@parmalion If they're neighborhood bullies, why do all the houses on their block have "Philip Kingston for City Council" signs in their yards?  Seems to me the Kingstons are pretty popular with their neighbors.  Are you sure you're not on the Abtahi campaign payroll?

heart_and_soul
heart_and_soul

@AnnaVLaMasters  

Let's see if you are still laughing on June 16th.

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@AnnaVLaMasters It's called trolling for votes. They stoop to the lowest common denominator (lack of active synapses) and target them relentlessly.

It's the only trick they have left in the box. This story about the BACD was not something they expected, and by god, it's got verifiable facts so they have to fight like hell to make it out like it's not true.

The only thing they have not done is put palm leaves on the ground so Philip can ride on Lowest Greenville on the back of a pig.


AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

Last time I checked, Kingston was proud of his affiliation with Trammell Crow.  Get your neighborhood ready to be plowed over for Trammell Crow Estates with thanks to Philip Kingston.

markmelton
markmelton

@VernBytes There's no truth to this accusation.  Bobby is beholden to no one.  I'd challenge you to support your accusations with evidence.  Bobby's record shows he's clearly pro-neighborhood.  Kingston's record, by contrast, shows that he routinely interacts with his neighbors by sueing them. And he's perfectly willing to sell out the safety and security of our neighborhoods as a favor to his campaign contributors.  He's the one kowtowing  to special interest - not Bobby.

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@markwilliams2323 @parmalion They are on many - not all - the houses on their block. There are thankfully some people with brains who are not happy with what the BACD has done to their neighborhood (and all this publicity is not helping them).


But as go further out from Lowest Greenville, the number of Weasel signs drops significantly. Very few on the western side of Central Expressway.

AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

I knew the Kingston campaign had trolls on staff.   You should have heard the one who tried to talk to me over the phone today asking me if I would vote for Kingston. I swear she kept on saying Swingston.

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@AnnaVLaMasters That's the goal of his conservation district. 

First, they stop houses that don't fit it from being built. 

Then, they let the CD "Enforcers" decide which houses don't meet a set of secret standards that only they can read (sort of like holy books?).

If your house is not up to their standards, they will sue you to tear it down or take it by eminent domain.

An HOA without all the fuddy duddy rules to follow, like due process and civil procedures.

VernBytes
VernBytes

@markmelting It is completely true.  Abbtahi is backed by a few wealthy special interests, raised a ton more money then Philip and still couldn't beat him, and has no record of building coalitions.  I remember during a biking event to promote biking in Dallas, Abbtahi shows up to hand out water and a few energy bars and then disappears.  Philip Kingston actually got on a bike and rode with the citizens of Dallas.  I also remember on election day Abbtahi drove by the polling station at Fire Station 17s multiple times but not once did he get out to talk the neighbors there voting.

On the other hand, Philip Kingston lead a coalition of multiple neighborhood organizations to review special use permits that had a direct impact on making Lower Greenville a safer place, helped beautify Lower Greenville, and encouraged sustainable businesses to open shop on Lower Greenville.  He was also an integral member of a bond steering committee that allocated millions of dollars to improve Dallas streets.  Much better record then Abbtahi. 

heart_and_soul
heart_and_soul

@markmelton What is bobby's record in district 14. I challenge you to back up your bullshit. I am sick of your silly lying. What has he done? 

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@StupidHippies 


Hey you choose to get a new IP every 2 months after the one you use gets banned. Maybe if you stopped being a right wing bigot you might get your own little star. You jealous little fuck.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@GuitarPlayer @StupidHippies More than likely watch bestiality porn on the internet. Seems to be the only other thing you do aside from commenting here.

I don't need to shame you. The big star next to your login is shameful enough. 

branchstar
branchstar

@AviAdelman @markwilliams2323 @parmalion  It's no wonder Adelman doesn't like neighborhood improvement projects.  Look up his address on Dallas Central Appraisal District then take a drive past.  His place looks like Oliver's & Lisa's house on "Green Acres."

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@AnnaVLaMasters Worse election nightmare: If the Weasel wins, The Kittens will file a lawsuit on the Dallas Observer.


They will demand to know the identity of every anti Philip post that was written, is being written and will be written for the next eight years.

Then they will tie them up in court for years.

AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

@AviAdelman  I really really swear to baby Jesus and Ted Cruz's bible that she said Swingston.  "You gonna vote for (pause pause), Swingston?"

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@AnnaVLaMasters You were lucky she spoke English (sorta). My caller had an accent that sounded like it was Pakistani (like my AT&T service contacts). All I kept hearing was the sound of pigs being slaughtered in the background.


AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

Fuddy duddy is a great way of describing Kingston.  I need to take a break from calling him swarmy. 

markmelton
markmelton

@VernBytes Again.  Lies.  Look at the publicly available campaign finance reports.  The truth is there for anyone to see.  Believe me.  Don't believe me.  But the finance reports show indisputable proof.  Why are Kingston supporter's (a) only able to tell easily disputable lies, and (b) commenting with fake names?  The Bobby Abtahi supporters use their real names and you guys haven't been able to come up with one single piece of "baggage" to pin on him. 

AnnaVLaMasters
AnnaVLaMasters

@VernBytes Hunt thought Kingston's coalition building skills were so awesome that he was appointed to not ONE board or commission to represent District 14.  The sad thing is why didn't he volunteer for one?  That shows you how careful he was in preparing for his political career. No difficult decisions to get in his way. Thanks for reminding us how integral he was on the bond steering committee....jejeje.  He was a joke.

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@VernBytesNever let a good lie repeated often get in the way of the truth.

The Weasel was NOT part of the St. Patrick's Day Commission when it was created in 2000 or at any meeting after that year.

He did not register to vote until November 2000. He did not get appointed by Hunt since she was NOT on the council until 2005. 

In all of the planning meetings held every year before and after St Patrick's Day, The Weasel was not there. Even former DPD Chief Golbeck, who led the event planning team, stated he never met Philip ever.

I was on the committee. I have the original notes and reports. The word WEASEL does not appear anywhere in the reports.

Next up??

http://barkingdogs.org/news/content/Heres-why-you-should-not-vote-Mamas-Boy-Hes-big-fat-liar

VernBytes
VernBytes

@markmelting Lets look at a few more.  Philip Kingston was also a member of the Greater Dallas Planning Council, served on ForwardDallas both of which promoted comprehensive planning for Dallas (very worthy effort, everyone would agree), he helped local neighborhoods partner with City of Dallas, Dallas Police, and neighborhood businesses to make St. Patrick's Day a more enjoyable event for the neighborhoods and more profitable for the neighborhood businesses, he lead an effort in the neighborhood to help neighborhood schools raise money to pay for things they wouldn't have been able to afford, received the Clinic Attorney of the Year Award three times for his volunteer work... 

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@VernBytesOh my, don't let the facts get in the way of a good lie??

First, Bobby told the organizers weeks prior he already had an event set for that day. As a gentleman, he delivered bottled water and energy bars.

Two, The Weasel rode in the ride, only after his Mama (Hunt) arrived. He needed her permission to cross the street by himself.

Three, The Weasel is such a class act he would not pose for a group photo because I held the camera.

http://www.barkingdogs.org/news/content/mamas-boy-cant-ride-his-bike-alone

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@GuitarPlayer @AviAdelman No, I sleep in a bed. And I have not had to hit a man since no one was stupid enough to assault me on Lowest Greenville.


But them Ho's, man they gotta be crazy. One of them still has an outstanding warrant for her arrest for failing to show up in court. I bet Philip was the attorney who advised her, since he ignored two subpoenas from my lawyer.


heart_and_soul
heart_and_soul

@AviAdelman Isn't your real problem with Anna and Melissa is that you tried to bully them and they kicked your ass repeatedly, Get over it hater.

BTW, I don't think they really care what you think anyway. FYI

AviAdelman
AviAdelman

@VernBytesFirst, I don't work for Bobby or any campaign, so don't go telling me I got ugly head.

Two, Anna Casey is a pig and a sleazy campaign manager of the best kind. If you hire her for your campaign, you have stooped to a level not possible in this dimension.

And three, why not roll that great bean footage and listen to the tape and then you tell me - Why would you want a pig like this working for your campaign?

http://barkingdogs.org/casey.wav

VernBytes
VernBytes

@AviAddledAdleman Wow, Avi, that was rude, Abbtahi's campaign continues to rear it's ugly head.

heart_and_soul
heart_and_soul

@AviAdelman @heart_and_soul @markmelton 

oh Avi you are such a classy guy. I wonder why Anna thinks you are a short stupid loser. She should give you a chance right?

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