I cannot believe that four years have come and gone since this community sent me to City Hall as your Council representative. They have truly been the most satisfying years of my nearly 15 years in public service.
I must say this position allows the officeholder a real chance to positively influence the piece of this world in which he or she lives. I hope you feel I used the office wisely.
Let me assure you, my Council tenure has been helped by many dedicated residents of this community. I would not be able to walk away without thanking Bill Vandivort and Steve Wakefield for their unwavering support in the fight against our faltering multi-family and retail owners and operators. Their efforts have resulted in cleaner and safer living conditions for hundreds of our neighbors.
Vandivort has more than 3,500 photographs he personally took to back up their efforts. Wakefield, as president of the Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association (LHAIA), used his legal expertise — without pay — to bring suit on behalf of the LHAIA and in conjunction with one of our homeowners associations against a slumlord in Lake Highlands, and he won one of the largest civil financial penalties awarded in Dallas history against the owner, on which interest is still accumulating.
Susan Morgan took on the slacking retail in the district. With the help of many neighbors, she created a published wish list of vendors desired in the area that is being distributed to all developers who venture within our borders. She also took on the task of organizing different groups to identify and work with owners and operators of every commercial shopping area in the district in an effort to improve our choices. Look around — her efforts are working.
Bill Avery and Peggy Hill respectively said “yes” to membership on the Dallas Planning and Zoning Commission. They have protected the district from all kinds of unwanted development that never made it to a Council hearing. Joan Walne has done a yeoman’s job on the Park Board. She, along with the hardworking ladies of the Junior Women’s League, is directly responsible for our amazing children’s water park. Carol Piper has carried the ball on the Historical Committee for the entire four years.
Sixteen different neighbors worked for three years on a zoning task force that resulted in how District 10 now appears in the recently released “Dallas Plan,” our first citywide development plan. Donna Halstead, Alan Walne and Luke Davis were extremely influential in getting the Richardson ISD to join in the Lake Highlands Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District. Their efforts will be very instrumental in the success of the Town Center project and all other areas along Skillman from Northwest Highway to LBJ as the various properties redevelop over time.
I am leaving out many who deserve to be publicly acknowledged in this article. To them I apologize. Just know that I know who you are and will always be grateful to you for making my tenure a successful endeavor for all of us in Lake Highlands.
The time has now come to elect and assist our next Council representative to move forward with his plan for District 10. Jerry Allen was my appointee to the DART Board of Directors. He is a very competent candidate for the Council position. His banking background should bring a fresh voice to the financial wellbeing of this city and thus Lake Highlands.
So, for the last time, thank you Lake Highlands for allowing me to represent you these last four years as your representative to the Dallas City Council. I hope I have not let you down too often. The honor has been life influencing in a very positive manner for me.
God bless you, our new leadership and our beloved neighborhood in our continuing efforts for small-town bliss in an ever-growing urban environment.