It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog – work and family life have taken precedence – but I want to get it started up again, and there’s an important issue facing citizens of our city that is appropriate for this venue.
I prefer to stay out of politics these days. It has become a nasty business and I have much more pleasant and/or important ways to spend my time. However, sometimes you just have to stand up for what you believe is right – especially when facts are being misrepresented and good people are being maligned.
Our city council election is coming up on May 11, and I want to weigh in on one of the races in particular because both of the candidates live in my community, Harborside. Up until late last year, I was involved in the HOA as a member of the board. I’ve also been involved with the city in various ways, having served on some committees and commissions and keeping up with what goes on at city hall.
Three council seats are up for election this year: places 2, 4 and 6. Places 2 and 4 are “open” seats; i.e., there is no incumbent running. Ron Miller chose not to run for reelection and Donna Davis moved out of the city and was thus ineligible. Harborside resident Michael Gallops is currently serving in place 6 and is running for a second term.
Michael and his wife, Jill, are friends of mine. That’s because I greatly admire what they do. They both give a huge amount of their time and money to make life better for other people, especially children. They have taken in and adopted several children in addition to raising their own biological children. They have run organizations to help disadvantaged children. They have spent their “vacations” working at children’s camps. More than anyone else I know, they “walk the walk” when it comes to helping others.
Another Harborside resident, John Spor, oddly filed to run for place 6 against Michael. I say “oddly” because a more logical strategy, from the standpoint of best representing Harborside, would have been to run for one of the open seats. That would give the neighborhood the chance to have three of its residents on the council (including Carl Pankratz, currently serving and not up for reelection this year).
Why would Mr. Spor run against his neighbor who’s already on the council, instead of for an open seat (which he would probably have a better chance to win)? Mr. Spor’s supporters, who encouraged him to run for this particular seat, don’t like Michael Gallops. That’s fair – we all have people whose personalities don’t mix well with ours, or whose policies we disagree with. But it’s also fair for voters to know why those folks don’t like him.
It all began when Michael and I were on the HOA board (up until late 2012) and there was a small group of residents who started attending board meetings and didn’t like some of our decisions. We wanted to balance the interests of the neighborhood with individual property rights. They wanted the HOA to have much more control over people’s property and lives, beyond the rules that were in our existing covenants.
Reasonable people can disagree, but this small group created so much turmoil that some of us (including Michael Gallops and myself) resigned from the board because we were unable to get HOA business done due to the constant disruptions at meetings. There’s a lot more to it than that, but there’s no need to go into the details here.
The bottom line is that they are now determined to take away Michael’s seat on the city council, and they recruited Mr. Spor to run for them. He has in fact repeatedly stated that the reason he’s running is because those neighbors asked him to. It certainly feels like a grudge match, focused on the issues specific to one neighborhood, rather than someone who decided to run for council on his own out of a desire to help the entire city.
Some (although certainly not all) of the animosity within the HOA was related to our neighborhood’s fight with the NTTA over the excessive toll way noise. Those neighbors are now contending that Michael Gallops didn’t support that effort. Mr. Spor himself says so in his answers to the Rowlett Tea Party questionnaire at http://rowletttexasteaparty.com/?p=965:
I have been representing four neighborhoods (Harborside, Lake Forest, Magnolia Springs and Ridgecove) as the leader of a group of HOA’s against NTTA, to resolve excessive noise issues in our neighborhoods … several of my neighbors asked me to run for the City Council, Place 6, as they felt that the existing councilman for Place 6 did not support our efforts, or represent our neighborhood well.
The problem is that the truth is the exact opposite. I’ll go into details about that in my next post.
This blog is published and funded by Debra Littlejohn Shinder