Does Denton need a Nanny?

Our country was founded on Freedom. The Freedom to live our lives the way we want. The Boston Tea Party sparked the American Revolution which gave us the freedoms we now hold dear. That Tea Party was a protest regarding someone else (Britain) telling our forefathers what they could and couldn’t do. As long as what we do does not harm others and is legal, we are free to do pretty much what we want.

Two years ago, the Denton City Council formed an ad hoc committee to come up with smoking guidelines for the City. The group consisted of bar owners, physicians, professors and several others with backgrounds reflective of Denton. I was a member of that committee. We came up with a policy the City Council agreed with and adopted. The policy banned smoking in areas you’d expect such as schools, parks, public buildings etc. When it came to bars, the guidelines let the owners decide how to run their businesses with reasonable ages limitations.

The present City Council is now seriously considering a total ban.

Are non-smokers the only group with rights? Do business owners have the right to run their businesses?,

Smoking is legal. For full disclosure, I smoke an occasional cigar. With that said, I have complete knowledge of the health risks of smoking and I never smoke anywhere where others would disapprove. With cigars, one doesn’t inhale. There are still risks, but it is not the same as cigarette smoking. People who do smoke are doing nothing illegal.

The over-riding issue is personal freedom.

If a business owner wants to allow smoking in their establishment, is it up to the City Council to tell them that they cannot? The business owner should have the right to allow smoking and the public should have the right NOT to frequent that establishment if they don’t want to be around smoke. Freedom for everyone!

If smoking was illegal, it would be a different story. It is not. Is it a good thing? No, but it’s legal.

Smoking though is not the issue here.

As Americans we are free to decide what we do. No one forces anyone to enter a smoke-filled business. No one forces anyone to work at said business. We have to take on the responsibility to do what is right for us. Do we really want others dictating what we can and cannot do when it is legal?

Freedom is the backbone of our great nation.

Taking away PERSONAL FREEDOMS of Denton Citizens is not the business of the City Council.

Denton doesn’t need a Nanny…….

The plan....

Dentoning………you can do it!

From time to time, our ability to go about our daily Dentoning becomes hampered. This of course, is not a good thing. Sometimes this hampering is unnecessary and avoidable…..like when you’re just too tired (never a good excuse), other times it IS necessary and due to situations which will lead to better and improved Dentoning.

The plan....

The plan….

Such is the case now with the construction on East Hickory Street. The large scale work being done to the street, parking areas and sidewalks is a temporary pain which will result in a much better Entertainment District.

Hickory Street construction

Hickory Street construction

The hampering caused by said construction is truly minor. We can still get to anywhere we want on Hickory St…….it just takes a slight degree of additional effort.

That slight degree of additional effort has caused a bit of a problem in that some people don’t want to exert that effort and the businesses along Hickory Street are struggling.

I’m not going to tell you that Dentoning isn’t all fun and games…….it IS, but one must, at times, make the most of less than ideal situations……..for the greater good. The construction is temporary and eventually will be a mere blip in our remembrances, but right now we need to overcome the perceived inconvenience and take our Dentoning to Hickory Street…..

….for the greater good.

There are are six excellent restaurants on Hickory Street……Rusty Tacos, Hoochie’s, Mellow Mushroom, Andaman, Weinbergers and Queenie’s. There are also other businesses such as Vigne, Noles, Weldon’s, Shine It Auto Detailing, Campus Barbers, Bell & Oak and Hickory Street Lounge…..

All of these fine establishments are being adversely affected by the re-do of the street.

Let’s ignore the slight inconvenience of taking a few extra steps, dodging giant City trucks, circumventing plastic orange fencing and the slight chance of drowning should the excavated portion of the street re-flood.

It’s not a big deal!

Cool new bridge!!

Cool new bridge!!

So, let’s all join hands and……..no, let’s not do that…..

Let’s just put on our big boy/girl underwear, overlook the construction and make an effort to patronize the businesses along Hickory Street during this temporary, yet much needed minuscule hampering.

….for the greater good.

Tom Lee, patriot

Frenchygate……..

So, we’ve had several of days of the Frenchy flag citation fiasco.

Here are the facts: Frenchy has been operating out of the same lot for TWENTY-NINE YEARS with a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for the property, but not for his business. Community Improvement Services…….a feel-good alternative name for CODE ENFORCEMENT supposedly got an anonymous complaint about Frenchy’s lot…..anonymous in that CIS won’t divulge who the person is.

That is pretty convenient.

How do we know that CIS didn’t just make it up due it’s longstanding dislike of Frenchy??

CIS then tells Frenchy that he must get a CO for his business AND he has to take down the 15 AMERICAN flags (CIS calls them “wind devices”) flying on his lot. Frenchy is a Vietnam vet, proud of his service, proud of his fellow veterans, proud of his country and proud of Denton.

Frenchy's flags

Frenchy’s flags

Our Nation's flags

Our Nation’s flags

Can there be really be too many AMERICAN flags??

First of all, if Frenchy has been in the same location, flying flags for 29 years, why wasn’t he issued a citation before now?………..say 29 years ago. That looks like ineptitude on the part of Lancine Bentley and the rest of CIS.

There has been a pattern of selective citations with CIS. I have talked to several ex-CIS employees who say they were fired for refusing to issue citations they were directed to issue at the selective whim of Lancine Bentley.

Discretion is one thing, selective targeting is something completely different.

Something else which many find strange and a possible conflict of interest, is the fact that Lancine Bentley is married to Brian Bentley, a commissioner on Denton’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Hmmmmmm……

Does that seem right to you?

As I said in the last thrilling episode of Dentoning, codes/ordinances/laws are there for a reason. They should be enforced evenly across the board, not selectively, and certainly not because someone might hold a grudge. They should also be enforced with discretion.

It seems to me that if something has been in the same place for TWENTY-NINE YEARS without a citation being issued, then that establishment should be grandfathered in, or as CIS likes to call it,……… “legally non-conforming”.

Frenchy is an iconic example of Denton’s eccentricity, liveliness, uniqueness, and vitality. Frenchy also has MANY supporters both in Denton and elsewhere.

On Friday, a Vietnam comrade in arms of Frenchy’s, Tom Lee, saw a DFW news story on TV about the situation, jumped in his car, drove to Denton from Rowlett and spent all day Friday in front of Frenchy’s flags…………..in his wheelchair…….because of two amputated legs…..which he lost in Vietnam………while defending our right to fly the AMERICAN flag(s).

Tom Lee, patriot

Tom Lee, patriot

Another veteran who wishes to remain anonymous, soon joined Mr. Lee and spent several hours in the sun, holding an AMERICAN flag as people drove by, waved, thumbs-upped, honked, yelled support, or stopped to visit.

A petition in support of Frenchy, posted by Dentonite Lezlie Mitchell Haynes, has over 5000 signatures in the first 48 hours of existence……

Glenn Carlton of the North Texas State Fairgrounds installed THIRTY AMERICAN flags along the fence bordering Carroll Blvd on Friday in a show of solidarity with Frenchy and his flags…….

Frenchy is Frenchy…….and Frenchy is an asset to Denton in multiple ways, some of which I mentioned in my last post. For CIS to go TWENTY-NINE YEARS without citing Frenchy for the flags,…….only to do so on Friday is silly.

The flags are a part of Denton………

I think the best solution is for the City of Denton to declare Frenchy’s flags “legally non-conforming” and walk away…….

I think if the City of Denton presses on with this issue, most of those 5000 people (and quite a few more) are not going to be very happy……

image

Frenchy….

Denton, the town we choose to live in, is a cool place. Cool because of its history, cool because of its unsurpassed music, cool because of its unique demographics, cool because of our Square and surrounding areas, but especially cool because of the people who live here.

Andre Rheault, “Frenchy” is one of those people. Frenchy’s orange vans have been an iconic part of Denton for decades. Frenchy does a lot for the City of Denton……and when I say “a lot” that is an understatement. Frenchy is selfless when it comes to loaning anything he has to the numerous events that help define Denton.

Frenchy “adopts” parts of Denton to help keep it the beautiful town we all so love.

Frenchy is a Denton ambassador, helping keep Denton in the limelight…….which translates to a better economy.

Frenchy is dedicated to US Veterans………the people who have given so much to allow us the privilege of living in such a great country and city.

Frenchy is now being targeted by the City of Denton over code violations, primarily due to the constant and petty complaints of ONE individual. Frenchy is an asset to Denton. Should the complaints of one Denton citizen overrule the fondness for Frenchy of the majority of Dentonites? Should one person cause the City of Denton to harass a man who does so much for Denton?

Frenchy has 15 AMERICAN flags flying proudly on his lot…….in a commercial area.

The City wants that reduced to one.

Codes are in place for a reason. But codes are handled with discretion on a regular basis. I know of numerous people who say they know they are “home” when they see Frenchy’s flags on Dallas Drive.

I also find it unusually coincidental that a member of Denton’s Planning and Zoning Commission (who is married to a Denton Code Enforcement official) was out-voted on a sign variance by the rest of the Commission (which used discretion and approved a larger sign at a certain location)….and within days Frenchy is targeted by Code Enforcement. Was a message being sent?

Frenchy is a part of what makes Denton…..Denton.

Frenchy is eccentric…..as is Denton.

Now is the time to show support for Frenchy who has worked from the same place on Dallas Drive for 29 years……..why is this harassment happening now?

His AMERICAN flags are a constant reminder of the greatness of our country, our town, our way of life.

Denton has a reputation for being “different”. Let’s keep it that way.

“North of Ordinary” is not just a slogan……

Shame on the City of Denton for putting this man who has done so much for Denton in this position.

Former Denton Mayor, Euline Brock

Dentoning….1st guest blogger- Former Denton Mayor, Euline Brock

Dentoning is what it is in no small part to the vision, wisdom and hard work of former Denton Mayor, Euline Brock. It is with enormous respect, and an honor to me, that former Denton Mayor, Euline Brock, becomes Dentoning’s first guest blogger:

Former Denton Mayor, Euline Brock

Former Denton Mayor, Euline Brock

“Early voting for the May 10 city election is underway, and we are being swamped with newspaper ads, letters to the editor, mailings, and messages on social media.

It’s time to sort out some of the claims that have been made and look at the facts. I am supporting Jean Schaake because I believe she would be an excellent mayor, but also because I am concerned about Chris Watts’ qualifications for that important job.

You may have examined the large Schaake ad in last Sunday’s DRC (April 27). If you looked closely, you could see that the two mayors Chris served with—Perry McNeill (2006-08) and Mark Burroughs (2008-14)—are both supporting Jean Schaake over Chris Watts.

In addition, other past mayors are also supporting Jean—Jack Miller (1996-00), Euline Brock (2000-06), and Bill Neu (1973-75). These are people who know what it takes to be an effective mayor, and they have chosen Jean Schaake over Chris Watts.

The ad also lists current and former council members who support Jean Schaake. Four of those served with Chris Watts—Pete Kamp, James King, Bob Montgomery, and Jack Thomson. [The other three—Roni Beasley, Guy McElroy, and Randall Boyd—served on earlier councils.] Joe Mulroy is supporting Chris, which is not surprising given their mentor/mentee relationship. No other council colleague has come forward to endorse him.

After each election, the council elects the Mayor Pro Tem from among their number. In Chris Watts’ six years on council, not once did his colleagues have enough respect for his leadership abilities to elect him to this important position. And he wants us to believe he is a leader, a consensus builder?

(Chris’s followers have pointed to his election as president of the TMPA board as evidence of his leadership qualities. They have neglected to mention that the TMPA presidency is rotated among the four member cities—and it was Denton’s turn.)

Jean Schaake does not believe that labeling Denton as “anti-business” is a good way to promote desirable economic development.

Jean Schaake understands that our downtown is not only the heart of our community, but is a major economic development tool. Chris Watts voted against a downtown TIF (tax-increment-financing) and has repeatedly said that the city is paying too much attention to that area. He is equally contemptuous of the A-train and is unable to see what DCTA means for Denton’s future, especially for economic development.

Jean Schaake did not wait until she was running for mayor—or for any other office—to start supporting charities and community service projects.

Jean Schaake has not only proved that she is an effective leader, but she is totally honest and honorable—a person of real integrity.”

Euline Brock

(Mayor, 2000-2006; City Council, 1992-1998; Planning and Zoning, 1986-1992)