Friday, April 13, 2018

Dallas Morning News Voter's Guide is excellent but difficult for some citizens to access, so here is section on Candidate Louis Moore

For the people who don't have a subscription to the Dallas Morning News and are having difficulty getting to the online version of the DMN Voters Guide for the Mayor of Garland race, here is what was published on Mayoral Candidate Louis Moore:

Age and contact information
Age: 71
Address: 313 S. 11th St., Garland , TX
Campaign or Work Phone Number: (214) 886-1009
Email address: louismooreformayorofgarland@yahoo.com
Web site: Answer not available
Occupation/main source of income:
retired/investor/community activist
Education (include all degrees):
Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Baylor University 1968
Master of Divinity in theology, Southern Seminary, 1972
Highlights of current civic involvement/accomplishment:
Since moving to Garland in 2000, I have immersed myself in the life of the city. To run in this election for Mayor of Garland, I stepped down after 10 years on the city's Plan Commission. I am a former vice president and a current board member of the Garland Downtown Business Association and am a founding board member and president of Friends of Garland's Historic Magic 11th Street. I am a former chair and board member of the Garland Salvation Army, was a founding board member of Hope Clinic, and have been involved in many other organizations in Garland. In 2017 I graduated from the Garland Citizens Fire Academy. During that same year my wife, Kay Wheeler Moore, and I received the prestigious "Who's Who in Garland Neighborhoods" award, administered by the City of Garland's Office of Neighborhood Vitality. Friends and relatives often refer to us as "Mr. and Mrs. Garland" because of our love and work on behalf of the city. A citizen and elder in the Chickasaw Nation, in 2016 and 2017 I was selected as a "Diversity Scholar" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation based in Washington, D.C. I am involved with the organization's effort to see that the "complete story of America" is told through national and local recognitions and citations. As an indication of our commitment to make Garland a place where ALL CITIZENS COUNT, Kay and I are members of Garland's NAACP and GAFHA Hispanic-heritage group.
Highlights of past civic involvement/accomplishment:
I first became acquainted with Garland when I married Garland native Kay Wheeler in 1969. After living in several cities (Louisville, Houston, Plano, Nashville, and Richmond), we moved to Garland in the year 2000. Helping Garland reach its full potential has become a passion of our lives. We have worked tirelessly to help restore Garland's inner city as well as other parts of the city. We live on the street where Kay grew up. That area today lies in the Travis College Hill Historic District in downtown Garland. Only 12 houses remain of the Travis College Hill Addition where the Wheelers once lived and the Moores live today. Garland's City Council on May 20, 2014, declared the Addition the city's first Historic District. The next year the State of Texas awarded the neighborhood a Texas Historical Marker, the first for a residential area in Garland. Then two years later in 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior bestowed on the neighborhood official recognition on the National Register of Historic Places—the first time ever that any site in Garland received that distinction. Travis College Hill is one of the oldest extant subdivisions in Garland. It was platted in 1913 as part of an effort to "grow Garland" with a new electric rail car line, the Interurban, that was to run between Dallas and Greenville. The Interurban line never materialized, but the remaining remnants of the Interurban Land Company's Travis College Hill Addition are a testimony of that bygone era. Of those 12 houses in Travis College Hill today, Kay and I own five and formerly owned or were involved in the restoration of three others. Now retirement age, we are deeply involved in seeing that the once-blighted Downtown Garland area experiences a renaissance and becomes a model city for healthy people, long-living seniors, and ordinary families looking to recapture a bygone era when community pride, friendliness, and neighborliness—all of which were once hallmarks of Garland—honestly described the area.
I have traveled to 49 of the 50 U.S. states and in 45 different countries on five continents.
Previous public offices sought or held:
I have been appointed by Garland City Council to the Garland Plan Commission, District 2, for a total of 10 of the last 12 years
I've held no elected public office. I have served as chair, president, vice chair, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and committee chair on more than two dozen local, state, national, and international boards, including Garland's Hope Clinic, Salvation Army, and the Garland Downtown Business Association. I was chair of Mayor Douglas Athas' Task Force on Historic Preservation, which he initiated shortly after taking office in May 2013.
How much funding have you raised for your campaign?
Less than $5,000. I have promised the citizens of Garland that I will run as frugal a campaign for Mayor as possible. I am very concerned that city politicos told me before entering the race that I should expect to spend at least $50,000 of my own money on the campaign. I have no intention of doing that.
Who are your top three contributors?
Louis Moore (myself)
Matthew J. Moore (son)
Kay Wheeler Moore (wife)
Have you ever been arrested on any misdemeanor or felony charge or otherwise involved in any criminal proceedings? If so, please explain and include the outcome of the case:
Have you ever been involved in any civil lawsuits or declared personal or professional bankruptcy? If so, please explain and include the outcome of the lawsuit or bankruptcy filing.
What is an example of how you led a team or group toward achieving an important goal?
Without any city funding, my wife and I worked with our neighbors, the Texas Historical Commission, and the U..S. Department of the Interior to place our neighborhood, the Travis College Hill Historic District in Garland, on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. Travis College Hill was the first site ever in the history of Garland to achieve this accomplishment. The project involved extensive research into our neighborhood's history, the architecture of the houses, and the current ownership of the homes. For our work, my wife and I were nominated and awarded Garland's Who's Who in Garland Neighborhoods Award for 2017.
Why are you running for this office, and why should voters choose you over your opponent(s)?
I listen carefully to those around me. I look for common themes in what people say. I am a problem solver and a consensus builder. I am a trained communicator who understands complicated issues and can explain them clearly to the average citizen. I am a proven, trained, and skilled leader with significant experience in management and executive leadership. Garland faces enormous challenges that require someone of my skill set and temperament to lead our city at this crucial point in our history. Instead of going backward or marching in place to the status quo, I want the opportunity to lead our city forward beyond the impasse of recent years of political conflict and into a brighter future for ALL of our citizens. During my work career I managed multi-million-dollar budgets. As a trustee for the International Mission Board, I worked with complex budgets of nearly $300 million that are comparable to the City of Garland's budgets. I understand all the various functions of the City of Garland and am ready to go to work for the citizens of Garland as soon as I take the oath of office as mayor. My goal is to make order out of the city's current political chaos and to work with City Council to make Garland all that it should and can be.
Length of residency in your city or town and, if applicable, in your council district:
18 years. My wife of 49 years is a Garland native. I first came to Garland in 1968 when we were courting. Her parents were active in the political, social, and and business life of the city—and wonderful role models of citizen involvement. When we returned to Garland in August 2000 to care for Kay's aging mother and other aging relatives, Kay and I both had a deep desire to make Garland a better community for all.
What current or former city or town council member do you most admire and why?
Former Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel, who displayed excellent leadership skills, vision, and clarity of purpose while in office. He accomplished much for Rowlett during his tenure as that city's mayor. I admire him for being a forward-thinking problem-solver who knew how to work with people and policies simultaneously. Closer to home, I admire former Garland Mayor Ron Jones, who is a "people person" who knows how to lead and how to work with different types of personalities.
What are the three most important actions you would take, if elected, and how would you advance them and pay for them?
1. As soon as I am sworn in as Mayor of Garland, I will engage the Board and top leadership of Baylor Scott & White in a needed conversation about the pain that wealthy corporation created for our community when it opted to close our city's only hospital and what the leadership of that influential entity sees as its possible options for the huge facility that now remains mostly vacant and unused near the center of our city. As a former trustee and committee chair of another large and wealthy international Baptist Board similar to Baylor Scott and White, I want to sit down eyeball-to-eyeball with that huge corporation's top leaders and hear their plans for the future for smaller, specialized facilities and hear how their plans will help or hinder our city further as well as other nearby cities where they are mulling plans to close other hospitals. Because of my extensive experience with the trustee board of the International Mission Board as well as other national and international boards of trustees, I believe I am uniquely qualified to lead this discussion with Baylor Scott & White. I will then appoint a citizens task force to work with me to lead City Council to help our city overcome this great loss to our community.
2. I will continue to work for political reform of our city—widening the tent of citizen involvement to include ALL of our citizens and not just the tiny handful of mostly white citizens who for decades have held the reigns of power in our city tightly in their grip. Garland, the second largest city in Dallas County, has a population of nearly 240,000 people who reflect the wide cultural and ethnic diversity of the DFW Metroplex. ALL deserve a seat at the table of decision-making and power in our city. Like too many Metroplex cities, municipal elections in Garland are decided by a handful of voters who represent only 2% to 4% of the potential voters. Even in this election all of the four city council seats up for election are uncontested—a not untypical pattern of apathy in Garland. Immediately after being sworn into office, I will appoint a citizens task force to study and bring forth recommendations for ways to expand voter interest and participation and bring into the seats of power ALL of our citizens, especially our burgeoning Hispanic population (now 39% of our population) which remains unfairly on the outskirts of citizen involvement and respect. As Garland's first Native American mayor, I will be uniquely positioned to lead this forward-facing movement.
3. To further involve ALL citizens, I immediately will appoint up to nine additional citizen task forces to study and make recommendations on the key issues that hold our city back from being the truly great city Garland can be. These citizen task forces will be empowered to focus on 1) what can be done to speed up the process to rebuild/restore our miserable streets, particularly the residential ones in older neighborhoods; 2) how to resolve the Eastern Hills Country Club redevelopment stalemate; 3) our long-delayed new animal shelter; 4) the slow citywide economic development, especially in our central and southern sectors; 5) our city's lack of a comprehensive plan for our growing homeless population; and 6) find a feasible and safe solution to the slow-grinding efforts to adequately fund our firefighters and police retirement accounts.
Where does the development or redevelopment emphasis need to be in your community – residential or commercial – and how has your municipal government performed in this area?
As an inner-ring suburban city facing "build-out", Garland confronts a multitude of challenges in both residential and commercial development and redevelopment. This is not a case of "either/or" but of "both/and". We must develop and redevelop our commercial as well as our residential areas. Our city is doing a good job—but not as fabulous a job as some of our neighbors—of developing its northern sector along the President George Bush Freeway. We are struggling in the central and southern sectors of the city. We lack the internal financial resources necessary to compete with nearby neighbors such as Plano, Richardson, Frisco, Rowlett, and Rockwall. Consequently, we must look beyond our borders to mobilize the assistance we need. We can do this in a variety of ways: 1) aggressively step up our efforts to find federal and state monies available to our community; 2) launch a strong initiative to find and secure private grant monies available to our city; 3) encourage our city and school employees and city leaders to live in our city and fully invest in our community—not draw salaries and produce incomes here that are invested elsewhere; 4) explore tax incentives and other means to encourage our businesses and citizens to rebuild their older properties; 5) look beyond our country's borders for more international investment, including actively recruiting investment from Mexico and Central and South America to undergird our less-affluent, large Latino population.
What challenging demographic changes have been taking place in your community? What would your response be, if elected?
As I have already mentioned, Garland is a multi-cultural community that needs desperately to engage and encourage ALL our citizens, particularly our burgeoning Latino and Asian populations. The faces of our city's political leadership are mostly white; the influence and power of that community is disproportionate to the city itself. We must work to see that ALL citizens feel they are welcome and have equal access to the centers of political influence and power in our city. Without using quotas, I would like to see the political face of Garland change and reflect the whole city. As Garland's first mayor of Native American ancestry, I intend to use the power of symbolism and action to encourage ALL of our citizens to embrace their city. I intend to invite the top leadership of the Chickasaw Nation, of which I am a citizen and elder, to participate in my swearing-in ceremony. I will invite the Dallas-based consuls of Mexico, El Salvador, China, India, and other countries worldwide to visit Garland and see firsthand the great resources we offer. Kay Wheeler Moore, my wife and Garland's future First Lady, and I love to entertain in our home in historic Garland. As we have in the past, we will continue to formally entertain people of all cultures, races and religions in our home—as symbolic role-modeling of the relationships that need to develop all across our community. We need symbolically and in reality to tear down the walls that divide us and open up avenues to unite our city racially and culturally. I personally am deeply committed to racial reconciliation within our city.
Please assess your community’s crime picture and what, if anything, you would try to improve or change.
As a city we take great pride that the first terrorist assault on American soil since 9/11 was quickly put down by our fast-thinking and acting police force. At the same time, while the city maintains crime in Garland remains low, recent murders in or near several of our parks has some of our citizens on edge. As Garland's mayor, I fully realize I must work between those two extremes of pride and fear. We must neither sweep the issues of crime under the rug and pretend they don't exist nor overreact to a few specific events and believe the sky is falling on our heads. I strongly support our Garland Police. I have many friends within the police department and have great confidence in our police force. However, if mistakes are made, I will call them out immediately on it. With the threats to police nationwide, I will fully support whatever means are necessary to continue to recruit the finest men and women available for service to our community. I also realize the city must continue to fund our police department at the levels that keep our citizens as safe as possible. Criminal activity in our city's parks, particularly those in the central and southern sectors, is a matter of concern to many of our citizens. I will lead our city to explore what is necessary to immediately alleviate this concern and how to address this matter long term. This may be a separate parks police department, a division within our existing police department, or a specialized "Citizens on Patrol" arrangement whereby certified citizens monitor and protect our parks.
Does your city or town deliver services in the most cost-effective manner? Please be specific about improvements you would advocate.
I am the only candidate for mayor with extensive management and executive training and experience. In fact, I have managed at one time 96 employees, which is more people than all the current city council members and candidates combined have done. I will utilize the skills I learned in management and leadership training to assist wherever feasible and possible to help the City Manager operate in the most cost-effective way possible. Cost efficiency is a major issue for businesses and needs to be a great concern to our city staff.
As anyone with business experience knows, delivering city services in the most cost-effective manner possible can be an elusive target. Technology is changing our world rapidly. Yesterday's cost-effectiveness can be today's wastefulness. Garland must continually reexamine everything it does, to ask whether each service can be done better and more cost-efficiently in a different way. I want our city to strive for excellence in all things. The truth is, we are not doing that now in all areas. Despite having more than doubled our streets budget in recent years and created a somewhat successful communications network between citizens and the streets department, our citizens remain almost universally convinced that the vast majority of our streets are in sad shape. And promises that everything can be fixed just within 10 to 20 years do not satisfy our people. As many senior citizens say about that situation, "I'll be dead by then." We must find a better way to approach street repair and replacement—and quickly. I will work with Council to find that solution. All options must be on the table! Among my planned new citizen task forces will be one to address the deplorable condition of our streets. Unlike what happened with the last citizens task force on streets, if the recommendations are reasonable (which I expect them to be) I will support the recommendations this group makes.
Another troubling area for our city is the parks department. Some of our older parks in central and south Garland are in deplorable condition. Some verge on crisis condition. I will work with City Council and our Parks Department to find ways to improve and upgrade our overall parks system. Garland often operates in the "silo mentality" whereby each city department and city entity operates mostly autonomously from one another. This sometimes creates duplication of services. Some cities in the Western states have adopted an integrated plan whereby, for instance, police and fire stations are situated in parks or other city venues as a deterrent to crime and creating a more secure feeling for their citizens. I will work with the City manager to eliminate these overlaps and help refashion a system of teamwork and sharing of information, technology, and services, rather than in individual "silos".
Please assess the property taxes levied by your city or town and whether it has the right balance between residential and commercial base. Would you take any initiatives in this area?
Garland has a strong manufacturing base. We also have a strong business base though many of our shopping centers and areas are dated and need development or redevelopment. Like most communities today, we are uncertain where our retail base will be in 10 years. Amazon, Walmart, and the Internet are reshaping our universe for us in this regard. We also have a lot of empty buildings particularly in south Garland along the First Street/Broadway corridor. Except for Firewheel Mall, our retail often lacks the pizazz and attractiveness of other nearby cities. This can be addressed somewhat by implementing a facade program whereby the city works with building owners to provide incentives and other ways to beautify and modernize storefronts.
Our housing stock presents its own unique challenge. Except for the larger historic homes in the downtown area, Garland has an overabundance of small homes on decently-sized lots that are growing old and need massive help comparable to a facade program for retail businesses.
How would you improve the quality of life in your city or town and, if appropriate, pay for any added programs?
Overall Garland at this point in time has a low self-image brought about by the recent loss of its only hospital, its high poverty rate, economic/geographic/racial polarization, benign neglect of too many important issues such as the condition of its parks and failure to develop a plan for a new animal shelter, way too much internal political squabbling and lack of clear focus in our city government, the poor condition of our main arteries as well as our residential streets (especially the dreadfully slow progress in addressing our residential streets). Because Garland is not a wealthy city, our community desperately needs to look beyond its borders for federal, state and private financial sources to rebuild our infrastructure, create institutions that inspire our people, and give the city hope for the future. Since we have no one person or office specifically set up to target available federal, state, county, and private grant money, I will work with the city manager to set up such an office. It must produce more funds for Garland than it costs the city. Our city's quality of life can only be improved by addressing directly the issues that hold us back. Pollyanna talk—without addressing the heart of each issue and finding solutions for each of them—is no way for the 87th-largest city in the U.S. and the 12th-largest city in Texas to actually improve the quality of life for ALL of our citizens.
Please rate the transparency of decision-making in your city or town hall.
While the Garland City Manager's office frequently receives accolades from various professional organizations for transparency in finances and bookkeeping, the city's overall political process involving decision-making in our city remains too veiled. The positive side of the recent series of embarrassing public spats on Garland City Council has actually brought some issues from darkness to light. It is unfortunate that it has taken much contentiousness to do this. Our city government including our current mayor and our current city council members desperately need to be more transparent with citizens about all that is occurring. Too much emphasis is placed on "positive spin" rather than "facing reality." Far too much goes on "behind the scenes" instead of out in the open of bright sunlight. Our key un-elected city power brokers tend toward darkness instead of light. One of my gravest concerns is the political process which discourages elections, is tilted toward keeping incumbents in office and values silence rather than healthy public discussion. Issues need to be discussed in front of and with citizens—not obliquely behind closed doors. I am very grateful that I have two peers who are running against me in this mayor's election. Open discussion, transparent politics, and honest review will benefit our city far more than will behind-the-scenes political manipulation which works to keep more than one person on the ballot for each city race. I deeply regret that for whatever reason all four of our city council seats up for election have only one candidate for each race and city council has already declared three to be the winners even before the official election date. That's no way to run a democracy or a city. As someone once said, "Democracy is a messy system, but it is the best system we have." At the very least, city council needs to immediately cease its hypocritical process whereby citizens are encouraged through whatever means necessary not to challenge incumbents, elections are canceled, and council members are declared victors without an actual physical election with their names showing up on ballots for citizens to mark. Even in county, state, and national elections, citizens have the opportunity to decide whether to vote for a candidate who has no opponent. Only in city elections does this NOT occur. The pretext that this policy saves money is a sham and needs to be called out for what it is.
What is an uncomfortable truth about your city or town that voters must confront?
This city of nearly 240,000 multicultural (39% Latino; 33% Anglo/white; 13.5% African-American, 10.5% Asian-American) people is controlled by a a small group of mostly white citizens who deliberately work to keep city elections few and far between. This year all four of our council seats are uncontested and City Council has already voted to declare three white individuals who filed unopposed as the winners. For a few brief weeks, the fourth council seat up for election was contested, but on March 23, one of the two contestants ceased campaigning. The winner is a white female. Most likely our next city council will include one Latino, no African-Americans, no Asian Americans, and at least seven whites. Only the mayor's race this year is contested. If I am elected mayor, that means council will include one person of Native American heritage; If I am not elected, the number of whites on council will likely grow to eight.
Sadly, our Garland ISD school board is no different from the city. It includes no Latinos and no Asian-Americans, but two African-American—and the rest white. The two school-board seats up for election this year are also uncontested.
Sadly, some try to spin the lack of contested races as somehow indicative of public support for the council and its actions. That's not what I am hearing from citizens across the city. Our citizens are embarrassed and frustrated with our city government and want a change that addresses honestly the issues and works to find the right solutions.
Most of the city's boards and commissions are the same way, with the exception of its Multicultural Commission, which showcases the city's diversity.
The turnout for city elections is pitiful. Anywhere from 2 to 4 percent of the population actually votes in municipal elections. Elections are determined by a tiny handful of citizens—often less than 50 or fewer votes. In the last mayoral election a year ago only 4,400 people out of more than 120,000 registered voters cast ballots in that election.
Myths abound that the minority groups do not vote. That's not true; they do. The problem is in a shortage of qualified candidates with sufficient experience to make good council members and mayors. The uncomfortable truth is that every one of us in this mayor's race and every one on council, and everyone involved in city government in any way needs to take this issue seriously and work diligently and strategically to overcome these two very dangerous realities for our democratic government.
We need a higher voter turnout for elections. We need the face of our government to reflect the diversity of our community. Neither is happening right now. We as a community need to work together to change these realities.



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What is a full-time mayor? And why does Garland, at this moment in its history, need one for ALL its citizens?

I plan to turn the Mayor's office and conference room on the 4th floor of Garland City Hall into a place where ALL citizens are mobilized and appreciated.
Garland needs a full-time mayor, and as I've stated, I plan to be one.

Garland's needs are too great to devote any less than everything I've got to the task.

The issue is particularly important since we are engaged in a special mayoral campaign for a one-year term, after our current mayor's resignation halfway through his two-year term. The new mayor must be able to hit the ground running and be able to devote full time to the task of restoring respect, integrity, and trust in our city government among ALL our citizens. 

So what does being a full-time mayor really mean to me? In my recent presentation at the Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum, I referred to this pledge as my promise to the people of Garland.

Citizens look at this issue differently, and in Garland's history, its various mayors have had varying takes on this. Some have chosen to be full time; other have preferred to be part time. Often the part-timers end up working full-time hours and wondering how in the world that type of schedule happened.

The issue is NOT trying to do Garland City Manager Bryan Bradford's job for him. Bryan is a valuable asset to our city. He's worth every penny the city pays him. The city's charter makes it clear that he alone—and not individual members of the council—manages the city's employees and operations with the guidance of City Council.

I respect our city-manager form of government. I want to help Bryan do an exceptional professional job without interference from any of the nine members of the council that might have a personal agenda. The mayor's job is not to micromanage him or other city employees.

The real issue is the mayor's availability and dedication to the task. With the vast needs pressing down on Garland, it will take all hands on deck and a big investment of time to get us on a straighter path going forward. The mayor, council, and city administration all pulling together and giving it their best is what's needed at this crucial juncture.

A full-time mayor is one who is available to the citizens of Garland and dedicated to envisioning with them and Council the bigger picture of what will make this a better city for ALL.


The Mayor's office will be a place for ALL citizens.

Regardless how many hours, days, or weeks the mayor works, the Mayor of Garland receives only a pittance of a "salary", mostly to compensate the personal out-of-pocket expenses associated with the job.

The job is, for all practical purposes and as it should be, an elected position with only minor compensation.

So the issue is not money. A full-time mayor is paid the same as a part-time mayor. 

And by the way, any extra money over and above the actual expenses for "being mayor", I plan to donate to worthy causes that benefit Garland.

Most importantly, the city provides the mayor with a large and beautiful office on the fourth floor of City Hall and a very nice conference room next door.

Because the mayor represents ALL the citizens of Garland, I envision turning the mayor's office and conference room into the place where ALL Garland citizens feel welcome, feel respected, feel heard, and feel assured that their opinions matter.

A "Mayor's Night In" could be a good practice to continue, but I foresee a broader means of staying in touch with the pulse of Garland's citizens.

As a part of my campaign platform, I have stated clearly and openly my intention to immediately after the election appoint at least eight mayoral citizen task forces to focus on major lingering issues that hold us back from being the kind of community ALL of our citizens want us to be.

I don't have all the answers to all the problems we face, but I know people who do: OUR CITIZENS. I do know, however, how to lead both small and large groups and how to listen—truly listen—to people in those groups. (For decades Kay and I jointly and separately led support groups on numerous critical life issues and because of her work with LifeWay traveled the U.S. setting up programs to help train church leaders how to develop this ministry. That skill transfers easily.)

I envision those task forces meeting in the mayor's conference room or maybe even the actual office—symbolizing that citizens do matter and that their thoughts, ideas, and opinions are respected and sought.
All citizens will be welcome in the Mayor's office.

I absolutely don't want Garland to be "another Plano" or "another Frisco". I want Garland to be the best Garland can be in its own unique and special way. Copycatting has no place in our city. And I know from talking with them that our citizens want this, too. That's why I will try "full-time" to make sure our citizens know how much they are appreciated and welcome in the municipal processes.

Being a full-time mayor also means going out anywhere and everywhere Kay and/or I can possibly go to be with our Garland citizens. Anybody who knows us and/or has followed our Facebook pages for years knows we don't shy away from involvement with the public but instead thoroughly enjoy attending Garland events and meeting with Garland people. Our involvement is not "just a campaign thing" but a regular part of our lifestyle in the past, is now, and will be in the future. We find the great diversity within our community to be invigorating and truly exciting—something we ALL need to celebrate. We are honored when our friends tag us as "Mr. and Mrs. Garland". They do that because they know of our deep and abiding love for the city.

One of the aspects of this campaign that Kay and I have relished in is going door-to-door to visit with individual citizens. We wish we could knock on every door in Garland and hear the hearts of each person, which they pour out to us unbidden, but for obvious reasons we are having to rely on those who know us best and work in our campaign to represent us to get to those homes we physically can't reach ourselves. Perhaps over time we WILL be able to visit with every citizen of Garland and hear their hearts about our city.

Please continue to invite your friends and neighbors to join us in this citizen-based campaign to reshape Garland to the well-being of this city.

As I've said many times, "Government exists for its citizens, not the citizens for their government." And the people—ALL the people—are its bosses.



Friday, April 6, 2018

Needs of Garland clearly spelled out in Louis Moore's answers to The Garland Texan questionnaire




Editor Kim Everett of The Garland Texan constructed an incisive list of questions for the Mayoral Candidates for the City of Garland's May 5 special election. Below are my responses exactly as they appear in that online newspaper. Questions are in bold. My answers are in regular typeface. To see the whole Garland Texan forum, a link is provided at the end of this blog.

Candidate Louis Moore

How long have you lived in Garland?

I have lived in Garland for nearly 18 years. My wife of 49 years is a Garland native. I first became part of Garland in 1968 when we were courting. Kay’s parents were active in the political, social, and business life of the city—and wonderful role models of citizen involvement. When we returned to Garland in August 2000 to care for Kay’s aging mother and two of her other elderly relatives, Kay and I both had a deep desire to make a significant contribution to Garland through community service and involvement.

Please list your experience/background/knowledge that you feel makes you the right choice for mayor.

Since moving to Garland in 2000 I have immersed myself in the life of the city. To run in this election for Mayor of Garland, I stepped down after 10 years on the city’s Plan Commission.

I am a former vice president and a current board member of the Garland Downtown Business Association and am an early founding board member of Garland’s Hope Clinic. I am a former board member and chair of the Garland Salvation Army, a founding board member and president of Friends of Garland’s Historic Magic 11th Street and have been involved in various capacities in many other organizations in Garland. In 2017 I graduated from the Garland Citizens Fire Academy. During that same year my wife, Kay Wheeler Moore, and I received the prestigious “Who’s Who in Garland Neighborhoods” award, administered by the City of Garland’s Office of Neighborhood Vitality. Friends and relatives often refer to us as “Mr. and Mrs. Garland” because of our love for and work on behalf of the city. A citizen and elder in the Chickasaw Nation, in 2016 and 2017 I was selected as a “Diversity Scholar” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation based in Washington, DC. I am involved with the organization’s effort to see that the “complete story of America” is told through national and local recognitions and citations. As an indication of our commitment to make Garland a place where ALL CITIZENS COUNT, Kay and I are members of Garland’s NAACP and GAFHA Hispanic-heritage group.

Candidate for Mayor of Garland Louis Moore
Prior to moving to Garland, I had a successful career as a reporter, editor and columnist for the Houston Chronicle, at that time the largest newspaper in Texas. During that time, I served as a trustee on the Houston Chronicle Credit Union and a member of that board’s Credit Committee. I also was a board member and officer for several professional media organizations. Later, I managed media operations for the world’s largest mission-sending organization, the International Mission Board based in Richmond, Virginia. The office I managed included 96 talented writers, editors, graphic designers, artists, videographers and film producers—with just about every imaginable media talent. Our task was to help the IMB raise its annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which at the time was approaching $100 million a year. This required major national and international travel, taking me to five continents and some 45 different countries. After I took early retirement in 2000, I was elected an IMB trustee and served on various committees including the administrative committee charged with overseeing the agency’s $400-million endowment and $300-million annual budget.

After moving to Garland in 2000, Kay and I purchased Hannibal Books, a Christian book-publishing company with worldwide distribution, and have invested heavily in Garland real estate.

Just about everything I have done in my career prepared me for the opportunity to be mayor of Garland.

The city has had its share of problems and negative publicity recently. What do you feel can be done to improve the situation?

Rather than deny or hide from our problems, we need to face them head-on and find solutions. I am an optimist who believes solutions to every problem are out there waiting for us to discover them. Garland faces no issues that can’t be resolved.

In recent years our city’s only full-service hospital closed its doors, our current mayor resigned during the height of a conflict with our city council, one of our city council members was recalled by three times as many voters as elected her to office, our citizens became increasingly frustrated with the slow progress of our street repairs, our parks system continued to deteriorate and a myriad other issues began to drag down our city.

As soon as I am sworn in as mayor of Garland, I will engage the board and top leadership of Baylor Scott & White in a needed conversation about the pain that wealthy corporation created for our community when it opted to close our city’s only hospital and what the leadership of that influential entity sees as its possible options for the huge facility that now remains mostly vacant and unused near the center of our city. As a former trustee and committee chair of another large and wealthy Baptist Board similar in size and wealth to Baylor Scott & White, I know how to sit down eyeball-to-eyeball with that huge corporation’s top leaders and hear their plans for the future for smaller, specialized facilities and hear how their plans will help or hinder our city further as well as other nearby cities where they are mulling plans to close other hospitals. Because of my extensive experience with the trustee board of the International Mission Board as well as other national and international boards of trustees on which I have served, I believe I am uniquely qualified to lead this discussion with Baylor Scott & White leaders. I will appoint a citizens task force to work with me to lead city council to help our city overcome this great loss to our community.

I also will continue to work for political reform of our city—widening the tent of citizen involvement to include ALL of our citizens and not just the tiny handful of mostly white citizens who for decades have held the reins of power in our city tightly in their grip. Garland, the second-largest city in Dallas County, has a population of nearly 240,000 people who reflect the wide cultural and ethnic diversity of the DFW Metroplex. Like too many Metroplex cities, municipal elections in Garland are decided by a handful of voters who represent only 2 to 4 percent of the potential voters. Even in this election all of the four city council seats up for election are uncontested—a not untypical pattern of citizen apathy in Garland. Immediately after being sworn into office, I will appoint a citizens’ task force to study and bring forth recommendations for ways to expand voter interest and participation and bring into the seats of power ALL of our citizens, especially our burgeoning Hispanic population (now 39 percent of our population) which remains unfairly on the outskirts of citizen involvement and respect. As Garland’s first Native American mayor, I will be uniquely positioned to lead this forward-facing movement.

To further involve ALL citizens, I immediately will appoint up to nine additional public citizen task forces to study and make recommendations on the key issues that hold our city back from being the truly great city Garland has been and truly can be again.

These citizen task forces will be empowered to focus on such issues as 1) what can be done to speed up the process to rebuild/restore our miserable streets, particularly the residential ones in older neighborhoods; 2) how to resolve the Eastern Hills Country Club redevelopment stalemate; 3) our long-delayed new animal shelter; 4) the slow citywide economic development, especially in our central and southern sectors; 5) our city’s lack of a comprehensive plan for our growing homeless population; and 6) find a feasible and safe solution to the slow-grinding efforts to adequately fund our firefighters and police retirement accounts, among other issues.

What are some of the city’s assets that you feel can be built upon?

Garland has a rich history of citizen involvement in the life of the community. By far, Garland’s citizens are its greatest asset. We may not be a wealthy city, but we are a city of people who care deeply for their community. As Kay and I daily block-walk our city and meet citizens, we are constantly amazed at the depth of their awareness of issues that drag our city down and the need to find solutions. We are a manufacturing community with a strong work ethic. We have a history of being a moral, compassionate and talented city. As mayor, I will work to mobilize our citizens to help find solutions to every problem we face. Inside my wedding ring 49 years ago, my wife, Kay, wrote, these words: “What we are together is more than what we were apart!” What is true for us and our marriage is also true for the whole Garland community. We have great untapped strength in our multicultural, diverse community embracing peoples from just about every country on the globe.

What are the main things in the city that you feel need to be improved/changed? How will you go about changing them?

As an inner-ring suburban city facing “build out.” Garland confronts a multitude of challenges in both residential and commercial development and redevelopment. This is not a case of “either/or” but of “both/and.” We must develop and redevelop our commercial as well as our residential areas. Our city is doing a good job—but not as fabulous a job as some of our neighbors—of developing its northern sector along President George Bush Freeway. We are struggling in the central and southern sectors of the city. We lack the internal financial resources necessary to compete with nearby neighbors such as Plano, Richardson, Frisco, Rowlett and Rockwall.
At the Garland entrance sign I proposed as a compromise, which was not paid for with tax dollars, but with funds from the nearby RaceTrac business.

Consequently, we must look beyond our city limits to mobilize the assistance we need.  We can do this in a variety of ways: 1) aggressively step up our efforts to find federal and state monies available to our community; 2) launch a strong initiative to find and secure private grant monies available to our city; 3) encourage our city and school employees and city leaders to live in our city and fully invest in our community—not draw salaries and produce incomes here that are invested elsewhere; 4) explore tax incentives and other means to encourage our businesses and citizens to rebuild their older properties in need of redevelopment; 5) look beyond our country’s borders for more international investment, including actively recruiting investment from Mexico and Central and South America to underwrite our less-affluent, large Latino population.

What can be done to encourage more of the population to take an interest in the city?

Apathy is an unfortunate and troubling attitude in many American cities today. Garland is not immune to this trend. Immediately after being elected as mayor, I will form a mayoral task force to look into the root causes of apathy in our community and to explore ways to ignite citizen faith and hope in our community. I do not have all the answers for this issue, but I believe our citizens working together can find solutions. We need to be sure that we do not accidentally overlook any group of citizens. We must engage all citizens equally and set goals to greatly increase citizen involvement in and respect for our city.

Why do you want to be Garland’s mayor?

Garland is at a crucial moment in its history. We can tackle our problems, find solutions to them and move forward with confidence and hope for the future, or we can wallow in the political turmoil of recent years and go backward to a more isolated, regressive time period. I am running for mayor because I want our city to move forward with confidence and hope for the future.

I listen carefully to those around me. I look for common themes in what people say. I seek solutions rather than conflict. I am a problem solver and a consensus builder. I am a trained communicator who understands complicated issues and can explain them clearly to the average citizen. I am a proven, trained, and skilled leader with significant experience in management and executive leadership. Garland faces enormous challenges that require someone of my skill set and temperament to lead our city at this crucial point in our history.
Instead of going backward or marching in place to the status quo, I want the opportunity to lead our city forward beyond the impasse of recent years of political conflict and into a brighter future for ALL of our citizens. During my work career, I managed multi-million dollar budgets and large and challenging staffs. As a trustee for the International Mission Board, I worked with complex budgets of nearly $300 million that are comparable to the city’s budgets. I understand all the various functions of the city of Garland and am ready to go to work for the citizens as soon as I take the oath of office as mayor. My goal is to make order out of the current political chaos and stalemate and to work with City Council to make Garland all that it should and can be.


(While this blog is an unedited version of The Garland Texan's Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire, those who may want to see the whole forum please click on this link: http://thegarlandtexan.com/mayoral-candidates-dodson-moore-qa/

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Memories are besmirched when our city's parks are allowed to disintegrate

A toss from the pitcher's mound that summer night set in motion a tragedy that shook Garland like few other things have in its history.

The ball struck the back of 11-year-old Ricky Oden's neck below his helmet while he was at bat. The Williams Elementary student died two days later.

Mention on Facebook the night that Ricky Oden was felled in 1956, and posts in reply blitz in at lightning speed. Like recollections about the JFK assassination, Garlandites of that era clearly remember where they were when it happened or when they learned of the occurrence. Shock waves all over.

It was the first on-field death in U.S. Little League history. The park where it occurred, then known as Cole Park for developer M.C. Cole, was renamed Rick Oden Park shortly thereafter and now occupies 31 acres.
Only 11 years old, this Garland lad didn't live to graduate from high school or see adulthood. Rick Oden Park in Garland is named for him.
Today, that city park is in miserable shape; thanks to recent rains and being in a floodplain the potholes in its roads and parking lots are like bombed-out craters in Vietnam during the war there more than 40 years ago.

Potholes and poor park-road and parking lot conditions are not honoring to the memory Rick Oden.

The memory of this winsome boy that gave his all at batter's plate when his team was down, who did not live to see adulthood because of a sports accident, deserves to be honored and respected far more than the condition of the park today reflects.

I was reminded of this the other day when Kay and I decided to check out Rick Oden Park at dusk on a weekday. The poor condition of the park had been mentioned in a political forum we attended.

The condition of the park made us feel sad, though I had little time to think about it since I was busy in my car dodging those awful potholes that jarred every tooth in my head and worrying about potential damage to my new set of tires! An unaware person driving through after dark could sustain real damage to a vehicle.
The Rick Oden park memorializes an 11-year-old Garland elementary student who died after his neck was hit with a baseball in a game in 1956. 
Scattered across the central and southern sections of Garland are other parks that hold great meaning for our community. They tell the story of bygone eras of new settlers to this area and of "separate but equal" Tom Crow racism in our community before the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Many people today probably don't remember or could care less about these once-treasured parks with deep meaning. Except for the long-termers, I wonder how many know the true story of Rick Oden? On Facebook you can find people who state in posts that they played baseball there for years but never knew who Rick Oden was or why the park bore his name. How many know the story of the Williams family of Central Park? Or Lou Huff and Lou Huff Park?

In fact, about a year ago, the city's Heritage Crossing asked Kay to assist in finding a picture of Lou (Lula) Huff, the African-American citizen (1889-1956) for whom the park was named in about 1950. That portrait once hung proudly in the foyer of the park's small recreation center. Lou Huff is buried in Lincoln Memorial Park in Dallas.

Like too many other treasures in this community, the picture of Lou Huff, to the knowledge of the leaders among Garland's black citizens, is still missing. Some now believe the picture was given to family members as the Lou Huff Recreation Center was closing its doors in late 2002. Today, the rec center is a warehouse for the Garland Parks Department. It should be a museum of African-American culture in Garland. It is worthy of being on the National Register of Historic Places.

And I wonder how many realize that Garland has no park or any part of a park dedicated to the honor or memory of any Latinos, who today comprise nearly 39% of our city's population, nor to any Asians, who now comprise 10.4% of our population. (The Anglo population is nearly 33% and the black population 13.5%.)

The vast majority of Garland parks are named for whites, with only two of Garland's parks named for blacks.

Something is definitely wrong with these numbers!

Parks in the central and southern sectors of the city have not been kept up like they should have been. No wonder these parks stir reports and rumors of crime and more in them.

Neighbors who live near Central Park, situated on land once farmed by the original settlers—the Williams family—after it was the George Washington "Wash" Routh home place beginning in about 1850 on Duck Creek—are concerned about the proposed skate and dog parks in Central Park. But they also worry about current crime there and the way they say West Avenue G running behind their houses is constantly littered with hypodermic needles (for illegal drug uses) but also used condoms and other evidences of misuse of the once-magnificent, family-friendly city park.

Lou Huff Park is another of those utter embarrassments. At a recent luncheon at our home for African-American leaders, Garland City Councilman B.J. Williams expressed shock and disbelief at the description offered of Lou Huff Park, once one of the key epicenters of African-American life in Garland, as nothing but a warehouse. (On the Parks Department website, the park is generally referred to merely as "Huff" Park, diluting the origin of its name still more.) It has a tennis court and softball fields.

Today, the Lou Huff Recreation Center and its expansion serve as storage facilities for Garland's Parks Department. The recreation facility is history. Members of Garland' black community wistfully recall the time when this center was their "everything", a hub around which everything revolved.
Instead of a city warehouse, the Lou Huff Park facilities would make a great museum of Garland's African-American history.

The two small, old swimming pools at Lou Huff built for "coloreds only" lie buried like caskets in the ground. The old, large "whites only" swimming poor at Central Park suffered the same fate. At least we know precisely where it is: under the outline of the sandy volleyball courts. I hope someday someone in Garland's African-American community can clearly pinpoint to me the exact location of the two original small swimming pools in Lou Huff Park and secure a Texas historical marker for them.

And Central Park? I've covered that embarrassment in many blogs over the past year. It needs a total remake, starting with a master plan—and not just a bunch of knee-jerk, hit-and-miss ideas—that neighbors, other citizens, city staff, and city council can all agree on. It doesn't even treat the memory of our white settlers any better.

Garland has an amazing way of burying the history it wants to try and somehow forget—such as the days of segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the city's burgeoning Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. And it refuses to honor our Latino citizens who have given so much to help build this city.

I wish the Williams family ultimately would donate to the city its historic home place situated next to the park, to be used as a "Farmstead" heritage model like the City of Plano has. But given the current state of Garland's parks, I wouldn't blame the family for answering with a resounding "NO".
The Williams family home place near Garland's Central Park. Funeral cars are parked out front in this photo of bygone times. The Williams family owned and operated the funeral home. Photo from Pioneers of Dallas County.
Our treasured parks deserve better than this! Those who made these parks possible deserve better than this. Our current citizens who want and need to use their parks fully deserve better than this.

And our Hispanic and Asian populations deserve to have at least one park each named for one of their own.

The Garland Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department says it has plans to take up the asphalt and replace it with concrete at the Rick Oden Park in 2019 and to fix at least one road in Central Park in 2020. Roads and parking lots in Lou Huff Park are not on the calendar.

When I am elected Mayor of Garland, I will work to see that these important parks—and others as well—are respected and restored to their original beauty and importance to our city.

I will also work to see that the naming of our parks begins to reflect the true ethnic mix of our community today.

For starters, perhaps we need to find a way to fund our own Garland Parks security department or some other means to keep all of our parks safe. A division of our Garland Police Department? A well-organized Citizens-on-Patrol operation? A special section in our Marshall's Office? Each option and others ought to be considered.

I invite our citizens to weigh in with ideas on how we might start by making our troubled parks safer for ALL our citizens! Email me with your ideas at louismooreformayorofgarland@yahoo.com.

The town swimming hole when Duck Creek was dammed up near the Williams property in bygone times. Garland's Central Park is in this area now.  Photo from Garland Landmark Society.