The Duncanville City Council meeting on 01/21/2014 began with the settlement of a lawsuit that began almost as quickly as Mayor Hodge took office. Previously she had served on the Duncanville Community & Economic Development Corporation with all her efforts focused on taking Mara, Inc. to court over what the majority on the DCEDC believed to be minor concerns. With a new council and her power as mayor, the DCEDC was replaced with council members friendly to her cause and now the costly legal action Hodge sought rapidly moved forward as she envisioned.
Almost 18 months later with over $350,000 spent on legal and over $120,000 spent on one auditor, Mayor Hodge’s legal action had drained the budget and left very little to show. The report provided by the auditor could be paraphrased as ‘Just because I didn’t find any fraud after paying me $120,000 to find it, does not mean it’s not there.’ Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent and this is what Mayor Hodge was able to produce with you tax dollars. District 1 Council Member Cliff Boyd lays out the facts and, with the assistance of District 4 Council Member Cooks, is able to reach a settlement agreement with Monte & Rosa Anderson and Mara, Inc. This is something that the majority of members on the DCEDC had urged when Hodge served on the board. Simply stated, “let’s just talk things out.” Hodge was never interested in talking, and Duncanville citizens paid a hefty price for it.
Mayor Hodge, after the vote to settle goes against her wishes, makes a poor analogy comparing her participation in this meeting to that of driving someone to the hospital with a life threatening condition and having to run a red light.
Next Mayor Hodge provided a state of the city address, one that Duncanville United and numerous citizens had been calling upon her to do for more than a year. She read the speech prepared by city staff and then added her own personally written speech afterwards. In this Hodge mentions partnering with other cities for DART, but she has already shown an unwillingness to work with other cities. Hodge asks if Duncanville citizens want a water park, or to rebuild Kidsville, and tells citizens just to let the council know if they want these things and DART. Citizens are typically more accustom to being presented a plan by the city, and then the citizens will let the council know if they like the plan.
Hodge then moved onto discussing crime concerns and how people feel unprotected, but offered no solutions as four police officers stood guard at the meeting. She briefly mentioned the importance of economic development and bringing new business to Duncanville. But over her entire first term not one single dollar of DCEDC funds were reinvested into the community, which are intended to assist and encourage economic development. She also failed to mention how Monte Anderson, the man whom she moved the city to sue, increased the property value of one building off Main Street 10 times over, will be doing the same with another soon, and beyond all the other business Mr. Anderson has brought to Duncanville, she overlooked the fact that Anderson was directly responsible for bringing W&B Service Company to Duncanville in 2012 right before she was elected, not in 2013 as she stated in her speech.
Mayor Hodge talked about how important it was for us all to work together, but refused to work with and even sued Anderson, the one man who arguably has brought more business to Duncanville than any other person in recent history. Talk is cheap. Actions speak.
And to end, Mayor Hodge states “We have a problem… Duncanville is being destroyed by a few anonymous bloggers and bullies.” This is her summarization of all the problems in Duncanville – a few bloggers and bullies - more formally known as critics and those offering differing opinions.
After the two speeches, the meeting moved forward quite quickly until the last agenda item before the council recessed back into executive session.
We encourage you to watch this part of the meeting, which starts at 1:30:00, when Interim City Manager Humble presents the changes she is asking Council to make to the Rules and Procedures. Humble makes a thoughtfully clear case for the changes with the emphasis being on responsibly serving the needs of the citizens, council, and city staff better.
At 1:39:30 of the video Mayor Hodge begins to argue her position and interpretation of how the vote is to be handled with Robert E. Hager, Duncanville’s City Attorney, who holds a Master of Law Degree from Southern Methodist University and is a seasoned parliamentarian. We will leave it up to you to view the video and decide if Hodge made the correct decision by ignoring Mr. Hager’s stated opinion and effectively inviting a lawsuit by doing so. Hodge, at the end of the meeting, again shows her litigious nature and invites council to sue her in court over her decission. Did we not just settle one costly lawsuit Hodge sought?
Start Video at 1:30:00
Duncanville United will be participating in the Festival of Hope Celebration at Armstrong Park this Saturday, October 26. The event begins at 3:00 p.m. We are supporting this effort in conjunction with The First Presbyterian Church of Duncanville. Our tent will be there for a canned food drive in support of Duncanville Outreach Ministries.
There will be many other activities at the Amphitheater for all ages. A day of fun and celebration culminates in a storytelling and musical concert featuring professional storyteller Toni Simmons and folks from our community telling stories about God’s care for the poor, the foreigner, widows, and orphans, and God’s desire for the city to flourish. The Racing Gravity Band and other groups will be performing. The concert features the choirs of Duncanville High School and First Presbyterian Church. Those involved include community churches and businesses, the Duncanville City Council, Charlton Methodist Hospital, Carter BloodCare, the Boy Scouts, local civic organizations, senior citizens groups, and many community-minded individuals, including Duncanville United.
Hope to see YOU there!