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From the Sidelines

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Good news!
Our former mayor, Mike Donnelly, is coming back to town council.  Mike only served one term as Mayor after serving several terms on Town Council.  Mike out worked all of us, managing a full time job as well as the task of performing as a full time mayor.  He decided not to run for a second term because family obligations were restricting time available for the town.

Now, everything is under control on the home front so Mike is planning to declare for the May election to Town Council.  I, for one, am delighted that he’s coming back.  Former mayor, Bill Wilkinson, current mayor, Tom Pidcock and I have all agreed to provide our support.  I’m looking forward to having him back in Town Hall on a daily basis.

We have a really strong, active, town council.  Of the five, Mayor Pro-tem Gary Garrett, John Dondrea, and Tracy Miller will all be up for reelection.  They are all experienced and have provided good leadership for the town.  For the past several years, we have not had a council election in Double Oak.  When there are as many candidates, but no more than the number of openings, there is no contest and therefore no election.

I suspect that not having to stand to election is the easiest part of holding office, but I’d much rather have the elections.  Except for the few of you that come to council meetings, I expect not many to even know who is running the town.  Elections bring the prospective council member before the public.  We have forum-like debates where candidates can list their accomplishments and prior results, answer questions, as well as talking about what they plan for the town’s future.

That’s healthy and that is the democratic process.  I’ll admit it, I really disliked campaigning.  Going door to door, walking and knocking is not much fun.  The only fun part comes when someone answers the door and is willing to talk about the town, its present and future.  The loft in my little barn is full of reused campaign signs for town council and mayor, but in a little town like Double Oak campaigning is not expensive, just labor intensive.  With luck, this year we’ll have at least four candidates for three spots and a real election.

Simmons Road:
The good news is that the concrete road surface is complete and much of the road is open for traffic.  Charlie Wright tells me that the barriers will be down soon.  Even so, I have heard many complaints from friends and neighbors about the new stop signs.  If you live in Double Oak you’re not apt to use the new road as a speedway, thus the concerns.  I attended the town council meeting where the council voted to put the extra stop signs in.  There was very little argument or controversy.  Council was concerned that with all the pending construction on FM 407, commute traffic would use Simmons as a speedway cut through.

I personally find the additional stop signs irritating.  For those of us that live on Oak Trail, Simmons Road is the preferred route in and out of town.  However, I don’t want to see speeding on Simmons Road.  I’ll probably adjust my driving to avoid the stop signs when possible.  We’ll all eventually become accustomed to the new signs.  Even though they don’t make me happy I do acknowledge that they’re good for the town.  Ticket revenue is down because more folks are obeying the law.  Our police will enforce compliance at the new signs and keep Simmons Road traffic safe for our kids.

Mayor Tom Pidcock:
I’ve seen Mayor Tom very recently and he looks great!  His chemo is complete and he expects to go in for surgery for lung cancer this month.  Cancer treatment is always debilitating and difficult but Tom is in good spirits now that the chemo is over with.  Some of you may not know that Tom is a retired Army Sergeant Major attached to the military police.  He is a tough old bird and if anyone can come out if this illness smiling and fit, it’s Tom.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Originally published in the January 2012 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette

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