Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Campaign spillover

I'm no fan of Tonya Jones. She is a developer / construction company owner who, when she was on the Planning Commission generally voted with developers. She organized and lobbied to kill clean energy legislation on behalf of the petroleum industry. She supported Charlie Tygard's plan to allow business-style LED signage in high-density residential neighborhoods. If Bellevue wants to hand their seat over to an anti-neighborhood tool of developers, she is it.

But Bo Mitchell was out-of-order at tonight's council meeting trying to turn a bill to deal with David Torrence's abuses of the system into a campaign debate about Tonya Jones. It looked a little desperate to me. It seems like there are more effective ways to find traction.


  1. I hope Bo has done his homework.

    If he has, I'm sure he can offer his district and fellow council members an explanation to the link I posted under the "Bo Knows But Won't Tell" story regarding the lawsuit that JMJ Holdings recently lost regarding a development deal.

    Even though a Dallas jury recently returned a $10,000,000 judgement against JMJ Holdings on a real-estate deal, I am willing to listen, should he feel these guys are a good choice.

    You never know.

  2. Be careful with that word "tool."

    George Barrett does not like it.

    Especially if you're a tool of Dean.

  3. As far as I could tell, this debate was about Charlie Tygard's obvious hypocrisy: Tygard introduced a bill that targeted improper use of Metro vehicles (in response to the David Torrence issue), while he himself has used Metro vehicles for improper purposes (i.e., campaign events). Please see the link for a letter written by Tim Townsend, Trial Court Administrator, in which he notes that Charlie Tygard requested use of Drug Court resources--resources which included use of a Metro vehicle and employee--for a Tonya Jones campaign event. (http://www.tennessean.com/assets/pdf/DN175912621.PDF)I thought that you, of all people, would want our representatives to be held accountable for their actions.

    As far as "gaining traction", there are Bo Mitchell signs all over Bellevue and, as of yet, I have not seen a single Tonya Jones sign anywhere. Bo also has about 7 times the number of Facebook fans as Tonya Jones. Seems to me that she is the one desperate to gain traction.

  4. Mr. Barner,
    It appears that the legal issue you brought up occurred long after JMJ purchased the land and began the process of planning for this development. What do you posit Bo do about this situation? I don't think he has the power to force JMJ to scrap their plans and sell the property. I guess he could rezone the property, but wouldn't that be throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Many in this area are anxiously anticipating the arrival of businesses AND the influx of new jobs in this area. I am sure that many developers the size of JMJ have been involved in, and even lost, some lawsuits. I think it would be next to impossible to find a developer large enough to develop this site who has never come up on the losing end of litigation. By the way, JMJ also owns the former Bellevue Mall property, which happens to be in Eric Crafton's district. Are you going to hit Eric Crafton for allowing JMJ to purchase this property and eventually redevelop that portion of land?

  5. It was no uglier than Charlie Tygard using the Announcement Section of the Metro Council meeting to slam CM Mitchell by reading aloud a letter that he supposedly sent to Bellevue residents regarding the trash pickup/beautification/campaign event on Newsome Station Rd.

    No citizen would have ever been able to make such comments before a televised council meeting regarding another councilmember, even if the facts were true.

    Councilman Hunt chairs that part of the meeting and let Tygard totally slam CM Mitchell for all to see live and on replays. Has anybody called down Tygard for his actions or Hunt for allowing it to happen?

    When Tonya Jones attempted to redraw the Bellevue district, even in the 11th hour, to benefit both herself and Tygard - the battle was on.

    So glad Tonya Jones is off of the Planning Commission. Now let's just hope that voters in Bellevue have the smarts to not allow her to serve on Council. Voters citywide need to send Tygard packing.

    With Tygard's wife helping run the HOA's in the area, Tygard tries to appear as the concerned citizen trying to help. He is using her job just like he recently used the Sign Summit to appear to be something that he is not.

    If the signs were so bad and Newsome Station road so unsightly, why did Tygard wait until election time to do something about it? I also doubt that Jones was out picking up trash before the need for photo ops for the campaign.

  6. Just visited your link to Tonya Jones' Facebook page and saw my number one reason not to vote for her. She is pictured standing right next to Rep. Debra Maggart who sponsored legislation to strip collective bargaining rights for teachers.

    Tygard's daughter is a teacher. I cannot believe he would even associate with Jones.

  7. Gee Mike. Look at the pictures in your second link to Tonya Jones at the cleanup.

    Does this look like someone who came to clean up or cut brush or weeds? She does not have on gloves and she has on summer heels with open toes. I do not know anyone who does yardwork or trash pickup dressed like this? Think of the chiggers and ticks?

    This was nothing more than a photo op? Does she think we Bellevue residents are not smarter than this?

  8. Anon:

    I wouldn't have called Mitchell's comments out-of-order if he had made them during the announcements portion before the business meeting started. CMs can say anything they want during that part of the meeting when the least number of people are actually watching them speak. It just seems that at this late date of the term, CMs should be savvy about how to use council rules, especially for the purposes of campaigning.

  9. Jonzmon,

    I'm not saying scrap the plan. I just think some due-diligence is necessary (though, I suppose now, it would be post-diligence).

    Remember what happened recently in Spring Hill, when the mayor neglected to do is due-diligence with the guy who promised an amusement park, movie production facility and NBA facility? And thousands of jobs?

    I have nothing against JMJ Holdings at all, however, to my knowledge, no council-persons brought up the issue of the law-suit, nor where they aware of it.

    In general, I thing all of Metro-Council suffers from a lack of conducting the due-diligence that is necessary before casting votes and spending tax-payer money.

    And in particular, they should be able AND willing to ask such questions of each other and especially Mayor Dean.

    There's no reason for hidden agendas nor for hiding pertinent information.

    The JMJ lawsuit is pertinent to the vote that happened last night.

    All somebody had to do was Google it. It took me less than a minute to do so.

  10. Hey Anonymous,

    I have a feeling YOUR life sucks.

    Or else you would have something to say on this blog and be willing to get into the fight.

    It really doesn't matter whose side you're on, but you're pretty much just sitting on the couch and pointing your clicker at the television.

    As the cowardly lion says from The Wizard of Oz:

    "Put 'em up! Put 'em up!"

  11. Hey Jonzmom,

    Check this story out from the Dallas Business Journal. Maybe JMJ will get Nashville that professional soccer team we need! Now THIS could get our town on the map!

    JMJ Holdings to buy Italian soccer team
    Dallas Business Journal
    Date: Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 2:59pm CDT - Last Modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 3:43pm CDT
    Sports Business
    Click here to find out more!

    North Texas-based investment and acquisition firm JMJ HoldingsbizWatch said Tuesday it intends to acquire the Italian-based AS Bari football club for approximately $25 million.

    The club, which recently was promoted to Italy’s professional-level Serie A football (or soccer) league, currently belongs to the European Matarrese family.

    If an acquisition goes through, JMJ President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Barton will become president of the franchise. The parties are still conducting due diligence on the proposed acquisition and expect a sale could take place in October.

    Dallas-based JMJ Holdings was founded by Tim Barton in 1990. Barton found out about the team’s sale while traveling through southern Italy, where his firm already was invested in green energy initiatives.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity,” said Barton. “The Bari fans are passionate about their team, and with new management, we hope to grow this franchise into one of the most successful and competitive in Europe. We have been working very closely with the family to ensure a smooth transition and both parties are supportive of a positive outcome for the team.”

  12. Boyer,
    I see your point on the due diligence issue, but I can see how this would have slipped through the cracks considering that it didn't happen until March of this year and I'm sure JMJ wasn't advertising it. It would be wise of the council to at least look into the issue you brought up, but I have a feeling that, at this point in the game, it probably won't end up being a deal breaker. But it never hurts to be too careful, just in case. I am sure it will be brought up at the public hearing on this issue in August.

    Anonymous--Oh Lordy, anything but soccer! :)