Continuing The Long Journey

In February of 2015, the Dallas Article X (ten) landscape and tree ordinances were opened up for amendment and we started down a long two-year journey through the Zoning Ordinance Advisory Committee (ZOAC).  At that time, I wrote the following post (and a few after) and focused my efforts on helping our department to deliver a solid and sound ordinance which would hopefully one day visit the City Council for consideration.  At this point, I've learned to not ask for more than that.  

In a couple of weeks, we advance to the City Plan Commission to present the results.  

I had questioned whether to return to this mode of communication.  Blogging was such fun before and perhaps it can be again.  But for now, I really just want to provide objective information to those who want to learn - and need to learn - the basics of how the ordinance process moved forward and the extensive content within.  I want to provide background information and research - the tedious stuff.  Really, I think it will be rewarding when trying to understand an ordinance.

I'll present it here and you can feel free to argue it out here or amongst yourselves.  This process needs to be recorded from my perspective because I'm tired enough of not being properly represented.  There'll be no muckraking or back-talking here.  I'll deal with my professional issues on my time and by honorable means.

I'll also be bringing other important stories and information which are not related to building a tree ordinance.  After all, I want to keep it fun.  Also, you can check into my main web page which has loads of reference materials and always available through this site.

My February 2015 article is below.

It was 2007 when I began writing in my blog I called Dallas Trees.  During the first few years, I was quite energized to produce numerous posts on various subjects.  I'd write pieces on the City of Dallas landscape and tree ordinance, and then I'd mix it up with a little opinion, show a few political discussions, romance on trees, dash out Leopold philosophy, throw out some social commentary, or harp on anything relevant that I felt needed revelation.

Somebody's got to go back and get a s*** load of dimes!

I had just become the chief arborist, and my interests were in promoting community forestry and sharing ideas on how we can build a better tree community in our little city that could.

Over time, my interest in the blog waned and I dedicated less and less time to the venture.  The posts became fewer and less impressive. Eventually, it just came to be a sounding board.  After all, I didn't have many readers.  I did have some positive responses from the few who did read, but nothing ever really drew enough attention to spar any discussion or debate.  I have to say, I sometimes wrote things that did not sit well with some people of influence.  When someone has to defend you for your right to write, then you have to decide if your freedoms are more important than your livelihood.  I didn't think I should have to make a choice. Perhaps I didn't, but I made one anyway.

Finally, a couple of years ago, I shut down the blog and I simply eradicated years of writing and thoughts from the internet.  I should have seen this coming.  As much as I learned to release myself in writing, I found myself editing my material to the point of being irrelevant.  I also learned, as a public official, I am limited by a little bastard inside my mind that also keeps me irrelevant.  There is a point where a free mind is chained by titles and bureaucracy. 

The older posts are gone.  I miss them somewhat, but I moved on to other things.  Actually, I moved on to nothing.  I'm not who I was eight years ago and much of my enthusiasm has gone.  But, I have kept this blog alive in hope that someday I will find my voice once again.  Perhaps today is the day....or a day....for finding my voice.  I know there are those who will encourage me and welcome me back.  Mostly, there will not be any notice of this little corner of the world.  But this is for me.  It is for you if you want to tag along for the ride.  Things have changed just slightly to the point where I feel my mind may be able to come alive again.  Perhaps I need to feel I can accomplish something important for more than just myself.  

What has changed?  This little ordinance that pretty much defines my career is being revisited and perhaps renewed.  One day soon it will be different, but we don't know how different.  Starting Thursday, I have to be alive and open and charging into the maelstrom of minds and debate, ideas and angst.  I am being challenged, and perhaps this is all any city arborist really needs.  

It's time for me to expose myself to the world again.  Landscapes and trees will be my focus for the coming months in ways I haven't let myself consider them for some time now.  I get to fend off lunacy and embrace reason.  I get to have an obsession again.  I am still alive.

The ordinance opens up Thursday.  Game on.