Pillow Talk – Get Even

by Perry Pillow, AATC

Math (or as our King’s English friends across the Atlantic pond say, ‘maths’) evokes a strong emotional response. Few words rival math’s ability to induce fear, anxiety, and cringe-worthy memories. My college calculus professor encouraged my fellow liberal-arts majors to not get frustrated with math but to get even. Dr. Turner loved a good math pun—he played the Eagles, “Take It to the Limit,” before our final exam!

Last month, we examined the loneliest number in politics: 1. It is lonely at the top; especially if you are President of the United States (POTUS). This month, we are going to get EVEN as we examine the impact of 2, 4, 6, & 8. Odd numbers are designed to break ties, even numbers are there to show strength! Ever notice we have 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 1000 milliseconds in a second? All even numbers! There are FOUR quarters in Football! Soccer – FOUR quarters. Basketball – FOUR quarters! We won’t EVEN talk about Baseball.

All Americans are represented in Washington by TWO United States Senators. Our Texas U.S. Senators are Republicans John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. TWO AATC members serve in the Texas House of Representatives in Austin: Republicans Stephanie Klick and Craig Goldman.

Texas counties have FOUR County Commissioners, and each county is divided by population into FOUR equal commissioner’s districts from which each commissioner is elected. Arlington has a nine-member city council (see…tie-breaker) with FOUR at-large city council members (three council members plus the mayor).

SIX members of congress have a portion of AATC’s service area: Republicans Kay Granger, Roger Williams, Michael Burgess, Beth Van Dyne; Democrat Marc Veasey; and one open-seat.

Justices of the Peace and Constables impact AATC members more than any other elected offices. Tarrant County has EIGHT Justice of the Peace precincts and EIGHT Constable precincts. JPs and constables serve FOUR-year terms and are elected in EVEN years. Constables are elected in presidential-election years and JPS in non-presidential election years.

Math can be useful—EVEN in AATC advocacy efforts!

MASK MANDATE LIFTED – Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an order on March 2 Governor Greg Abbott today issued an (Executive Order (GA-34) lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing the capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. Tarrant County Judge Glenn Whitley immediately lifted Tarrant County’s mandatory mask.

AATC MEETS WITH TARRANT CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION – AATC leaders along with members virtually met with AATC service-area members of Congress Michael Burges (R – TX 26), Kay Granger (R – TX12), Beth Van Dyne (R – TX 24), Marc Veasey (D – TX33), and Roger Williams (R – TX25), as well as US Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. AATC discussed the need for additional rental assistance and the impact of COVID and the federal eviction moratorium on the multifamily industry. These meetings occurred during NAA’s March 2021 Advocate Conference.

EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENSION & FEDERAL LAWSUIT – President Biden extended the CDC eviction moratorium until March 31, 2021. However, on February 25th, Judge John Barker of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas ruled in Lauren Terkel et al. v. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the CDC eviction order is unconstitutional. As expected, the U.S. Justice Department has appealed this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

RENTAL ASSISTANCE – Tarrant County municipalities have received more than $65 million in additional rental assistance funds. These monies can be used to pay rent for up to one year. This new round of funding allows both renters and landlords (on behalf of their residents) to apply for assistance. In addition, the state of Texas received more than $1.4 billion in rental assistance funds. These monies are being administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) through its Texas Rent Relief Program. For more information on the TDHCA program go to https://texasrentrelief.com/sites/default/files/210222-TX-RentRelief-FAQ.pdf. AATC is hosting a webinar on various government rentals on March 24th. To register for this webinar contact either Gregory Ann Goldrick at ggoldrick@aatcnet.org or ppillow@atcnet.org. The Department of the Treasury has issued updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program

MAY 1st MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS – More than 200 candidates have filed for the May 1 city council and school board elections. Every incumbent council member in Arlington and Fort Worth has an opponent. The open Arlington and Fort Worth mayor races drew numerous candidates including eight contestants vying to replace Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and ten candidates (including current council members Brian Byrd and Ann Zadeh) who are running to succeed long-serving Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

TEXAS LEGISLATURE UPDATE – The 140-day Texas Legislature session began Tuesday, January 12, and ends Monday, May 31st. This year’s session will be dominated by three issues: electric power, the budget, and redistricting. TAA is actively tracking more than 400 bills. Half the Tarrant County legislative delegation are serving as committee chairs this session including AATC members Craig Goldman (Energy Resources) and Stephanie Klick (Public Health). Chris Turner (D – Grand Prairie) was appointed chair of the Business & Industry committee which has jurisdiction of all landlord-tenant legislation. Other AATC-area legislator chairs including Burns (Agriculture); Collier (Jurisprudence); Geren (Local & Consent Calendars); and Krause (General Investigating).

RON WRIGHT PASSED AWAY – Congressman Ron Wright (R – Arlington) passed away on February 8th. Ron was a long-time AATC friend. Prior to his election to Congress, Ron served as former Congressman Joe Barton’s chief of Staff; as an At-Large member of the Arlington City Council; and Tarrant County Tax Assessor. Governor Abbot has set May 1 for the election to replace Wright. The top candidate in this race is Ron’s widow Susan Wright.

2021 ARLINGTON MUNICIPAL SUMMITS – Arlington Municipal Summits will be held virtually this year on May 20th and June 24th.

For additional information on AATCs advocacy initiatives, go to www.aatcnet.org/advocacy or reach out to the association’s director of government affairs, Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org.