Runoff Election and the Dog Park

 Hello!

I hope you all are doing well!  You may have heard about the runoff election between Jim Joyner and John Keating for Frisco City Council Place 4.  This election is very important since each candidate received almost exactly the same number of votes during the regular election.  The runoff will be close, so every vote counts!

I know that you all share my passion about having a dog park in Frisco, so I wanted to share with you some of the experiences I have had with Jim Joyner.  I am very concerned that Mr. Joyner, if elected, will put so many insurmountable requirements on the dog park that it will never be approved.

As many of you know, I have been volunteering my time over the past three years to bring a dog park to Frisco.  One of our biggest challenges has been to overcome the misperceptions about dog parks held by many of our city leaders and the city staff.  According to current and former City Council members, as well as City Parks Dept staff and members on the Parks Board, the misperceptions about dog parks had been conveyed to them by Jim Joyner.  During his previous terms on the City Council, Mr. Joyner, a veterinarian, told his fellow Council Members and Parks Staff many mistruths about dog parks.  Some were: 1) the City of Plano had been sued because of dog fight in their municipal dog park; and, 2) dog fights in dog parks are rampant. 

In July 2007, Mr. Joyner told me directly that, “A dog park is never going to happen!  We’re not going to build a park for dogs when kids don’t have enough ball fields to play on.  They [dog park users] can go stand in a field!”  I was astonished by his behavior, especially since he was a sitting Council member at the time.

In August 2008, Mr. Joyner wrote an editorial for the Frisco Enterprise Newspaper (see attached PDF of article) where he stated, “I do not feel that the City should fund and maintain…[a dog park]…at this time.  I do believe its time has come…what with the purported thousands of citizens that would support such a park….If there are truly thousands who would get behind this, then it can be done.”  He then went on to describe how the Frisco Dog Park Organization could pay for, manage, and maintain the dog park.

In the same article, Mr. Joyner alleged that as a veterinarian in Frisco, he treats dogs “all of the time” that have been in fights at dog parks.  Specifically, he said, “Most animals that get in these fights are dropped off for me to work on as their owners head to the hospital to get their own wounds tended to from breaking up the fight…I get to see them all the time.”

Mr. Joyner works at two different veterinary locations in Frisco, both of which are owned by Dr. Kevin Marcum.  In January 2009, Dr. Marcum filled out a questionnaire about dog parks.  His responses follow:

  1. Has your veterinary office treated dogs that have been injured from dog fights at dog parks?  Answer:  Yes, but this is very rare.
  2. If so, how frequently does your clinic treat dogs for this purpose?  Answer: No more than 1 – 2 per year.

As you can see, the statements made in Mr. Joyner’s Frisco Enterprise editorial directly contradict the statements made by the owner of the veterinary offices where he works.

In anticipation of the upcoming City Council election this year, Mr. Joyner completed a survey about the dog park on Frisco On-Line (http://www.frisco-online.com/forums/showthread.php?t=759807).  In his response, he stated, “I do support the construction of a dog park, but imagine my surprise when I was told by citizens that I was against it!…In the past I was a proponent of a private/public partnership to get it built faster, but with the current economy it has gotten very hard to raise money for these types of projects. If there is money in Parks and Recreation’s budget for this project, and with a site, this should go forward as a city project…The [dog] park must be built right, though.”  Mr. Joyner goes on to suggest use of a governing body for the dog park, “Whether it is Frisco Dog Park, Inc. or some other group….”  He also suggests a “membership,” which is an arrangement that the City Attorney has already said could not be required of a nonprofit organization.  Mr. Joyner mentions that a card reader access system is needed for the park, but the current City Council has already deemed such a system as too expensive and unnecessary.  He also suggests requiring an annual fee to use the dog park, which the Park Board has already deemed inappropriate for a municipal park in Frisco.

I am sharing all of this information with you so that you can consider it when making your decision about who to vote for in the runoff election.  As I mentioned before, participation in this election is very important, since the number of supporters are so evenly divided between the candidates – every vote counts!

Early voting begins June 1st and runs through June 8th.  Election Day is Saturday, June 12th.  Voting times & locations can be found on the City’s website:  http://www.friscotexas.gov/government/citySecretary/Pages/Elections.aspx

Thank You!

Sarah

 

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