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Doesn't seem like the meta thread from the old board made it.

Here is pretty good summary of what's happening at Dallas City Hall. Schutze as usual nails it.

"Progressives"(?) Question Insider Airport Deal

Quote

So here we have two so-called progressives doing two things. First of all, they are calling for transparent businesslike practices. In the second place, they are fighting to defend southern Dallas from being sold out to inside players, arguing that Executive Airport is on the verge of being attractive to private capital. Nothing could be worse for the airport or the surrounding area than giving away airport land in a junk sale

 

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The Mary Suhm and Jill Jordan disasters keeps coming.  We already have to spend $2 million to demolish the "Standing Wave" and now the stupid, fancy new bridge may just fall down.  This story has been developing for months (thanks, of course, to the "progressive" council members who are crazy enough to insist on transparency and a business like approach to city management).  But, it's getting worse.

Quote

The moment has arrived when we must expand our thinking about the new and troubled Margaret McDermott Bridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava on the Trinity River downtown. We’ve got to add at least one extreme outcome to the far end of the spectrum of possibilities.

It may have to come down.

Bridge Problems

Dallas has been very good to me and I love living here, especially in my neighborhood.  But, the craziness from the Citizens Council and their ability to screw things up never ceases to amaze me.  One to two more shifts at the council and it will really be over.

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1 hour ago, DFWTexEx said:

The Mary Suhm and Jill Jordan disasters keeps coming.  We already have to spend $2 million to demolish the "Standing Wave" and now the stupid, fancy new bridge may just fall down.  This story has been developing for months (thanks, of course, to the "progressive" council members who are crazy enough to insist on transparency and a business like approach to city management).  But, it's getting worse.

Bridge Problems

Dallas has been very good to me and I love living here, especially in my neighborhood.  But, the craziness from the Citizens Council and their ability to screw things up never ceases to amaze me.  One to two more shifts at the council and it will really be over.

City Manager Broadnax refuses to own any of it. He just sequesters it and everything else he needed to inherit. I wish he would own it and find a solution.

Jordan retired a couple years ago and is now out of the picture. Suhm still seems to haunt the halls there and I have seen her in City Hall a few times in the last year. She is still actively managing these projects.

Suhm lives on through her incompetent hiring moves of key employees in Trinity Watershed Management, Office of Environmental Quality(OEQ) and Stormwater Management. Those three organizations are in cahoots together that streamline key projects outside the view of the Dallas City Council and City Auditor. Stormwater Management is a revenue generating department and has a massive slush fund from water billing. These funds are programmed into black projects like the Trinity Forest Golf Course, marquee bridges etc.

The progressive city council members like Griggs, Kingston, Navarez, Greyson, Medrano offer some hope to foil the plans of Suhm and her stepchildren. They rarely have the votes needed to shoot down the largest of the messes.

The LGC and it's formation should really worry many. They are in complete cahoots with the monied Park Cities folks. The only hope is that the Simmons Park cannot reach funding expectations. I have heard rumors they are having problems with raising the funds. Even then, maybe the ACOE will shoot down their project framework as the meanders and infrastructure don't fall within the Balanced Vision Plan.

I probably am a bore with my post but I know way too much about this on a firsthand level.

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Allow me to summarize: The Dallas City Council can screw up a wet dream. County Commissioners are a close 2nd. 

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On 7/9/2018 at 1:03 PM, CHEF DIESEL said:

 

I probably am a bore with my post but I know way too much about this on a firsthand level.

Not a bore at all.  This stuff is frustrating and interesting and love to hear your perspective.  There are so many takes and so many questions.  My favorite is the role that South Dallas black city council members play in all this, often voting against their interests.

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40 minutes ago, DFWTexEx said:

Not a bore at all.  This stuff is frustrating and interesting and love to hear your perspective.  There are so many takes and so many questions.  My favorite is the role that South Dallas black city council members play in all this, often voting against their constituents' interests.

fify

Their own interests are well taken care of.

 

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I'm just shocked the Trinity Tollroad finally got killed. I thought for sure we were going to have that shoved down our throats. 

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3 hours ago, DFWTexEx said:

Not a bore at all.  This stuff is frustrating and interesting and love to hear your perspective.  There are so many takes and so many questions.  My favorite is the role that South Dallas black city council members play in all this, often voting against their interests.

I think Felder has his head screwed on straight enough to make some sound decisions going forward. Much better than Young, who he beat for the seat. Felder holds the keys to Fair Park and with a park board appointment can elevate his relevance to other city council members. Traditionally District 7 is pretty much a backwater. Felder has some clout. I think that his move to kill a cement batch plant in Joppa was a good one.

Caraway and Atkins are really just a plague in the horseshoe. I was really hoping after they were term limited out that they would not return. I like neither on a personal level outside of politics. They are both pretty terrible. Caraway still feels the need to carry the load for the Park Cities and North Dallas. Despite saying in his first city council meeting this year that he could no longer be bought or do favors.

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2 hours ago, mdmost said:

I'm just shocked the Trinity Tollroad finally got killed. I thought for sure we were going to have that shoved down our throats. 

The tollroad is not dead. It is just resting. The Balanced Vision Plan is still very much alive and well. That includes the tollroad. It would only take someone like Bobby Abtahi to win the mayoral race to start it all up again. Abtahi is totally running for mayor. He just does not want to announce it because he would have to vacate his Park Board President seat to do so.

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25 minutes ago, CHEF DIESEL said:

The tollroad is not dead. It is just resting. The Balanced Vision Plan is still very much alive and well. That includes the tollroad. It would only take someone like Bobby Abtahi to win the mayoral race to start it all up again. Abtahi is totally running for mayor. He just does not want to announce it because he would have to vacate his Park Board President seat to do so.

Abtahi v. Kingston Round 2 would be entertaining.  Those two do not really like one another at all.

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6 minutes ago, Ghost of LL said:

Abtahi v. Kingston Round 2 would be entertaining.  Those two do not really like one another at all.

I don't think anyone likes either of them. I don't. Kingston goes out to Marfa all the time and is into some weird scene shit out there. He is a complete asshole but his assholery is usually aimed in the right direction.

Odd fact: Kingston's wife divorced him for six months way back when. Then they got back together. Which is even stranger.

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What weird scene in Marfa?  I mean, other than Marfa generally?

Here's what I'll say about Kingston--he's the hardest working politician in Dallas.  He is at neighborhood meetings and town halls and committees constantly.  And when he's not doing that, he's block-walking for some other candidate.  He walked more blocks in West Dallas to get Narvaez elected than most candidates walk in their own districts.

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Who is going to run against Abtahi?  Griggs?  He is term limited now.  I'd love to see him as mayor but I am not sure he has the personality to win and he would have some strong winds against him.  He did manage to get the vote out and beat Delia Jasso, a well funded and well backed Hispanic incumbent in Oak Cliff, so he knows how to win elections.

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2 hours ago, DalTxHornFan said:

Diesel --

Your insight is great.  Who does Adam McGough work for?  What makes him tick? I've never understood him or his motivations.

 

 

I'll offer a little insight.  I think McGough is conflicted.  He's not a Dallas native so he's not totally pre-plugged to one "constituency" or another.  He has a fair amount of stand-up guy in him, but he's not beyond being bought or cajoled like Griggs and Kingston.  He's not a dumbass, but he's not as smart as Griggs and Kingston, either.  He will probably remain something of a wild-card as long as he remains in Dallas politics.

 

I forgot to add.  I knew him as a baby lawyer/law student. He's a Texas grad, but St. Mary's law IIRC. I believe he was in the city attorney's office for a while and my best guess is that he ran for city council to try to improve his law career.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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1 hour ago, CHEF DIESEL said:

I don't think anyone likes either of them. I don't. Kingston goes out to Marfa all the time and is into some weird scene shit out there. He is a complete asshole but his assholery is usually aimed in the right direction.

Odd fact: Kingston's wife divorced him for six months way back when. Then they got back together. Which is even stranger.

Kingston and I were in the same class in HS back in SA. He's an interesting fellow for sure. Doesn't take shit from anybody.

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On 7/13/2018 at 2:23 PM, DalTxHornFan said:

Diesel --

Your insight is great.  Who does Adam McGough work for?  What makes him tick? I've never understood him or his motivations.

 

 

He is Mayor Mike Rawlings boi. Votes lockstep with the mayor on virtually everything. If I remember correctly he is a UT Delt, Gamma Iota. He seems to be a real bible thumper which makes it hard to tell if he is genuine. He was busted for renting a tiny apartment on the tollroad in University Park so his sons could attend Highland Park schools.  He is big on family and jesus stuff but it is hard to see if it is just a veneer hiding something else beneath. I don't trust him.

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Who will be Mayor?  The DMN breaks down the initial list.

The Contenders

 

Quote

It's often an aggravating, dead-end job with no prospects for higher office, but that hasn't stopped numerous potential candidates from exploring campaigns for Dallas mayor.

With less than a year before the 2019 municipal elections, at least 16 contenders are jockeying or being mentioned as possible successors to Mayor Mike Rawlings, who will leave office in June after serving eight years as leader of the council.

The list, heavy with City Council members, includes some of the biggest names in local politics.

Current Dallas City Council members

Dwaine Caraway

Jennifer Staubach Gates

Scott Griggs

Philip Kingston

Adam McGough

State representatives

Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas

Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto

Jason Villalba, R-Dallas

Others

Mike Ablon, Dallas Design District developer

Bobby Abtahi, lawyer and Dallas Park Board president

Albert Black, CEO and chairman of On Target Supplies and Logistics

Peter Brodsky, owner of Southwest Center Mall

Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD superintendent

Phillip Huffines, real estate developer

Angela Hunt, lawyer and former Dallas City Council member

Regina Montoya, attorney, former senior vice president of Children's Medical Center in Dallas

 

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Bobby Abtahi, Peter Brodsky, Scott Griggs and maybe Angela Hunt.

Griggs and Hunt both have young kids. Probably impacts Griggs less than it does Hunt. I think only one or the other would run. Griggs would have to give up his city council seat. I would hope someone like Jason Roberts might step up and run if that happens.

Abtahi could not beat Kingston in a City Council race a few years ago. He would have a large war chest of money from monied wealthy and the Dallas Citizens Council.

Only one of all those that I don't know personally is Brodsky. He ran the animal commission and is working to redo Red Bird Mall. He would have street cred with Southern Dallas blacks, maybe.

 

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Griggs is term limited; so, he is done for D1.  Chad West seems to be being groomed to take the seat.  Scott appointed him to the CPC and Chad's social media presence on zoning / development issues has exploded in the last six months. He has always been active (started Dash for the Beads to help local schools, for instance) but is everywhere now, hosting town hall like meetings, soliciting input on development issues, etc.  He has taken up Scott's vision of transparency on CPC issues (FB posts, etc.).  Clearly, he has his eyes set on something and D1 seems obvious.   Not a bad choice.

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Interesting stuff from City Hall this week.   

The Fair Park story is pretty incredible and could be (time will tell) up there with the Trinity tollway vote as a watershed moment when real government trumped the desires of the Dallas Citizens Council.   The handpicked insider group that was to be given Fair Park did not get selected as the recommended bid for the park's privatization.  Instead, the thumbs up went to outsiders whose plan may actually save the city $100 million.  There likely will be drama about this, but since the Park Board's hands are tied now, there is not much those folks can do other than torpedo the whole thing at City Council.   And leave Fair Park for dead, again.

Fair Park Privatization

And we got to read about what really happened at the City Council meeting in 2013 when the McDermott "bridge" was approved.  This is where the City Council voted to spend $115 million on a decorative pedestrian bridge that no one really wanted or needed.  Griggs (of course) and Hunt questioned the whole thing and voted against it.  Jill Jordan* (of course) defended the project and said it would be perfect.    And Jordan approved the "value engineering" that led to the cost cutting that led to the bridge now being too unsafe to use.   The South Dallas council members gushed about how great of a job she did.

Story on the Bridge

*Did Jill Jordan actively try to sabotage the City of Dallas?  What else can explain the devastation she caused (the Trinity stuff, the Standing Wave, this bridge, the Trinity Forrest, etc.)

 

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the way the council (minus the 2 dissenters) glossed over the yearly maintenance bill for the arches is astounding.  $400,000 a year to maintain. 

Jordan was an environmental engineer and not capable of making these calls for using cheaper material and changing the connections from welds to bolts.  I wonder who gave her the assurance that it would probably be fine to cut these corners and then have the balls to say it could be done without stress testing?

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Today the Dallas City Council goes into closed-door executive session, away from the eyes and ears of the taxpayers, to decide if the taxpayers should pick up the tab for the legal defense of City Council member Dwaine Caraway, who has been accused in a lawsuit of racketeering.

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-city-council-may-pay-racketeering-defense-for-dwaine-caraway-10995720

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36 minutes ago, CHEF DIESEL said:

Today the Dallas City Council goes into closed-door executive session, away from the eyes and ears of the taxpayers, to decide if the taxpayers should pick up the tab for the legal defense of City Council member Dwaine Caraway, who has been accused in a lawsuit of racketeering.

https://www.dallasobserver.com/news/dallas-city-council-may-pay-racketeering-defense-for-dwaine-caraway-10995720

Well, yeah--everybody gets to talk to their lawyer in private.

But they can't make decisions in executive session.  Decisions have to be made in open meeting.

And by the way--a journalist as experienced as Jim Schutze knows the Open Meetings Act pretty well.  And he knows that what he wrote is dead wrong.  Unless, of course, he has some inside knowledge that the council intends to violate the Open Meetings Act.  In which case, he's burying the lede.

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I thought the Executive Session could be used in this scenario due to the lawsuit:

"...seeking the advice of its attorney about pending or contemplated litigation, settlement offers, or any matter in which the duty of the attorney to the City Council under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with the Texas Open Meetings Act. [Tex. Govt. Code §551.071]"

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2 hours ago, CHEF DIESEL said:

I thought the Executive Session could be used in this scenario due to the lawsuit:

"...seeking the advice of its attorney about pending or contemplated litigation, settlement offers, or any matter in which the duty of the attorney to the City Council under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with the Texas Open Meetings Act. [Tex. Govt. Code §551.071]"

Yes.  You can consult with your attorney in executive session.*  But the council cannot make any decisions in executive session.

So how that works is this: the attorney will go in and give his/her opening spiel.  The council members will then ask the attorney whatever questions they have.  But they can't discuss the merits of the course of action to be taken.  And they sure as shit can't "decide" the matter--the matter is decided by taking a vote in open session.

So for example--and I'll just take one that happened recently--my client has a contract dispute with a vendor.  We go into executive session.  I give the various options (e.g., sue now, try to get a quick resolution before suit, don't sue because of other business/political considerations).  The council members have various questions.  I try to answer them as best I can.  In the course of providing an answer, another member will often jump in with "but what about . . . ," and I try to deal with that.  I can tell what they're thinking based on their questions (and their reactions to my answers).  But they can't talk to one another and evaluate the merits of the options I've laid out--that's reserved for open session.

So after they're done with me, they go back to open session.  It's clear  reading between the lines of their questions to me which option is going to end up with the majority of votes.  But they go out there and discuss the pros and cons of that course of action.  And then they take a vote.  And the matter's settled--I'm authorized to file suit against the vendor and spend a certain amount of money in the prosecution of that suit.

_________________________________________________________

That's real different from how Schutze writes it up.  Schutze writes that they're going back into executive session "to decide" the issue at hand.  If they were to do that, it'd be a TOMA violation.  That would be bad.  They're not going to do that.  

What they are going to do is go into executive session to hear the advice and counsel of their attorney as to their options and the benefits and costs of those various options.  But the deciding comes in open session.

And Schutze knows that.

 

 

 

* I know this because I have represented numerous public entities and have been in plenty of executive sessions to discuss litigation, so I know how the drill goes.  

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So no more Dunham and Miller segments with Dwaine for a little while.

https://twitter.com/NBCDFW/status/1027554090916691968

 

NBC DFWVerified account @NBCDFW
FollowFollow @NBCDFW
More

#BREAKING Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in Dallas County Schools bus scandal. http://on.nbcdfw.com/DGtPXXk 

Edited by mdmost

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17 minutes ago, mdmost said:

So no more Dunham and Miller segments with Dwaine for a little while.

https://twitter.com/NBCDFW/status/1027554090916691968

 

NBC DFWVerified account @NBCDFW
FollowFollow @NBCDFW
More

#BREAKING Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in Dallas County Schools bus scandal. http://on.nbcdfw.com/DGtPXXk 

The cheelrin...the keeds!!

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The council member admits to hiding the money from the IRS, and to asking Leonard for money on numerous occasions -- cashing those checks at liquor stores and pawn shops.

So seedy...

This really is stunning news when you consider the Feds' track record against prominent South Dallas politicians.   They must have showed him some good stuff in their file.

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Looks like Rawlings won’t get out of office without a big stain on his record. Caraway was his closest confidant and carried water for Rawlings whenever needed. 

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On 8/2/2018 at 11:19 AM, gyroprotagonist said:

 Jordan was an environmental engineer and not capable of making these calls for using cheaper material and changing the connections from welds to bolts.  I wonder who gave her the assurance that it would probably be fine to cut these corners and then have the balls to say it could be done without stress testing?

The article is right a lot but the author doesn't have the expertise to know what is what.

Welds-to-bolts and "sanding" welds (I assume that means removing AESS specifications) are red herrings.  They are cosmetic changes, and would have been recommended by the construction team.  It saves a bundle of money for a cosmetic difference that no one notices.

The cables are the problem.  I have no idea what the original or new cables design was, so can't say much except reading the letters between Huitt and TxDOT.

Huitt-Zollars was the engineer on them and urged TxDOT that fatigue testing data was already available for the product.  This was true at the time, but the system was not tested for the size that was ultimately used.

TxDOT denies responsibility and blames the city for saving money on the fatigue testing.

...

My thoughts:

I don't buy the argument from TxDot.  This wasn't cutting corners it really is value-chasing and is typical of every project.  This type of testing is not overly expensive - $50,000 at most, so I doubt the city council went out of it's way to avoid it. They were told it wasn't necessary and high-fived over some money saved.  The city isn't pouring through the engineering.  All engineering approvals would go through TxDot.

Ultimately, only TxDot or Huitt have the expertise to require the testing be done, and they are the ones who could force the issue.  The city doesn't get a bridge if they reject what either engineer recommends.

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On 7/16/2018 at 3:59 PM, DFWTexEx said:

Griggs is term limited; so, he is done for D1.  Chad West seems to be being groomed to take the seat.  Scott appointed him to the CPC and Chad's social media presence on zoning / development issues has exploded in the last six months. He has always been active (started Dash for the Beads to help local schools, for instance) but is everywhere now, hosting town hall like meetings, soliciting input on development issues, etc.  He has taken up Scott's vision of transparency on CPC issues (FB posts, etc.).  Clearly, he has his eyes set on something and D1 seems obvious.   Not a bad choice.

Would love to see Griggs as next Mayor. Pretty good guy and basically my next door neighbor

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2 hours ago, DFWTexEx said:

So seedy...

This really is stunning news when you consider the Feds' track record against prominent South Dallas politicians.   They must have showed him some good stuff in their file.

Now the city council needs to decide what street to rename for Caraway. I think Cedar Crest Blvd.

The juice here is that he might turn and testify against other corruption in City Hall as part of his plea deal. I would be overjoyed to see that.

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1 hour ago, JBJ said:

 

 

I don't buy the argument from TxDot.  This wasn't cutting corners it really is value-chasing and is typical of every project.  This type of testing is not overly expensive - $50,000 at most, so I doubt the city council went out of it's way to avoid it. They were told it wasn't necessary and high-fived over some money saved.  The city isn't pouring through the engineering.  All engineering approvals would go through TxDot.

Ultimately, only TxDot or Huitt have the expertise to require the testing be done, and they are the ones who could force the issue.  The city doesn't get a bridge if they reject what either engineer recommends.

The City of Dallas decided not to do the testing and move forward with value engineering. $34,278 would have been the cost for testing. That is a classic M.O. by Trinity Watershed Management. Dates back to the former City Manager Mary Suhm. Jill Jordan, Sue Alavarez, Sarah Standifer are all part of that sisterhood of shadyness that Mary Suhm launched.

Suhm and Jordan have since retired. The other two are still employed by the City of Dallas, somehow. You would think the current city manager TC Broadnax would have shown them the door by now.

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On August 9, 2018 at 9:12 AM, mdmost said:

So no more Dunham and Miller segments with Dwaine for a little while.

https://twitter.com/NBCDFW/status/1027554090916691968

 

NBC DFWVerified account @NBCDFW
FollowFollow @NBCDFW
More

#BREAKING Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in Dallas County Schools bus scandal. http://on.nbcdfw.com/DGtPXXk 

 

Pull your britches dude.

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The funniest sketch I have seen with Dwaine as a subject was a black face parody of him singing a song about giving Michael Vick a key to the city. I have looked for the video off and on for the last several years and cannot find it.

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34 minutes ago, cactusflinthead said:

What does this mean? 

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1798791916864886&id=100002022860966

Reorganization does what exactly?

TC Broadnax reorganized it to improve budgets to some degree. It saves the city $750k a year. That's the official line.

What it really does is dissolve some of Mary Suhm's bad organizational flowchart. Broadnax inherited some really bad departments like Trinity Watershed Management. That department destroyed and killed everything they touched. Unfortunately the managers that ran that department into the ground are still employed with the city. They are a plague.

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Caraway always struck me as shifty, so I'm not terribly surprised that they finally got him.  What amazes me is how brazen he was. 

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48 minutes ago, DDD Dad said:

Caraway always struck me as shifty, so I'm not terribly surprised that they finally got him.  What amazes me is how brazen he was. 

He may have mistakenly thought "well, I'm not as brazen as JWP, and they did not do shit to him, so I'm good"

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I can't believe that he went down with so little fight. $450K was probably the very low end of his take. (Never trust a first confession of guilt!) My bet is that there will be more prosecutions of some well-known names forthcoming.

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