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Ethics, Smethics

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9/08/11   

We had a hell of a summer.  Literally, it was hell.  A truly religious experience. 

It wasn't just the unending string of 100+ days of heat.  It was the smell, the stink of corruption and lack of ethics from local elected officials.  Exposure of wrongdoings we all sensed was happening, but will anything change?  Not likely.

John Wiley Price finally went too far when he blatantly tried to shake down a rich Californian who declined to be robbed by a local racist political thug, which caused JWP to block the entire project and all those jobs and improvement to southern Dallas County.  Even Congresswoman Eddie B Johnson called it a shake down.  But, she's not the bravest female politician in Dallas County.  That title goes to Maurine Dickey. 

Many times we misjudge the strength and character of person when they may not be glib and witty in front of a crowd.   I made that mistake with Maurine Dickey.   She seemed like a nice lady, but with my blinders on, I couldn't see the "there there".   The last two years have changed my opinion of a lot of politicians.  Most for the worse; Maurine Dickey for the better.   The woman is fearless.   If all or any of her questions about JWP's wheeling-and-dealing were hers originally or cued by someone else, it doesn't matter.  She has been persistent in her inquiries and challenges.  Demanding to see the equipment JWP forced the County to buy from his buddy, Willis Johnson.   JWP wouldn't, and turned out couldn't, show much for our tax dollars doled out to his buddy.   She got him so rattled, JWP lost his cool, and appeared to lose his mind.  The Ch 8 and Ch 11 footage of Price's meltdown was frightening to watch from a distance.  Imagine what it was like for Commissioner Dickey to be locked in an office with that wacko and his assistant.   She held her ground and kept her composure.

Maurine Dickey announced months ago she would not seek re-election.   Just as well, because faux-Republican Mike Cantrell had already sold his soul to JWP and conspired to cut up Dickey's district so Cantrell will be representing a district that never voted for him.   He won't have to run for office for 4 years, so we can't even replace him.  Can you spell R-E-C-A-L-L?  

The brazenness of the Inland Port shakedown pales compared to what Price has done with the Dallas County Election Department and redistricting Dallas County.  Whether he goes to prison or not, Price has set up a corrupt election system in this county that may not be fixable -- at least not with the current Federal Attorney General.   Hopefully, our Texas Attorney General will intervene.  This is serious stuff. 

Things are as bad at City Hall.  We've had a stacked Redistricting Commission from the get go.  Domingo Garcia (one of the worst 2001 State Representatives in Austin per Texas Monthly gets appointed to the Redistricting Commission, and immediately teams up with Billy Ratcliff (not JWP's attorney Billy Ravkind) and Brooks Love (Chief of Staff for Domingo's wife, County Commissioner Elba Garcia) to bring us another ugly map of districts that make no sense.

The elitists in Oak Lawn (they won't call it Oak Lawn) and East Dallas are now teamed up with Garcia and Brooks to maintain their power base at the expense of everyone else. 

We will have a new map of districts that are as dysfunctional as what we've lived with for 10 years.  There's a reason fewer and fewer people vote in Dallas elections, even though the population is a little larger than in 2001.   It's all rigged and corruption is the norm, not the exception.   Dallas is barely growing at a time when our suburban sister cities are booming. 

I am going to plagiarize Bill Betzen's blog and share his expert comments, but you can go to his site yourself for a really intelligent explanation of redistricting and his process:

This is the current city district map from 2001 Redistricting Commission.  How are Map 16 districts an improvement? I live in Dist 6.  The straight horizontal line is Walnut Hill, 1 street north of my street.  Map 16 has 2 completely different areas pulled together, and is as bad as the current Dist 6.  sb
District 6
Which District 6 map below will provide the best representation for families living near Love Field? (Click to enlarge.)
 
 

 

Map 3 makes Dist 3 compact. 
District 3
 
 

 

Map 16 continues to have 14 and 2 encircling each other and splitting up Oak Lawn neighborhoods.  
Map 3 has a compact 14 and a more compact 2.
District 2
 

 

Map 16 continues to stretch 8 east to west, and has 2 and 7 in odd districts. 
Map 3's lines are are much more cohesive and follow major streets.
The South Side of Dallas
The above maps reflect differences between boundary lines for Map 3 and Map 16.

 

I wanted you to see what a year's worth of meetings have got us.   I wanted you to see what one honest man could create vs. the product of an unethical alliance between Domingo Garcia and his wife's Chief of Staff.   Don't just take my word for it or The Dallas Morning News, there's an incredible blog, Dallas South News by Shawn Williams, who writes What's wrong with Bill Betzens 2011 redistricting map - well not a lot.

Having Domingo Garcia and Brooks Love (Chief of Staff for County Commissioner Elba Garcia) on the same commission may have been technically legal, but it stinks to high heaven.   Angela Hunt appointed Brooks Love knowing where he works, so she has to share in the stink.  Not to mention that our county tax dollars go for his salary while he's spending all this time on the Redistricting Commission.

A politically active friend of mine who is 10 x more liberal than me and always votes Democrat (almost always) says he could run in one of the districts in Betzen's Map 3, but then asked himself why would anyone want to be at City Hall anymore? 

When you read the comments attached to the blogs on
DallasObserver.com and DallasNews.com, you see why there's little to be hopeful about the future of Dallas.   Elitists and racists love Map 16 because it keeps their little kings and queens and clique in power, and keeps their bases on the plantation under their control.  They could care less about the corrupt way Map 16 was produced or the harm it does to the city as a whole.

One comment attached to Anna Merlan's blog (
DallasObserver.com, 9/7/11),
So Much For Transparency: Garcia Held Private Meetings Before Redistricting Map Hit Council, really shocked me:

-- if you compare Bentzen's map with Brashear's, Brashear's is more compact and better for south Dallas, if that's your concern. And please stop using redistricting to harp about Domingo Garcia. This isn't about him (although I'm sure he'd love it to be), it's about the rest of us. The goal is to get the best map possible, even if certain members can't follow the Chair's rules.

So, regardless of the skullduggery and disregard for procedures and ethics, the end justifies the means?

What happened to a sense of ethics in this city?  What happened to honorable people in leadership?

Look who's running the County.   The same crowd that runs City Hall.   The same crowd that runs the DISD.   The same crowd that is running all of our local government into the ground.  

There has to be more than one person in a position of power in this city who will stand up and condemn this wanton lack of ethics and integrity.  Maureen Dickey has set a pretty high standard of courage.   Is there anyone else in elected office who will follow her example and challenge the corruption?  

Guess we will know in the next few weeks.


sb
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8