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Shakedown gets Shookup!

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04/20/06 gets under Councilman's Thin Skin!

Did you realize that I've been doing this website since the Fall of 1998?  Whenever I start thinking nobody's paying attention, I'll get an e-mail or a phone call from a stranger telling me they just found it and love it.  That always charges me up, and I'm good to go for months.  This week, I got a reverse incentive that may keep me charged for a lot longer.

UNFAIR PARK - The Dallas Observer Blog
April 18, 2006 Leo the Lion

How come city council member Leo Chaney doesn?t yell at us? Why can?t we be as lucky as Sharon Boyd, who got an earful from Chaney on Monday when all she wanted was a mouthful of food? The man Boyd refers to as ?Shakedown Leo? won?t even call us back, for God?s sake. According to the longtime local activist, she was in the cafeteria at City Hall, taking a lunch break during a Board of Adjustment meeting, when she ran into Chaney, who represents much of southern Dallas, including the Fair Park area.

She was at the salad bar when he tapped her on the shoulder and wanted to know if she was ?that lady who writes things about me.? She said yup, to which, according to Boyd, he responded, ?You don?t even know me.? Boyd said she told him, ?No, but I write about what you do, and then he said, ?I?ve done nothing but good for my people.?? She says he demanded to know why Boyd calls him ?Shakedown Leo?; she told him it had to do with his taking money from Smirnoff, whom he threatened to protest when the booze company took over ownership of Starplex. (There might be other reasons too.) Boyd says she told Chaney, ?Let?s say we have a difference of opinion? and wanted to leave it at that. But according to Boyd, the shouting went on and on, with Chaney pleading his case to the food servers, the cashier?anyone who would listen.

?Had I been him seeing me in there, I wouldn?t have acknowledged me,? Boyd says. ?I am still really surprised he would acknowledge I had gotten under his skin. He kept saying also he can?t wait to be off this council. Well, how about tomorrow? Who would know? It wasn?t just inappropriate. It was just?weird.? ?Robert Wilonsky

Robert's version is a very good synopsis of my exciting Monday at City Hall, but all good stories bear repeating.

Long-time readers know when and how Leo Chaney became Shakedown Chaney.  Remember when the City (Park Board, etc.) sold the naming rights of Starplex to Smirnoff?  People in the Fair Park area had fought long and hard to reduce the saturation of liquor-related businesses in and near their homes and schools.  City Council even imposed a planned development over the area that shut down many liquor stores.  To have City Hall turn around and allow a liquor company to slap its name on a major entertainment facility in their area was more than inappropriate, it was insulting.      04/19 Michael Davis:
ust read about that craziness with you and the (for lack of a better word) councilman down at City Hall.  In the cafeteria?
   I'm not surprised...
   I have two words: Keep writing! 
   Bullies need to be exposed!
   It sounds like this type of behavior must be contagious.

Councilman Leo Chaney threatened to have people marching in the streets, riots, whatever it took to get that decision reversed.  Sounded very noble -- turned out to be just a shakedown ploy on Chaney's part.

Smirnoff offered "the community" over $3 million to spend in the Fair Park area, and suddenly what had been offensive and intolerable was acceptable.  Even Commissioner John Wiley Price called it "blood money".

I already had a problem with Leo Chaney serving on the city council while he was simultaneously drawing over $50K annually as a DISD employee, with no job description or responsibilities.  When we amended the Charter to pay the council members $36K annually, Chaney had to make a decision - quit the council or take an unpaid leave of absence from the DISD.  What kind of a rocket scientist gives up over $14,000 annually for a temporary gig?  What kind of a rocket scientist gives up a cushy job and actually expects the job to be there after 8 years?  That would be Shakedown Chaney!

The fact that Chaney's old job was not filled or needed in 7 years pretty much tells you how important he was to the DISD.

For the past year or so, convicted wife beater Ron Price (DISD School Board member) and Councilman Chaney have been all but joined at the hip.  Common understanding around town was Chaney had anointed Price to succeed him on the council, and Price was working on things at the DISD to be sure Chaney had a job (if not his old one) when he went off the council.  If guaranteeing Chaney a DISD job was actually the plan, Price must have dropped the ball because we hear Shakedown Chaney is now backing Rev. Parrish as his council replacement.
    4/21/06  Anonymouse:  
   For such a petite little woman, you sure are a gutsy broad.  In my world, that is a compliment.  If I have not said it, I sincerely appreciate  I have been in Dallas since August, 1950, and I have seen and heard a lot.  But, you and Allen Gwinn put that little extra edge of knowledge out there for the rest of us.  A very sincere thank you.
    The DISD needs more of your action.  Nobody seems to attack it with the fervor you skewer them with.  Superintendents get jail time, and the real incompetents just keep on being promoted to downtown. 
   Latest screwup:  Downtown is convinced only a Mexican can understand the plight of a Mexican.  So, only Spanish speaking counselors can properly work with the predominately Hispanic schools.  So, the English only counselors are being transferred out of predominately Hispanic schools to other schools starting next September, with a list of those schools and the principals names.  It is up to these displaced counselors to pick out principals and arrange their own interviews to arrange for their own transfers. 
   A neighbor is currently an English-only counselor at a DISD Junior High School.  She has a contract through next year, but has no idea where she will be.  She will seek out Black high schools.  They are better. 
   One thing she tells usBlacks have a sense of humor, Mexicans do not.  They just do not understand it or its nuances, a large part of which is not understanding conversational English.  Still in all, she gets her job done well. 
   As an Anglo, they resent her, but they always come to her for solutions to problems.  She is an Anglo and a woman.  Oh, that's right.  Only Blacks have racism questions. 

Monday (4/17th), Board of Adjustment members were on our lunch break in the City Hall cafeteria, and I was waiting for a salad when Councilman Chaney asked me if I was "that lady who writes bad things" about him.  I said I was, and he just went off.  He said "You don't even know me."  I told him, "I don't write about you, I write about what you do."  He said he would put his record up against anyone at City Hall.  That he was looking forward to being off the council, to being a free man. 

He told me three or four years ago, he considered suing me, and I told him he should do what he thinks best.  Turns out his attorney told him he was an elected official (public person) which pretty much makes him fair game for criticism.  He said he didn't feel that way anymore, but he no longer reads or pays attention to     04/21/06 James Northrup:
Congrats on shaking Leo up.   Sounds like he did a Bolton, the big baby.   If there was a flight of stairs available, he would have run up them crying.


There was more rambling, and I suggested we just agree to disagree and turned away from him.  That did not slow him down one bit.

He was stopping anyone in the room who made eye contact with him, pointing to me and saying over and over "that woman writes bad things about me".  As Robert Wilonsky says in his blog, Chaney was telling the food servers, other people waiting for their food to be served, everyone "that woman writes bad things about me".  Most of them just looked at him with some concern for their personal welfare.

I got my salad (after what seemed like an eternity), and Chaney was still ranting.  I had to walk toward him to get some tea and go to the cashier, and he started on me again.  The poor cashier had 3 people on each side of her trying to cash out, and he's yelling at me and telling her how I write bad things about him.

At that point, he asked me why I call him "Shakedown".  I reminded him of the Smirnoff deal.  He said "I couldn't stop it!"  I said "You said you could.  You said you would have people marching in the street, but as soon as they offered money, your threats went away."  That did not sit well with the councilman.

His response?  He actually said, "My people have enjoyed spending that money!"  I said "I'm sure YOUR people  have enjoyed spending that money."

It was amazing!  With all the investigations going on at City Hall, with all the questions waiting to be answered, Councilman Chaney cares about what gets said on

When it comes down to it, he's a paid public official, and I'm an unpaid volunteer.  Even if I had not been at City Hall as a Board member, merely as a taxpayer and citizen, his behavior was way beyond inappropriate.  I am sure he intended for his performance to intimidate me, and it was unsettling to see a grown man yelling and gesturing in a city facility -- particularly in a small room.

Wonder if Shakedown Chaney goes off on every reporter who writes something about him that he doesn't like?

In a round about way, it is flattering that is on Chaney's radar screen and gets under his skin.  It certainly is surprising.  I had assumed neither Ron Price or Chaney cared what people thought about them, particularly some insignificant White woman.

Speaking of Ron Price and an insignificant White woman, check out  Allen Gwinn has an edition that will knock your socks off, and certainly will not make Lois Parrot happy.  It is time for her and Ron Price to both go away. 

If elected officials don't want people like Allen and me writing "bad things" about them, they should not give us so much ammunition.






  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