Sharon Boyd, Editor/Publisher

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The Price is Wrong

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05/11/06  ... but, Betty Culbreath was right.

Allen Gwinn has been a one-man army against public officials abusing their office and the public's trust.  He has filed ethics complaints.  He has exposed deception. 

As a DISD parent, Allen's disgust with Ron Price and Lois Parrott goes far beyond just their not measuring up to his high ethical standards.  Their bad decisions and bad behavior have cost the students and teachers of the DISD system hundreds of thousands of dollars forked over by you and me that were not spent on educating children.

Everything Allen has discovered and exposed could have and should have been found by paid journalists, people who get big bucks or semi-big bucks for turning up titillating stories.  The information is all there -- and not there, but Allen has the perseverance to plow through stacks of reports and find stuff and missing stuff that most of us would miss.

Allen has turned up some interesting tidbits on both Price and Parrott, but this past week
Bernadette Wright Nutall (candidate DISD District 9) just rocked Ron Price.  The lies that Price tells in a failed CYA effort are mind boggling.  Of course, Allen has the best report on, NEWSFLASH: God Has Spoken to Ron Price, but here's the DMN story:

Price for council? News to me, he says
Dallas: DISD hopeful Nutall denies ordering campaign signs for foe
esday, May 9, 2006 b
y TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News
   Signs announcing that Dallas school trustee Ron Price plans a run for Dallas City Council are causing a stir just days before Saturday's school board election.
   Mr. Price couldn't be reached Monday, but he said on a KHVN radio show that he didn't have the signs made and that maybe his opponent's campaign had put in the order.
   His opponent for the District 9 school board seat, Bernadette Wright Nutall, said her campaign did not order the signs, which she called "proof to me that he's running for City Council. Why would you waste money to make up all those signs?"
   Mr. Price has denied rumors in the past that he plans to run for City Council in 2007, and has said it would be "God's will" if he does run.
Derrick Nutall, Ms. Nutall's husband, said he came across the signs announcing "Elect Ron Price for Dallas City Council Place 7" during the weekend when he was picking up signs for his wife at a local sign maker's storage shop.
   Clair Woertendyke, manager at Edwards & Patterson Signs, where the signs were made, called the printing of the City Council signs a mistake. Late Monday afternoon, he said the order was placed by Teddy Hawkins, a man who often helps with campaigns. Mr. Woertendyke said he had read that Mr. Price might seek the City Council post and that when Mr. Hawkins asked that signs be printed for Mr. Price, he assumed they were for that position. ...

This is hysterical, but it is also very serious.  As a city council candidate, you may not accept or spend money until you have designated a treasurer for your campaign with the City Secretary.  You cannot be a city council candidate if you are simultaneously a candidate for another office. 

If Teddy Hawkins is designing yard signs for Ron Price's up-coming city council race and is being paid from Ron Price's DISD campaign funds or Price's private funds, Price has some serious explaining to do.  I have a string thing bridge to sell to anyone who buys Woertendyke's or Hawkins' version of how those signs got to be.  

There was another brouhaha that was just as worrisome and only got covered by CBS-11, even if
Jack Fink got taken in by Neil Emmons.

Dallas Commissioner Wants Chair Removed
May 8, 2006
Jack Fink reporting
(CBS 11 News) DALLAS There are fireworks at Dallas City Hall. Two plan commissioners want the chairwoman removed after a heated dispute at last week's meeting.
  Some commissioners are angry after Chairwoman Betty Culbreath asked police to remove Commissioner Neil Emmons from the meeting.
   The Dallas Plan Commission meeting turned hostile over a proposed charter school at a southeast Dallas location. Culbreath butted heads with Emmons, who opposed the school.
   After a heated exchange Culbreath called Emmons out of order saying, ?This is a zoning and planning issue. Stick to the land use. I will not have it."
   When Emmons appealed and asked the full commission for the right to speak, Culbreath demanded he be removed.
   "Although the chair has the authority to impose a penalty, only a full body may remove someone from the assembly," Emmons said.
   Culbreath responded, ?Roberts Rules of Order says the chair may remove anyone unruly.?
   The city attorney overruled Culbreath and commissioners allowed Emmons to continue.
   Both Emmons and Culbreath declined comment, but commissioners Angela Marshall and Clarence Gary say they're outraged.
   ?The first thing I thought is my God if they escort Neil Emmons out, she may take a notion to escort me out," Marshall said.
   After the meeting Emmons said, ?It was an embarrassment. It took me totally by surprise because you don't look for that behavior."
   Now, commissioner Emmons wants Mayor Miller to replace Culbreath as chair. Marshall wants Culbreath off the commission altogether.
   The mayor's chief of staff says Mayor Miller supports Culbreath, who she appointed to the board and says she has no plans to remove her as chair or from the commission as a whole.
   City staff is forwarding the mayor and city manager a copy of the meeting video.

There was a follow-up on Tuesday night with Betty Culbreath reading the city regulation into the record that gives the P&Z Chair the right to have any commissioner removed from chambers when a commissioner refuses to abide by the Chair's instructions.

In full disclosure, Betty Culbreath is a friend of mine, a close friend of mine.  Our friendship began in the 90's when we were on the Plan Commission together.  We did not start out friendly.  We didn't agree on many cases, as I talk about more in
Changing of the Guard.  I did not want Betty to be appointed Chair after Dan Garrigan resigned, and publicly opposed her.  Once she was appointed, she graciously accepted by congratulations, but it took some time for us to get past all that.  At no time did Chairwoman Culbreath treat me unfairly. 

In one case, I asked for a point of order because I disagreed with a ruling Betty made limiting some testimony from opponents of a halfway house in an East Dallas neighborhood.  Betty heard me out, said "point taken" and allowed the neighbors to continue with their comments. 

In the current P&Z controversy, Commissioner Neil Emmons was discussing staffing of a proposed charter school.  That is not a land use matter.  Commissioners are not supposed to make land use discussions on any other matter than the appropriate zoning for that site.  They are not supposed to (but, of course, some do) consider the personality of the applicant, i.e., rich celebrity vs. Joe Blow.  Commissioners are not supposed to TESTIFY for or against a zoning case.  A commissioner may question speakers or city staff personnel and elicit information that had not been offered previously, provided the information pertains to LAND USE -- not operations of the business.  Emmons was TESTIFYING, and Chairwoman Culbreath was correct to stop him.

Let me tell you a Neil Emmons story.  Until I moved to Northwest Dallas, I was active with the Oak Lawn Committee (former President, Secretary/Treasurer, City Hall Liaison).  Emmons was in his second year as President while we were redistricting the city.  He had already gone South on us and was aligned with Cay Kolb, Lordi Palmer (who lived in Terrell) and then Councilwoman Princess Velveeta Lill. 

After the redistricting of the 80's that split Oak Lawn into two council districts (both of which were dominated by East Dallas), the Oak Lawn Committee membership had wanted Oak Lawn to be in one district that did not cross Central Expressway.  We had completely different issues than East Dallas, from Love Field to zoning agendas.  Princess Velveeta did not want to lose her Turtle Creek donors who supported her arts priorities.

At a regular monthly meeting of the OLC, we passed a resolution requesting the Redistricting Commission to keep all of Oak Lawn in one council district over the strong opposition of the Emmons/Kolb faction.  As President and with the bylaws in front of him, Emmons announced that the resolution was not valid because it was not on the agenda.  He appeared to be reading the rule.  None of us carried a copy of the bylaws around with us.  Even the OLC Secretary couldn't refute Emmons.  Who would have expected the President, even Neil Emmons, to lie to an entire organization?

That's just what the creep did.  He lied to us.  As we leaving and waiting for the elevators, he laughed about getting away with his bluff.  It was too late to reconvene because we had voted to adjourn, and we were not meeting again for another month.

From that night forward until he resigned to go on the Plan Commission as Lill's appointee (a reward for his betrayal of Oak Lawn), we made his life miserable.  As a Plan Commissioner, he has done everything he can to undermine the Oak Lawn Committee and promote the interests of 3 or 4 geezers who still think they matter to anyone.  He's a bad guy.

This is not just about a tiff between Betty Culbreath and Neil Emmons.  This is as much an attack on Mayor Miller than Chairwoman Culbreath.  You can expect a lot more stories like this bogus non-event until after the May, 2007 elections.

That half-truth story that Belo ran and then had to correct about Mayor Miller owning American Airline stock and still voting on matters as a DFW Board member (Dallas and Ft. Worth mayors are automatically members) was just another shot across the bow at Miller.  She did not vote on any AA-related issues during the brief time her husband owned the stock.  This is Belo payback for Mayor Miller challenging the $6.2 million tax abatement to Ray Hunt last year.   There will be more.

So, we've got Allen Gwinn out there doing reporters' work for them.  We've got a Belo reporter not doing his homework before he wrote a story.  Imagine that!  We've got some strange doings on the Plan Commission with commissioners testifying rather than listening.

Through it all, we have an election this Saturday that could be the beginning of a new day at DISD with either or both Ron Price or Lois Parrott replaced on the School Board, or we could have more of the same.  The only good news for sure is that Ron Price will only serve a few months before he resigns to run for City Council.  By that time, Allen Gwinn will have more stuff that hopefully will keep Price off the council.

This time next year, this town is going to be hopping with all those challengers to Mayor Miller mailing and calling every possible voter.  There will be at least 5 open seats on the council (Hill, Fantroy, Chaney, Thorton-Reese, Griffith) and possibly 6 if Bill Blaydes loses his mind and runs for mayor, too. 

No matter what, we cannot have Ron Price on the Dallas City Council. 






  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