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Ray Hunt's Gang of Ten

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10/20/05  Those with the Gold Rule Forever at City Hall!

  When is it going to get better at City Hall?  October 19, 2005, 9 council members defended Ray Hunt's phony letter of intent from Irving (only a criteria letter) and joined Ray Hunt's face man to criticize Mayor Miller for standing up for Dallas homeowners and businesses who pay 100% of our property taxes. 

You can't say we are paying our full share of property taxes because we are actually paying more than our share to cover $6.3 million in tax abatements that Bill Blaydes, Ed Oakley, the FBI's Favorite Target Don Hill, Ron Natinsky, NSA Angela Hunt, Brain-Dead Thornton-Reese, Shakedown Leo Chaney, James Fantroy and Dr. Elba Garcia gave away TO KEEP a business Downtown that was ALREADY PLANNING TO STAY Downtown anyway.

Wednesday night, I suffered through hours of watching the council's Hunt briefing that I recorded from the morning.  Right off the top -- these briefings need to be on the radio.  More goes on in the briefings than ever happens on hearing days.  Because I want to include several important articles and comment on them, I will do a quick synopsis of what Hunt's lackeys on the council (who should be representing us) had to say:    
10/20/05 Gehrig Saldana:
  Wow!!!  So who lied about the City of Irving's offer? And who was held accountable? If this is as good as it gets, the average Dallas taxpayer is doomed! The only recourse for Dallas' average shareholder is them to participate in supporting and electing individuals who will serve the whole of Dallas. Great publicity for the City of Dallas, right?   
   This is what happens when you have city governance without a real strong mayor at the helm. Dallas now has a less than strong mayor initiative without much support from anyone on the council. The majority of Dallas' voters were hoodwinked during the last strong mayor campaign, especially the vote in the northern sector of Dallas.  
  
Sometimes you really do get what you deserve when you don't do your homework. Councilman Ed Oakley has given politics the comparative definition to the game of football when the title of "Water Boy" comes to mind. 
 

Bill Blaydes - Irving Mayor is a liar because Blaydes says their abatement criteria letter is a letter of intent.  Says Ch. 11's Sarah Dodd looked too blonde and happy when she reported on Irving's non-letter of intent.  Calls Hunt Oil a corporate icon (as in "something to worship").

James Fantroy - Says Cowboys failed to come to Dallas because of what happened at City Hall (something that happened under Mayor Strauss in the 80's, the one-sided deal at StarPlex).  Not sure what it has to do with Hunt's deal.  Says majority of Council are "business friendly".     
10/21 John McClelland:
    I've only lived in Texas for 4 years, all in Dallas, but still don't quite comprehend Dallas politics.
   We all know the council is corrupt, the mayor has zero power, the city manager has zero power.
   So why doesn't anyone run for city council to get these nuts out of power?  I've considered doing so myself, but would have to take a pay cut to do it.  Isn't there anyone with a spine in Dallas willing to be on the council?
 

Ed Oakley - As the most self-absorbed and selfish person on the council, he's in a special position to call someone else power hungry, which he said about Mayor Miller.  Says because we have given so many other tax abatements, we can't stop now.  In other words, we have made so many mistakes, there's no point in learning from our errors and stopping our bad behavior.  In between running for Mayor and acting as Hunt's City Hall consultant and spokesperson, Ed Oakley doesn't have much spare time.  He was completely emotional and out of control, when he should have directed his anger at Lying Ryan Evans and Hunt's John Scovell for lying to the council that we were about to lose Hunt Oil to the suburbs.

Don Hill - When the FBI's Favorite Target is concerned about the city's image, you know we are in Alice's Wonderland where everything is upside down and logic is as fluid and the stuff in the punch bowl.  Basically, this guy who has been swapping votes for God's knows what told the World of Hunt-like parasites out there to "ignore the Mayor" and "come to us" for your tax abatements and one-sided deals.

Ron Natinsky - Says he opposes tax abatements, unless they are for Ray Hunt.  He dismissed all of the Mayor's points as a "Miller vs. Hunt trial".  Also called Mayor of Irving a liar about the letter of intent.  If we are done "priming the pump", the council needs to decide, not the Mayor.

Brain-Dead Thornton-Reese - Just sped past her because you can't understand what she says anyway.

Shakedown Leo Chaney - More of the same.  See Jim Schutze's
The Big Stick which ties Hunt with some city shakedowns that have the State Legislature's attention.

Dr. Elba Garcia - Says "I'm only a dentist, but I can read", and Irving's abatement criteria letter is a letter of intent, so Irving's Mayor is a liar.

Mitch Rasansky - Says he voted for abatements where they were needed, and would vote for an abatement on the West side of the Calatrava Bridges, but he will not vote for an abatement to build an office building in the "choicest" section of Downtown.

Mayor Miller and Mitch Rasansky were the only NO votes.  Linda Koop claimed a conflict of interest.  Sandra Dee Griffith, who said NOTHING during all the Hunt worship hour, was OUT OF THE ROOM when the vote was taken, so he can't get hit one way or the other.

Now, let's get to the good stuff:

Jacquielynn Floyd:  We don't always need a maverick, Ms. Miller
05:16 AM CDT on Thursday, October 20, 2005
 
  It's not an unusual leap for journalists to go into politics.
... But the two disciplines are far from interchangeable, which is why it was so peculiar to see Ms. Miller refer to herself this week by her old job title, "maverick journalist."
   She didn't like the high-dollar downtown land deals proposed by billionaire-oilman-turned-developer Ray Hunt ? it's not much of a secret that she doesn't like Mr. Hunt, period ? and she said so. Loudly.
... it became clear that she would be outvoted in her opposition to two deals proposed by Mr. Hunt: a tax abatement on his new downtown headquarters and a swap of city-owned Reunion Arena for Hunt-owned property near the Convention Center.
...  you can't be a bomb-throwing maverick journalist and an effective political leader at the same time. They're different games with different rules.
   Journalism is a game of idealism, where we hold the people and institutions we cover to the highest standards,
... High standards and ideals have a role in politics, but absolutes usually don't. Democracy by definition entails compromise and negotiation in the interest of doing what's best for the most people.
... Dallas also has a chance to get a nice new high-rise building for Hunt's headquarters instead of watching it disappear down the gaping maw of a hungry suburban neighbor.
... a few million bucks in tax abatements may seem like a small price to hammer the deal home.
... A lot of residents blame her for the Dallas Cowboys' decision to relocate to Arlington, even though it was the county, not the city, with whom the team's negotiations broke down.
... But if she wants to get the mighty civic canoe safely through the rapids, there are times when she'll have to paddle along with everybody else.

As I asked Ms. Floyd:  Go a long to get a long?  Didn't your mother ever warn you about not stepping in a pile of **** just because the crowd is doing it? What do you tell the good teenager who takes a vow of chastity or abstinence from alcohol or drugs?  If you want to be popular, go "paddle along with everyone else"?

I looked up Ms. Floyd on the Elections Dept. website.  She's not registered to vote in Dallas County, not under the under the spelling she uses in her column.  Does anyone at The Dallas Managed News live in Dallas?  If they don't live in Dallas, can they really want what's best for those of us who do live here and pay 100% of our property taxes?  More importantly, Ms. Floyd certainly has the Belo attitude of compromise over principles.

Miller rebuffed as Hunt wins tax break; Mayor lectures council, berates staff; she was 'over the edge,' Hill says
11:07 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 19, 2005
By DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News
   Dallas Mayor Laura Miller spent much of Wednesday criticizing staff members and real estate developers, decrying a tax abatement for billionaire oilman Ray Hunt's corporation as an insult to taxpayers
... "She probably went over the edge today. She probably crossed over, really kind of marginalized herself," Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill said of Ms. Miller at Wednesday's council meeting.
   Over Ms. Miller's objections, the council passed, by an 11-2 vote, a $6.3 million tax abatement that all but assures Mr. Hunt will build a corporate headquarters building in downtown Dallas.
... Said council member Ed Oakley to the mayor, "You think you can circumvent our authority and our powers. You can't."
   John Scovell, president and chief executive officer of Woodbine Development Corp., a Hunt Consolidated subsidiary, reprimanded Ms. Miller for her attitude toward the city staff.
... Ms. Miller, a longtime critic of Mr. Hunt's business practices, and council member Mitchell Rasansky voted against the tax abatement. Council member Gary Griffith was absent from the vote, and council member Linda Koop did not vote because of a declared conflict of interest.
...  Mr. Hunt's headquarters now reside within 15 stories of the Fountain Place tower
... The council then authorized the city staff to continue negotiations with Hunt Consolidated that would swap city-owned Reunion Arena, which would be slated for demolition, for a parking lot near the Dallas Convention Center.
... Ms. Miller and Mr. Rasansky also voted against the authorization. She explained she did so in part because she does not believe Hunt officials are willing to renegotiate a 1974 "master agreement" with the city governing the use of Reunion Arena and the nearby Reunion and Union Station developments.
   Some of the leases, such as the company's $100-per-year lease from Dallas of Union Station's upper floors, and various property use restrictions contained in the master agreement limit Dallas' ability to fully realize the area's potential, Ms. Miller said.
... Mr. Scovell said he prefers not to renegotiate the agreement ? "it was a win-win for both us and the city," he said ?
... During the tax-abatement debate, she told her colleagues that a supposed tax-incentive offer to Hunt Consolidated from Irving, contained in a letter from the city's chief financial officer, is nothing of the sort. It's a vaguely worded form letter, containing no specific dollar amounts, that Dallas staff members were giving far too much credence and shouldn't be a basis for Dallas offering the company a tax abatement, she said.
   "This was a stick-up game with a toy gun because the Irving offer didn't exist," Ms. Miller said. "Everybody is going to want an abatement. We're headed for a major financial problem. Where do we draw the line on money?"
... Ms. Miller later accused Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans of offering Hunt Consolidated a tax abatement when he promised her that he would not. The city cannot afford them, she said.
... Mr. Evans argued that the tax-abatement offer was justified because "things changed. There was another offer from Irving."
... "We do not want the mayor running good companies out of the city. We already lost the Dallas Cowboys," council member James Fantroy said.
... Ms. Miller, as a Dallas Observer columnist and a politician, has long criticized Mr. Hunt as a greedy businessman looking for public money wherever he can get it. Council members say the mayor has let her personal animosity toward him cloud her judgment.
... the mayor said. "I'm very consistent about my discomfort for this stream of giveaways at Dallas City Hall. Today is a classic example of us needlessly and excitedly giving away millions of tax dollars simply because we are asked."
...

Until they are other than the "DALLAS COWBOYS", we have never lost the Cowboys.  Having Texas Stadium in Irving and the Cowboys playing there cost us nothing and did little for Irving.  They are already planning for a BETTER use for the land under Texas Stadium.   All you have to do to understand why Irving let Arlington have the expense of hosting the DALLAS COWBOYS is look at the lack of development around Texas Stadium as compared to the incredibly successful Las Colinas.  The morons in Arlington only had to look at non-development around their Ball Park to know little else but a football stadium will happen with a football stadium. 

It gets harder to justify staying in Dallas.  My property taxes will go up this year, thanks to Ed Oakley and Bill Blaydes, et al, but Ray Hunt will pay less than 25% of the property taxes rightfully due from his ugly new building he gets to build on our dime in the Arts District that is mostly utilized by non-Dallas residents.  We are still the No. 1 Crime City in the USA, and we can't hire more police officers, because we don't have any money because the council keeps giving away tax abatements to billionaires and raising property taxes on everybody else.

The Big Stick;
Ray Hunt gets one end of it; guess which end is reserved for the rest of us
By Jim Schutze Published: Thursday, October 20, 2005
   There's a difference between the short end of the stick and the long end, between how people get treated when they're well-connected and how it goes when they're not. Most of us can live with that. Within reason.
... two extremes of City Hall behavior--short end, long end. City Hall just about laid itself down in the mud as a doormat for Ray Hunt, a Dallas oil man involved in some major downtown real estate deals. The city manager, in particular, covered up an agenda item so that a huge tax abatement deal for Hunt could sneak through without anybody noticing.
  
It didn't happen, because the mayor blew the whistle. But after she blew it, 10 members of the city council called a press conference to talk about how totally lovable Ray Hunt is--batting their eyes, shifting their hips and making wet air kisses so much, I think they all could have been arrested on suspicion of solicitation.
... at the very same time, a special investigative hearing of the Texas House of Representatives was gathering a starkly different impression of how City Hall treats people at the other end. The two-day special state hearing into practices at Dallas City Hall was called because legislators in Austin last spring had heard sworn testimony about rampant civil rights violations and official oppression in Dallas--of business people.
   State Representative Terry Keel, a Travis County Republican and former sheriff who was co-chair of the investigative hearing, ... Keel and other committee members concluded that even basic police protection in Dallas depends on how fat your checkbook is.
...  Keel said at one point. "Police service has been moved from basic services to a user fee."  ... the committee had heard sworn testimony from many Dallas property owners who said they couldn't get the police to show up or take action unless they agreed to hire the cops off-duty at $30 to $60 an hour.
... " And it dangerously approaches almost a protection racket," Keel said.
... Keel accused the Dallas City Attorney's Office of vindictively persecuting an honest cop to a degree he characterized as "official oppression."
... the police officer had written a letter vouching for the good character of a business. That made the city attorney's office so mad, it filed a semi-anonymous internal affairs complaint against him suggesting that he might be on the take. Which he wasn't.
   Speaking to City Attorney Tom Perkins, Keel said, "Can I just speak frankly with you? I see a pattern of witness-tampering, intimidation,"
... In the very last minutes of the two-day hearing, the committee members were visibly shocked when an attorney for Budget Suites of America showed them blow-up photographs of the Budget Suites Hotel ....  the city of Dallas had been telling the legislators that Dallas had to sue ... because Budget Suites was running a loathsome red-light-district crack house.
... Dallas undercover cops, they were told, were going to other hotels dressed as prostitutes and trying to lure customers back to Budget Suites so they could bust them there and get the city's numbers up for its lawsuit.
... It's a lot easier to believe City Hall could bend the rules to jam somebody up when you watch them bend the rules to do favors for the insiders.
... The city manager put the issue of the $6.3 million tax abatement on the agenda of the City Council Economic Development and Housing Committee as an "executive session." That means secret.
... They don't do tax abatements as executive sessions. ... The Hunt abatement was a completely done deal. There was no lawyering left to talk about, no sensitive negotiations.
... The minute Mayor Laura Miller blew the whistle on them, the city attorney agreed that the very same secret briefing could be given again in public to the full city council, .... there was no legal basis for making it secret the first time. That means making it secret was illegal.
... the land value appraisals that provide the underpinning for the Reunion Arena land swap seem to have a pretty ripe whiff to them.
... Miller points to several assumptions in the appraisals that do seem to lean way over toward the Hunt side of the table. Like we have to deduct the $3.8 million cost of demolishing Reunion from the value of the property, because Ray Hunt wants us to demolish it.
... at the South Pole we have Budget Suites of America, an out-of-state company that comes to town, invests, opens a sound business and gets totally bushwhacked by the city. At the North Pole we have Ray Hunt eating an ice cream cone while he waits to blow out his birthday candles. And up and down and in between we have cops telling us we won't have to worry about any of this if we just hire them off-duty. ...

Pretty scary stuff.  Couple it up with Verified Response, and Joe Taxpayer is pretty much on his own in this town.

Where have all the real Texas men gone in Dallas?


What we saw at City Hall Wednesday morning was a mob action -- with not a real man in the bunch.  Mayor Miller gave a power point presentation that was completely lost on 10 council members who happily gave a Son of a Bigamist Billionaire $6.3 million of our money.  They weren't listening.  They were too busy waiting for their shot at Mayor Miller to worry about the facts she presented.  Almost everyone of the council members who spoke called the Mayor of Irving a liar. 

The FBI's Favorite Target had the audacity to call the Mayor "marginalized".  Only on the Dallas City Council could an honest elected official be considered "marginalized".  Rather than treat him with disdain for the embarrassment he has caused this city and the council itself, Bill Blaydes and other council members continue to show Don Hill respect and let him continue as Mayor Pro Tem.  The FBI's Favorite Target actually presides over council meetings.  DISGUSTING!

Ed Oakley said the Mayor was all about herself and not about the council.  When Ed Oakley represented District 6 while he was running for District 3, he designated 83% ($2.5 million) of District 6's "discretionary" bond funds for projects in his new District 3 -- most of which went to Kessler and Stevens Park wants.  The old District 6 included West Dallas, Bachman Lake area, Oak Cliff -- all areas in dire need of side walks and curbing, but he spent our designated bond money on a sound wall for Stevens Park to help his campaign for District 3 against Mark Housewright.  DISHONEST!

Don't know what to make of Sandra Dee Griffith's silence during the mob attack on Mayor Miller or his absence from the vote to give a billionaire $6.3 million of our tax money.  DISQUIETING?

If your children were playing with the likes of Shakedown Chaney, and the FBI's Favorite Target Don Hill, etc., would you want your kids to "paddle along with everybody else"? The trouble is that almost everyone attacking Mayor Miller Wednesday has mayoral aspirations: not so-Texan Bill Blaydes, Temper-Tantrum Ed Oakley, "I'm only a Dentist" Elba Garcia and even the FBI's Favorite Target Don Hill.  He didn't say anything and snuck out before he had to vote, but Sandra Dee Griffith also wants to be Mayor of Dallas.  The good news -- none of them have a snow ball in **** chance of being elected citywide.

It doesn't matter if Laura Miller and Mitch Rasansky are the only two council members willing to take a public stand to protect Dallas homeowners from city staff's penchant for giving tax abatements to billionaires.  I'm proud of both of them.

Have to say I'm most disappointed in Ron Natinsky.  Really thought he was going to be different.  I'm long since over being disappointed in Bill Blaydes.  He's just a big puff of wind who makes about as much sense when he speaks as Brain Dead Thornton-Reese.  They both take way too long to say nothing.

Several council members used the Mayor's opposition to the Hunt deal as a reason to oppose Proposition 1 for a stronger mayor.  I see the matter as a valid reason to support Proposition 1.  When the City MisManager and Asst. MisManager Lying Ryan Evans can try to circumvent the law by dealing with the Hunt stuff in executive session to keep it secret, you know we need a stronger mayor.  As it is, we have a bunch of little mayor-wannabe's trying to do anything possible to undermine Mayor Miller, who won two hard-fought, high dollar campaigns handedly.

Back in the late 60's when Erik Jonsson was told by famed architect I. M. Pei "If you put the stadium downtown, you'll hate it so much, you'll tear it down in ten years for what it does to your traffic ..."  (
Big D: Triumphs and Tragedies, Revised Edition (2000) by Darwin Payne, p. 382).  Mayor Jonsson took the heat and let Clint Murchison take the DALLAS COWBOYS to Irving.  Mayor Jonsson is easily the best Mayor we have ever had.  He wasn't impressed with powerful, demanding billionaires. 

Way too many of our current council members are just awe struck at the opportunity to call a Son of a Bigamist Billionaire by his first name.  Even Lying Ryan Evans is thrilled to be on a first name basis with "Ray".  If taking a dishonest shot at Laura Miller for her efforts to thwart another bad deal for Dallas taxpayers would get them points with "Ray", clearly several council members were happy to do so -- particularly on a day when they were not on the radio.

  From non-Dallas resident Jacquielynn Floyd telling the Mayor to paddle with the rest of Hunt's Gang of 10, to the disclosures in Jim Schutze's The Big Stick, it's clear that in Dallas those with the Gold Rule.

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