02/12/04 Sweetheart Deals and
There have been some interesting developments and
disclosures and discoveries the past few days.
Let's see -- there's the Harry Hines hospital
site where the Weisfeld brothers were apparently doing a little family
planning. Since, it's only taxpayers getting ripped off and NW Dallas
being damaged, who at City Hall cares?
Poor Hershel. He is probably a mess with all this negative
publicity. He has been telling people he will be
running for city council when Velveeta retires.
won't hear of it ... she
has some protege (or as she
would say "proootege") from
one of her artsy groups.
Then, there's the Trinity River Project where the
Mayor and Martin Frost may have been too clever by half with his
announcement of federal money for the Mayor's String Thing Bridges.
Looks like Frost may have put the kibosh on the
architectural folly to Singleton Blvd.
Just what Dallas transportation
grid needs - a $130M suspension bridge to a 2-lane,
Once again, CBS 11's Sarah Dodd takes a little nugget and finds a million dollar
vein of insider manipulations at City Hall. If you will recall
DallasArena.com posted the following picture from the site a few weeks ago:
Pretty fancy digs for 900+ people who contribute nothing to our tax revenue
or our community.
Did you note the broker's name on the for sale sign? Sarah Dodd did and
wondered if there was a relationship between R. Weisfeld and Herschel Weisfield,
Vice Chair of the City's Cultural Affairs Commission, who has been lobbying
council members to support the Harry Hines site, even though it would be
devastating for nearby businesses and neighborhoods.
CBS 11 Exclusive on Possible Conflict of Interest
Feb 11, 2004 5:16 pm
CBS 11 City Hall reporter Sarah Dodd reports:
Dallas mayor Laura Miller
responds to a story you saw only on CBS 11 News.
We reported on a possible conflict of
interest involving the vice-chair of a city commission trying to lobby for a
business deal that would financially benefit his brother.
The majority of the city council
wasn't aware that there was a potential conflict of interest here, until
they watched our story Tuesday night.
Now the mayor says the situation
makes her uncomfortable, and she thinks this commission member's actions are
He?s offered guided tours, bent the
ears of council members, and pitched the benefits of buying specific
property on Harry Hines.
Now Herschel Weisfeld is defending
himself against allegations of unethical behavior, and misusing his city
* Didn't the Mayor visit the site
at least once since it made it to one of her top 3 choices? Pretty
hard to miss that for sale sign at the entry. See picture below.
None of them thought it was coincidental that Herschel Weisfeld was lobbying
them to pick the Harry Hines site and R. Weisfeld was brokering the property
(turns out he's a co-owner).
The mayor says, ?I am very
uncomfortable, he has slipped me notes during meeting asking me to make
announcements about his property. He needs to either be on the commission
which I think he does a good job at, or sell us property, but not both.
Weisfeld is the vice chair of the
city's Cultural Affairs Commission. And as CBS 11 news uncovered, Weisfeld
has actively lobbied council members to purchase his brother's 5 and a half
million-dollar property to be used for a new homeless shelter.
So, does that mean they are
going to forget all the private moments they shared with the Vice Chair of
the Cultural Affairs Commission?
Weisfeld told us, ?I have no
financial involvement in this transaction, and I?m not negotiating on behalf
of my brother or the city.?
Weisfeld is a licensed realtor but
says he will not make any money off of this deal, even though his brother
could make at least a million dollars.
Weisfeld says he's only taking an
active interest because he has a history of helping the homeless in Dallas.
Give me a break!
Herschel Weisfeld has justifiably been trying to force the street bums out
of Downtown ever since he decided to invest in the old Christian Science
Sanctuary which he converted to the Weisfeld Center (named for his parents).
It's difficult to entice wedding parties to risk their guests' persons and
property after dark with street bums swarming all over the place.
Mayor Pro Tem John Loza says, ?i
think the relationships he had with council members preceded his seat on the
commission. I don't see a problem with it.?
What a shock that Send Me
Some Money Loza would not see an ethics issue right before his eyes --
involving his appointee to the Cultural Affairs Commission! The
problem is that Herschel Weisfeld gets to hang out behind the velvet ropes
in the council chambers, and NW Dallas community leaders aren't even invited
to the discussion table until after the deal may have been cut.
But even council members who don't see a
technical violation of the city's ethics code, say, there could be the
perception of impropriety.
City council member Ed Oakley. ?I
don't think he should be out lobbying the council, he needs to back off and
let everybody make their decision.?
Weisfeld told us late Wednesday that
if the mayor feels this strongly, then he will stop campaigining for his
Little too late for
Weisfeld to back off. The damage is done.
The Mayor is not all that innocent
here. Last week on KLIF AM 570, she said the Harry Hines site was close to
Parkland Hospital (4 miles South of the site). She either had never been
to the site (not likely) or she was deliberately deceiving Dallas citizens who
were listening to their Mayor.
Our Mayor knows this area.
Drive Shorecrest East past Lemon Ave, and you are in Bluffview.
fault Frost for I-30 bridge talk;
He defends publicizing budget request; some
fear it threatens project
09:56 PM CST Tues,
A top congressional official says
U.S. Rep. Martin Frost has jeopardized federal funding for Dallas'
highest-profile public works project because he decided to "grandstand"
instead of work with his congressional colleagues.
Republican Rep. Don Young, chairman
of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said Mr. Frost,
a Democrat, was unwise to publicly announce a $27 million federal
transportation fund request he made to help construct a $130 million
suspension bridge over the Trinity River as part of Interstate 30 in Dallas.
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Mr. Frost's
Democratic colleague from Dallas who sits on the committee, said she's
upset, too. . . .
... Mr. Young said ... "This
is a good way to jeopardize a project."
... At issue is the T21 transportation bill,
which Congress reauthorizes every six years.
... Mr. Frost said. "I hope he wouldn't be
so petty as to oppose the No. 1 priority of the
Dallas business community.
... Mr. Sessions ...
said his designation is "a balanced designation."
... Under House procedures for the
transportation bill, transportation committee leaders allot each
congressional representative a tentative dollar amount to be used for
transportation projects in and around their district.
... Mr. Frost requested that $27 million of his $35 million
allotment go toward the Interstate 30 bridge and another $5 million for a
proposed bridge along Interstate 35E in Dallas to be built later. City
officials say they already have $55 million in federal, state and private
grant money to build the bridge.
... "It's really out of procedure ? we've
functioned as a team in the past," said Ms. Johnson, the Democratic Dallas
congresswoman. "It has indeed hurt the bridge, the possibility of the
bridge. I've put money into Frost's district before, but I didn't go have a
... Ms. Johnson received a $45 million
designation, of which she recommended $15.3 million go toward the bridge
project, she said.
... the mayor was unavailable for an
interview. She instead released a statement.
"It's going to take the entire Dallas
congressional delegation to get the support we need for the
Trinity River Project," Ms. Miller said.
"I am committed to keeping this effort above politics.
This is the most important public works project the City of Dallas will
ever undertake. And I am working with and will continue to work
with every member of our delegation."
. . . Mr. Young, the transportation
committee chairman, said . . .
"She's out of line," he said of Ms. Miller. "To give [Mr. Frost]
credit for anything at this point is inappropriate. To kiss up to somebody
who hasn't done anything yet ... is inappropriate."
. . . Mr. Frost said. . .
. "I'm just doing my job for the city of Dallas."
What about doing your job for the people of Dallas, Mr. Frost? What about
getting us money to do the NW DART rail line through your district, Mr. Frost?
What about getting us some federal money to improve our Dallas Zoo, so it can be
a bigger money maker and tourist draw for your district, Mr. Frost?
|She may not think she needs her old friends since she's in office for 3 more
years, but the Mayor may have reason to regret shafting her base. When
that Park Cities suckup, Wick Allison, was criticizing her, our support was
important. Now that Laura Miller is the darling of Allison's rag, she has
no time and no concern for her old friends.
In today's DMN article about Martin Frost and funding for the
string bridges, Laura released a statement:
"This is the most important public works project the city of
I think your alien theory may be
This process is a 6-year decision. Our Mayor and Mr. Frost would put all
of our transportation eggs in one very leaky basket.