Sherbet Is Out. Now Watch Who Gets Paid.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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In the '08 Obama/Clinton primary election, it was clear we had two Democratic Parties in Dallas County. We had the one that won that election -- the smart Obamacrats. And then we had the losers, the Dallas County Demacrooks, the usual suspects, the ones who took all that Clinton money but didn't do squat to run a campaign for her because they were too lazy, stupid and greedy to get off their asses.

I've been wondering which one would come out on top, now that the county and the courthouse are solid majority Democrat. Now I know. What a mess.

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Why did John Wiley Price and Clay Jenkins want to get rid of this guy, Bruce Sherbet? Probably because he's honest.
I'm talking about the political assassination of Bruce Sherbet, the county elections administrator for 24 years. Sherbet is an honest, straight-up guy, very smart, with huge moral integrity and backbone. He has always done the right thing in a job where sooner or later almost everybody he works for wants him to do the wrong thing.

So last week our new Democratic County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price succeeded in running him off. Jenkins, an inarticulate knuckle-under hey-boy for Price, offered some asinine story about how he never wanted to fire Sherbet. He just wanted to subject him to a "performance review."

Yeah. Have you ever had a performance review at your job that you didn't get to attend? And at the end of it they vote whether to fire you?

I can't believe Jenkins couldn't come up with a better story than that. In fact, the only debate I am having with myself over this whole thing is this: Was this a case of monumental stupidity or monumental arrogance?

Did someone think he could get rid of Sherbet behind the scenes, without anyone noticing? Or did someone just not give a rat's ass?

I'm going with the rat's-ass theory, and my best candidate for rat's ass is Price. When Price was working to sabotage the inland port project, the huge warehouse and transportation center that was the single best opportunity for employment and prosperity black Southern Dallas has ever seen, he didn't give a rat's ass if his own constituents caught him at it. He doesn't think his constituents are smart enough to figure out that Price was foot-dragging on the port while his friends lined up to get a cut of the deal.

Price cares about two things: Price and money.

So here's a promise. Watch. This Sherbet thing is going to be about Price and money. At some point before the May elections, the county is going to take up a new set of contracts having to do with those elections -- machines, ballot printing, consulting, I don't know yet. Something.

And the Demacrooks are going to have a very big sleazy interest in seeing that those contracts go one way or the other. It's just the kind of thing they couldn't have pulled off with Sherbet in office, because Sherbet is honest and is capable of standing up to them.

I called Price and Jenkins. Price didn't call back -- surprise! -- and I missed Jenkins's assistant's call at the end of the day.

To get an idea of the sort of class acts we're dealing with at the courthouse, though, consider this bit of news: Sherbet's letter of resignation had him out the door March 1, though he'd offered to stay through the May mayoral election.

That wasn't quick enough for him to be gone to someone.

On Monday, Sherbet said he'd gone to the the warehouse in Hutchins, where the voting machines are stored, to meet with the workers out there and explain to them what went down.

"I owed it to the warehouse guys," Sherbet says. "I told them, any credit I got was because of them. We sat in a circle and had a talk, and it was warm and kind. It closed that chapter."

Then, Darryl Martin, the commissioners court administrator, called Sherbet and told him the county would pay him through March 1. Sherbet asked him, "You'll pay me not to come in, right?" Martin told him that was right -- as far as Dallas County was concerned, he was done. Said it was for the best. Things between Sherbet and his former second-in-command, Toni Pippens-Poole, might be "uncomfortable" during the transition. Sherbet hung up.

Not long after that, two guys from the warehouse showed up at his front door with boxes full of his belongings.

"I'm kinda numb to it at this point," Sherbet says. "I knew I wouldn't be able to come back in. The good news is I don't have to pack up my office anymore. They did it for me."


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63 comments
Pam
Pam

hey, check out the briefing agenda for next weeks Dallas County Commissioners Court. Election contact is coming up soon.

kafi
kafi

Kudos to the Observer for keeping the heat turned up on this important issue--great coverage and videos!

I was there (Dallas County Elections Commission meeting) last Friday to protest Sherbet's firing/forced resignation--call it what you will.

The amazing thing that occurred there was that Dallas County voters--black, white, male, female, Republican, Democrat, Tea Party supporters, independents, working people, retired people--all came downtown late on a Friday afternoon to unite for a common cause.

The immediate "cause" was to support Bruce Sherbet. It seems to me the bigger issue, however, is a demand for a return to openess, honesty, ethical behavior, and integrity in county goverment specifically (and government in general).

Our national, state, and local governments are as they are now because we voters alllowed it to happen. We did not pay enough attention, didn't get involved, and maybe didn't even vote.The real problem is voter negligence and apathy.

As last Friday's gathering proved, people across-the-board still care ethical behavior and honesty in government. I encourage everyone who takes the time to comment here and elsewhere to spend an equal amount of time actively involved in the political process.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The voters of District 3 are totally responsible for John Price's action.Its our fault that we have sent this man Downtown so long that he has forgotten us.we created this monster now we must correct our mistake.John Price has kept his people miss-educated and fed us race batting as a way to fuel emotionalism and keep us angry at the wrong man.John has no machine, he has the same organization of people he always had. Phone bank,Kathy Nealy,on money,walk team,Vincent Hall yard sign, with some extra paid help and intimidation and robocall with lies and scare tactics.He keeps the people by attacking some hot button issue and staying in new prior to primary. Until now Price has not been called out.DMN did not help educate on what happen to Inland Port,they played on the side of business community not people hurt by his action.We have no Media outlet,we can't talk about him on KKDA, Willis won't allow it.Maybe this time the voters of District 3 will begin to see the man for who and what he has become.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

Some mix-ups in this column:

- It's my understanding that Sherbet initiated the meeting after he had already started making this a pissing match in the press once he had gotten the message strategy clear with Neerman. JWP did not offer a pre-written resignation, but was happy to get Sherbet's resignation intentions clear and he indicated that sooner (March 1) was better than later (May 1) now that this had become a media-circus game with Sherbet and Neerman. - I'm on board with the colorful characterizations in the first paragraph, but the factions get all mixed up beyond that. I know you want a simple narrative that goes along with your axe-grinding about JWP, but you've taken some creative liberty. We have a lot of 2008 Clintocrats who bet on the wrong horse in the 2010 primaries locking arms with Republicans in protest, with JWP along with a lot of Obamacrats being protested or just not buying into the mob mentality. As with much of reality, though, there exceptions to who is using which secret handshake.

I agree with Schutze that observers should always be wary and be mindful of how the money flows to get indication of what's going on behind closed doors. I'd also ask Schutze to ask around and see how much St. Sherbet and the Dept. of Elections complied with former County judge Foster's edict to obstruct transition and whether that stopped after your new county officeholders were sworn in. I think the answers might complicate or contradict the pre-digested narrative that Sherbet and Neerman have been spoonfeeding everyone the past week.

pak152
pak152

gee Dallas is getting to be like Chicago more and more. now that the Demorats are firmly in control of the election process, I just can't wait to see vote totals in precincts where more vote than are registered. Reptilicans should start registering the bodies in the cemeteries

TimCov
TimCov

Until the people of southern Dallas county stop voting based on skin color and start voting based on issues, we will continue to see this. Southern Dallas County voters see Price, West and all the other corrupt politicians as leaders for their rights. The reality is that they diminish opportunities for the people they represent while lining their pockets.

citygirl
citygirl

Where is Elba Garcia in all of this? She wasn't hesitant to speak out when she was on the City Council. Her silence is disappointing.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Great now we can get back to the Good old days of Lew Sterrett ,Roy Orr And Diamond Jim Jackson.

Steven R
Steven R

There is, of course, always more than meets the eye in every story. In this one, it seems that because nobody likes Commissioner Price, they want to portray him as operating Judge Jenkins like a hand puppet. And I don’t pretend to know why they got rid of Sherbet. But something that bothered me in the last election, something that made me doubt the integrity of the vote, was the disparity in the balance of Republican vs. Democrat Early Voting By Mail ballots.

What made me notice it was the Watkins/Clancy vote, where the first numbers reported on election night showed Clancy with a fair lead over Watkins, a lead that dwindled and then disappeared as the night went on. When I went to the Dallas County Election Results online and looked at the totals, it turned out that going into election night, Clancy was ahead by 3.5% in Early Voting overall (108,791 to 105,031), but when you broke it down, he was actually behind Watkins in Early Voting In Person by -3.3% (98,527 Watkins vs. 95,301 Clancy) but ahead by a staggering 107% in Early Voting By Mail (13,490 Clancy vs. 6,504 Watkins).

These are the kind of disparities that cause poll watchers in third world countries to cry fraud. Yet no one’s brought it up here in Dallas. Not even the press. Even giving the benefit of the doubt and saying that more Republicans than Democrats choose that method of voting, when you view the Early Voting in Person totals (98,527 Watkins vs. 95,301 Clancy), which was a near mirror image of the Election Day in Person vote (103,162 Watkins vs. 94,518 Clancy) you’d have to say that people voting for Clancy were 30 times more likely to vote by mail. The bottom line is that Clancy never led Watkins in anything but Early Voting by Mail, and in that he led by such a huge margin as to be, dare I say, statistically impossible.

And it’s not just the Watkins/Clancy race. They are all skewed this way, and it’s always toward the Republican candidates, by these kinds of margins, all as a result of Early Voting by Mail.

So, where was Sherbet then?

ihavequestions
ihavequestions

When does JWP come up for re election? How much time do we need to get him out with anyone BUT him? Anyone know?

Carl Herman
Carl Herman

John Wiley Price resume: Rape, criminal assault etc, etc. Someday to join the Don Hill-hopefully.

Gangy
Gangy

Joeblow, being a pariah can be quite liberating.

noIDplez
noIDplez

Make no mistake about this - Price is running Dallas County government. Period. Things - anything! - will be done his way or not at all. Period. This is merely the beginning of 4 very long years. If people do not like it, the time to start working for change is now.

Admonkey
Admonkey

So last week our new Democratic County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price succeeded in running him off. Jenkins, an inarticulate knuckle-under hey-boy for Price, offered some asinine story about how he never wanted to fire Sherbet. He just wanted to subject him to a "performance review.""

Let's not forget that Commission Member, Democratic Party Chairwoman Darlene Ewing was lobbied to vote against Mr. Sherbet as early as Tuesday and that Commissioner Price presented a pre-written letter of resignation to Mr. Sherbet the next day on Wednesday.

Judge Jenkins' meeting, ostensibly to "review Sherbet's performance," was scheduled for the following Friday (after the lobbying effort and after Price drew up the resignation letter he wanted Sherbet to tender).

thnoc
thnoc

Jim, I'm not quite following your link between a 3-year-old primary split and the current situation. With very few exceptions, the Obama/Clinton split is over. That's what primaries settle. The split is between JWP & his elected official enablers who depend on his machine to get re-elected (and I'm sure they were reminded of that), and almost everyone else in the Democratic grassroots. The only ones I see defending Jenkins are his friends.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Jim, I got a lame and extremely patronizing email from Clay Jenkins late yesterday afternoon in response to my email to him last week (which Merten has a copy of). I'll forward it to you if you want it.

Yes, it's about money and Price and also power. JWP put Jenkins in this mess because JWP wanted to remind him who he worked for and Jenkins was weak enough to gladly go along. I predict we will continue to see these "bimbo eruptions" for four years.

Steve
Steve

What amazes me is that people still continue to think that things will get better after the next election, or the next election, or the next....

Things will never get better, politicians are corrupt and government is nothing more than the tool they use to further their own ends and we end up fighting each other just so we can get "our" guys in there because we've deluded ourselves into thinking "our" guys are the good guys. You want things to get better? Quit fighting your neighbor and fight the government, take away it's power and the politicians power.

Joey G. Dauben
Joey G. Dauben

Jim, this is the kind of stuff I've been reading from you my entire career, and it's the reason my Ellis County Observer was named after *the* Observer. I'm a pretty big fan of yours. Keep this shit up.

crispinTx
crispinTx

Jim, I think you're a little bit wrong about the division in the Democratic Party. I don't think it maps evenly to the Clinton-Obama split and I don't think it's fair to the grassroots Clinton supporters who have been supporting Bruce. Also, Clay Jenkins was an Election Protection guy for the Obama campaign. So it's not that cut and dried.

@JoeBlow -- if you want to save the Democratic Party from itself, why not get involved as a grassroots activist or precinct chair? As Dallas county trends towards majority Democratic rule, we need activists who are willing and able to police our own elected officials. This is what happens in counties where one party dominates -- we have to learn how to disagree and we have to run vigorous primary campaigns. We are one year, three months away from the 2012 Democratic primary. It's time to start planning.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Does anyone know if there's a recall provision in the County Charter? What recourse do voters have right now to get rid of Price's butt-boy.

RS1963
RS1963

It's clear that Price doesn't care one whit what anyone thinks about him, or writes about him. He knows that he is answerable to no one, and his constituents aren't going to vote him out.

So who is he afraid of? Other than some kind of FBI investigation, he is apparently immune from any repercussions to any actions that he takes, especially now that Democrats control the Commissioners Court.

If we thought his actions in the past were bad, I'm afraid we haven't seen anything yet. He's just getting started.

Garland Guy
Garland Guy

After reading this DMN article, Sherbet has a lot of explaining to do. He goofed, big time. More happy than before to see him go.

GarlandGuy
GarlandGuy

I don't know that I have ever seen such blatant falsehoods as TracyClinton's post has in it. If by "pre-digested narrative" you mean the truth, then I can't help wondering why it's not acceptable to get that on the record as Sherbet and Neerman have done. I considered not even responding to this rubbish, but I feel it's imperative to point out that nothing in the original post is remotely accurate.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

@Dallas Diner: I beg for pardon. I was clumsily referring to the notion that JWP called Sherbet in to ask for his resignation.

In my defense, it would be ridiculous to assert that Sherbet called the Election Commission meeting, since that would be impossible. It's not under Sherbet's control to convene that particular meeting, though he made sure it happened by resigning.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

So, Clay Jenkins misled to the public when he said he had called the meeting of the obscure board that had not met since 1987 in order to do a performance review of the Elections Commissioner? You're saying that Sherbet asked him to call the meeting and Jenkins, for some reason, decided to say he initiated it?

How do you know JWP didn't offer Sherbet a written resignation at their meeting, were you there? One of the two people who admits to being in the meeting said he did, and the other one has been silent, so where did your version of the facts come from? Is JWP talking to you?

I believe that the "media circus," (damn that media and those concerned citizens) didn't start until AFTER the meeting between JWP and Sherbet, so your version of the choice of a March 1 versus May 1 resignation date can't be correct. It is correct that after all of this hit the papers that Sherbet was locked out of his office and his personal possession delivered to his house, even though his resignation isn't effective until March 1.

Garland Guy
Garland Guy

THANK YOU. If the situation was the other way around, with the Democratic candidate benefiting from such a HUGE mail-in disparity, this and other "news" outlets would have been screaming to high heaven! Something fishy was going on at the Elections Department, and Sherbet's quick resignation sure made the stench more apparent.

VotingforJWPsucks
VotingforJWPsucks

Look at the Sepulveda vs Medrano race. Sepulveda won all the walk in votes. He lost the mail ballot votes stolen by Medrano. Price said their was no voter fraud in Dallas County. Was that because the Medrano machine was getting the seniors to turn over their ballots to the likes of Se Gwen Tyler (Member of Dallas County Ballot Board), Mark Baker, Ricardo "Big Cheese" Medrano Sr., Ricardo "Little Cheesy"Medrano Jr., Roberto "Drunk" Medrano, Anna "Smokey" Casey, Jaime Cortes, Derek Evans. Domingo Garcia the Bag Man.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The person in charge of machines and vote counting in the department is the Assistant who was named new Election administrator. I understand what you mean,I ran for City Council in a four person race,I made the run-off, I never understood how my opponent won,but I did notice more people voted in run-off than did for all four in the first election.That is the first time in history that more people voted in run off than original election.I do know how easy it is to be sabotaged by your right hand person at Dallas County with John Price courting them with questions.

JimS
JimS

Steven R: Not saying you're not right to question. But the percentage of Clancy voters who voted by mail was six percent, the percentage for Watkins three percent. Not sure how you come by the "thirty times more likely" thing. Also, the ratio of Republican to Democratic mail voters was consistent all the way down the ballot through the county-wide judges. So, just sayin' : it was a cheat all the way down if it was a cheat. Mail-in voting is a reflection of campaign organization or the lack therof. Clancy's advanatge was six thousand votes -- not all that difficult to imagine in an election in which half a million people voted. If you look back to 2006 and even to 2002, you will see that Watkins and the Democrats have consistently drawn about 5000 to 6000 mail-ins in county-wide votes. I would guess that's a fairly accurate reflection of the number of old Democrats who are out there and the ability of the party to reach them and vote them, versus the same for Republicans. This was a slack Democratic campaign (Watkins anyway, which was an amateur all-cousin South Dallas deal) versus the Republicans, who were pretty sharp under Neerman. That could be the answer, but please come back at me if I'm wrong.

Guest
Guest

You assume that it was ignored rather than investigated and found to be just a weird quirk. Or investigated and turned over to the proper state and local authorities who decided that (like in any number of previous absentee ballot cases) looking the other way was the proper way to go.

(And it's far from statistically impossible to see such a result. It's unusual but perfectly possible).

And I don't know how putting a crook's hand puppet in place is going to make fraud go down. We've seen any number of instances when JWP has been shown to have broken the law, and everybody always whistles and acts like they didn't see anything.

GreenEyes
GreenEyes

JWP is up for re-election next march....Dem. primary 2012. Must run a black female in order to win. I suggest Carla Ranger.

Fudge
Fudge

Unless he's a snitch for the Feds.

Admonkey
Admonkey

I'm sure it was a copy-and-paste job that was sent to multiple recipients.

Gangy
Gangy

That's why we need to replace elected officials as soon as the stink starts. We need government, and we have a responsibility to throw out the corrupt as soon as we realize it - and that could be in the primary.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

It is false to imply that I think it's unacceptable for Sherbet and Neerman to put out their pre-digested narrative. That, my friend, is a blatant falsehood that you have put out there.

It is correct to understand that I think that the Sherbet/Neerman narrative should be considered with more scrutiny.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

The media circus started before Sherbet met with JWP.

I'll own that I was not in that meeting. I've come across zero scuttlebutt to support Sherbet's and Neerman's and Cantrell's media testimony. I have come across a fair amount that disputes many of the salient points of that meeting.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

P.S. The main thing that gripes me about your post, after its rewriting of history, is the denigration of Bruce Sherbet. The mere fact that you try to paint him as a publicity-seeking bad guy strains your credibility. You have no explanation why a man who has always been content to work behind the scenes, who made a great effort to be non-partisan, and who is widely respected by the full spectrum of Dallas County political parties and movements (from the far left to Tea Party has come out in support of him) suddenly turned into an allegedly lying, misrepresenting, publicity seeking, grandstanding prima donna.

Certainly, if there were irregularities in his administration of his office such that they justified putting him our of office, they should have come out in the closed door Election Committee meeting that was originally called to give him an in absentia "performance review." Yet the vote at that closed door meeting to keep Sherbet in office was 3-2. So, other than gossip and innuendo, where's the evidence that Sherbet did't do his job in a professional manner?

GreenEyes
GreenEyes

Jim: Holy crap! Steven R is on to something. Go look at results. In 2006 DA race, the R candidate pulled 7,415 mail ballots. But, 4yrs later, the R candidate, Clancy, has 13,490 mail ballots. Now, we know that's fishy. While the Dem candidate, Watkins', mail ballots stayed about the same for those two elections.

How do you explain a 100% increase in mail votes for Republicans.

And, the same exact increase in 2010 State Rep 102 race: Stephanie Carter's numbers --her mail in numbers are way out of wack...again just about a 100% increase from the republican's mail in numbers from 2006. Again, the dem candidate's numbers for both cycles remained more or less consistent. And, again, the early vote and election day numbers were consistent. It was just the mail in ...the Republican mail in that was double what it should be.

Could Bruce Sherbet have been aiding and abetting the Republican party. Maybe letting them sneak in after dark, a few days before election day, and feed extra ballots thru the scanner for mail in ballots?

Steven R
Steven R

No. It really is statistically impossible. If the US sent poll watchers anywhere in the world and they reported some shit like that, the least thing they'd say is that the outcome of the election is in doubt. Not that we should just trust that our Gub'ment Agencies have done the right thing here and looked into it, found nothing amiss and we just need to move along, nothing to see here.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Definitely read like that. Planned to call a close friend of his when I got to the office this morning to relay my displeasure but weather has intervened. Will try tomorrow.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

"You've bought into the narrative that Sherbet and Neerman have put out that there's a Democratic conspiracy to get him fired or tender his resignation." Uh, no I didn't.

TracyClinton
TracyClinton

You've bought into the narrative that Sherbet and Neerman have put out that there's a Democratic conspiracy to get him fired or tender his resignation. That's gossip and innuendo.

I like Sherbet and I like Jenkins. I think Jenkins could have prepared people better for his convening of the Commission, and I definitely think that Sherbet overreacted and burned some bridges behind him in the process.

Garland Guy
Garland Guy

Oh no, Sherbet was honest! Just ask the "Tea Party" drones who defend his you-know-what!

/sarc off

GarlandGuy
GarlandGuy

I can explain it by saying that Republicans were getting fed up and came back to vote by mail in record numbers. It isn't unusual at all. In fact, if I recall correctly, investigators from the Texas Attorney General's office investigated this and found NOTHING!

And I highly doubt that Sherbet was "letting them sneak in after dark". Were you saying that just for the inflammatory value, or did you actually believe that? Utter nonsense.

Guest
Guest

It is far from statistically impossible.

Older voters in Dallas County vote Republican. They also vote by mail. Also, in my experience, Democrats are much more likely to view voting as an experience (a positive attribute in my view). I'm a Democrat and I took my baby with me to the polling booth so he was exposed to voting early in his life. I'd guess most of the Highland Park crowd prefers to avoid the "experience" of having to be in the same building as most other voters.

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