Natural Gas Drilling Continues to Define Council Battle Between Dave Neumann and Scott Griggs

Thumbnail image for Neumann_Griggs_Merten.jpg
Photo by Sam Merten
Dave Neumann (left) and Scott Griggs (right) at their first debate in late February.
From the beginning of last night's forum at the Avalon at Kessler Park, questions from the crowd of nearly 100 District 3 residents focused squarely on natural gas drilling and incumbent city council member Dave Neumann's ties to the industry.

Neumann said the city is monitoring the results of several studies related to the environmental impact of Fort Worth's 1,600 wells, and that information will be used to avoid repeating any mistakes when the council considers the issue on October 26.

"Gas drilling is not a council issue," he said. "It is a city issue, but I ask that we act responsible to what is best for you and I."

When questioned about any political and/or financial ties to the oil and gas industry, Neumann admitted he had received a $500 contribution but "promptly returned the check." And when the issue arose last year, Neumann said he sold his Exxon Mobil stocks to prevent any conflict of interest.

Scott Griggs, the 36-year-old lawyer attempting to oust Neumann, said his nonexistent ties to the oil and gas industry allow him to "think freely" on the issue.

"People's lives, property and the quality of air and water are much more important than money," he said. "The profits of Exxon and XTO are way down on the list of things to worry about."

Griggs spoke openly about his ambition to move Dallas forward as he comfortably sat on a table in front of the invigorated crowd.

"I am glad you all stayed through the opening act so you could see the main show," he joked after Neumann's comments.

Griggs stressed his opposition to drilling near neighborhoods and said his candidacy represents an opportunity to address issues where everyone is on the same page.

"I am going to be the candidate to move the city forward by being innovative, fiscally responsible and bringing focus back to issues dealing with our quality of life," he said.

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heart and soul
heart and soul

Neumann is a liar. He has taken at least $2500.00 from oil and gas people and Raymond Crawford has the proof on his website. Nice try Neumann ( er I mean Edgar)

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

Last night was interesting watching the smoke coming out of Dave's heels while he tap danced his way around the questions. Of the 15 questions he received, 2 were non gas related.The tension was a thick as it gets and by the time it was over, all you saw was a blue blur of suit running out of the room faster than you can say XTO. This was not a good night for Dave. The more questions he got about gas, the faster he talked and twisted his facts.

Will be interesting to see if and when he accepts the invitation to the Mt.Creek debate on May 3rd. All 4 mayoral guys accepted and Scott accepted, and Dave? Well, you know the rest...Scott on the other hand had the audience at 'hello'. Two questions about gas, the rest were all about economic growth, schools, communication, etc

I still want to know how he managed to delete his files on his computer at the dress factory.

Based on their public appearances so far: Dave:0 Scott:2

annonymous
annonymous

The best is to say you gave back your oil and gas money - which you did from the company - but keep it from the individuals running the oil and gas companies. Neumann is Charles Durning in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Rob
Rob

But wouldn't "ties" to the industry mean you are favorable toward drilling? Scott has been against drilling completely... I'm not sure I see the connection.

Edgar
Edgar

To the contrary, the fact that Griggs is against drilling makes his position more contemptible.

"Ties" means he received money from a client in the industry. Maybe it was an important client...maybe it was a small one...but on some level, the oil and gas industry contributed to his livelihood. It's that simple. "Nonexistent ties to the oil and gas industry" my arse.

While Griggs sits in front of audiences playing the part of the cool NOC guy, proclaiming to be on the side of irate constituents who can't stand the oil and gas industry, he conveniently ignores the fact that he's been lining his pockets with fees of clients in that very industry. He's wearing two faces, and that pisses me off.

Everyone here is casting their liberal outrage out the window because Griggs seems like the hip NOC kind of guy.

WCGasette
WCGasette

@Edgar: You didn't proclaim that you don't like Glenn Beck! Just an oversight?

Edgar
Edgar

Weak. Schutze cleverly chided Rick Perry a few weeks ago for saying, "Look, a Mexican!" rather than talking about the real issues. You're being Rick Perry.

WCGasette
WCGasette

@Edgar: Did this business "tie" influence Scott Griggs' position on shale gas drilling? Explain how that works. Get out your chalkboard!

So, he represents an O&G client and then he says, "Oh, by the way, I'm against shale gas drilling." And he looks really COOL while saying it. How does it work that this means he's being "influenced" by the industry? If anything, it says he's NOT being influenced by the industry that hired his firm to represent them.

Of course you must know that your analogy belongs on Glenn Beck's chalkboard. Good stuff. Give HIM a call. Better yet, send FOX your résumé. I hear there's an opening...

Edgar
Edgar

@Amy: "Mr. Griggs specializes in the areas of patent preparation and prosecution. He has experience with...oil field completion and production equipment..." You're correct. I'm making an assumption that Griggs has represented clients in the O&G sector. That's perfectly reasonable, given that he claims to have experience prosecuting patents covering oil field completion and production equipment. If doesn't have that experience, he's misrepresenting his practice on his website, and someone should contact the State Bar of Texas grievance committee.

@WG: You didn't follow my previous chalkboard diagram. It's patently false to claim he has no ties to the oil and gas industry if he has clients in the industry. He speaks with disdain about the industry because that's what the NOC constituency wants. (People who run for office are usually politicial creatures, you know.) He did not update the firm website to exclude his experience with representing clients in the very industry he opposes prior to assuming his public stance against the industry. If he deliberately chose not to update his website, then he may believe having those clients is consistent with his statement that he has no ties to the industry. I'm all ears. But if his failure to update the website was an oversight, he's kicking himself right now. This has nothing to do with Glenn Beck. I'm a NOC homeowner and I'm not a big fan of Neuman, but I refuse to swallow hypocrisy, even from the new Observer-endorsed NOC messiah squad.

General comment: I think this may touch a nerve because it bothers you guys, too...it's not a small contradition. I'm sure Scott's a nice guy, but he's not exempt form having to explain these sort s of things. He's asking to be a city coucilman. When a public question about his integrity exists, he should have to explain it publicly.

Amy
Amy

Edgar, Scott is a patent attorney. I doubt he's out there working on trials where gas companies' butts are on the line for ruining people's lives. This hardly seems like an issue, but if you're so concerned, why don't you call Scott and ask him? His phone number is 214-695-7471. We'll look forward to you reporting the outcome.

Amy
Amy

You're ASSUMING that because his practice profile says he could do patent law for an oil & gas company that he has. And you know what happens when you assume! So, again- if you're so concerned, I'd suggest giving him a call. He's nothing if not straightforward.

Edgar
Edgar

So you have to be a trial attorney defending oil and gas companies against tort claims to have ties to the oil and gas industry? If he's running for public office, and he's claiming to have no "ties" to the industry, he should be candid about how that prior reporesentation does not qulify as a tie. And he should explain that publicly, not to one constituent over a private phonecall.

Again, Observer staff...you reported on this, and you should follow up on it. If you do not, I could only assume your failure to do so is it because it doesn't fit the narrative the majority of your readers enjoy. If that's the case, that's bad journalism, and I'll be disappointed.

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

I betcha Neuman doesn't ride a fixie and sip on organic, animal cruelty free margaritas while lounging in the cool, crisp, refreshing confines of a trash receptacle turned community pool.

Amy
Amy

No, silly! Scott is way too old for a fixie. As for the dumpster pool, do you feel the same disgust for the Ones on Park Avenue?

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

I'm just jealous cuz I can't swim...unless I put on my arm floaties(they've got lil blue ducks on em). As for the trashcan pools on Park Ave. i'll have to let Zsa Zsa answer that one.

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

Yo Anon, never watched Green Acres I see.

annonymous
annonymous

zsa zsa lives in beverly hills and recently had her right leg amputated. try again.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

That's that North Oak Cliff Crowd for you .

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

I know right...I mean, once they move in, BAM!, down goes the property values. What's up with that?

Edgar
Edgar

Nonexistent ties to the oil and gas industry? From his "Practice Profile" at griggslaw.com:

Mr. Griggs specializes in the areas of patent preparation and prosecution. He has experience with ...oil field completion and production equipment....

I don't know the details of his "experience," but if Griggs has represented a client for a fee who is in the business of creating or designing oil field completion and production equipment, that's a far more substantial tie to the industry than stock and a $500 contribution. I trust that someone on the Observer staff, good journalists that you are, will inquire...

heavy metal church lady
heavy metal church lady

@Edgar

If Griggs has represented clients in the oil business, they paid for his professional expertise as a lawyer. He performed a public, legal service in exchange for a fee.

If a politician takes money from the oil business, is a campaign contribution an unstated payment for service? We don't know the details of Griggs' background in these areas, but there is a big difference between taking money as a professional service provider and taking money in a political campaign.

I do believe that there is some truth in looking at the entities and individuals who contribute money to campaigns and then being able to correlate with accuracy where that politician's policies and allegiances will fall once they are in office.

Tweed Pedaler
Tweed Pedaler

Nice reach, Edgar. That tells me is that Griggs actually knows what he's talking about, rather than Neumann's ducking, dodging and passing the buck (literally) to The City.

If Neumann is unable to discourse deeply and thoughtfully on this matter, then he has no business whatsoever representing the people who have to live with this nonsense.

Edgar
Edgar

WTF? Really? You're a true sycophant. I'm not a Neuman supporter, but good god, man.

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