The Greatest Sideshow on Earth: When The "Transparent" (Cough) City Council Talks Ethics

Categories: City Hall
PerkinsandCaraway.jpg
City council members Angela Hunt and Vonciel Jones Hill are kicking ass at today's contentious hearing on the city council's recent unethics reform, which is about to wrap up. (Or not.) The council voted last April 13 to gut its ethics policy and allow political contributions from representatives and employees of companies that have business before them.

Mayor Dwaine Caraway complained -- with great offended dignity -- about Hunt's characterization of the way the recent unethics vote unfolded. She said the mayor's proposed unethics reform had been "slipped in" to the council's consent agenda -- a wholesale list of relatively trivial issues that the council normally adopts without debate.

Caraway had made a big deal out of the fact that the council had voted "unanimously" to adopt the consent agenda with the unethics bomb hidden in it. But Hill said, "We unanimously screwed up." She also said "slipped in" was the right way to describe the way Caraway had put the item on the agenda.

All of this followed one of the more preposterous presentations in recent council history.

jassoandhunt.jpg
Angela Hunt and Delia Jasson get into it
City Attorney Tom Perkins explained to the council that he had prepared the unethics proposition because of the council's great concern that prohibitions on donations to council members might limit people's free speech.

Can't you just see it? The council members sitting with heads on hands, weeping for the poor little people who are being oppressed by being denied the right to slip them some moolah.

Oh, please, Mr. City Attorney, please. Help us to find a way to free the little people. We must allow them to come forward and free themselves of the heavy burden of their purses.

Hunt asked Perkins which particular council member had done the weeping and pleading for these changes. He said it would "inappropriate" for him to give her those names.

Caraway said the item will go in front of the council for a vote again at a later date, "so that we can show the transparency of ethics for this city without agenda, without timing." After that, Carolyn Davis called it "distasteful" for council members not to go to Caraway before the April 13 vote and ask him how the item got on the agenda in the first place. "This is a transparent council," she said.

Since when?
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19 comments
Rooster
Rooster

Clowns on parade....

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Is Perkins the same guy who "advised" the city council about the late councilman Fontleroy's shinanigans?

Judd D. Bradbury
Judd D. Bradbury

I have plenty of issue with Ms. Hunt's Tax Hike. But ethics are ethics and power is power. Tom I have worked with you successfully many times on different issues. Your "summer help" attitude thinking that you can "not answer" a sitting council member? You are getting pretty far out on a limb my friend. The council is your boss. There are no exceptions to your answering any member's question. You want to ask for an executive session, then ask for one. Either way you answer their questions.

Who Ray
Who Ray

The City Attorney Perkins should be disciplined (or terminated) for refusing to answer the question asked by Hunt. There is no attorney-client privilege in this situation. Perkins, and others, need to be reminded that they are PUBLIC SERVANTS who are employed by the taxpayers of Dallas. It is very inappropriate for Perkins to withold the name(s) of those who pushed for the ethics reform. If the council is truly "transparent", the information requested by Hunt is "public information" and Perkins should be required by Queen Suhm to "cough it up".

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

The more I hear from Perkins,the more I ask my self, is it legal for Attorney's to make up change to avoid the law ,and make anything legal an elected Official wants to do? How can, not giving a person a donation, limit anyone's Free Speech.Does this mean "money talks". The very reason that clause was in policy.,was to keep "money from talking" for votes.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

Ethics? In Dallas city or county government? You gotta be kidding! Next thing you know we will be hearing about how efficient and competent the local governments are.

Zagadka60
Zagadka60

Did you not pick up on the fact that Angela didn't pull THIS item from the consent addendum even though she pulled ANOTHER  item from the SAME consent addendum???  That means she saw and read the ethics item.  She is trying to put the blame on staff and everyone else when she was as complicit in this as anyone else.  Why do you always bow down to the altar of Angela even when she is blatantly wrong.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

What a bunch of CROOKS! It is obvious that the FBI did not go far enough in investigating the shenanigans down at city hall (especially after the southern sector whined about the Love Field bidding process- a sure sign of questionable ethics).

I gather that the saggy pants are a status symbol of being in prison (lack of belt). Wonder if Mayor Saggy Pants should get in contact with former councilman/CONVICTED FELON Don Hill to see if Don is keeping his pants up or is now someone’s bitch. It seems that the city council just does not get it in terms of managing city resources, representing the voters, ethics or anything for that matter.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Big Wampum.

financial112
financial112

why didnt you report that Angela pulled another item off that sessions consent agenda but left this on. also she missed the october briefing meeting. im sure the committee will change most of this back.

Ellum08
Ellum08

Isn't it the responsibility of each Council member to read the entire agenda, consent and discussion, for things they might have an issue with?

I know Rasansky used to do that.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

And now they've OK'd an ad hoc ethics commission committee.

And to think -- they owe this all to you, Jim.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Ms. Culbreath, you beat me to it. Tom Perkins appears to be treading on VERY thin ice, here. Who, exactly, is his client? How is it appropriate for him to lie to a sitting city council member (is his client Mayor Caraway, Queen Suhm or the elected leadership as a whole)--- making up nonsense about freedom of speech as a justification for a loosening of ethics laws; refusing to disclose how the item came to be incorporated into the agenda, etc.

For all you attorneys out there-- is Tom Perkins guilty of any sort of breach of the Texas Bar Association Code of Ethics? Are there any sorts of penalties for this kind of misbehavior?

Who Ray
Who Ray

The only plausible explanation is she missed it entirely (duh) or she saw it and make a concious decision not to pull the item from the consent agenda. Either of these is not good under any circumstances. I agree that she is just as worng as her colleague council members. But, Perkins should be required to answer hr question. The public has the right to know which Council Member(s) pushed City Attorneys to draft a change to the Ethics Code. Otherwise, all of the supposed "transparency" is gone!

Ellum08
Ellum08

You must be new to this blog. You see, Angela can do no wrong in the eyes of the Observer staff.

Even when she does something wrong, it is either not reported on or spun in such a way to deflect blame to someone else.

Cruise
Cruise

Sir,

The FBI's investigation has not ended. Not at all.

El Rey
El Rey

Can we put Jim on the committee? If Angela can get Jim in that role, we might just save the city from another Don Hill situation.

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