Scott Griggs's Request for Change in Drilling Task Force Make-Up Falls on Deaf Ears

Categories: City Hall

Rawlings and council.jpg
Photos by Leslie Minora
Mayor Mike Rawlings and city council members pose for a photo op after their first meeting.
The post-inauguration celebration didn't last long, as Mayor Mike Rawlings and city council members new and old got straight to work at a 2 p.m. meeting. After a few housekeeping items -- a quick vote to unanimously select Pauline Medrano as mayor pro tem and Tennell Atkins as deputy mayor pro tem, no shocker there -- the council turned its attention to signing off on the ad hoc gas drilling task force members as recommended by the nominating committee.

Linda Koop made a motion for approval. Freshly inaugurated District 3 council member, Scott Griggs, politely but sternly requested that Ed Meyer, a task force applicant and Mountain Creek resident who was not selected by the committee, be added to the final task force. A majority vote would be needed for Griggs's request to pass.

Rawlings.jpg
Next on the list, relabeling the seats at the horseshoe.
Griggs stressed that the recommended task force does not include anyone who lives near the area of the Barnett Shale where XTO actually wants to drill. "That is an oversight, and we have the opportunity to make a correction today," he told the council.

Silence.

Not a single council member made a comment following Griggs's request. No one seconded his motion to add Meyer to the roster of task force members.

Koop's motion to approve the recommended task force passed with Griggs as the only dissenter.

"You have to give people a seat at the table...[Residents] are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of the decision," Griggs said after the meeting, adding that not having someone who lives on the Shale on the task force is a "disservice" to Dallas.

"The important thing is that residents on this shale need a seat on this task force," Griggs said. Though today, the rest of the council did not vote to support his sentiment.

Sylvia Lagos, a District 3 resident, compared the council's silence to a "deer in headlights."

"We elected [Griggs] because we knew he would be a good representative and a good spokesperson," Lagos said.

Though the council did not approve Griggs's motion, Meyer told Unfair Park he will nonetheless attend every gas drilling meeting to advocate for his neighborhood. "The feeling right now is that the task force is leaning towards the industry," Meyer said.

Medrano said she felt the committee selected a balanced group for the drilling task force. "I believe we did a good job in each category," she said, adding that applicants were thoroughly vetted through the selection process.

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Marc
Marc

Medrano said she felt the committee selected a balanced group for the drilling task force. "I believe we did a good job in each category," she said, adding that applicants were thoroughly vetted through the selection process.

I could not agree more! The ad hoc committe spent a whole five minutes "vetting" each applicant! COME ON, PEOPLE! What do you expect? Do you actually want a fair and objective task force, or do you want the one that will "hear" the concerns of citizens then vote to give the O&G industry carte blanche to do their work so that the city can reap BILLIONS in revenues from drilling near residences, schools, nursing homes, daycare facilities, parks, golf courses, airports, libraries and all the other places where their air and water contamination can adversely affect people?

We get the government that we deserve because we elect it! If this task force was "fair and balanced", then it would have had three enviromental seats to offset three industry seats, and it would have included three citizen seats, at least one of which would have represented District 3 and another the district in which Love Field or LB Houston golf course is located since those are also sites the city has leased from drilling. The "citizen representative" for District 3 actually lives in Highland Park and owns commercial property near Loop 408 and IH 20.

If this task force was "fair and balanced", then the ad hoc committee would NOT have included Ron Natinsky and David Neumann, neither of whom is on the Dallas City Council as of yesterday. Let's make no pretense about it - this was NEVER intended to be a "fair and balanced" task force. It is limited to only 16 hours in 8 meetings over the next 3 months, and has to finish its work more than 13 months before the EPA study will be completed and released. It is yet another case of Dallas City government acting in the interest of the business community to the exclusion and detriment of the general public.

Mountain Creek
Mountain Creek

I think Scott is the only one on Council who has been to Mountain Creek, the area of D3 where Meyer resides.  Perhaps the rest of the council thought that Mountain Creek is another city? *said in jest*

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Scott must work for his vote before meeting starts and learn to count to 8 fast.

Marc
Marc

In this particular situation there was no time for Scott to work for the vote ahead of time, and you know it. So, why bring up such an unintelligent suggestion? This vote should have been pushed back by at least a week rather than taking place on the day the new council was sworn in, a day in which, traditionally, there has been no business conducted.

Susanne
Susanne

I don't think he has any problem counting. If you mean that he shouldn't have been the "lone" vote. Au contraire mon cheri, Scott did the right thing.

BoPeep
BoPeep

Yes, that's the way it works in Dalllas. Work "behind the scenes" to get your votes and to give colleagues a chance to obtain a bargaining chit for a future vote. What a shame that the entire council does not work for the overall betterment of Dallas, instead supporting their own private little agendas within their own fifedom.

Harvey
Harvey

Looks like a fair and balanced council.  Damn....couldn't keep from smiling.

Kent Boyer
Kent Boyer

Scott - don't ever stop challenging on behalf of the people who elected you.  I believe the statement is "...don't let the bastards get you down..." Glad you're there.  Congratulations.

gabbahey
gabbahey

Am not one to be a "town crier", but everyone here needs to see the documentary, "Gasland", and then perhaps think about the region you live in.

Edgar
Edgar

Stolz der Nation is another good one if you enjoy that kind of analysis.

Susanne
Susanne

That's another dumb thing to say.  Stupid and Dumb. If you are going for some kind of comparison, that ain't it.

Marc
Marc

Edgar is a schizophrenic - "Dumb and Dumber" rolled into a single person. This is his normal M.O.

Susanne
Susanne

It's always harder to "argue" an issue on days of celebration. Very clever planning.

WCGasette
WCGasette

The money is in the "bonuses."  They pay well to get the process going.  Grand Prairie just received another big sum for leasing to Newark Energy north of I30 and west of Wildlife Parkway. Those checks are just so easy to cash. Check out Item #14 on the June 21, 2011 Grand Prairie City Council Agenda. They don't mention the amount but it was over a million.

http://www.gptx.org/Modules/Sh...

[...](Item) 14    Authorize Newark Core Barnett, LLC Gas Lease for approximately 350 acres ofcity land (north of I-30 and west of Beltline Road)[...]

Montemalone
Montemalone

Perhaps the City Council missed a very enlightening article on Page One of the Sunday New York Times.Seems the output from this fracking is not quite what the drillers have led us to believe. The wells are peaking quickly. As with most things these days, it's a Ponzi scheme.Let's just hope they don't pollute all the ground water before this is over.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Monte's right again. From what I hear, the revenue generated by the drilling is not what it's been purported to be. Like in Grand Prairie.

JimS
JimS

Welcome to the council.1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.

Susanne
Susanne

Mr. Griggs was not part of this process. For him to vote "for" the decisions that were  made about the gas drilling task force (when he did not agree with all of them) would be very dishonest. Clearly, there is an amount of unfairness in what just happened.  Mr. Griggs represents citizens in southwestern Dallas who are facing massive shale gas drilling. Had the votes gone for Mr. Neumann (with the recent City Council election) maybe none of this would matter. Thank you, Scott.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I'm surprised Angela Hunt didn't say something.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I have a theory: If the council had re-opened the voting to make room for Meyer, perhaps some were worried that others might push for someone else on the "industry" side of the ledger, like, say, an Ed Ireland.

http://www.bseec.org/content/b...

Marc
Marc

The council did not have to "add" Ed Meyer. They could have voted to replace somebody else with Ed Meyer, so there would have been no reason to add Ed Ireland. It was the council's decision to disregard having a citizen representative who actually lives in the target area.

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

I have a different theory.  The council is terrified of this issue.  They are afraid of the oil/gas industry heavyweights, they are afraid of the state (non)regulators, they are afraid of their constituents opinions, they don't even begin to understand the science, they are afraid of being sued.  None of them wants to touch this issue any more than they absolutely have to.  They are happy to leave it to Linda Koop and her regional "expertise".  Expect a lot of eyes-cast-down non-recorded unanimous votes to come on this.

heart and soul
heart and soul

Yeah I have a theory too. they all want committee appointments more than they want to do the right thing

Cheryl
Cheryl

I have a theory, too:  Angela Hunt no longer cares about doing the right thing.

Susanne
Susanne

Well, that is surely a dumb thing to say.

Ellum08
Ellum08

Cheryl, Cheryl, Cheryl, you should know (if you already didn't) that Angela Hunt can do no wrong in the eyes of the Observer or the folks that follow this blog.

I'm sure that Scott Griggs will be granted the same 'Saint' status, if he hasn't already.

BoPeep
BoPeep

Dead on, Cheryl. She has just become part of the "establishment". This eventually happens to all of them. A good apple thrown into a barrel of bad apples soons become a bad apple too.

Yvonnecr
Yvonnecr

@cheryl.. why do you say that?  anything in particular?

heart and soul
heart and soul

No sorry RW missed. IRELAND WAS JUST A BLUFF TO BACK SCOTT OFF. DIDN'T WORK. Scott is the real deal. I am impressed. We need 14 more like him

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Robert had the right answer.

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

Welcome to the council Scott; lesson 1 in the intelligence and bravery of most of your new colleagues ! 

HolySheets
HolySheets

Welcome to Dallas city council scott

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

The selection and the set up was flawed from the beginning. They had this particular group of residents/environmentalists as one category with three seats. Should have been 3 for each. But it is still a win win for him. He was right, he tried, they ignored, it will become an issue going forward. This is why he was elected to represent his people and he did, perfectly. Congrats to Scott on a first day, well done.

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