Finkelman Vows to Keep an Eye on Council Members Drilling In On Task Force Meetings

Categories: City Hall
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I've heard from a few folks furious that council member Sheffie Kadane, a vocal proponent of gas drilling within the city limits, sat with the gas drilling task force yesterday during its inaugural meeting. As Marc McCord, an anti-drilling activist, put it in the comments below: "He showed up, took a seat with the panel and participated in the discussion trying to sway the conversation in favor of allowing drilling. That is patently prejudicial and unfair to the process, and it should not be allowed." McCord said as much to task force chair Lois Finkelman after yesterday's meeting.

The city just posted the audio from yesterday's meeting to its Gas Drilling Task Force page, and initially Kadane says he's just there to listen. But eventually he speaks up -- because, as Kadane told me this afternoon, he thought that was cool by the committee. And it is, as far as Finkelman's concerned ... to a point.

"Now, if we end up with half the council up there talking, I'll put a stop to it," she tells Unfair Park. "Sheffie was pretty innocuous. I know Marc got his nose out of joint. That was a tremendous overreaction, and they have to realize there's a certain amount of respect and procedure involved in doing something like this, and if a council member wants to attend they can. But if they're dominating the discussion or overly participating, then we'll put a stop to it. Because then it becomes clear they didn't need us. They should have done it on their own."

Finkelman says she even invited Scott Griggs to attend -- and that, frankly, she's surprised more council members didn't show up to yesterday's inaugural meeting in order to "put their stamp on things" before things really get going.

The anti-drilling activists, she says, have to "be reasonable and can't be scared of the process," she says. "They're panicked they're going to get steamrolled and have to have confidence in the process. If they don't, they'll get ulcers, and I won't want to talk them, which won't be good for anybody."

But as far as the anti-drilling faction's concerned, Kadane's presence tips the scales in the pro-drilling side's favor -- because, after all, he's admittedly pro-drilling.

"Well, it's not actually pro-drilling," he says after saying he's pro-drilling. "It's more pro-property rights, and that's what it's all about. I've been involved in that area down the years, so I know a little something about it. People are afraid of something they don't know about, and they need to know what this is about -- how it's done, what the consequences of it are. And I think it's good. We need to do it.

"But I am not trying to run anything, and I am not trying to sway anybody. I am trying to give suggestions, and I'll be more than happy not to say anything and let them do what they want and make their decisions. It's just that I am interested. It's something this whole city's involved in, and we need to be involved in it. But if they want me to keep my mouth shut, I'll keep my mouth shut."
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20 comments
jcs
jcs

Kadane is a wolf in sheep's clothing.  He pretends to be nice and faux-simple. He is not impartial and he does not do anything that does not benefit him directly. Has he ever had a real job other than cleaning up on these kind of 'investments'?

RTGolden
RTGolden

This really sounds like someone who is bent out of shape because they didn't get an invite to the party. Sheffie, yes, is a blowhard, and looking out for only his interest in the situation.  I get that.  Are there not others on the panel, who maybe represent the interest of the anti-drilling sector?  Do they not have a voice?  These are serious questions, not sarcasm.  I'm neither for nor against this issue, and I have no stake in the game.  I just want to know if the panel selected is non-partisan (assuredly not, most likely bi-partisan), or if it is heavily weighted to one side or the other.I would guess, from Sheffie's appearance, he, or more likely, whoever yanks his chain, is worried that the panel is weighted more heavily against drilling, and needs someone to speak for their case.  Why they would choose him is another question entirely, and I'm not sure I'd want someone with that suspect of decision-making skills in charge of running anything larger than a blender.

Patrick Michels
Patrick Michels

Surely Sheffie was just hoping for a hot new story from someone who's been to a drill site or who's seen 'em frack.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Lois Finkelman's behavior strikes me as extremely unprofessional.  She allows one council member not on the task force to just kind of help himself to sitting with the panel anyway, but says she will prevent this in the future if it "gets out of hand" (which, presumably, she alone will determine?).

Lee
Lee

Why did I have the impression that East Dallas was relatively cool and at least balanced in its views about individual and corporate interests?  This is the guy they elect to the council?  What a buffoon.  How much of District 9 will be available for drilling?   How much? 

annieb
annieb

Ms. Finkelman running a drilling task force is akin to a fox guarding the hen house.  She never met a neighborhood she liked and never has there been a business she doesn't like.

jfpo
jfpo

I live in Sheffie's district and he does absolutely nothing other than arbitrarily oppose any neighborhood stabilization overlay request that comes his way (he's a real estate agent, after all).

http://www.ebby.com/agents_off...

The rest of his voting record indicates he's nothing more than a Dallas Citizens Council butt boy. Finkelman has tipped her hand already, which confirms my initial suspicions that this task force will be little more than a dog and pony show.

Marc
Marc

I was not over reacting. Lois Finkleman was under reacting. Sheffie Kadane should NOT have been seated with the task force and should NOT have been given the opportunity to speak. He knows NOTHING about this issue, nor does he care. He just wants a cut of the pie when he manages to get drilling allowed. His very questions were aimed at steering the discussion toward a pro-drilling stance, and that is anathema to what this process is supposed to be all about. He wants to participate on re-writing the code, and then vote on approving the recommended changes made by teh task force to the City Council. One would have to be either blind or extremely biased not to see that fact!

So far, I have seen no signs of objectivity on the part of Lois Finkleman, who stated that she was "charmed by Ed Ireland", and now has allowed Sheffie Kadane to participate in the task force process. Yet, she states "Now, if we end up with half the council up there talking, I'll put a stop to it," So, it's okay for Sheffie Kadane to be up there participating, but if Angela Hunt, Scott Griggs, Sandy Greyson, Carolyn Davis or others want to do the same, then she will "put a stop to it."

Ms. Finkleman told me that she had told Scott Griggs that he could also sit on the panel and participate, as could any other city council member. Scott says he never got any such message. Other council members are saying they did not know that they could even be in the room during the task force meetings. Somebody is not being truthful, and I would like to know who that is.

This attitude is precisely why I questioned the objectivity of this process from the beginning. It is a charade made to appear to be for the "protection of citizens and citizen interests" while actually finding a way to allow gas well drilling in violation of our zoning ordinances. Keep this in mind - if the areas where the city leased land were already zoned for heavy industrial use, then there would be no need for going to the City Plan Commission and City Council for the SUP process. A permit could be issued by the city and drilling would already be under way. The problem is, those well sites are NOT in areas zoned for that activity, and finding a way around the zoning ordinances just to satisfy commercial operators is a major disservice to the citizens of Dallas.

If Lois Finkleman does not comprehend this matter, then perhaps she should resign her position as chair of the task force right now and let that position be taken by somebody who does understand it. We are not backing down, and we are not going to get steamrolled. We are going to make sure enough citizens raise opposition to allowing drilling that it becomes impossible to do it in or adjacent to residential neighborhoods. If they want a fight, then they have gotten themselves one!

Ramon Alvarez was sitting next to Ms. Finkleman when we had our discussion, and I am certain that he can verify the comments she made to me yesterday. I've got a whole lot more than just my nose out of joint!

TXsharon
TXsharon

There is more than one side to the property rights issue. What about the right to enjoy your property free from cancer causing pollution? What about the right to expect your property value not be destroyed from heavy industry in the neighborhood. 

Ahm..." People are afraid of something they don't know about, and they need to know what this is about -- how it's done, what the consequences of it are. And I think it's good. We need to do it."

I've forgotten more about living next to drilling than you'll ever know, Kadane! Come on and take a ride with me and I can show you a thing or two. 

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Why any group, including pro-drilling, would want that oaf as their spokesperson is beyond me.  Sheffie is maybe one of the dumbest guys I've ever met. 

However, it is very important to remember that Mary Poss directs Sheffie's every action.  Every vote on City Council that Sheffie casts is at Mary Poss' instruction.

Heavy Metal Church Lady
Heavy Metal Church Lady

Certainly Mr. Kadane understands that the industry POV is well represented at all levels of government, in major universities and media outlets. It sounds as though he is afraid of what citizens might learn and initiate by way of independent research. If he is concerned with property rights, why is blind to the fact that the panel is also, in effect, about property rights? Albeit, on a much larger scale.

If he sits with the panel and takes up air space, he is overstepping. 

Whodunnit
Whodunnit

A city council member, attempting to influence what-is-supposed-to-be an "independent" committee....imagine that!........it's anything but innocuous. But, it does show that things at City Hall have not changed.

JRinDallas
JRinDallas

"It's more pro-property rights, and that's what it's all about. I've been involved in that area down the years, so I know a little something about it. People are afraid of something they don't know about, and they need to know what this is about -- how it's done, what the consequences of it are. And I think it's good. We need to do it."

Translation: Drillers, producers, and lease-holders stand to make a lot of money. Some stand to make less money on royalties. We know very little about the short-term and long-term public health effects of widespread unconventional, horizontal natural gas extraction. But what we do know is there's money to be made so it's good and we need to do it. Let's just take the people and company's whose interests are vested in extraction on their word.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Okay, big Bob since you went and opened this can of worms..... Sheffie, Carolyn, Angela, Linda, Jerry, etc have no place by 'sitting in' on this panel. Just as they don't 'sit in' at a city planning commission hearing, they should not be a part of the task force panel participating in the process before the results come to the council. Otherwise, you have city council members injecting their own philosophy by way of questions which occurred yesterday at the meeting. Since I was there, I had a clear view of what was happening and the bottom line, Mr. Kadane nor any other council member belong on the panel, asking questions.

This is supposed to be a non partisan panel exploring the issue and making recommendations to the city council. No council member should be part of that process and then be eligible to vote on the result at the end. "and I think it's good. we need to do it" has shown how he feels about the issue. It's obvious, he's uneducated about the process and the side effects it brings with.

Marc
Marc

I do not believe that the panel is impartial at all. It has too many attorneys, including the Town Attorney from Flower Mound who wants to undo our SUP process and zoning ordinances in favor of doing those jobs in backrooms. Rather than have at least one resident of District 3, the panel chose to ignore those who would be most directly affected. And, the issue is not about balancing the best interest of citizens against the need for revenues and "jobs", none of which would really be for Dallas residents since those jobs are migratory, but rather about how to insure that citizens' health and safety are protected above everything else.

If you are implying that I am "bent out of shape" because I did not get invited to the party, then let me assure you that is wrong! I never expected to make the first cut, let alone be selected to the panel. But, I did want to see three environmentalist seats to oppose the three industry seats AND three citizens seats that would include at least one resident citizen from each area slated for drilling - just to be fair about the whole process.

And, I wanted to see the task force have the time and resources to do the job right rather than just being a fascade. Have you ever seen the gas drilling ordinance? It is 54 pages. Our City Council set up this "task force" with a limit of 16 hours in 8 meetings over 3 month in which to do their research, interview officials from other Barnett Shale communities already engaged in drilling, take citizen comments AND re-write the ordinance. One of those 8 meetings (the next one) is a field trip to view a couple of well sites and a compressor station (I hope the city provides respirators for the panelists to protect them from the vapors and hazmat suits to protect them from the frac chemicals!)

THAT is a fascade! I do not beleive it is possible for the "task force" to do all that work in 16 hours. But, even if it could be done, it still finishes the job 13 month BEFORE the EPA report on their frac'ing study is completed and released, which was supposed to be the basis for recommendations on re-writing the gas drilling ordinance based upon latest information and technology.

City Councilmembers are not allowed to sit on the City Plan Commission panel or have any voice in its work. I do not recall having ever seen a Councilmember even in the audience at a CPC meeting. That is because the Council has to vote on recommendations from the CPC. It is the exact same thing here, and Sheffie Kadane attempted to sway the panel in favor of rescinding our current zoning and SUP processes so that backroom deals could be made with drillers regardless of the harm caused to residents and communities.

My only concern is fairness and objectivity. And, to clarify something you said, we are NOT anti-drilling! We just oppose unsafe drilling in residential areas or near critical water resources. Frac'ing near dams, lakes and rivers is just plain stupid!

Marc
Marc

Lee, you have hit the nail on the head! There will be NO drilling in District 9, so Sheffie has no problem with drilling in District 3. Those people don't vote for him anyway.

He likes to pretend that he knows all about this issue, but what he really knows will fill a very small thimble. Instead of keeping his mouth shut and keeping his ears (and his mind) open to learning the truth, he is already convinced that the City of Dallas will be the next Jed Clampett. Any fool knows that there is not going to be any recoverable reserve in Dallas, so that means no royalties. If that were not the case, then oil and gas companies would have drilled her LONG ago!

Edgar
Edgar

If you refuse to do it yourself, you should really ask a loved one or a good ER doctor to pull that stick out.

Anonymous
Anonymous

He doesn't actually believe in property rights. He was the one raising a stink about the zoning aspects of community gardens on privately owned land. I guess someone planting vegetables is a nuisance but gas drillers are a-OK?

Marc
Marc

Edgar, it would be nice if you would ever use facts and science to make your points rather than always reverting to ad hom attacks. But, I do understand your perspective - it would not be possible for you to comment if you had to use facts and science since they contradict your point of view.

Edgar
Edgar

I quit using facts with you because you are wholly incapable of acknowledging a fact when it is pointed out.

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