We Checked and, Yup, Dallas's Flow Control Plan Is Still All About the Benjamins

Michael SorrellatDallasCityHallFlowControlProtest.jpg
Photo by Danny Hurley
Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell, left, at last fall's anti-flow control protest in front of Dallas City Hall
Back in September, when the city passed its ordinance requiring commercial solid waste companies to dump in South Dallas's McCommas Bluff landfill, the proposal drew an unexpected foe: a group of Paul Quinn College students, led by school president Michael Sorrell, who protested in front of City Hall to remind Dallasites that people actually, you know, live in South Dallas.

It didn't go unnoticed, then, that neither Sorrell nor his students showed up to witness Thursday's preliminary hearing in the legal tussle between the haulers and the city. Why bother? As Sorrell made clear in an interview later that day, from the comfort of his presidential suite on the tattered college campus he's trying to revive, the high-minded blather by both parties only serves to smoke-screen the bottom line: "It's all about money."

But blather they did. The city and the haulers made their case before U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, who now has a month to decide flow control's fate.

Jim Harris, lawyer for the National Solid Waste Management Association, argued that by changing the rules, "the city is reneging on its 2007 franchise agreement with the waste companies." Which is unfair because, as Republic Waste Services of Texas attorney Patrick Cowlishaw added, "Four years into a 20-year agreement, we're now being told that we can't do this any longer."

The haulers argued that the new law was ultimately a money play and would do irreparable harm to Dallas waste companies.

The city, largely represented by Rob Walters of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher -- to which the city's paying $175,000 out of general funds, because you have to spend money to make money -- claimed that Dallas simply has the right to regulate where trash is dumped. The law would conceivably conserve energy and the environment, he said, all while adding a few bucks -- around $15 million -- to the city's coffers.

The money was presented as an afterthought, of course. And Sorrell and his students, who've seemingly moved on, weren't there to argue otherwise.

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Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

I spoke out because I felt the rule violated the rights of free interprise.For any City to direct a private business where to dump trash,when they have a signed 20 year agreement is a breach of contract in my opinion ,and to do it for budget is makes it worse.Somehow Dallas City Hall thinks it's above the law and makes laws that conflict withState law. Dallas is hell on making bad law and paying big dollars to defend and settle lawsuits.

Herewegoagain
Herewegoagain

The fight isn't over. Council members who fell for the line of baloney handed out by the city staff are about to get a real wake up call.   

Ket
Ket

"The money was presented as an afterthought, of course. And Sorrell and his students, who've seemingly moved on, weren't there to argue otherwise."

This is Federal Court, not City counsel: Sorrell and his students have no standing in this suit to argue anything.

So, I see no reason for them to be there. Good choice on their part, if you ask me.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Sorrel is smart. Some may think they have moved on, but they haven't. He is fully aware of the difference between Federal Court and City Council. The reason he and his students are there is so that they can learn the process of 'fighting for what you believe in' from start to finish. If the Federal Court stop is part of the process, so be it.

You're right. It is an excellent choice of their part.

Dunbar
Dunbar

Oh, Plllleeeaase!!!

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Michael Sorrell has no equal in the high profile African American, and the higher education community when it comes to focusing on local environmental concerns. It is very odd that no other African American civic leader has jumped on his band wagon in order to support and become a good example to many young people about leadership in environmental affairs.

Where are they? Where are the ministers who preach every Sunday to their flock about taking care of each other and caring for God's earth. They are all silent.Who has bought their silence? Is it time to name names?

Kudos to Michael Sorrell. You keep it up. We got your back.

Dunbar
Dunbar

Hey D! You've got it backwards big guy!  It's not the faithful who have been bought, it's obvisouly Sorrell.  Why stand behind a bunch of college students, who shortly, will be gone from South Dallas, and won't care about the so called "food desert"?  By the way, the Minyards is 3.6 miles from the gates at PQ.  Ask the revered black leaders from the South why they aren't supporting MS.  Ask the Community College System, the Black Chamber, the Urban League!  PQ, while it has done a great job of reviving itself with oddles of government money and one big buckes contributor, is still a sitting duck, and will be overtaken by UNT-Dallas shortly I would imagine.  MS will be gone running a bigger, better school, or running against one of his favorite council members.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I'm sure that, for the right price, these South Dallas ministers would be more than happy to take up the cause of environmental activism.

Hasan
Hasan

So would Michael. 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I am also sure once Abigail becomes aware of the topic she will breeze in and set us all on the right track about this .

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

[Did you notice Scott Griggs was announced to be marching with the PQ faithful but never showed?  Does that make you wonder?  I think our young 1st termer has been seduced by the large waste companies; the same ones who've seduced Mr. Sorrell.]

Abby, do you understand that the "large waste companies" are AGAINST expanding the dump?  In other words, when Sorrell and his students were protesting against the expansion of the dump, they would have been on the same side as the "large waste companies."

To the extent that Griggs and Sorrell are no longer active in fighting the dump, that would be a NEGATIVE for the "large waste companies" rather than a positive.

Abby
Abby

Thanks OCT, but Dunbar seems to have done it all for me!  He's also correct by the way!  Did you notice Scott Griggs was announced to be marching with the PQ faithful but never showed?  Does that make you wonder?  I think our young 1st termer has been seduced by the large waste companies; the same ones who've seduced Mr. Sorrell.  Why would he not want a piece of the action when its been offered to him?  He's not interested in higher learning; he's already learned all he needs.

trudat
trudat

Tell the truth and shame the devil!  Name names...Name all the names...now and later!!...

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