City Council's Municipal Court "Reform" Smells a Lot Like Bad Patronage

Categories: Schutze

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Pretty good time this morning on Get Off My Lawn on KNON Radio (7a.m. every Monday), where I talked about a bunch of stuff but especially this morning's upcoming Dallas City Council budget briefing where a council member will be introducing the proposed new Cheryl, Tim and Ruth Law.

The Cheryl, Tim and Ruth law -- for sake of brevity, I am going to refer to it hereafter as "CheTimRu" -- may or may not be approved by the council. It is legislation aimed at the problem of providing handsomely compensated city employment for persons named Cheryl, Tim and Ruth.

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Any one of these people would fit right in at Dallas' municipal courts.
Ah, ah, sorry, hold your horses all you Cheryls, Tims and Ruths out there. Don't start hauling out your resumes just yet. You need to read the fine print. CheTimRu actually has some other job requirements. The proposed law includes last names, as well.

As written by council member Vonciel Jones Hill, CheTimRu creates two new municipal judgeships at about a hundred grand salary each and one part-time judge job. But CheTimRu also states specifically that, "...persons assigned to those positions shall be Cheryl Williams (full‐time), Tim Gonzalez (full‐time) and Ruth Logan (associate)."

Aaaah, now you get it! CheTimRu is not a law providing handsomely compensated city employment for just any old Cheryl, Tim or Ruth. Council member Hill, herself a former municipal judge and, we must assume, personal friend and lunch buddy to many occupants of the municipal bench, has three special persons in mind for whom she wants the council to create special jobs by special legislative fiat.

This is all part of the ongoing ugly business about municipal court reform. Council member Hill was a member of the council's ad hoc committee on municipal reform, where she distinguished herself by being the only member to attend exactly zero of its meetings. Zip. Not one..

The reform effort was an attempt to clean up the city court system, which for years has been sort of like Price is Right meets The Amazing Race. The Ad hoc committee reviewed a matrix of criteria designed to balance and defeat attempts by interested outside parties to rig the process, either because somebody wants judges to rule one way or the other or because somebody wants the judges' jobs for themselves. The end product was a set of recommendations that exactly preserved the ethnic/racial balance on the courts, even though it singled out white judges for a heavier hit than any other group in terms of which ones the committee said should be non-renewed.

Nevertheless, three weeks ago when the reforms went before the Dallas City Council, Hill led the charge to accuse the co-chairs of the committee, Angela Hunt and Delia Jasso, of racism. Jasso reacted by completely folding, turning against her own recommendation and siding with the other six minority council members, basically leaving Hunt, the white lady, holding the bag.

Hunt stuck her position. Ten of the 11 recommendations passed. On the 11th one they compromised, agreeing that Victor Lander, the presiding judge, was no good at his job and should be removed. In the name of being nice, however, they gave Lander a regular judge's job as a consolation prize instead of doing like you do with most people who get fired and, you know, showing them the door. So Lander emerged as a fired judge who still works there.

And now Hill has introduced this budget proposal which would create new full-time judge jobs for Cheryl Williams and Tim Gonzalez (whom, I will describe hereafter, for brevity, as CheTim).

By the way CheTim were ... was ... yeah, I think I'll go with the singular noun ... CheTim was among the former judges who got non-renewed. CheTim is currently suing the city over it.

So imagine, if you will, what it will be like down there if CheTimRu gets passed and CheTim gets its jobs back. Then the courts will be sort of like Price is Right meets Amazing Race meets Revenge of the Nerds.

Nobody better try to get CheTim to do any damn late nights duty on the magistrates bench at the jailhouse. I would think CheTim would have its own flag and anthem by then to go along with its own private law guaranteeing them ... it? ... their jobs. The sign over its courtrooms should say, "WE ARE CHETIM. WE RULE."

And while the council's at it this morning, they should paint a sign for the whole joint: "DALLAS CITY HALL: BADDER THAN REALLY BAD CABLE."

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26 comments
123denny
123denny

In alphabetical order:  Atkins, Carraway, Davis,  and particularly Ms. Hill since you were on the ad hoc committee...please stop disrupting the business of the City Council when you have made absolutely no effort prior to the sessions to educate yourself and provide input to the process.  Your behavior is disgusting.    Code enforcement is a huge problem in our community and the work to prosecute the really difficult cases and make our neighborhoods safer just  keeps getting undermined in the courts.   So....you Council Members....who are long on voice, short on efforts...if you are supporting judges who continue to reward the scofflaws...then all your big talk about wanting your District cleaned up is a bunch of hooey.

 

Where is the proper news coverage on this...even the Observer is just keying on Council members race card tactics.  How about talking to code and give them some coverage on the problems they have perfecting a case, getting it into court and then having all their work thrown out with a dismissal.  I think folks would like to hear more about that.  How about hearing from the neighborhood people that have to live with a compromised court process so the cronies of a few can get theirs and make the rest of us continue to live with the problems.

 

 

 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Why does this come as a surprise to you Jim?

 

With 14-1, Dallas has the worst of ward politics with none of the advantages.

 

Note the other story about the extra $390k coming in from ONCOR.  These people couldn't spend it fast enough.  How is this for a wild idea?  Let the taxpayers keep it.  After all, ONCOR only collects the franchise fee from its customers.

James080
James080

I sense that Rawlings is banking future votes for some as-yet unknown issue from the minority counsel members by voting with them on this municipal judge play. I wonder where he will use the votes? 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Was Hill sitting there doing her best Monty Burns "excellent" finger tap thing?

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

And why is anyone surprised by this??????  IJA

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk

Our word for today: Blatant

 

Completely obvious, cospicuous or obtrusive, especially in a crass or offensive manner.

 

Blatant.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Be sure we understand: Rawlings voted IN FAVOR of creating the two new judgeships AND IN FAVOR of giving the jobs to the individuals named in CheTimRu. It was  straw vote --not binding. Yet.

Now ask me again why I say the Citizens Council leadership group is as responsible as John Wiley for bringing this city under repeated FBI attention.  

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Straw vote. Mayor Mike Rawlings was he deciding vote IN FAVOR of CheTimRu! Long live the plantation!  

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Dwaine's coming back full of righteous indignation right now revealing that :"there is a judge that does not live, L-I-V-E, in the City of Dallas that we the city council who encourage our employees and police and even the city council members must live in the city of Dallas. Put that on your record."

OhBrother
OhBrother

In listening to Caraway, who cares where a judge lives?  Most police and city employees can't afford to live in the city of Dallas..

observist
observist topcommenter

Wait a second - they found that two of the judges were bad enough to be fired, so they fired them, and now a council member is trying to create two additional judge positions just to hire back the two fired judges?   Was there any other recommendation to increase the number of judges, independent of Hill's proposal?  Or is this just pure welfare for incompetents?

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

Yet another issue on which Angela has taken the lead, told the truth, and been spat on for her efforts.

OhBrother
OhBrother

It's this lack of good judgment, that made them suck as Judges.  CheTim were replaced with other minorities that will hopefully do a better job.  It's minorities like them that make it difficult for educated, qualified minorities to be considered for meaningful employment in high profile, influential positions, instead of just filling quotas.  

 

Where are the black business leaders who can talk sense into these people and explain to them, why this type of bullying through meaningless lawsuits, sets all minorities back?  

 

Shame on Jasso for being weak and shame on Vonciel Jones-Hill, for not showing up to any meetings. If she couldn't attend or didn't want to, it was her responsibility to find a replacement for herself. This lack of leadership by these two women, sets all women back. 

 

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @James080 Absolutely. That's the big tot for tat. Watch the La Bajada thing. Whenever anybody tries to buck the developers to protected a neighborhood or natural resource, the plantation calls in those minority votes to defeat it. So the city wins up in the thrall of minority leaders willing to sell out their own constituents for crumbs and The Boys downtown, who view Dallas as a South African ore mine anyway.    

James080
James080

 @JimSX Of course the citizen Counsel types are as responsible as JWPrice. You have to have payors as well as payees in order to have a successful "pay to play" corruption system in place. But the US Attorney only seems interested in the elected official side of the corruption. I don't recall any of the businessmen who were paying off Al Lipscomb (or Paul Fielding either) being indicted. Did I miss a plea bargain somewhere? Maybe if Ms. Saldana could find a way to indict a Citizens Counsel type along with JWPrice, it would shake up the system a bit. Or maybe not, we likely only see the tip of the iceberg anyway.

OhBrother
OhBrother

 @JimSX  The Mayors office is so out of touch with the people.  Does he and the conservative Citizens Council not understand, we don't want business as usual?

 

Until now, the only way minorities could get ahead is through government employment.  That is not good enough.  They should be able to get ahead in corporate America, but the only way to do that is to not reward, the ilks of CheTim and keep feeding the stereotypes.

 

Hopefully Rawlings will have a good opponent in the next election.

baker24
baker24

 @jerikjonsson

 When does Angela Hunt have to go off the City Council because of term limits? Unless her constituents vote in someone similar, the council would quite possibly be much more docile vs. the DCC in the future.....

texaspainter
texaspainter

 @OhBrother  Jasso is Jasso: weak all the time. Hill most likely smelled this earlier in the year or got a tip from the inside and decided NOT to attend the meetings on purpose.

This was done in order to keep as much 'stink' off of her as she could. She has to run for District 3 next year and has already started laying the groundwork.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @James080 Floyd Richards did some jail time for bribing Al. He also went straight to  the US attorney the minute he knew he was a person of interest and offered to cooperate.  Al, like Don Hill, put his trust in God. That always costs you at least ten years.

observist
observist topcommenter

 @JimSX Wow.  It seems so completely shameless - what does she stand to gain from this?   Does it somehow make her look better to her constituents?  Or is she just trying to "own"  2 more judges?

OhBrother
OhBrother

 @texaspainter  It was Hill's responsibility to find a replacement, instead of not showing up. 

 

I applaud Hill and Jasso's desire to serve the public, however, it's time we citizens demand that whenever people are elected to local office, a mandatory  "business decorum and manners" training everyone must participate in, should be required.

 

Although I don't agree with his politics, one thing I appreciated about Tom Leppert and his staff, is that they took the time to answer email from concerned citizens. Mike Rawlings is so offensive by never responding to thoughtful questions or commentary.   Paula Blackmon is terrible! I never understood that pick.

 

 

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