The Uber Secret Session Vote Tomorrow Will Be Everything Wrong with Dallas City Hall

Categories: Schutze

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Mayor Mike Rawlings and the new city attorney Warren Ernst want to hold a secret closed-door City Council session tomorrow on a question that has everything to do with the public interest. Watch closely to see how your council member votes. It's a big window.

Yesterday we talked about some of the sleazier aspects of the Yellow/Uber issue -- a fight between the dominant cab company in Dallas and a new app-based ride service. Tomorrow the council is to hear a report by an outside lawyer on why top city staff flew to Yellow Cab's defense and tried to slip an anti-Uber law into the fine print of a City Council voting agenda so the council would pass it without even knowing what it had done.

See also: In the Matter of Uber as a Racist Plot, Maybe We Need a Bit of Context

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Library of Congress
Mr. Gonzalez is moved to confess.
The council did not pass it. The trick did not work. But it didn't work only because two council members, Scott Griggs and Phillip Kingston, sleuthed it out just in time. They picked up a pattern by which top officials including the chief of police had created a kind of anti-Uber task force, deploying undercover cops against the ride service as if it were a drug cartel.

But nobody on the staff was willing to confess to being the one who decided to slip the anti-Uber law into the council's voting agenda, hidden in a place where the council members weren't supposed to see it. Mayor Mike Rawlings vowed to get to the bottom of it. Then he found he lacked the authority or ability to get to the bottom of it if the staff didn't want him to. Then he paid former District Attorney Bill Hill $50,000 to find out for him. Tomorrow's session is for the council to hear what Hill found.

As Eric reported yesterday, the interim city manager and top candidate for full-time manager, A.C. Gonzalez, issued a kind of elliptical confession, saying he may have made certain mistakes about certain things at certain times. Three odd things about his confession, though. First, everybody already knew it was Gonzalez. Everyone knew he had carried the water for Yellow Cab's lawyer, John Barr. In fact Gonzalez kind of confessed to it in early statements to the council before he found out it was a bad thing.

See also: Interim Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez Says He's Sorry for Cracking Down on Uber

Secondly, even in sort of half-confessing, Gonzalez cast himself as a moral hero, premising his mea culpa with the words, "Part of having solid character and integrity is admitting mistakes." Well, yeah, maybe, except for Number Three, which is that he waited to confess until he could hear hammers and saws downstairs in the flag room where they were working on the gallows.

If I were to compose a title for Gonzalez's letter to the council, it would be, "No need for yonder gallows." And if I were on the council, I might ask Mr. Gonzalez why he couldn't have brought himself to tell me that before I spent $50,000 on a damn gallows.

But the Uber fight itself pales before the larger issues here. In the past year, the office of city manager has been severely scarred by a grisly procession of scandals, half of them involving administration (stealing money at the dump, hiring circus clowns to run the I.T. department), the other and more troubling half involving policy (secretly aiding and abetting gas drilling in parks after having been told directly by the council not to, an utterly failed effort to create a new trash-hauling monopoly that the council never asked for).

When the anti-Uber trick ordinance was first unearthed, the attitude of Gonzalez and other top staff was a kind of bumfuzzlement, as if to say, "Well, my gosh, we were just doing what we have always done." And that's it. Precisely. This is indeed how the office of city manager has always operated in Dallas, and, yes, it is precisely what's wrong and why the window tomorrow, if we are allowed to look through it, is on issues much larger than Uber.

The call from the well-placed lawyer, the mustering of the political bag ladies, the appearance of obscure, handsomely rewarded clergymen suddenly called upon to speak out on issues that would seem to have very little relevance to the lives of their parishioners: All of these are hoary hallmarks of the way it has always been done.

Whenever we see these muddy shoes falling, we know that the city manager has stepped out of the store we hired him or her to run -- managing the city -- and is out on the town square instead playing politics and policy with the money boys. In the end it doesn't work, at least not for us.

There's a reason why we have two distinct things -- a manager and a City Council. Those are two distinct jobs. When the manager abandons his job, running the operations, to go get into politics instead, then he is not back in the store minding the till, and we have seen in the last year where that leads.

Here is my own two-bit prediction. I think the mayor has good intentions, but those good intentions often get him mugged. He will be or has already been mugged on this. The powers that be have been burning down their cell phone batteries, I am sure, telling him to back the hell off A.C., reminding him that A.C. is their boy for the full-time job. That's probably why he is already flailing to find a way to keep tomorrow's session secret.

A majority of the council will back him in that effort. Most of them are either dependent on the boys for campaign financial support or they view any kind of dissent on any issue as liberalism. The session will be secret. Only a very watered down innocuous form of the report will ever be made public. I bet Gonzalez will be hired as full-time city manager.

But, remember, he was only caught in the first place because two City Council members, Griggs and Kingston, with strong backing from a third, Adam Medrano, sniffed him out. None of them will stop sniffing. And where misfeasance and malfeasance at City Hall are concerned, Kingston, Griggs and Medrano have a very powerful ally -- one whom the others cannot claim.

You.

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40 comments
mcdallas
mcdallas

"Hiring circus clowns to run the I.T. department".


That, my friend, is an insult to circus clowns.

laughtiger
laughtiger

Uber, meanwhile, has apparently bought off the Dallas media. Whose crookedness will win?


I'm guessing Uber will win, as they are multinational crooks (not petty local ones) and have a lot more money to schmooze around with.

DanF1
DanF1

Day after day, year after year the same crap. There just isn't enough unselfish people to fix this shit.

rkm200
rkm200

You think the mayor has good intentions? Wasn't he the one caught sending emails to Gonzales asking how the plot was moving forward? Isn't that the main reason this is a secret session? Don't be so naïve.   

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"EXTRA! Uber Redlines So. Dallas.  Poor, Minorities and Children Hurt The Most"

It is these kinds of headlines which are now so common they are spoofed.  Where do they come from and why are they so common?

It is the introduction of the concept - 'Disparate Impact' in law which has bled over into the public discourse (more like obsession) in every topic.  The print media is all in, obviously.   For the opinion people on the Left, it's a narcotic.  It easily rolls off the tongue and out into the ethernet.  No facts needed other than massaged stats.

There are other elements in play in this particular debate regarding Uber however, what is the most effective weapon to get what you want without having to argue on the merits?

Play the racism card.

If not today then tomorrow we will see if it works one more time.  The test will be if Uber is here one year from today.

anon
anon

What happened to all of their preaching about a free market and rampant capitalism?  Uber doesn't get to play?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Closed session, no minutes lept. How will we know the actual vote?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Okay Shriners lets place yer bets.

$5 says the council plays the "righteous" card and offs Uber as an unfair, albeit innocuous, act with disparate impact upon a protected class.

Even I would be surprised if they employed the "R" word for after all, there's not a Republican within a mile of the horseshoe with his hands on this.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

We need Rahm down here, and Chicago can have our guy.

James080
James080 topcommenter

In my view, The Apology solidifies Gonzalez status as the heir apparent to the office of City Manager.

I don't believe for a minute that the Mayor or the city council members who take cash from the Yellow Cab were unaware of the anti-Uber item on the consent agenda, or the ongoing covert police campaign to shut Uber down. No doubt the money and marching orders were conveyed by Yellow Cab to the mayor, council and Gonzalez through proxies. The Apology gives the council plausible deniability of the fact that they were bought by Yellow Cab and ordered to act against Uber. Gonzalez shows his loyalty to the council and mayor by taking full responsibility, in effect taking one for the team.

No doubt the closed door "sneak and peek" session for the council to consider Hill's report is to prepare for the possibility Hill's investigation links other council members, and possibly the mayor, to the anti-UIber campaign. We'll likely never know, and Gonzalez will be forgiven, praised and promoted. Sure, I'm a skeptic, but sometimes I wonder if I'm skeptical enough?

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Kingston, Griggs, Greyson, Medrano will want to dig into the story. The others on the payroll of Yellow Cab will balk. Callahan, and Gates are undecided but since Gates jumps when Rawlings barks, she'll do what he says.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

It's odd how over the past decade we've continually had only two reliable and logical city council districts. North Oak Cliff (Griggs) and Lakewood (Hunt Followed by Kingston). The rest of the council is erratic, corrupt, or both.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@holmantx 

Look around here. Can you not see where your argument falls flat on its face in light of all of the regular "libtards" in here that are siding with Uber?

That is not to say that I think you are wrong about the media in general or how this might play out in the council.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

@P1Gunter As a technical matter, Lakewood itself is District 9, which is represented by one of the most incompetent and erratic of the bunch, Sheffie Kadane.  District 14 (Kingston) lies to the west of Lakewood.

Tipster1908
Tipster1908

@P1Gunter Before Griggs (at least in the recent past), N Oak Cliff lacked competent representation. Ed Oakley, Dave Neumann, Delia Jasso. Mostly spineless against the Citizens Council money men.

observist
observist topcommenter

@P1Gunter   They're the "liberal" seats on the council.  The other seats are either "conservative" or race-patronage.  I use quotes because the notions of liberal and conservative at the national level don't seem to apply at the city level.  The guys that typically go on about low taxes and small government at the national level seem to be all tax-and-spend (city-owned hotels, overpriced bridges, overpriced parks) at the city level.

helentrent
helentrent

@P1Gunter Don't discount Sandy Greyson.  


Dallasphotog
Dallasphotog

@TheCredibleHulk @holmantx How does supporting free enterprise, such as Uber, make you a "libtard?"  I thought true conservatives were all about the free market?  Please elaborate.

whiteguiltlibtardz
whiteguiltlibtardz

The things that libtards have worked for years to create are turning around and biting the libtards in the ass, and the smarter libtards are starting to notice. That's all.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@Tipster1908 I'm an East Dallas guy outside of the 7 years I spent living in Denton, so I don't know the inner workings of North Oak Cliff. But when I moved back here in 2007 I looked at 3 neighborhoods to move to, North Oak Cliff, Exposition Park, and Lowest Greenville. Ended up on Lowest Greenville for several years, but have friends in the OC I visit and it is amazing the transformation that has gone on since then, and I can't help but attribute that in part to Griggs. Likewise the revitalization of Lowest Greenville under Hunt and hopefully Kingston continues the push.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@observist @P1Gunter I'd call them progressive but I get your point, and agree. My point in a roundabout way was that the fastest growing and chic neighborhoods in this city (N. Oak Cliff and Lakewood) just happen to be represented by the most competent people on the city council. I don't think that's a coincidence. Some day I pray South and West Dallas who continually bitch about the lack of investment and the blight learn the lesson that if you elect a competent and progressive member to the city council, shit might finally change.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@helentrent 

Very good point, and I am embarrassed as hell that I just did that.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @TheCredibleHulk @whiteguiltlibtardz 

I don't disagree with a thing you put forth, here, and I will cop to the fact that the standard "righty - lefty" thingy dosn't exactly apply here, but the point stands with regard to the fact that this particular issue turns that righty-lefty thing on its head.

At least with the posters on this forum.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @TheCredibleHulk @whiteguiltlibtardz 

The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate to Mr. Schutze his disingenuousness when applying the race card to people he politically disagrees with.  The Black clergy used it on him when it was not the issue.  They know it.  He knows it.

The only difference is the club was being used to defeat his position over Uber.

And "both side" DO NOT do it.  The Left resorts to disparate impact to brand any attempt to reign in their ideology on fiscal grounds as racist.

People, including me, are reactive to the initial charge.  I am reacting to being called, in a hundred creative ways, a racist in his pieces.  

Of course this can't be racist!  It's politics.   Now that he's on the receiving end.

that was my only point.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @whiteguiltlibtardz You lost this line of reasoning when labels started replacing people.  The Uber situation is not a liberal vs. conservative issue, it is an 'inner circle' issue.  The 'haves', being those who either wield or have access to power in city hall, are ticked off because one 'have not' is upsetting their brunch budget and a veritable buttload of other 'have nots' are supporting the outsider.

Politics is an activity with few rules and extremely wide moral margins.  Either side will paint a canvas with the racism brush, if it will get their position in the lead.  Either side will trash talk the other side to get ahead.  What neither side will abide by is giving anyone not in the circle a fair chance to play the game.  I will go to my grave saying it: The business of politics and of politicians is to obtain and retain the reins of power, and to maintain the status quo.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@whiteguiltlibtardz 

*laughing*

No, we've always just been better able to deal with facts in the face of a complicated scenario.

Just because conservative types will jump upon the "racism" bandwagon when it suits their purpose, that by no means implies that "libtards" will automatically jerk their knees to defend an indefensible position such as the one taken by Rawlings & Co.

But thanks for the compliment, anyhow.

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