Dallas Councilwoman Vonciel Hill Believes That What Happens at City Hall Stays at City Hall

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In the strange world of Vonciel Hill, Dallas City Hall has something in common with Vegas. Guess.
I now take you back inside the strange world of Dallas city councilwoman Vonciel Hill, who spoke yesterday on one of the most important tenets of her belief system -- that public information should never be shared with the public.

Explaining why she did not want -- repeat, did NOT want -- the city manager to inform the city council of forced repayments of misspent federal money, Hill said this:

"As the person on this particular council who has spent the most time on Capitol Hill trying to bring funding to this city, I make no claim to understanding the regs (federal regulations), and I don't intend to understand the regs, because we have lots of staff people to do that."

Rather then have you go backwards in the story to read that again, I will reproduce it here: "As the person on this particular council who has spent the most time on Capitol Hill trying to bring funding to this city, I make no claim to understanding the regs, and I don't intend to understand the regs, because we have lots of staff people to do that."

Don't read it again.

It has been over a year and a half since I last spoke to you from inside the strange world of Vonciel Hill, the previous occasion having to do with revelations that former Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm, after promising to work against gas drilling in city parks, had actually entered into secret talks with gas drillers aimed at allowing them to drill in city parks. When former city council member Angela Hunt and current member Scott Griggs brought the secret agreement to light, Hill compared her colleagues to Haman, the killer of Jews and symbol of all evil in the Book of Esther, while she compared Suhm's position to that of the martyred Jesus Christ. (This paragraph will not be reproduced.)

Yesterday's debate grew out of revelations last July 10 here on Unfair Park by a commenter/whistleblower whom we now call, "Big Bear Daddy," obviously a City Hall insider, who told us that the city had been forced to pay back a large sum in a one-year period that the federal government said had been spent on specious, wrong, ill-advised and possibly crooked enterprises. Big Bear Daddy didn't give an amount, just saying it was lots of money. We found out later it was $810,000, after city council member Philip Kingston forced the city manager to release HUD audit findings detailing the hanky-panky.

Kingston and council member Scott Griggs told Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez they didn't appreciate getting information like this months after the fact -- and at that only from someone named Big Bear Daddy -- after they had been asked to vote on new budgets authorizing millions more dollars to be granted to all of the agencies identified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as in on the hanky-panky. They said they wanted to know about hanky-panky before being asked to vote to give away even more money to the same hanky-panksters.

Griggs yesterday introduced a measure to suspend those budget appropriations, agreeing to reinstate them only if the council enacted language requiring the city manager to inform the council promptly of future pay-backs to the feds. The specific language of what we might now call the Big Bear Daddy Law states: "The City Manager shall notify the appropriate City Council Committee of expenditures identified as ineligible not later than 30 days of the reimbursement. Further, the City Manager shall keep the appropriate City Council Committee informed of all final HUD audit reports not later than 30 days of the receipt of the audit report."

City Manager Gonzalez told the council he could live with the Big Bear Daddy Law. But Hill complained that such a measure would force the release of information to council members who, like herself, do not understand the information and who might then release it to the public, which would be even worse. Picking up on earlier remarks by council member Jerry Allen, who had said that city staff members usually are much smarter than council members, Hill said it was important to keep potentially controversial information in-house. She said revealing such information on blogs or to the press was the worst thing possible.

"I believe that council members have an obligation when and if we have questions, not to go to the bloggers but, as Mr. Allen said, to go to the staff members... I believe it is not in the best interest of this city to run to the press on issues that we do not understand."

I have a call in to Hill. I want to ask her if council members could be allowed to run to the press if they ever do understand an issue, at least for an attaboy. I will let you know if I hear from her.

The mayor and all council members but Hill voted to adopt Grigg's measure. Hill was the sole vote against, in keeping with her belief that what happens in City Hall must stay in City Hall.


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28 comments
ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

If ignorance is bliss, Vonciel must be perpetually orgasmic.

What a travesty.

Annonnymous
Annonnymous

ALWAYS be suspicious of any and everyone who praises Mary Suhm. Her biggest cheerleaders were the council members from the "southern sector." To keep her hands clean, she uses that employee in the Public Works Department to "facilitate" projects on behalf of said council members. Other council members don't have such a "liaison." And no other employee has such a cushy job that is guaranteed for life despite being so lazy and dumb. What gives with those bow-tie wearing employees?

Annonnymous
Annonnymous

Always be suspicious of anyone and everyone who is Mary Suhm's cheerleader. It's no wonder that every council member from the "southern sector" kneeled at Suhm's feet while Hunt, Griggs and Rasansky called her out week after week.

But you gotta give the big girl credit for keeping her hands clean. She used the little shit Duebner to do her dirty work on the Trinity East deal, Duebner, Evans and A.C. on the Convention Center Hotel, little Joey Zapata and A.C. on Uber and Forest Turner on character assassination of honest employees. Take a hard look at that one employee in the Public Works Department who "hustles" on behalf of the council members from the southern sector.

Annonnymous
Annonnymous

Always be suspicious of anyone and everyone who is Mary Suhm's cheerleader. It's no wonder that every council member from the "southern sector" kneeled at Suhm's feet while Hunt, Griggs and Rasansky called her out week after week.

But you gotta give the big girl credit for keeping her hands clean. She used the little shit Duebner to do her dirty work on the Trinity East deal, Duebner, Evans and A.C. on the Convention Center Hotel, little Joey Zapata and A.C. on Uber and Forest Turner on character assassination of honest employees. Take a hard look at that one employee in the Public Works Department who "hustles" on behalf of the council members from the southern sector.

lakewoodhobo
lakewoodhobo

When will the mayor be held accountable for appointing this buffoon to chair the transportation committee?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Since Hill is a self-professed idiot, perhaps the thing to do is quit the council and stay home.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

But she must understand everything there is about The Southern Gateway project as her name is connected to it all over the internet. I'm sure that she and Michael Morris are tight.

Anon.
Anon.

So Hill admits she does not understand how government works. That's essentially what she said if Jim quoted her correctly, and I have no reason to think he didn't.

Given Hill's self professed willful ignorance about how government regulations work, how is she qualified to vote on any particular issue given that every vote is implemented through government regulations she admits she fails to fundamentally understand?

This question is even more important when coupled with Hill's influence over transportation prioritization and funding in Dallas, and through her membership on the Regional Transportation Council her ability to influence regional transportation prioritization and funding.

In another discussion folks wonder how things have gotten the way they have. The answer is simple. Bad elected officials with hugely inflated egos make poor policy decisions and professional staff does what the professional staff wants. This is not a problem just in Dallas. Often suburban elected officials are just as bad, if not worse. Several suburban mayors, past and present, come immediately to mind...

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Please, please someone let us know when she takes her shirt off as she said she was going to do last night.  Every time I think I heard the dumbest shit in my life, VH opens her mouth again

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Did Ms. Hill just update that line from Gone with the Wind: "I donts know nothing about birthing no babies, but if you puts a knife under the bed it will cuts the pain in two."?

ElGuapo
ElGuapo

How someone who has earned a Bachelor's Degree, three Master's Degrees, and a Doctorate in Law (plus has served as an attorney for The State of Texas, City of Dallas, held three separate Municipal Judgeships, and overseen County Courts) can make these kinds of uninformed statements is a head-spinner.


On the other hand how "Top Commenter" @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul can make such racially insensitive statements is to be expected.

becoolerifyoudid
becoolerifyoudid

I'm shocked, shocked to find that Hill doesn't know what is going on in here!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Shut up and pass the putter.

melop21
melop21

How will this City Hall (Voncial Hill) order of secrecy impact the other stuff going on with HUD that you have been reporting on, Jim? Where is all that now?

Annonnymous
Annonnymous

I bet she and Michael Morris have pool parties together. Whatever happened to the disease breeding pool at Hill's home? With Sweckard now running Code Enforcement, ain't nothing ever gonna happen.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@ElGuapo 

Race has nothing to do with my comment.  On the other hand it has everything to do with unknowledgable, clueless people.

Ms. Hill does seem to about  about two steps less educated and intelligent than Prissy.


I would like to know why you think that my remark is racially insensitive.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Imagine the chaos her opinions may have caused. A true Texas ejamication system miracle.

Chattering_Monkey
Chattering_Monkey

@ElGuapo If you want to talk about  racial insensitivity lets hope someone pens a blog here about Ferguson last night.  Those tanks and uniforms and body armor are the same things local police around here have been stockpiling the last few years.  I was appalled at what I saw on TV last night.  It was sad to see Syrians tweeting to Americans how to handle tear gas

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@Montemalone @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @ElGuapo 

Don't forget the Golden Globe.


Besides the book is quite different from the movie.  Scarlett is basically an opportunistic amoral character.

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