Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Submitted by Someone in the Audience at Last Night's Meeting

Three years ago, in the summer of 2006, our former and current mayor, Gary Slagel, was forced to resign from the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition (DRMC) due to allegations of conflicts of interest. At the time, Slagel was simultaneously advocating for the North Texas Tollway Authority while holding a lucrative contract with the entity. Under mounting pressure from both the community and DRMC members, Slagel defiantly resigned his position after several Channel 11 television investigative reports where done showing Slagel's alleged ethical impropriety.

At the same city council work session where Slagel resigned from the DRMC, he also indicated that he would move his company, CapitalSoft, out of a city owned building after allegations were made - again, through television investigative reports - about the impropriety of him officing in a city-owned building. While the evidence appeared to contradict this, Slagel steadfastly claimed that he was guilty of nothing on both accounts. Apparently, others thought differently. Eleven months later, in the spring of 2007, the new city council, viewing these as severe ethical lapses, voted to replace Gary Slagel as mayor with Steve Mitchell. Slagel, then served indistinguishingly as a council member for the next two years, quietly, behind the scenes, undermining Mayor Mitchell at every turn - in fact, some called Slagel the "shadow mayor".

Fast forward to the spring of 2009. After Gary Slagel, Chuck Eisemann, and the Richardson Coalition spend over $70,000 to overturn the council, Slagel is re-elected as mayor by yet another new city council. Feeling quite emboldened, he begins to calculatingly take the additional steps needed to reclaim the spot that he begrudgingly gave up three years earlier. During the discussion on council committee reassignments last night, Slagel made his move. Citing that he "took a two year break", Slagel indicated his intentions to oust former mayor Steve Mitchell from the DRMC position. Mitchell stated that he had an interest in retaining the position and countered by stating that "it wasn't a two year break, it was three years - and it wasn't a break - it was caused by your resignation due to allegations of conflicts of interest". Slagel didn't like this comment at all. He stammered that his "resignation and issues were overblown", that the current co-chair "owns an engineering business", and that he saw no issue with him returning, even if he still has an NTTA contract. What followed was totally bizarre, a sort of "Stepford" wife thing: not a single councilman spoke up to show their displeasure about Slagel's intentions to return, leaving Mitchell as the only one to speak out against Slagel on the issue. With no support and other councilman looking up, down, around, and remaining silent, Mitchell finally - and reluctantly - conceded the position to Slagel.

If Gary Slagel resigned three years ago due to these issues, then why should he be allowed to return to the DRMC now? Hasn't Richardson gotten enough negative publicity due to Slagel? Why didn't any of the other five councilmen (Murphy, Townsend, Omar, and Solomon) not say one word in support of Mitchell's comments? They all know the story. So much for a code of ethics or ethical conduct. It is bad enough for Slagel to have been re-elected as mayor, but to betray public trust AGAIN by putting him back on the DRMC is lunacy.

29 comments:

  1. Everyone who is reading this needs to tell others. Slagel and his cronies can't get away with this again! Just because the current co-chair gets away with a conflict of interest doesn't mean its ok!

    Slagel, we are watching you!!

    Way to go SM: Be the One!

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  2. Gary Slagel is disgusting. We all knew that it would only be a matter of time before Slagel would make a play for the DRMC - all with the support of his "lap dogs"/"yes men" (in order of wimpiness): Omar, Macy, Solomon, Townsend, and Murphy. Sadly, Slagel will take all of these councilmen down with him.

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  3. Richardson had a chance. Our great city had an honest, involved, well-informed, woman of integrity running in the last election: Diane Wardrup. And the city blew it.

    Instead of an upstanding pillar of the community, Richardson re-elected a guy who THREE TIMES - three times - has brought shame to our city by his unethical dealings.

    Richardson, WAKE UP! Start paying attention to the character of the people that you put into office. WAKE UP!

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  4. Who submitted this? Ah if the audio/video recorders were still in place, we'd know exactly what was said.

    Yes, Steve said he wanted to keep the position on the DRMC. However, Steve didn't say the words 'conflict of interest'. It may have been implied, but the words were never spoken out loud.
    Gary did repeatedly say he'd really like to do this, and I think he said he didn't think there was a conflict, but I can't be sure. The situation did seem a little uncomfortable, and yes, no other council men said a word, but noone said the words 'conflict of interest'.

    This position is usually held by the mayor, so it's no surprise he wanted it back. Also, there's lots of other people on that commitee with fingers in the transportation industry. see Ian McAnns article on yesterdays DMN Richardson Blog. (http://richardsonblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/07/richardson-mayor-slagel-again.html - Hopefully I typed that right)

    Now I'm not saying whether or not there's a conflict. I don't know, I only started paying close attention to the council. I'm not saying we shouldn't pay close attention. I'm just saying that the facts you're reporting about that meeting were slightly off.

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  5. I mean to say I only just started to pay attention to the council during this most recent council election. This comment box doesn't let us cut and past and I always end up missing words up while I'm trying to make sure what I typed is what I want to say.

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  6. The same conflict of interest that Gary had 3 years ago is still present today. NOTHING has changed about HIS situation. Just because there is now someone else on the coalition who's ethics are also challenged does not mean he should be allowed to publicly embarrass our city again. And that is exactly what will happen. This was a big enough deal three years ago that you can bet the media is watching.

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  7. Would someone please hand Sherri the clue phone? First, I was sitting in the audience on Monday night and I heard the exchange. The story above, including the quotes on conflicts of interest, are correct. And, HELLO, even if it wasn't said, from what I understand, all of these councilmen know the story. Second, if you look at the DRMC roster, it contains a number of individuals who are NOT mayors. Both Sweeden and Mitchell served as non-mayors. Slagel knows this, and, despite his own ethics problems, still decided to oust Mitchell out of the spot with his 5 yes-men behind him. Sherri, Slagel is a ruthless man, and the sooner you realize this, the more all of this will make sense to you.

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  8. Go to cor.net, click on city council meeting documents, and go to the hand outs. Scroll all the way down to the very last paragraph and you will see that this item was listed under Mayoral Committee Roles. Why?

    I'll tell you why. It was meant to mislead. Plain and simple. You look at that, and you assume the Mayor should hold the Mayoral roles, correct?

    If you only knew a vaguely what took place (like many of the new council members probably do) that is enough to make you second guess yourself and not speak up.

    Not that that is the case with all of the yes men, but still...

    Calculated deceit.

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  9. The corruption in the Richardson/Garland area appears to goes all the way down to the core. Lets start with the silly stuff. Note that newly minted Councilman Omar, the newest appliance in "Gary's Municipal Machine Shop of Horrors", was imported into Richardson to oust Mitchel backer Dennis Stewart. We were treated to the spectacle of the Richardson Coalition (A front group composed Eisemann, Slagel and a few of their hand picked henchmen) endorsing a candidate that moved into the city for the purpose of running for office. And the good citizens of Richardson didn't bat an eye at electing a political import. Astonishing.

    But there's more. The new Richardson Council power brokers were hot and heavy supporters of Angie Button, a Garland Dart Board Rep, for State Representative in 2008. During that race, a sitting Garland Councilmember (Jeffus) received $60K from sitting Dart Board member Button in "consulting fees". (What do you call it when an appointed board member is paying tens of thousands of dollars to a Council member who keeps the board member on the board contrary to state law?) And that is probably just the tip of the iceberg since the same consultants to whome Button paid over a half million dollars pop up as the group running the Richardson Coalition's mailout campaign. How cozey. The only thing that is not surprising is that Button has already hosted fundraisers for the new Richardson Council. None dare label it the racket it appears to be! (BTW Button may have a problem in that it appears that over $300,000 in campaign loans fell off of her state ethics report back in January and nobody seems to know where the money went. The loans were not paid back but they no longer appear on her report. Developing...)

    So you have six members of the Richardson City Council, at least one member of the Garland City Council and a sitting State Rep up to their collective eyeballs in what appears to be a fever swamp of corruption and nobody dares utter the words: Conflict of Interest.

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  10. I never said there wasn't a conflict of interest, I said that no-one said the words "conflict of interest" when Gary announced that he wanted that position back. It was definitely an awkward moment, and the conflict may have been implied, but I never heard anyone on the council say it out loud.

    When do those cameras get installed?

    BTW, I get the impression that while the Coalition backed Mr Amir, they may soon regret it. I don't see him being anyones puppet.

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  11. One thing that the author above forgot to mention is that Slagel failed to fulfill his commitment to RESIGN from the council. Instead, Slagel chose to renege on his pledge and undermine the new mayor in every way possible for the next two years, particularly in blocking any kind of new initiative. Funny, some of these initiatives are ones that he suddenly now supports as mayor. This guy is a real piece of work.

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  12. Great post.

    Keep in mind that the Richardson Coalition endorsed Steve Mitchell in this last election (although Mitchell ran unopposed) and they endorsed Dennis Stewart in the previous election.

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  13. I agree - great post. As "Linda Sue" mentions, everyone should email this post to all of their friends so they they, too, will get to know the "real" Gary Slagel.

    As far as Richardson Coalition endorsements, their endorsement of Mitchell was only to give this rag-tag group some credibility. Believe me, with their h**l bent determination of getting Slagel back as mayor, this endorsement could hardly be sincere. It couldn't be. Given that, their real targets were councilwoman Hayes and councilman Stewart. Their propaganda piece aka the "voter's guide" states that the "Coalition members apologize to the voters of Richardson for their prior support of Mr. Stewart". Huh? When did they EVER support or endorse Stewart? To "localprecint"'s comment about Stewart, you can clearly see that the Richardson Coalition's comments are simply another lie put forth by them to deceive the voters of Richardson.

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  14. localprecinct,

    The Richardson Coalition formed after the 2007 election, so it's not possible that they could have supported Dennis Stewart then. I believe said they did in their flyer, and if they did it was an outright lie.

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  15. To the victors go the spoils, inflexible rule of politics.

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  16. Well these guys aren't getting any younger, so at some point nature is going to help us out and we'll get some new blood on the council.

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  17. Viva La Nature Taking It's Course! er...wait...I guess that doesn't make much sense.

    Anyway, yes Andy, I agree. Sadly, that's the exact same conclusion I come to regarding the RC often times.

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  18. I mean really.... Bob Macy? As I looked through the roster before the election I thought to myself.... old, old, wow is he even still alive?, old, hey look a young whipper snapper with young kids (like me!!!), old, old, scary, old..... etc.

    All kidding aside, it isn't really any different in most other cities.

    Of course, you know this means Amir has a long LONG future in the city government.

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  19. Actually, Andy, when you say "scary", a few of the candidates come to mind, but mostly Amir Omar ('cuz he's REALLY scary). Let's hope that his LONG future means a quick two year term. I hear that the honorable Dennis Stewart is planning to retake his seat. After Amir loses in 2011, I suspect that he'll take his carpet bag to another city. After all, it isn't like he needs to sell a house or pull any real roots here...just throw the apartment futon in the back of the hatchback and head on down the road.

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  20. Ha! Amir, a futon and a hatchback! ...that visual makes me laugh.

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  21. LOL that was pretty damn good. I had the pleasure of having him approach me when I went to the Owens Park HOA meeting. I am a fellow Aggie, but even that hardly made me warm up to him.

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  22. Yeah, Amir Omar's slick as a snake (i.e. cobra, rattlesnake, watermoccasin - the kind that bite). He'll do what he can to "connect" with you; use you. And, from what I hear, when Omar's done with you, he'll toss you away (sort of like what he's done with the wives he's had). He's tried to charm me several times at various events, but it's all fake. I hope that those who voted for Omar will see him for what he is - an insecure, Slagel-puppet opportunist with a very questionable agenda.

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  23. Hey guys, watch it now.

    Amir is my friend, and I have already seen him do good stuff for our city. Monday was a misstep, but if he had it to do over again I bet he would've changed his reaction, or lack there of.

    And as far as 'his agenda' who knows, maybe he does have an agenda, but in the end wouldn't that kind of work in our favor? If Amir is setting up for something bigger don't you think he'd want to build his political resume up by actually doing good stuff here?

    I mean, part of me doesn't understand this complaint about him using Richardson as a stepping stone, when many of you are the same ones ticked that Murph, Bob T. and Slagel WON'T move on.

    If he's only going to serve Richardson for a 2-4-6 year term and he's using it as his springboard to bigger positions than let's benefit from the fact that he NEEDS to do a good job here.

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  24. Good points Destiny. I do hope he makes the most of his term. It's just that he exudes a really thick car salesman charisma.... and that REALLY turns me off to him. If he can dial that back a little, he'll come across a whole lot better.

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  25. How long are you going to defend Amir Omar? As a woman, I can see why you like him. Yes, he is charming - I find him very charming (now that wasn't negative). However, from what I've seen, when you pop the hood open, you find nothing but emptiness and shallowness. And, so far, I've not been impressed with him what he has done on council. Let's see, so far, he voted to put Slagel back as mayor and supported him moving back in the DRMC. These are clear, major missteps. My question to you, Destiny, is when are you going to say, enough is enough...?

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  26. AS A WOMAN, I like the fact that Amir Omar has pushed the open gov't initiative so that, in 29 days, we will have cameras in both the council chamber and the work sessions room.

    And for the record Barb, I see those women too, who are smitten and giggly like school girls around Amir, but let me make it very clear here and now, I am not one of them. If you really think I'm that feeble minded that some charm is going to cause me to overlook injustice than you are sadly mistaken.

    Him voting for Slagel was wrong:
    http://conserveandprotect.blogspot.com/2009/05/ok-well-off-to-bed.html

    Where was my vagina when I posted that?

    Obviously, I am not in a tizzy over this guy, but I also don't have the chip on my shoulder that many of you seem to, so I am able to see what good he can do.

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  27. Abrahm just read that and said it was vulgar for me to use the word vagina, so my apologies Barb.


    Don't poke the feminist. :)

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  28. No problem. I appreciate that you consider Omar a friend and want to see him do well. We all do, for the sake of our city. And, good or bad, we're stuck with him for next two years, so we might as well hope for the best. So far, though, I haven't been impressed with his work on the council; he's had some big missteps. Yes, Amir jumped on the "streaming" council meeting bandwagon, but they all did (OK, some more "enthusiastically" than others). Good move, but nothing spectacular - nor would I expect "spectacular" from him. He's a very junior, green council member.

    As a woman and fellow (can I say that) feminist, I will say that I find Omar's demeanor somewhat insulting to women, and like "conservative" points out, he just comes on off too...not sure what word I am looking for here...used car saleman type.

    I stand by my suspicions of this guy, but I'll tone down the personal stuff. Just don't want you or others to be deceived by this guy!

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  29. Oh, and maybe we can hit the Vag*na Monologues next week...LOL

    And, can we find some WOMEN to serve on this council, since the Richardson Coalition octegenarians booted off our only woman, councilwoman Hayes.

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