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Prepared and sent by Russell Ramsland, of the Park Cities / Preston Hollow Leadership Forum:
 
I have been asked for my views on the Friday meeting with Pete Sessions.  I will do so in summary form.  We do not allow cameras or recording devices in there, so some of you may remember things a little differently than I do, and that's ok.  So here goes:
 
Overall I found it to be a frustrating meeting wherein the attendees (approximately 90 people) tried to communicate with Pete regarding:
 

1. their extreme concerns with Boehner's plan to enact amnesty and 

2. the lack of any plan to avoid "scandal fatigue" by having an overall plan for where the scandal hearings should productively lead

 
Pete appeared to be far more focused on:
 
1. Scolding us for being too dumb to understand what a clever victory we would have had, should the Farm Bill have passed instead of being defeated the previous day.
 
Let me therefore start with a few remarks on the Farm Bill, as that took up 75% of the meeting (to my chagrin).
 
FARM BILL – Pete thought the Farm Bill should have sailed through as it represented some small cuts in the mammoth rate of future increased spending on food stamps and Farm subsidies (80% of the spending of the bill was on Food stamps, 20% was on Farm subsidies).  It also had approximately 5 amendments added to the bill that Pete thought made it an amazing victory for us had we just realized it.  For instance, Pete asserted one of these amendments would have cut some food stamp spending on drug addicts and pedophiles.  But his basic point was that we simply needed to define victory, he was there to help us define victory, and then we should celebrate it when we reached it with him.

Our main point was made 3 times, which was that we should first define victory as splitting the Farm Bill into 2 bills, one to address food stamps by themselves and one to address Farm subsidies by themselves.  By continuing to have both issues wrapped into one bill, it virtually guarantees no meaningful reform or cost cutting will ever occur as rural Republicans get bribed to vote "yes" by increases in Farm subsidies, and urban Democrats get bribed to vote "yes" by increasing Food Stamps.  So the unholy alliance of the two issues guarantees a continuing upward and out of control spiral in both programs, which has historically been the case.  This time around, there was an amendment to split the two issues into two separate bills (the Stutzman amendment) but Pete, as head of Rules Committee, kept it from being considered.  So he avoided acknowledging or addressing this issue at our meeting, and he ignored it when it was pointed out.  Ultimately Pete wanted us to say the Farm Bill would have been victory, and ultimately we believe it was a total non-starter.  

I won't go into all the various bad aspects of the bill as I see it, or good aspects as Pete and Boehner see it, suffice it to say that Jeb Hensarling and Paul Ryan both voted against it, so apparently they are alongside us in not recognizing it's immense spending and pork as some sort of victory.  Pete explained that the bill failed largely because members of the House were afraid to go home and face their constituents if they'd voted for for it.

The next issue was the immigration bill, and amnesty.
 
IMMIGRATION AND AMNESTY – I immediately put it out there that we are aware of the widely rumored Boehner plan to get almost any sort of immigration bill through the House, then put the House bill and the disastrous Senate bill together into a joint conference to which Boehner would send only his trusted pro-amnesty delegates, then cram through the resultant pro-amnesty conference committee product back through the House for approval, and this is an outrage to us and will cause mass defections of conservatives.  In the face of this Boehner strategy, our position was that NO immigration bill from the House was our safest bet.  Pete never gave a straight answer to that.  Ken Emanuelson then demanded Pete, as head of the Rules Committee, commit to us to apply the "Hastart Rule" to any conference committee product.   The "Hastart Rule" is an informal agreement that  before a bill emerge from the Rules Committee, it must first pass a majority vote in the majority party's caucus (in this case Republican).  As a majority of Republicans in the House don't appear to support amnesty, this would doom the conference committee product and keep it from ever coming to a floor vote.  Ken kept asking for a "yes" or "no" from Pete as to applying the Hastart Rule to any conference committee product.  Pete was finally forced into an answer.
 
By this time we were almost out of time, but we proceeded onward to what I consider the most critical overall issue facing our nation today, namely "what is the plan with all these scandals"?  My concern is that if there is no overall Strategy plan of where we will go with them, then we are in for a series of month long sound bites, full of sound and fury, but ultimately nothing is done and we sink into de facto dictatorship as Congress resigns itself to simple theater and effective impotence.  This is exactly what happened starting in 1933 in Germany between the Reichstag and Hitler and should be a huge concern now to all Americans.  As a country we could easily fall into "scandal fatigue" where outrage is generated by a scandal, but then dissipates as nothing ever comes of the lawlessness, and then each new unanswered scandal merely escalates the level to which the next scandal may rise without triggering any effective penalty.  Apparently the House "Manuevership" (I can't call it "Leadership" at this point) has no plan as it sees itself relatively impotent to do anything other than hold hearings and see what happens.  Holding hearings are tactics, not strategy.  As Sun Tsu said, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat".  I would like to know that the House Manuevership has BOTH a Strategy and Tactics.
 
SCANDALS - Ken Emanuelson led us off with a brief recounting of the fact that James Clapper, the Director of National Security, has now perjured himself.  Eric Holder, as the top law enforcement office in the country in his role as the Head of the Department of Justice has perjured himself.  The head of the EPA has committed fraud by creating a false identity to use in order to send e-mails that would be missed in any Freedom of Information requests.  Two members of the the Department of State's Protection services have committed perjury in previous depositions, and on and on.  And this is even before addressing the actual scandals themselves.  The point is, Dereliction of Duty is an Impeachable Offense for the President.  And the real question on our table is, how can all these people perjure themselves and remain in office without the President being liable for Dereliction of Duty?  Is there a congressional Strategy to inflict real consequences on the President for all this lawlessness, or is the point only to create passing 30 day Tactical sound bites and photo-ops?
 
Unfortunately we did NOT get to address this latter issue, as we were out of time (the Farm Bill sucked it up).  But we are busy scheduling the next meeting, and it will be front and center.  We are targeting the week of July 4th.  I'll keep you apprised.
 
As always, we appreciate the opportunity to have these dialogues with our Representative, and we consider them to be very useful.
 
Thanks so much,
Russ

PLEASE NOTE : The Dallas Tea Party does not endorse, support or oppose individual candidates for public office.  Inclusion of one or more political candidates in an activity is not intended as, and should not be interpreted as, an express or implied message of support for or against any candidate.

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The Dallas Tea Party Hosts a Town Hall with Newt Gingrich

Thursday, Oct. 20th @ 1:30pm

Come ask YOUR questions to one of the Presidential Candidates!

From the Economy to Agenda 21 - Newt wants to hear from YOU!

 

       

Embassy Suites Dallas - Park Central Area

 

13131 North Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas, United States 75243

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

WATCHDOG REPORT - DALLAS COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT

 

HOT TOPICS IN COURT, TUESDAY AUGUST 23:


• Court Restricting Public and Media Access to Tangible Public Property - The Commissioners are in the process of instituting new restrictions on media and public access to the County's tangible public property, including voting equipment and emergency preparedness equipment,  According to local citizens, the proposed restrictions are unnecessarily cumbersome and in violation of the First Amendment and the Freedom of Information Act.  The process is believed by the citizens to serve no benefit to the public, but merely to create more bureaucracy and additional roadblocks to government transparency and media access.  In the words of one citizen speaker, "Access delayed is access denied."

  
• Judge Clay Jenkins Continues to Clamp Down on Citizen Speech.  During public comment, a citizen was gaveled for making reference to numerous allegations that Toni Pippins-Poole managed her staff via "harassment, cursing, intimidation, and bullying."   According to witnesses, Commissioner John Wiley Price motioned to Judge Jenkins, who promptly gaveled the speaker and told her to sit down.  A copy of the interrupted speech is attached below. 

• Deputy Constable Shake-up: The Commissioners Court plans to eliminate nearly 100 Deputy Constable positions and merge several Constables into the Dallas County Sheriff's Department as part of a budget-cutting plan.  Two speakers spoke out against the efforts - one stating that the Constable department is mandated and forms a necessary part of the "checks and balances" system of county government. 

 

The "Fobidden Speech" :  Troubles in the Elections Department

"I see trouble in the  Dallas County Elections Department and I am very concerned. 

 

 

More

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Dallas County, Texas, a place where John Wiley Price and his puppets run the county government as if it were their own private club. 

 

They fired well-respected elections administrator Bruce Sherbet without any cause whatsoever, just to replace him with a Price partisan.

 

After weeks of public meetings and discussion over one redistricting map, they jettisoned that map and replaced it with a completely different map immediately before the vote.  Clay Jenkins and Elba Garcia voted in favor of the new map with little discussion, even though Price claimed they had never seen it before.

 

If you believe that, we have a nice Calatrava bridge you may be interested in purchasing.

 

 

John Wiley Price can tell citizens to 'GO TO HELL!' without so much as a reprimand, but any citizens who dare to criticize Price or his puppets during public comment are forcibly removed from court chambers by law enforcement. 

 

 

Local citizen and tea party activist Larry Wainer was removed for saying this during the public comment:

"We know that elections have consequences,but we did not realize that these consequences meant such a widespread and rapid loss of honesty & integrity in our county government."

The First Amendment guarantees that the government shall not abridge "the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  And yet, in Dallas County, citizens do not have freedom of speech, or the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

We now know full well that our county government is a lawless regime run amok.  They make up the rules as they go along.  The only question for you to answer is:

 

"What we are YOU going to do about it?"

 

Seriously, y'all, if this doesn't get you off the couch, what will?

 

 

 

 

Have you VOTED yet?  Have your FRIENDS voted?  Has your FAMILY voted?

 

ELECTION DAY IS SATURDAY, JUNE 18th.  If you haven't voted, PLEASE VOTE!

 

In many elections, we the voters do not have real choices.  We don't have that excuse this time.

 

 

Regarding our Earlier Comments re: John Wiley Price:

In an earlier post, we suggested that John Wiley Price's support of mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings might be sufficient reason for Dallas citizens to either support or oppose Rawlings.  On further reflection, we feel compelled to revise that suggestion.

 

According to the Dallas Observer's Jim Schutze, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and Senator Royce West recruited Mike Rawlings into the mayors' race.  As noted previously, Rawlings is also endorsed by the S.E.I.U. (Service Employees International Union).  Owing to this support, some believe that Rawlings may represent a vote for the agenda of Commissioner Price and/or the S.E.I.U. 

 

While that may be a reasonable perspective, we agree with Mr. Schutze that every candidate deserves to be evaluated on his own merits.  While the support of John Wiley Price and the S.E.I.U. for Rawlings are facts that certainly bear consideration in evaluating Rawlings, no single fact tells the whole story about a candidate, and we encourage our members to look at each candidate as a whole and make an informed decision.

For those of you still deciding who to support in the race for Dallas mayor, we present...

 

KEY ISSUES IN THE DALLAS MAYOR'S RACE:

 

ETHICS REFORM:

 

Mike Rawlings says he'll appoint a committee to look at best ethics practices nationwide and propose revisions to the Dallas ethics rules.  (SOURCE)  Rawlings has also criticized city council member Ron Natinsky for failing to oppose changes loosening limits and time windows for campaign contributions by parties having business before the city council. (SOURCE)  More on Mike Rawlings and ethics HERE.

 

David Kunkle has unveiled a detailed ethics plan including increased government transparency, restrictions on campaign consultants as lobbyists, a secure line of communication for whistleblowers and mandatory ethics training for elected officials, appointed officials, and all city employees. (SOURCE)  Kunkle has stated that the City's fight to keep the documentation of the Trinity River project secret was one of the reasons he decided to run for Dallas Mayor.  (SOURCE)  More on David Kunkle and ethics HERE.

 

 

PROPERTY TAX RATE HIKES:

 

Mike Rawlings has not come out in definitively in favor or against tax rate increases, but has indicated that he is of the opinion that city services can be protected without raising tax rates. (SOURCE)

 

David Kunkle has stated unequivocally that he will not consider supporting another property tax rate increase.  Asked by the Dallas Morning News whether he would consider supporting another property tax increase, Kunkle replied "No." (SOURCE)

 

 

TRINTY RIVER TOLL ROAD:

 

Mike Rawlings has not stated a clear position on the Trinity River Toll Road. (SOURCE)

 

David Kunkle has come out squarely AGAINST the Trinity River Toll Road. (SOURCE)

 

 

THE TAXPAYER-OWNED CONVENTION CENTER HOTEL AND OTHER 'BIG TICKET' ITEMS:

 

Dallas' taxpayer-owned convention center hotel is now a done deal, but it was the signature project of former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.  Thus, a candidate's point of view on this sort of project may tell us a lot about his philosophy of government. 

 

Asked by The Advocate magazine about his support for future projects similar to the taxpayer-owned Convention Center Hotel, Mike Rawlings answered as follows :

"In the next four years, I don't think we've got a lot of money for that.  I mean, we've got to clean up, or continue to institute and implement our bond election, the last one, we've got to tee up a new bond election and understand what infrastructure we need.  We need to fill the potholes.  We need to focus on economic development.  We've got to focus on schools." (SOURCE)

David Kunkle addressed the taxpayer-owned convention center hotel as follows:

"I don't think the government is ever good at entrepreneurial activities...You can walk into a City of Dallas facility, or walk in to some place like, say, Six Flags over Texas, and they're just different...The kind of people who work there, the efficiencies of getting people in there, the marketing...the city never does a good job.  The hotel bothered me on the front end for two reasons.  Philosophically, I'm troubled that the city directly competes with other private businesses who don't have that financial advantage.  It also troubles me when in the last 25 years, when every hotel company in the world has looked at that price of that hotel, and said, 'based on what we know, we can't operate that hotel and make money, and we're not going to build it.'  The only way it got built was through government subsidies." (SOURCE)

 

You can find more information on the Mayoral Candidates HERE.

 

EARLY VOTING ENDS TUESDAY, JUNE 14th.  PLEASE VOTE.

Fellow Dallas County Citizens:

 

This is a message from Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey on the recent redistricting:

From Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey:

Dear Fellow Constituents,

 

Welcome to Chicago!

 

The conservative voters of North Dallas County have been disenfranchised; their new Commissioner, Mike "the team player" Cantrell, is the beneficiary of the JWP Machine.

 

Today, without public knowledge, and worse without informing the other Republican County Commissioner, Maurine Dickey; this last minute surprise redistricting map was voted on and passed by the Commissioners Court .

 

Even though this redistricting plan had obviously been in the works for some time, only today was it made public to both the court and the voter.

 

There were three, inconveniently scheduled public hearings. These meetings were about a map, a Trojan Horse, that the JWP Machine never intended to consider.  The public was duped into believing their comments mattered. How's that for transparency?

 

In this culture of corruption, brought in in with this new regime, we have seen the JWP machine maliciously force Bruce Sherbet, our long time elections administrator, out of office.

 
Today, the voters of Dallas County were cheated out of due process on the redistricting maps.

How could we have guessed that the results of last November's election would have ushered in a culture of corruption that has manifested itself so quickly?

 

Your Commissioner,
Maurine Dickey

Your thoughts?  Please weigh in below.

 

Fellow Dallas Tea Partiers:

 

Election Day is SATURDAY, May 14th!  PLEASE VOTE!

 

You can find your correct polling place via the elections department for your county.

 

For Dallas County, click here: http://dalcoelections.org/may142011/votinglocations.asp

 

There are many contested races on the local ballots this year, and the outcome of these races will have a substantial impact on your local government in the coming years.

 

Please INFORM yourself and your fellow citizens about the candidates, and then VOTE!

 

Please get INFORMED.  Please get ENGAGED.  Please VOTE--and take your family, friends and neighbors with you.

 

It can be difficult to get solid, objective information on local candidates, but you can often learn a great deal from the answers to candidate questionnaires and the public endorsements a candidate receives.  Do you consider yourself aligned with the people endorsing a particular candidate?  If not, that may tell you something.

 

Two sources of information on Dallas local candidates are the League of Women Voters and the Dallas Morning News.  Whether or not you agree with the candidates' answers (or the questions, for that matter) each candidate's answers provide you with some insight into how they think.

 

Here are the links:

 

League of Women Voters - Dallas Voters' Guide:

http://lwvdallas.org/2011_VG_mayor.html

Dallas Morning News Voter Guide:

http://www.thevoterguide.org/v/dallas11/

So, who are you supporting, and why?  Please share your thoughts below.

 

 

Your thoughts?  Please share your comments below.

 

Fellow Dallas Tea Partiers:

 

Early voting starts MONDAY, MAY 2.

 

There are many contested races on the local ballots this year, and the outcome of these races will have a substantial impact on your local government in the coming years.

 

Please INFORM yourself and your fellow citizens about the candidates, and then VOTE!

 

Please get INFORMED.  Please get ENGAGED.  Please VOTE--and take your family, friends and neighbors with you.

 

It can be difficult to get solid, objective information on local candidates, but you can often learn a great deal from the answers to candidate questionnaires and the public endorsements a candidate receives.  Do you consider yourself aligned with the people endorsing a particular candidate?  If not, that may tell you something.

 

Two sources of information on Dallas local candidates are the League of Women Voters and the Dallas Morning News.  Whether or not you agree with the candidates' answers (or the questions, for that matter) each candidate's answers provide you with some insight into how they think.

 

Here are the links:

 

League of Women Voters - Dallas Voters' Guide:

http://lwvdallas.org/2011_VG_mayor.html

Dallas Morning News Voter Guide:

http://www.thevoterguide.org/v/dallas11/

So, who are you supporting, and why?  Please share your thoughts below.

 

There is a whole lot of discussion going on about the redistricting maps out there, and things are moving so fast, it's nearly impossible to keep up.  We thought it helpful, however, to lay out the facts as they stand today.

 

There is plenty being written about the various proposals and their effects statewide.  This write-up is focused on the proposals as they affect Dallas County.

 

For starters, here is the current map of State House Districts for Dallas County (click image to zoom):

 

 

(All maps in this write-up generated at http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/ )

 

Under the current map, there are 16 State House districts.  Prior to the 2010 election, 10 of the 16 districts in Dallas County were represented by Democrats and 6 districts were represented by Republicans.  In the wake of the 2010 election, 10 of the 16 districts are represented by Republicans and 6 of the districts are represented by Democrats.  At least five of the districts can readily be described as "swing districts."  These five "swing districts" are the following:

 

HD 101 (Mesquite--presently represented by Cindy Burkett, swung in 2010)

HD 102 (North Dallas--presently represented by Stefani Carter, swung in 2010)

HD 105 (Irving--presently represented by Linda Harper-Brown, nearly swung in 2008)

HD 106 (Grand Prairie--presently represented by Rodney Anderson, swung in 2010)

HD 107 (Lakewood/Lake Highlands--presently represented by Kenneth Sheets, swung in 2010)

 

2000-2010 DEMOGRAPHIC SHIFTS

 

Between 2000 and 2010, Dallas County saw a net gain in population overall, but it saw a proportional loss as compared to the rest of Texas.  As a result of this proportional loss, Dallas County is losing two House District seats, for a net of 14 seats after redistricting.  Further, much of the population gain in Dallas County has taken place in the southern, Democrat-leaning portions of the County.  Thus, however the districts are drawn, the overall makeup of Dallas County is going to be more favorable to Democrats than it was previously.

 

It is within this context that the proposed districts have been drawn.

 

 

THE SOLOMONS MAP

 

The House Leadership is promoting a map--generally referred to as 'The Solomons Map'--that makes a number of substantial changes in Dallas County.  Most notably, the Solomons Map:

 

Rolls much of current House District 101 (Mesquite, represented by freshman Republican Cindy Burkett) into District 107 (represented by freshman Kenneth Sheets) and District 113 (represented by Joe Driver).

 

Rolls much of current House District 106 (Grand Prairie, represented by freshman Republican Rodney Anderson) into House District 105 (represented by Linda-Harper Brown).

 

Here is the Dallas County portion of the Solomons Map (click image to zoom):

 

 

Statewide, the Solomons Map is drawing much derision for the manner in which certain favored representatives and candidates are benefitted and certain representatives are punished.  It appears that the criticisms of the rural portions of the Solomons Map are well-deserved.  The Dallas County portion of the Solomons Map, however, seems to be drawn in a fairly reasonable manner.

 

 

THE NIXON MAP:

 

A group of conservative legislators are backing an alternate map drawn up by former State Representative Joe Nixon and generally referred to as 'The Nixon Map.'  There appears to be significant consensus that the Nixon Map corrects a great deal of the rural ridiculousness of the Solomons Map.

 

Within Dallas County, the Nixon Map proposes a number of changes, most notably:

 

Current House District 107 (represented by freshman Republican Kenneth Sheets, Lakewood/Lake Highlands) is broken up into multiple pieces, which are appended to House Districts 100, 102, 108, 113 and 114.  The largest piece is appended to House District 102 (represented by freshman Stefani Carter, North Dallas)

 

Current House District 106 (represented by freshman Republican Rodney Anderson, Grand Prairie) is carved into multiple pieces, which are appended onto House Districts 103, 104, 105, 109 and 111.

 

The full map of the Dallas County portion of the Nixon Map is here (click image to zoom):

 

 

As noted, the rural portions of the Nixon Map are considered by many to be preferable to the Solomons Map. The Dallas County portion of the Nixon Map, however, is problematic:  Of course, the demographics of Dallas County likely make it nearly inevitable that two pairs of Republicans will be paired up.  Thus, it becomes a question, as it often does, of "whose ox is gored."

 

Under the Solomons Map, the oxen of Straus supporters Linda Harper-Brown (105) and Joe Driver (113) are gored a bit--though both retain their districts, in modified form.  Freshmen Cindy Burkett (101) and Rodney Anderson (106) see the bulk of their districts absorbed into districts 113 and 105, respectively--thus placing each in a fairly competitive position against Driver and Harper-Brown, respectively.

 

Under the Nixon Map, the ox of conservative freshman Kenneth Sheets is gored quite a bit, though Sheets retains the option of challenging fellow freshman Stefani Carter to represent District 102.  The ox of conservative freshman Rodney Anderson is thoroughly gored--then shot and buried upside down in a shallow grave (metaphorically speaking).

 

Statewide, more than a few conservatives are lining up behind the Nixon Map, while certain activists are advocating for a hybrid map combining the urban portions of the Solomons Map with the rural portions of the Nixon Map.  The proponents of the hybrid map argue that it is counterproductive for reformers to hamstring two newly-elected conservatives (Sheets and Anderson) who stood with the conservatives in the Republican Caucus in order to protect the seats of two longtime incumbents (Driver and Harper-Brown) who stood against the conservatives in January.

 

Your thoughts?  Please weigh in below.

 

 

Notably absent : District 101 (Cindy Burkett), District 106 (Rodney Anderson)

 

CLICK MAP FOR LARGER SIZE:

 

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