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March 05, 2005

Editorialized and another Letter

By Byron LaMasters

The Dallas Morning News wrote this on their editorial page:

And these bozos expect people to vote for them?

Count on the party of Andrew Jackson, LBJ and Bill Clinton to eat its young. Just when Dallas County Democrats should be figuring out how to advance the major gains they racked up in November – the sheriff's office and three judgeships – they've contrived to implode. A party meeting this week ended when security guards broke up what was fast becoming an out-and-out brawl. Sheriff Lupe Valdez felt the need to call the county chairwoman, Susan Hays, from outside the meeting and tell her it wasn't safe for her to leave. This is madness. For the sake of democracy (with a small "d"), stop it.

Count on the Dallas Morning News to do what they can to make a bad situation for the Democratic Party look worse. Anyone who read this blog during the past election season would know my opinion of the Dallas Morning News editorial page. Furthermore, to my knowledge, the DMN did not attend the meeting. There were no "security guards" breaking up the meeting. The sergeant-at-arms, ousted labor leader Gene Freeland (an ally of the chair), threw the party out of the CWA Hall. If the Dallas Morning News would have actually attended the meeting they would know that the meeting, while very heated in rhetoric was in no sense an "out-in-out" brawl. I did not observe ANY physical violence, nor threats thereof.

Also, another letter is being sent out to precinct chairs. I've included it in the extended entry:


March 4, 2005

Dear Fellow Democrat:

Last Monday night’s meeting of the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee was one of the most interesting and revealing in our County Party’s history.

We want to thank the large majority of you who petitioned for that meeting. The petition, signed by more than 200 of you, was an historic event–the first time in memory that the Precinct Chairs themselves have undertaken the difficult task of calling their own meeting. This is proof that our Party is strong, active, energized and ready to wrest control of this county from the Republicans.

We are sorry, however, that our opportunity to plan the future of our Party was not completed, and it troubles us that the meeting’s unnecessary and abrupt conclusion silenced many of your voices. Troubling, too, is the misportrayal of the meeting by our local daily newspaper, in a story written four days after the fact. As for the meeting itself, we saw no reason for the extreme delay between the announced start time and the time the meeting was actually called to order. It was clear to all that a quorum was present within less than 20 minutes. The meeting should have been opened then. And, as a last point here, many of us cannot quietly accept the action of the Chair in recognizing a strategic quorum call designed to hobble the meeting, which had the immediate and damaging result of preventing us from filling numerous Precinct Chair vacancies. Many pending Precinct Chairs were in attendance, each one ready to become an official part of the Party structure and move forward. Instead, they were needlessly sacrificed, and that misguided act cost us valuable time, resources and political personnel.

Nevertheless, two very positive things happened. First, you unanimously passed a rule requiring that the Executive Committee meet no less than quarterly, thus ending the chance that the Executive Committee will be forced by the Chair’s inaction to sit idle during a volatile election season. As you know, until the other night, we had not met for some 10 months, not even before the presidential election. Second, you overwhelmingly approved the creation of a Democratic Party Advisory Committee ,whose purpose, among others, is to develop a strategic political plan for our county. This is long overdue. The Advisory Committee is made up of three persons elected from each Senate District, and each district has now elected its representatives and is preparing to move forward.

We have a common goal: securing the election of Democratic candidates who will promote the interests of the many rather than the few, and to do so with an inclusive and active Party structure, one that translates words into action at the grassroots level. For the Party Chair to refer in the press to your actions in your leadership roles as “mob rule,” and to claim with a straight face that the only reason the reformers have taken action is because of a desire for “jobs” from the Party, pointedly illustrates, again, the Chair’s failure to recognize the purpose and value of the Party structure. It is neither wise nor proper to ignore, be intolerant of, or disrespect the Precinct Chairs. One thing is certain, however: a solution cannot be imposed from the top down. A solution must involve the governing organization of our local Party, and it can only be reached through our collective wisdom and experience.

We ask for your continued input. Your voice does matter. We also ask for your help in reaching a quorum at the April 2, 2005 Executive Committee meeting, so that we may fill the vacant precincts. Working together, we will soon put an end to the current difficulties and unite to accomplish our goals in 2006 and beyond. The issues are too important to allow any other result.

Concerned Democrats of Dallas County

Theresa Daniel

Ken Molberg
SDEC and former County Chair

Shannon Bailey
SDEC and President, Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus

Steve Tillery

Michael Moon
President, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

Dorothy Dean
Precinct Chair

Bruce Rothstein
Precinct Chair

Gary Fitzsimmons
Former SDEC

Janice Mattox
Precinct Chair

Buck Massey
Precinct Chair

Ricardo Medrano
Precinct Chair

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 5, 2005 11:44 AM | TrackBack


I cannot imagine what allas county chair hopes to accomplish by feeding tales to the DMN. You know no matter what happens now, it will be difficult for her to heal the wounds.
It is so hard to imagine that a county chair has declared war on her governing body, but I believe she has.
No, we didn't see the county chair leave by the side door. No, we didn't see any security guards. No, we saw no physical danger to anyone. So, we know the DMN was at a different meeting. I guess our county chair is presiding at other meetings.

Posted by: AH at March 5, 2005 06:02 PM


Could you please do the party as a whole a favor and include in your obviously biased blogging that Shannon Bailey said at the end of the meeting that he had received a call from the hall's Union President, "a good friend", who had asked everyone to leave?

Or would the petitioners rather continue to ignore the facts to push their own agenda?

Posted by: Longtime Democrat at March 5, 2005 06:18 PM

Shannon said that he received "word" that the Union's Prez said leave. Shannon never said he heard from the Prez himself.

Posted by: WhoMe? at March 5, 2005 10:47 PM

Ask Katy Hubener why she stalled and delayed in determining when a quorum was present? She was in the lobby counting. Susan was on the podium. For the life of me, I can't understand how Susan delayed the quorum determination when it was being done by one of the mutineers.

If it was obvious a quorum was present 20 minutes into the meeting, why was Hubener still outside counting the precinct chairs present at that time?

This is a deliberate distortion intended to cover up the truth: The mutineers couldn't get enough people there to have a quorum. Hell, 30 or 40 percent of the people who signed the petition didn't even show up.

How could you tell when the quorum had been reached? By the number of people in the room? Actually, it was a public meeting and there were many people in that room who were not precinct chairs. Anyone who understands anything about the structure of the party and party rules knows this.

We know that the signers of this letter are familiar with these matters. So, it must be a deliberate distortion for the sole purpose of tricking people into following them.

As I understand it, a number of people who thought they were on the side of the mutiny left Monday's meeting in disgust that they had been tricked into participating in this destructive behavior.

The letter says, "many of us cannot quietly accept the action of the Chair in recognizing a strategic quorum call designed to hobble the meeting, which had the immediate and damaging result of preventing us from filling numerous Precinct Chair vacancies."

More distortions.

Susan called on one of the people working with me to break the quorum. This person was designated to make the quorum call. How the Hell was Susan supposed to know what that person wanted before she called on them? Susan was unaware of what we were doing in the back of the room. Susan called on the person because a hand was raised, not because the lack of a quorum was to be called. I thought that's what you wanted - more responsiveness to the precinct chairs.

Oh, I get it: Susan was supposed to decide not to call on that person because... Well, I'll be damned. I can't think of a single reason why she shouldn't have called on this particular person. So, what it comes down to is this: The mutineers attack Susan for calling on someone. But, if she had not called on that person, the mutineers would have attacked Susan for disrespecting the precinct chairs.

The number required to call the meeting to order and the number required to swear in the precinct chairs are two different numbers. But, they try to blame that on Susan. Here's the truth: The number sufficient to swear in the precinct chairs was at no time reached during the evening. Even if those of us who left to break the quorum had stayed, there would not have been sufficient precinct chairs present to swear in the new precinct chairs. The writers of the letter know this. But, they deliberately distort the facts so that they can blame something else on Susan.

How about this: They got over 200 signatures on a petition to have this meeting. If the people who signed had bothered to show up, there would be no discussion about quorums.

Here's the truth: The mutineers wanted this meeting. They couldn't get enough people there to achieve their agenda. They needed someone else to blame for their failure. So, they spun it around to blame Susan when it was their responsibility to get the people who signed their petition to actually attend the meeting they claim we so desperately and urgently needed.

Now, let me see. One of their major achievements was to pass a rule requiring a quarterly executive committee meeting. What a sad joke. Where are they going to get a quorum for those meetings when they couldn't even get one at their meeting last Monday.

This is just one more sad example of the mutineers grasping at straws - anything will do - to cover up their failures.

They might as well have passed a resolution to pay every precinct chair a salary of $10,000 per year. Just because it sounds good and it gets passed doesn't make it sensible or practical.

Surely, these people, with all their talent and brainpower could come up with something better than the silly and transparent accusations in the above letter.

Surely, no one actually believes that any of the mutineers are interested in bringing the party together while they are doing everything possible to split the party and paralyze us at the exact time we need to be pulling together and planning for the next election.

I might note that Bruce Rothstein was the uncontested candidate for president of the Park Cities, Central Dallas Democrats a month ago. At the meeting on Saturday, Paul Lynam was nominated from the floor and elected 30 something to 5 votes for Bruce.

In other words, the PC/CD Democrats were sending the mutineers a message in the form of whooping Bruce' ass.

Oh, and one more thing. Susan raised the money that pays the salaries of the party staff and other expenses. If Susan is forced out, who do they think will raise the money?

Their desperation would be comical if it weren't so sad. Good people who had good reputations no longer look like good people and have destroyed their reputations.

What's even sadder is that at least five of the people who signed the letter have been putting out feelers that they want to be the next county chair. And, some of them were campaigning for the job in October when they should have been working to get Democrats elected.

The day after the election last November, Ken Melman was already planning where the Republicans needed to be the weekend before the 2006 elections and working his strategy and plan back from that date.

And, what are we doing? Attacking our duly elected county chair.

Speaking of the county chair election. Isn't it ironic that I didn't support Susan's election, but, some of the mutineers did. I argued strongly that stonewall Democrats should have supported Bill Howell's re-election instead of endorsing Susan Hays.

If Susan is really as bad as the mutineers claim, then I guess I was right about the Stonewall endorsement and they were wrong.

Doesn't really matter. This little mutiny has peaked and is on the way down. They had their chance last Monday and they failed.

I predict there won't be a quorum in April because any sensible precinct chair, or resaonably sane person, won't want to attend a meeting where there will again be a bunch of power hungry babies constantly disrupting the meeting with tempertantrums like the the ones last Monday.

You know, my little brother used to have temper tantrums when I was a child. The difference is that my brother grew out of his temper tantrums by the time he was five years old.

The word is getting around that the mutiny failed. The sad part is that the mutineers won't give up. They will continue to disrupt the meetings. They will continue to attack. They will continue to give us black eyes in the Dallas Morning News.

Here's my favorite spin: They cause a huge ruckus. Then, when it gets into the paper, they blame Susan.

And, by the way, once they run the party into the ground, the donations dry up, and we fail to elect anyone in 2006, they'll lose interest.

They didn't step up and raise money or recruit winning candidates when we needed it. But, now that Susan has done it, they expect her to hand the party over to them. What they can't stand is that we are winning elections and they aren't calling the shots.

Posted by: Geoff at March 6, 2005 01:46 AM

Geoff Staples:

Were we at the same meeting? It was pretty apparent that quorum was made just by the number of people in that room.

No one stalled that meeting except for those acting on behalf of Susan Hays. Susan Hays wouldn't accept quorum from anyone but her cronies and they spent a full hour cross referencing their list because they didn't know any of the precinct chairs. (This was pretty apparent by the fact that they called the name of a deceased woman.)

Quorum was called on both lists and it took.

You may remember that Ms. Hubener's mother came in less than 15 minutes after the meeting should have been called to order to say that quorum was present. I suspect that someone could produce sign-in sheets on both sides to show you that was the case.

By the way, Geoff I don't understand your repeated attacks against fellow Democrats. Have the Hubener’s done something to you personally? Long after Susan Hays is gone you'll still be here with all of those Democrats you've worked to alienate.

Geoff you’re starting to loose creditability for your repeated conspiracy theories. You’re just acting ridiculous.

Posted by: Pete at March 6, 2005 05:45 PM

Geoff. Evidently, someone for the petitioner's camp decided to use my name and email to make the previous post.

Guess they want to attack both of use for trying to use reason. At least they are consistent.

And for whoever did this. Are you really that childish and desperate?

Posted by: Pete at March 6, 2005 07:12 PM

Faux Pete:

The number of people in the room is theoretically unrelated to the requirement of quorum being met. If, as is frequently stated, all 60 pending precinct chairs were present, that would tend to inflate the visible head count, while none of them would count toward a quorum. Further, interested parties who are not precinct chairs (either current or pending) were also present, but obviously, since they are not precinct chairs, would not count to quorum. By your standard, anybody could have invited busloads of people to stack the audience so it would appear to have a quorum. I don't believe this happened, but it would be possible to do so. That's the reason for signing people in.

Indeed, the purpose of the entire signin process is to ensure that the legal requirements are met. Without them, any actions taken by the DCEC would be subject to legal attack on the sole basis of lack of quorum. I would think that even Susan's opponents would be interested in having their actions hold up under legal scrutiny, in the event that such occurred. Indeed, the entire requirement that a majority of the current DCEC be present in order to swear in new chairs is designed to prevent a small group from taking over the local party by stacking it with their allies, and it would appear to have worked.

If half of the existing PC's didn't even show up, how dire is the situation and how deep is the dissatisfaction? Apparently, not very.

Posted by: precinct1233 at March 6, 2005 08:11 PM


Why don't you just get the list from the party.

Posted by: Paul at March 7, 2005 09:35 AM

What is the difference between Canibals & Democrats? Canibals don't eat their own!-James Carville


It is clear that they mutineers will not stop their attack, even if they clearly lost. In case anyone forgot today is the deadline for City Council Candidates to file. and the city election is just 60 days away. We need to be focused on helping great candidates get into the city council and not spinnign our wheels on a he said she said bunch of Bull S#$t that don't matter. In six months no one will remember any of this except for the fact that while we were fighting right wingers took over the city council. Almost half of the total council seats are open this year and the council can be radically reshaped as we like it or not.

All in favor say "Yeah"!

Posted by: Daniel Babb at March 7, 2005 10:29 AM

Sorry Daniel but it does matter. We cannot afford another year of Susan's incompetence, divisiveness and bankrupting of our Party or we'll approach November 2006 the same way we did 2004 - no money in the bank and no county wide campaign.

Posted by: Tom Stevens at March 7, 2005 11:25 AM

Tom - I'd also add that in 2006 we won't have Martin Frost spending 4.5 million getting Democrats elected!

Posted by: Gary Fitzsimmons at March 7, 2005 02:45 PM

Hey Gary:

If you're such a great Democrat, how come you were campaigning to be elected county chair in October instead of working to get Democrats elected?

Clearly your priorities are to advance yourself first and then if there's any time left over, maybe you'll do something for the party.


Posted by: Elizabeth at March 12, 2005 04:07 AM

Very cute Liz - except I wasn't campaigning. Russell Langley told several folks that Ms. Hays was going to resign during the summer so I let it be known that I would be willing to serve in the interim. That hardly constitutes a campaign and it surely wasn't in October; and since the source was Susan's E.D., I thought it perfectly reasonable.

I suppose, Liz, that the sum total of your contribution to the election last year was participating in one of Susan's phantom phone banks. Or maybe it was one of Susan's team of ghost canvassers walking 35 fictional "precincts" that exist solely in myth and legend possibly located somewhere east of Mordor - which of course like your buddy Susan, means you did a whole lot of nuthin'.

Posted by: Gary Fitzsimmons at March 17, 2005 02:02 PM
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