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March 08, 2005

CWA Local Head Says Sergeant-at-Arms not Authorized to Shut Down Dallas Meeting

By Byron LaMasters

A letter is being sent out to the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee by CWA Local 6215 President J.D. Williams (available here - PDF file). In the letter, Williams notes that the action of Gene Freeland (Sergeant-at-Arms of the executive committee meeting at the Dallas CWA Hall last Monday) to kick the Democratic Party out of the CWA Hall was not authorized by the CWA. Freeland was appointed to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms by the chair, Susan Hays. Williams writes:

I want each of you to know that no one in C.W.A. authorized the Sergeant-at-Arms, who is not a member of C.W.A. to speak on behalf of the building owners and ask all of you to leave immediately. I gave no such authority to anyone that night.

Subject to our own needs, our facility will continue to be available for Party meetings in the future.

Susan Hays and Gene Freeland repeatedly warned that Freeland had the authority to shut down the meeting if things got unruly. This letter makes clear that the owners of the building, the CWA, had given no such authority.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 8, 2005 03:46 PM | TrackBack


WHO CARES???????????????????????


When was the last CONSTRUCTIVE thing any one of the members of this group has done? It is time we make like the website and MOVEON!

Posted by: Daniel Babb at March 8, 2005 04:26 PM

Every one of the members of "this group" have done innumerable constructive things for the Democratic Party. I am personally offended that you would impugn people who worked to call a meeting that the Chair refused to call, people who worked tirelessly for John Kerry, people who have worked for Democrats in Dallas County for many years.

Posted by: Elaine Wiant at March 8, 2005 04:47 PM


You have a great point.

Daniel Babb, the man who is too chicken to tell everyone who he is, you apparently are a new person who doesn’t know the long history of the folks you continue to insult.

Susan will be gone before long and you’ll still have to look these people in the eye. You coward.

Posted by: Pete at March 8, 2005 05:31 PM

What constructive things have we done?

As for me, part of the answer is on my web page at


John Kerry won in the City of Dallas with 53,902 votes. Al Gore won in the City of Dallas with
31,427 votes.

Posted by: Tom Blackwell at March 8, 2005 05:39 PM

Dan is right.

Susan should just resign now so that the Party can move on.

And you know what Dan, I am a little offended as well. I have volunteered and raised money for nearly every candidate on the ballot in 2004 as well as nearly every member of the reform group.

Just thought I would point that out before you start hurling out personal attacks, Dan.

Posted by: Michael Moon at March 8, 2005 05:42 PM

Dan is right.

Susan should just resign now so that the Party can move on.

And you know what Dan, I am a little offended as well. I have volunteered and raised money for nearly every candidate on the ballot in 2004 as well as nearly every member of the reform group.

Just thought I would point that out before you start hurling out personal attacks, Dan.

Michael Moon
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

Posted by: Michael Moon at March 8, 2005 05:42 PM

Faux Pete, You amuse us. You use my name and email to attack Dan and accuse him of being a coward.

Grow up.

Posted by: Pete at March 8, 2005 09:39 PM

Michael, I'm sure you'll get your wish soon. This civil war has driven away the new chairs, the new volunteers and especially the donors (old and new).

And all this will pale in comparison to the jockeying and back stabbing that will ensue among the petitioners to become the next chair.

Byron, why don't you put up a poll and let everyone vote on their favorite candidate?

Posted by: Pete at March 8, 2005 09:58 PM

I sure hope a copy of that letter was sent to the reporter at the Dallas Morning News who said we "eat our young."

As to doing things constructive for the party, I have been involved with the party for over 30 years. I have put in hours upon hours of volunteer time as a precinct chair, election judge and general help on campaigns.

The people who called that meeting are dedicated and concerned Democrats. Obviouslly, Daniel doesn't know squat about the people involved. And, I too, find his remarks offensive.
precinct chair 2324

Posted by: gmichele at March 9, 2005 07:24 AM

I sit on the other side of the fence from Gene Freeland when it comes to the current Dallas County imbroglio. I know him as a retired AFL-CIO official (not ousted), and the 2005 Chairman of the Lake Highlands White Rock Democrats. He has given great service to the Democratic Party his whole life. I will be happy if I reach the same age as Gene Freeland and find my contributions to the Democratic Party have half the luster of his.

My guess is that Gene probably BELIEVED that J. D. Williams gave the authority in question on behalf of the CWA. I was there, but I can’t remember from whose lips the warning on behalf of the CWA came when Susan Hays appointed Gene as Sgt. at Arms. There is a crucial difference that only a recording of the proceedings would reveal.

Susan Hays was ill-served by the efforts revealed in the Burnt Orange Report of Geoff Staples to break quorum,

“When I saw the tone of the meeting and that approximately 15 people were needed to break the quorum, I took it upon myself to recruit as many people as I could to leave - with one person remaining to ask for the quorum call.”

The meeting noise level became elevated when the assembled body probably thought dirty tricks were afoot (they were) with the quorum call.

One crucial point in all these points and counterpoints is that the petitioners got what they came for in the passage of the two resolutions: the first requiring four CEC meetings per year, and the second calling for the formation of an advisory board. The weekly Email of DCDP Weekly Roundup had an announcement of those resolutions, which might be a sign that it could be time for all Dallas Democrats to get behind this new party structure and make it work to the terror of Dallas Republicans.

Bill James
Concerned Democrat of Dallas County

Posted by: Bill James at March 9, 2005 09:50 AM

This is to Pete, Faux Pete, re-Pete, whomever...

It wasn't the Reform Group that called the police to intimidate the precinct chairs, it wasn't the reform group that conspired to set up the walkout to challenge quorum, and it wasn't the reformers that kept the pending chairs from being seated.

Reforms have been set in place and Democrats are working together, from both sides, to ensure that we are ready for 2006. Precinct Chairs are coming back, donors will come back and the Party will continue no matter how many personal attacks the Chair's supporters continue to sling.

Posted by: Michael Moon at March 9, 2005 11:01 AM

Michael, it is most presumptions for you to call yourselves reformers--i think troublemakers is more like it.

First of all, I'm not a supporter of the Chair, I'm a supporter of the Party. I think the concerns about the Chair are valid. What I don't support is you and your fellow troublemaker's tactics.

Myself and many others have chosen to disagree with the troublemakers about their tactics and take them to task about it. But for the troublemakers it is black and white, your either with them or against them. If you don't agree with the troublemakers you labeled as an evil doer. Sorry, but I get my fill of that behavior from the White House.

Reformer's don't act this way, troublemakers do.

You're right the reformers didn't call the police, get disgusted and leave the meeting or refuse to show up in the first place. No, the troublemakers CAUSED these things to happen with their shameless tactics.

So congratulations, you'll win the battle but lose the war and snatch a defeat from the jaws from victory. Once the current Chair is gone, you'll turn on each other battling for her job and what shreds of the Party remain will be most difficult to put back together again and no person possesses the talent, political skills, reputation, etc. to clean up the mess all of you have made.

The troublemakers have raised the standard for what is expected from the Chair--nothing less than divine perfection, which is great. But rest assured there will be many of us watching and holding you accountable.

Posted by: Real Pete at March 9, 2005 04:37 PM

Let me get this straight:

“Uprising” equals Legally constituted CEC Meeting by petition

“Mutiny” equals passage of two resolutions that increase involvement by the rank and file.

“Mutineer” equals a petition signing precinct chair.

The County Chair has the same powers as a ship’s captain on the high seas. Maybe a better title would be County Czar.

Does a person who leads a misguided quorum call equal "agent provocateur"

Bill James
Concerned Democrat of Dallas County

Posted by: Bill James at March 9, 2005 06:26 PM

Spin. Spin. Spin.

Most of the people that signed the petition did it under false pretense. The support of the petitioners among the Precinct Chairs is approximately 100, a third at best with less than half of the precinct chairs showing up.

The resolution does not increase the involvement of the rank and file, it created a self appointed "policing board" to usurp the Chair's authority. These "representatives" from each SD elected themselves--is this legal? With no Party rules or other precedent, probably not. Do the SD Convention delegates approve of this? Should they? Who knows.

A petition signing precinct chair would be better characterized as a "pawn" not a mutineer.

The person leading the quorum call was exercising their right under the rules.

If you want to run an organization democratically, it cuts both ways.

What will be amusing is watching one of these "representatives" become the new Chair then suddenly decide the policing board isn't such a great idea.

This is going to be fun.

Bill, although I disagree about the "mutiny" with you I want to commend you for defending Gene. The fact that this group will use any means and go to any end to bring down the Chair, including slandering and libeling Gene,is what I'm so disgusted about and it shouldn't be tolerated.

Posted by: Pete at March 9, 2005 07:23 PM

I've deleted the "ousted labor leader" line. It's not particularly relevent to this post, so I respect that point.

Posted by: Byron L at March 9, 2005 08:05 PM

Bill James
After consulting a recording, it appears that BOTH Freeland and Hays at various times claimed that Freeland was representing the CWA. A claim completely refuted by the Union's president.
At the point when a member of the committee is using a legitimate form of relief from a willfully nonresponsive chair(provided for in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised), appealing the decision of the chair, Freeland says,

“I am the Sergeant-at-arms. I was asked to represent the owners of this hall, that if this meeting got out of control, if both sides were not confident they were getting a fair shake, then the meeting will be adjourned. Michael, you are disruptive. If you continue to be disruptive, the meeting is adjourned.”

This, on its face, is a ludicrous statement. If ONE person is, in the opinion of Gene Freeland, "disruptive", then the whole meeting gets shut down by him even though, as sergeant-at-arms, he would have the duty of escorting the offender alone out of the building, and no doubt, would have had the assistance of the uniformed and armed Sheriff who was present in the room. The fact that Freeland was asserting his "authority" to shut down the meeting at will, and for insufficient cause, indicates that he was never acting in good faith. He was simply trying to set up an opportunity to shut down a meeting of the Democratic Party.

Later, a former candidate, frustrated with the culpable negligence of the chair states,

“I’m sorry Susan, we have been through a lot of trouble to call this meeting tonight. These people came out; it is time for you to get the damn meeting on.”

These words from ONE person, transcribed from the recording, certainly don't rise to the level of a meeting "out of control." Nevertheless, Freeland, almost immediately, shouts this into the mike,

“The meeting is now adjourned. The meeting is now adjourned. You are on private property. You must leave now.”

Susan reiterates, Gene, stating that

"...the sergeant of arms, by whose leave we have access to the building, has declared the meeting out of order"

In response to the assertion made in the Dallas Morning News that the precinct chairs were an unruly mob and that the chair, in fear for her safety, fled the building by a side door, a recording of the meeting clearly puts on record, six minutes of the precinct chairs confused but maintaining a great deal of order. The chairs break up into their Senate district caucuses. Business in the caucuses clearly begins to proceed according to the established rules of order. Six minutes AFTER Freeland has declared the meeting “adjourned”, Susan Hays’ voice can clearly be heard speaking into the microphone,

“We’ve been asked to leave the building and we need help cleaning up, please proceed orderly spicif…please pick up any trash, anything else you see on your way out, we’ve been asked to leave the building.”

Does this sound like a person in fear of her safety, in the midst of an unruly and dangerous mob? Why was she still in the building (and on stage) six minutes after the meeting had “ended,” calmly telling her constituents whom she had refused to listen to, to pick up trash? Why would the DMN have characterized the meeting’s ending in such a wildly inaccurate way? Well, to quote “Pete,” “Spin, spin, spin!”

Posted by: Deepthroat at March 10, 2005 02:06 AM

I was there, and I have to agree with "deepthroat"'s comments. They are quite in line with my perception of the way the meeting concluded. The portrayal of the group as an "angry mob" was basically BS.

That said, however, in my opinion, both sides here are behaving badly. I would like to request that somebody pass out Xanax at the door prior to the next meeting. Maybe that will improve everybody's temper. ;)

Posted by: Crispin at March 10, 2005 12:16 PM

Not only did Gene Freeland have no authority from the CWA to throw anyone out of the building, he had only questionable authority from Susan. She claimed she didn't call the meeting to order until after her hour long speech, therefore, no business was in order until she called it to order. Yet, almost immediately after she started speaking, she "appointed" Mr. Freeland sergeant-as-arms. Appointing temporaty officers is a part of the business of a meeting as anyone who has been to a pct. comvention will know. This means either the meeting was called to order upon the Chair beginning to address the body, and therefore, the chair was acting improperly in ignoring motions made in good faith (as well as points of order, OR, the meeting was not in order when she introduced Mr. Freeland, and after the meeting was called to order, Mr. Freeland was never appointed, and was therefore, NEVER sergeant-at-arms.

Posted by: JJ at March 10, 2005 02:54 PM

How many more hours will y'all spend on this? In the meantime, we have many good Democratic candidates throughout Dallas County who need your talents, ingenuity and experience RIGHT NOW. They're planning to unseat Republicans on various City Councils from Garland to Irving to Richardson.

We don't have to wait until 2006 to start chalking up more victories for long-time Democrats trying to wrest civic power from the GOP. We can begin helping people like Pris Hayes running for Place 2 in Richardson, Lee Lutz running for District 8 in Garland or Herb Gears running for Mayor in Irving.

Let's direct this energy into something productive. I bet all of you have more political savvy than I do, so pick a local candidate and help them win, please!

Posted by: Tony McMullin at March 12, 2005 01:28 PM

Of course we're aware of the Democratic candidates who are working to win office, shoot Tony, some of US are even helping out with some of those campaigns. I see that you've been on the campaign trail yourself. You've been extremely effective in preventing Susan Hays from being held accountable for her actions. You've been working hard to propagate slanderous accusations about alleged break-ins at the Party Office. Hell, you've even managed to involve Dallas's Finest in our Party business by calling the cops to try to shut down the Executive Committee meeting before it even began. You’ve been very busy indeed. Is this comment an indication that you’ll be shutting down shop to go work on campaigns yourself?

Posted by: Emily Beer at March 13, 2005 12:43 AM

"Of course we're aware of the Democratic candidates who are working to win office, shoot Tony, some of US are even helping out with some of those campaigns."
> Glad to hear it, I really am. I have seen so much coverage about internal politics on blogs, in circulated emails, in multiple and costly direct mail campaigns and in countless hours of phonebanking that I wasn't sure how many resources were being directed to helping some among our own ranks to win new, important seats. I hope the time and money being spent is equitable.

"You've been extremely effective in preventing Susan Hays from being held accountable for her actions."
> I want accountability. But why can't we have it in an orderly, adlut way that doesn't fracture the party in the process? We're all on the same side so we should all want the same results. I think the strongest differences you and I might have are in the methods being used. If you knew me better and knew how I felt about problems with the party in 2004, you'd realize this.

"You've been working hard to propagate slanderous accusations about alleged break-ins at the Party Office."
> Well, now, who's propagating slander now? I sent 1 email. To one person. In reply to her email to me about her concerns about the upcoming meeting and her mention that David had made a promise to her about how the meeting would run. It was in my reply to her the day after David ran away from the party office to apparently avoid discovery that I mentioned his interesting antics. I felt it was relevant to her being able to take him at his word. That 1 email ended up being forward by HER - a petition signer and ardent anti-Susan precinct chair herself. I didn't know she had forwarded it to anyone until about 6 hours later when someone called me. In a few days' time, other people were talking about it but nowhere did I see any defense from David. So, I did ask him in a blog where he'd posted, to speak up. To my knowledge, he still hasn't explained himself. Has he to you? Are you able to share that explanation with me?

"Hell, you've even managed to involve Dallas's Finest in our Party business by calling the cops to try to shut down the Executive Committee meeting before it even began. "
> Now, Emily, you were there. You were there sitting at the end of the table the entire time and you know that they were called to help us establish order in trying to negotiate the sign-in and credentially process. You were there to witness that it was helpful to have them there at the very beginning becuase there was not an instant spirit of cooperation, to put it mildly, when we showed up to set up for the meeting. And from the very beginning of the dialogue with lots of witnesses, we were simply trying to reach agreements on how to conduct a legal credentialling process. Several of your team worked with us to iron out agreements on the spot. That's when the police saw that things were under control and they were no longer needed.

> You’ve been very busy indeed. Is this comment an indication that you’ll be shutting down shop to go work on campaigns yourself?
Since November, I have been working on several races in the county and I continue to spend time every day doing unpaid work for friends who are running for office because I want to see them succeed. I have spent more time with the 5 candidates and their volunteers than I have on this internal issue. But it was important enough for me to get involved and now I hope we can all spend less and less time dwelling on it and trying to remember the good things we each bring to the table. We can't keep this level of disunity up for long without sacrificing many important things that need to be worked on together.

Posted by: Tony McMullin at March 13, 2005 03:59 PM

I live in Richardson and will be voting for Pris Hayes. I'm Republican. I know a lot of Democrats AND Republicans who are for her, keep in mind these are non party races and there is no need for all the different supporters to try to divide up the people who just want better government. I was looking for her web site and got here via google. Does anyone here have the link to her site? She's the lady running for city council in Richardson that is mentioned in a post above.

I am totally for this lady to win and so is my wife and most of the neighbors we talk to. And yes, we are all Republicans. No matter what some of you think here, we know a good thing when we see it.

I have had the chance to talk to Pris many times because I go to council meetings and she's real level-headed and makes a lot of sense. A very down to earth gal, a better choice than the other two guys in that race by a million miles, especially the guy who is in there now. We just can't agree with his votes and his condescending attitude toward people.

Just the fact that she's there every time I've been able to go these past many months says a lot, because watching most of these folks who sit on the council and seeing how they do things and their lack of effort in doing what is right is alarming and otherwise like drinking sand.

I did ask her about her party affiliation and she explained and I accept that and actually her reasoning is pretty solid, especially given who or what has taken over a lot of the Republican party or who claims to be Republican and I have no idea what they are.

So a word of advice to the obvioulsy highly partisan folks here, since I do want to see her win, and obviously so do some of you, I have a criticism where I see one of you mentions her in the same line with your partisan comment against Republicans.

If you truly support her and any other good candidates and want Richardson to have a good council, that's not too smart of you to take it upon yourself to signal to Republicans, who make up the majority of voters here, that the local non party races are a way to insult them and then turn around and expect that this will help those you claim to support. People who go looking for her web site are going to see you saying this stuff. But you are lucky I already know her or else you would have given me the wrong idea. The city elections are not by party line officially and if everyone were smart, we would follow that rationale.

For those of you who live in Richardson I suggest you get out and vote in the city council races and get others to as well. If you don't, obviously you are unaware of what the current council, most of them anyway, are doing to our city and you don't really care as much as you claim. Throw the rest of us a bone here who want to get in better government. And yes, I know the sitting council did that partisan thing to y'all, but they don't represent all of us here. Obviously. To be quite honest, they really are not what most of us traditional Republicans can even consider Republicans. If it is big and expensive and unnecessary, they vote for it. Or if it benefits their friends, they are all over it. And this land grabbing business, well, that is certainly not something most Republicans would even go near. Some of the rest of us actually follow the intent of the rules and go for fairness. I can't say the same for some of the current council what so ever. Let's get some good people in there.

Posted by: John S. at March 22, 2005 03:11 PM
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