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April 02, 2005

Peace Breaks Out in the Dallas County Democratic Party

By Byron LaMasters

The Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee met today at 2 PM at the Hall of State in Fair Park to continue the recessed meeting of February 28. The meeting was conducted in an orderly manner and most business was passed unanimously. The meeting was called to order by Precinct Chair Shannon Bailey shortly after 2 PM with a quorum present. Following the call to order current and former SDEC (State Democratic Executive Committee) members and former Party officers were invited to join the presiding officers in unison on the stage.

The first order of business was to appoint a temporary chair to chair the meeting. Precinct Chair Michael Moon was nominated and seconded, and was appointed unanimously as temporary chair to preside over the rest of the meeting. Finally, there was the opportunity to elect precinct chairs to many of the vacant seats and approximately sixty vacancies were filled. What many thought might be a controversial topic, a resolution to correct the congressional record passed unanimously. The executive committee asked that a letter be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee to reflect that Susan Hays’s endorsement of a Republican Judge, Michael Schneider was hers alone and not authorized by the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee.

There was some debate over when to elect a permanent chair (to serve the remainder of Susan Hays’s unexpired term), but it was decided to call a meeting within 45 days to allow time for candidates to campaign for the position. At this time, SDEC 16 member Theresa Daniel (and 2002 HD 107 nominee) was elected to serve as interim chair until a permanent chair was elected. Daniel also announced that she was not a candidate for permanent chair.

Also at the meeting, several elected officials had the opportunity to speak. State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) stressed the importance of the 2006 elections and urged party unity. State Rep. Terri Hodge (D-Dallas) thanked the members of the committee who recognized that there was a problem and for acting upon that problem, and looked forward to moving towards 2006 working together as “one, big, happy, dysfunctional family”. At the end of her speech, Hodge asked the entire committee to join her in supporting the party financially. Hodge personally wrote a check for $120, many others joined her, and by the end of the afternoon approximately $9000 was raised at the meeting for the Dallas County Democratic Party.

[Ed. Note. I did not attend this meeting. This account was compiled after speaking with numerous people who attended the meeting.]

Posted by Byron LaMasters at April 2, 2005 10:32 PM | TrackBack


I'm thankful that cooler, more adult heads are coming front.

(I'm not speaking of anything that went on before but the reports of that last ghastly food fight.)

We've got a tough election season coming up, and a party to rebuild.

Time to face the same direction and push forward.

Posted by: Boadicea at April 3, 2005 12:24 AM

and I'm impressed with the quality of the candidates running to fill out this term.

Kerry & Edwards won in the City of Dallas with a margin of 53,902 votes.

See: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/tom.blackwell

We'll do even better in 2006.

A bumper sticker posted last Summer in the window of the Harvard Co-Op bookstore said "Defeat him by more in 2004." The momentum is with us, and I am looking for a County Chair who will keep us focused on the November results.

Tom Blackwell

Posted by: Tom Blackwell at April 3, 2005 06:06 AM

Ken Molberg's "legal advice" as "General Counsel" for the DCDP yesterday was completely in error when you look at the actual state law that we are supposed to be operating under.

Where in the world did he get that "state party rules provide that the meeting [to elect a new county chair] could not be held any sooner than 20 days" from when the vacancy occurs."? He must be reading a different set of party rules and a different Texas Election Code than what everyone else has.

The TDP Rules in Art. III.E.5.a say:

"Upon the written request of any Committee member, however, the Secretary shall call one for a date not more than 20 days after receiving the request, giving each member notice of the time, place, and purpose."

Again, the Texas Election Code in 171.025(a) quite clearly says:

". . . If a committee member files with the secretary a written request for a meeting to fill a vacancy, the secretary shall call the meeting to convene not later than the 20th day after the date the secretary receives the request."

So, Mr. Molberg was just flat-out wrong, but then of course following the law and the rules doesn't fit with the agenda of the "Concerned Democrats" that, for now at least, have successfully hijacked the leadership of the local party.

What in the hell was Molberg doing flashing "victory" signs when Theresa Daniel was elected temporary chair? What was that all about? Along with all of the self-congratulatory hugging of each other done by Molberg, Shannon Bailey, Michael Moon, and Theresa Daniels, that was evidence enough to me that this was a coup d'etat, and other evidence makes it clear that it was long planned in advance.

I don't trust those people any farther than I can throw them, and it doesn't surprise me that they simply asserted that "a quorum was present" without offering any evidence a quorum was present. That will come back to bite us.

Molberg is dangerously disregarding the law in issuing his supposed advice to us, and he should be held responsible for any negative consequences that flow from how he is misleading the flock.

We must insist on a CONFIRMED quorum when we elect the new County Chair. The law REQUIRES it (Election Code 171.024), and our new Chair could be knocked out of office at an inopportune time by legal actions by Republicans if we don't follow the law. We must follow the law and we must not let the self-serving "Concerned Democrats" continue to lead us down an illegal path that leads to legal vulnerability to Republicans!

Posted by: Loyal Democrat at April 3, 2005 06:42 PM

republicans have no standing to bring suit over the election of a Democratic County chair.

Posted by: another Longtime Democrat at April 3, 2005 08:15 PM

Oh really? Which lawyer is going to COMPETENTLY represent the DCDP in court when it happens that the Repugs challenge our selection despite that wishful thinking? (I would think they can, as the County Chair deals with public Primary funds provided by Texas taxpayers, and since they are our opponents and they have in other situations.) Will Mr. Molberg work for free to clean up the mess he's making?

If Molberg thinks he can get away with anything he wants because he thinks judges won't address any internal party issues because of the excuse that it's a political question, then he's going to get a rude awakening when a GOP judge who thinks differently gets ahold of the case.

I'd like to see Mr. Molberg give an answer for the fact that he misstated the TDP rule and the law to everyone in the meeting. What is his answer to that?

Posted by: Loyal Democrat at April 4, 2005 12:40 AM

Dear "Loyal Democrat"
Would you mind elaborating for me exactly what it is you are loyal to? Because, from where I sit, it seems as if the only things you are loyal to are: conflict, disunity and ad hominem attacks. If you were truly loyal to the Dallas Democratic Party (and the party in general) you would stop all this nonesense and unite with the rest of us to fulfill our goal of beating Republicans.
precinct 2324

Posted by: gmichele at April 4, 2005 07:39 AM

In response to "Loyal Democrats'" post, actually, Mr. Molberg's advice was proper.

The key issue is that the election code states that the meeting must be called by the Secretary for the purpose of filling a vacancy. The argument is multifold: (i) that the meeting was NOT called for the purpose of filling a vacancy, but rather was an extension of the February meeting called for another purpose; (ii) that a meeting to fill a vacancy must be called AFTER the vacancy occurs. The April 2, 2005 meeting was called before the vacancy occured. It is fair to say that the statute is ambiguous as to the timing issue: must the meeing be called before the notice of vacancy or th eeffective date of the vacancy?

Mr. Molberg was giving prudent legal advice to avoid risk - there is no legal harm in waiting and sending out notices anew, but there may have been a risk in selecting a chair right away at the meeting. In such situations, a good lawyer will advise the client to avoid the risk, especially when, based on a cost-benefit analysis, there is no practical (as opposed to legal) harm in avoiding the legal risk.

Concerning the ad hominem attacks on Mr. Molberg's professionalism, indeed he has many times over the years represented the Party pro bono, unlike Counsel who represented the party in the litigation concerning the 103 House District Primary. Actually, if more people had followed Mr. Molberg's practice and provided other professional services (e.g. computer, consulting, etch support) to the party pro bono over the past few years, then our County Party would not be in such debt.

Of course, the good news is that we have 3 excellent County Chair candidates (and maybe more of whom I am unaware), and either one of them would make a great Chair. Especially impressing is that 2 of them have actually run as candidates before.

Posted by: Carl Ginsberg at April 4, 2005 08:52 AM

Still, no one has addressed my point of how Mr. Molberg misquoted the TDP rule and state law.

Posted by: Loyal Democrat at April 4, 2005 11:22 AM

I also noticed that Ken mistated the law. I am a lawyer. I can read the rules. I do not know if it was an accident. Ken, I know you read this site, please clear this up.

Posted by: Another person who noticed at April 4, 2005 11:52 AM

From Merriam-Webster:

ad hominem
Function: adjective
Etymology: New Latin, literally, to the person
1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

I made contentions that Mr. Molberg gave bad legal advice based on an erronous reading of the party rule and state law. That is not an ad hominem attack. I squarely held up the TDP rule and state law to show how he was wrong, as a response to his contention that he was quoting the TDP rule, based on state law. Questioning his misquoting the law is not an ad hominem attack. However, if my contentions are not answered, but instead I were to be accused of not being a "Loyal Democrat" because I have the character to dare to raise such questions, that would be an ad hominem attack.

The risk we face is that we don't follow the law and we risk legal action against us because we did not. That should be our overriding concern in any "cost-benefit analysis" -- to follow the law as written.

Posted by: Loyal Democrat at April 4, 2005 11:54 AM

I have a different recollection of the statements made at the meeting, but I concede that I could be wrong on what was said. The bottom line is that we will be following the law by having a meeting called specificaly for the purpose of naming a chair, and no harm can come of delaying a decision to name a chair.

I am no apologist for Mr. Molberg (or anyone for that matter - I have always had an individualist streak and those who know me know I speak my mind), but I do believe that he gave sound legal advice to wait until another meeting. If he ever gives, in my opinion, bad legal advice, I will be the first to voice my opinion.

I just urge that we all can come together and develop consensus around a candidate for Chair. Personally, I have made no committments and appreciate the time to better evaluate the candidates. I think all three are good candidates and am glad that we can not go wrong with either one. If anyone knows of forums (fora?) / Club Meetings where the candidates will speak and address Precinct Chairs please use this website and other means to spread the word so that the Committee can meet the chaird and make a reasoned, informed, and deliberative decision.

Let's remember what the goal is: sending Republicans packing in 2006.

Carl Ginsberg
Precinct Chair 3200

Posted by: Carl Ginsberg at April 4, 2005 02:04 PM

I personally do not know who "Loyal Democrat" is or why he insists on keeping up on these personal attacks on Ken Molberg, myself or others who did nothing but bring peace and unity to our County Party.

However, being one of the top ten lawyers in the state knowledgeable on election law and a members of the rules committee of the Texas Democratic Party, I would tend to trust Ken Molberg before I would trust someone who has no experience in Election Law, has never served on the State Demcoratic Executive Committee in any capacity, and has not even contated the State Democratic Party, who confirmed that Ken was correct.

I guess it was expected that like in Iraq, we would have insurgents that would have nothing better than drag out this Susan Hays issue out.

The good thing is despite your inflammitory remarks, we upgraded almost 80 precinct chairs, proved that we can disagree and come together to do the party's work and be unified in a way that I have not see during the last three years.

And since you refuse to give your name and real email address it only goes to prove that you have no real interest in growing our party and winning in 2006.

Michael Moon

Posted by: Michael Moon at April 4, 2005 07:32 PM

And, don't forget, we raised almost $9000! I think that proves that we (precinct chairs and other activists) are ready to put our money where our mouths are and move forward to kick Republican butt in 06.

Posted by: gmichele at April 4, 2005 08:33 PM

Dear "LOYAL?" Democrat,

Stop the crap! Susan lost, so stop crying like a little baby. You really just need to get on with electing Democrats, rather than keeping up this horrible infighting. And PLEASE, spare me, why are you so scared of revealing who you are.
I'm not afraid. My name is David Hardt, I'm President of the Dallas County Young Democrats, one of the largest Democratic clubs in the state with more than 700 members. Our club demanded that Susan answer questions to some of her questionable activities or resign, and she did the right thing by resigning. It is for the good of the party. We can now move forward as a unified Party. Susan should be commended for doing what is right. But you, you spineless piece of crap, who hides behind, "no@spam.com", you just can't accept defeat like a moral, gracious human being. Instead you have to incite this continuous fighting, just lurking in the shadows, salivating at a chance for Republicans to find a mistake in our Party. GET a freaking LIFE. The Party is ready to move on and you should too!
David Hardt,
Dallas County Young Democrats
And a loyal Democrat that is not afraid to speak out loud and not going to hide behind a fake name.

Posted by: David Hardt at April 4, 2005 09:55 PM

Loyal Democrat, you will notice at the end of this letter, I have posted my First and last name as well as my precinct number.I have found that people that express an opinion and and then don't have the courage to put their names forward have for the majority of the time been cowards who have a definete lack of courage. It would appear that you were at the meeting, since you know everything about what went on. I don't recall you challenging The Chair Pro Tem onm any issues, I do recall some one asking for a legal opinion from Mohlberg, but it seemed to me and I'm sure others who heard the question (challenge) and the answer, That that person was Ok with Mohlbergs' response. I looked around that meeting and I saw more unity, then at any time in the past couple of years. When I first met Susan Hays, shortly after she was elected, I realized that this was not the person that I wanted to lead me throught the 2004 elections. I voiced that concern to several people. Quite frankly Ms. Hays' was in over her head and I believe she realized it immediately. She spent her entire tenure bullshiting us and she was good enough at that "if bullshit was electricity, she would have been a walking powerhouse". Lastly, history shows that cowards have a tendency to expose themselves, most often unwittingly, so we will be looking forward to that. Tom Madrzykowski Precinct Chair 4601

Posted by: tom madrzykowski at April 4, 2005 10:22 PM

I'm still a bit euphoric about our experience on Saturday. Here's what the Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Committee did:

1. Elected (at long last) the dozens of "pending" chairs, some of whom had every reason to believe they had already been elected;

2. Passed a healing resolution to inform the U.S. Congress and appropriate members of Congress that the Dallas County Democratic Party did NOT endorse a Repulican judicial nominee for appointment;

3. Proved that questions can be raised without creating knee-jerk defensive postures that squelch questions and ignore concerns. Everyone was treated with dignity and respect, as is always the environment in a civilized society;

4. Gathered volunteer commitments from several old and young democrats;

5. Reignited the trust in the Sustaining Membership program, so vital to the basic financial security of running the party;

6. Raised $9,000+ Dollars (including many sustaining memberships) in that one afternoon.

So, yes, there were "victory" hugs and well there should be. The victory was over the hurt, bitterness and despair that many longtime, loyal, liberal, labor Democrats had felt. I believe those hugs were also a public statement of the faith in each other and shared responsibilities that Dallas County Democrats acknowledge.

I'm going to wallow in the euphoria for as long as I can. However, we all (euphoric or non-euphoric) need to give the best of our talents to the Dallas County Democratic Party. I am no longer a precinct chair (after 37 years). My successor was elected on Saturday. Fortunately, I do have the time to contribute to my party and will do so. I urge each of you who shares my pride and optimism (which I've never lost) in our local party to commit to give the best of your talents as well. We're off to a tremendous start for a successful election of DEMOCRATS AND MORE DEMOCRATS in 2006!

Jean Ball

Posted by: Jean Ball at April 5, 2005 12:15 AM
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