An open letter to City of Dallas employees – If you want to keep your job and your sanity, don't vote for the Mama's Boy

Dear City of Dallas employees:

We both know that you are in a very uncomfortable position when it comes to City Council. By law, you cannot take an active role in any municipal political campaign. You can vote for a Mayor or City Council member, but you can’t sign a petition for a candidate, endorse a candidate, or even put a yardsign out on your lawn.

Back in Philadelphia, where BD grew up, city employees were required to live in the City in order to keep their job. Police officers were required to live in the city too, but not in the same district they patrolled (with nearly 50 districts, it was easy to avoid being assigned to your own neighborhood).

But in Texas, it's illegal to impose any residency requirements to live in the City unless you are above a certain executive level like Assistant City Manager or Chief of a Police Division. BD cannot name one Dallas police officer below the rank of chief who lives in the City limits (chief’s don’t have that luxury). And he can only think of five or six firefighters who live in the city.

When it comes to City Staff - the guys who write the code citations, inspect the new buildings, catch the stray dogs or answer the 311 line - it’s a big mix. BD knows of at least three high-ranking staffers who live in or around Lowest Greenville alone. By one unofficial estimate, nearly 1,000 city employees live in District 14’s boundaries.

This letter is directed to those 1,000 city employees.

Earlier this week, the DMN endorsed Mama’s Boy for City Council District 14. Besides all the (cough) wonderful things they wrote about him, they added…

Some candidates favor a hands-off, board of directors posture for the council. Mama’s Boy strongly disagrees and pledges to get “into the weeds” in the same way Hunt has.

We are not talking about Not So Classy Hunt trying to frack Mary Suhm a new asshole in public sesson. Agree or not with what she said about Mary and the Trinity East contract, a council member’s job is to set policy for the City Manager. If the Board of Directors is not happy, they can and should frack her.

But when the DMN talks about Council Members getting into the weeds, they mean going downstairs to Human Resources and demanding to know why a certain person was hired, or maybe why he was not hired. Or why your trash was picked up but not my trash.

Before people start flapping their mouth and saying, That’s what my council member is supposed to do, let me tell you a dirty secret.

It's not their job. Ever.

Under Dallas’ City Charter, the City Council sets policy, reviews and approves the budget submitted by the City Manager, votes on zoning cases, and cut a few ribbons. They are ambassadors of the City to the world, meaning they get free trips to China.

All this weed stuff is just for show. When your City Council member hosts a town hall, there’s a lot of City Staff running around, answering questions, helping John Doe get his trash picked up. In reality, they don’t want to be there most of the time, but they know their job depends on making sure the Council Member looks good. At the end of the meeting, they take their notes home and file reports to 311 or whatever department needs to do something. Your City Council member goes home knowing she looks better to the people who will re-elect her.

The sad problem is that we have collectively our own responsibility to elect members who will follow the rules, and instead decide it's better to have a little action at the Horseshoe every other Wednesday. Big Bang Theory meets Keystone Kops.

Down at City Hall, it’s a little different. The City Council member deals with City Staff through the City Manager and her Council liaison. If a City Council member were to call a City employee directly, he can hang up the phone before he even hears the word Hello. If the City Council member wants to meet with a City employee, an Assistant City Manager and even a department director is required to be in the same room. A City employee can file an ethics complaint against a Council Member if he gets enough phone calls from that Council member.

The employee has to answer the ACM’s questions and he has to answer his supervisor's questions, but he is not required to answer the City Council member’s questions. Even at the Council meetings, only Assistant City Managers and department heads (Code Compliance, for example) answer questions, not the guys picking up the trash on your street. The City Council member does not sign his paycheck, he’s protected by civil service, and there’s a chain of command to follow. Period.

So let’s get back to the DMN endorsement. By endorsing Mama’s Boy, they are telling City Staff –

Your job is on the line, so do what the Council Member says to do.

Of course, the DMN knows that is a crock of crap too, and only hope Mama’s Boy does it enough to cause a stir and give them something to bitch about in a few months.

Let’s take this a step further. Mama’s Boy is married to Wife of Mama’s Boy (aka The WOMB). She is a pushy little person herself (and BD has the lawsuit to prove it). Her recent ripping of the City’s Building Inspections staff over the city-approved construction of the home at 5902 Goliad is well documented. The Belmont Addition CD enforcement committee, true believers in Chicago ward-style politics, tried for months to stop the construction of this home. They cited the ineptness of city staff, whom they truly believe cannot read standard English-language texts let alone building code. They threatened (without success) a lawsuit on the family building the house even though the permit was issued properly. And after two hearings, the enforcement committee lost the fight. In the end, they did not follow through on their threats to sue anyone.

That has not stopped The WOMB. Just this week, she was raising hell over an alleged illegally constructed fountain in front of a home in the neighborhood, pushed along by a retired judge who just does not like anyone who continues to breath on a regular basis without her permission. Not withstanding there were legitimate questions of the legality of the structure, BD has been told by staff and others the WOMB was on an unholy tear at City Hall, forcing citations to be issued almost on a daily basis. Staff wanted to let the homeowner have a hearing, but The WOMB dirtied those waters deep and thick. The fountain will probably be gone in a week or so. No hearing, no chance to explain. No forgiveness and forgetting (unlike what the gangbanger bars on Lowest Greenville got for years).

So let’s jump forward about a month after the election. If the Mama’s Boy is (god forbid) elected, The WOMB will be unstoppable. And paired with Mama’s Boy, it’s gonna be a holy terror in City Hall’s basement. BD has already been told by staff and others that if Mama’s Boy is elected, they expect their jobs to become more difficult.

It won’t be because they are working harder for less money (god bless them) but because they will be working harder for less money for the Mama’s Boy and The WOMB and their cronies in Lower Greenville NA and other areas. If you ain’t a Mama’s Boy supporter, your issues are officially not going to be important anymore.

It’s bad enough to imagine being a city employee harassed by a City Council member, but what do you do when someone gets in your face and says

Do I need to call my husband the City Council member to get your attention, or are you going to do what I want the way I want it done, and now??

Dear City staff, some of us in the neighborhoods - the long time activists who know you and your teams - understand your pain. We know you are not respected for the work you do by many of my neighbors, and that you are not paid enough. You work in the public sector because for many of you it’s a calling. BD knows one employee who started out in the Code Enforcement basement, and now he’s running a department. He earned this promotion, he went to school for it, and he’s got the scars to prove his qualifications. But even BD has to wonder if he will be able to sustain a withering attack by a City Council member or his spouse on this level.

So what can you do to keep this apocalyptic nightmare from becoming a reality?? That’s easy.

Don’t vote for the Mama’s Boy. He’s listed seventh (out of seven candidates) on the ballot. Above his name are six other persons, each of whom is deserves consideration for your vote. A few of them share Mama’s Boy’s ‘in the weeds’ mentality, but it’s up to you to do the research and figure out who they are. Vote for Candidate 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.

As BD said, there are probably 1,000 city employees living in District 14. Based on past elections, only 100 of them will bother to vote. But if 250 of them were to vote against the Mama’s Boy, he’s out of the race and possibly the runoff. Imagine how nice that would be. OMIGOD!

Thank you,

Barking Dog

[BD note – There’s no secret BD is supporting a specific candidate in this race and he's told every city employee he talks to about this. But he’s not asking City staff to vote for that candidate. He’s asking them to NOT vote for Mama’s Boy. That’s the proper way.]

By Avi S. Adelman under Dallas City Council , Dallas City Hall