BD Exclusive: PLAB attendance reports raise questions about NSA's public service claims

Don't attend, don't vote, don't offend potential donors?

NSA Hunt claims that her years of service on City panels - appointed by her mentor and sponsor Veletta Lill - make her the best candidate for the City Council in District 14.

But questions are being raised about whether her appointments are really just qualification padding courtesy of her mentor, Veletta Lill, and if NSA actually spent enough time at meetings to warm the seats, let alone vote.

BD's research shows that all the meetings she missed included cases in District 14. Early politicking or just poor scheduling?

Inquiring newspapers want to know

The Dallas Voice has been asking hard questions about NSA's claims of service on the Permit & License Appeal Board. PLAB reviews dance hall permits, a hot item in District 14 (which has three so-called entertainment districts - Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville and Oak Lawn).

NSA's campaign literature describes her service on PLAB service as

Protected neighborhoods as a member of the City of Dallas Permit and License Appeal Board, consistently voting against irresponsible sexually oriented businesses and late-night dance clubs and bars.

In this week's edition, the Dallas Voice writes -

The two races seem free of mudslinging, but supporters of Candy Marcum tried to make some headway this week with a concern about Hunt's record of attendance on the Permit and License Appeal Board when she served as Lill's appointee during the last half of 2003.

Shannon Bailey, a Marcum supporter, said his research showed that Hunt had missed three meetings of the board. The missed meetings included hearings for permits for gay nightclubs, and Bailey said he suspected Hunt had missed the meetings to avoid “tough calls.”

Bailey said he was concerned that Hunt might not respect and protect the Oak Lawn entertainment district if she is elected.

Hunt told members at an Oak Lawn crime watch meeting recently that she was opposed to after-hours dance club permits, but she later clarified that statement, explaining that she was referring only to clubs that were not properly managed.

“I think people should be aware that it may create some problems for us down the road if she is elected,” Bailey said.

Hunt denied that she had purposely missed any meetings and dismissed the concerns as “misinformation.” One meeting that Bailey identified occurred after Lill had transferred her to the Cultural Affairs Commission. Another occurred when Hunt was in San Antonio on a mediation trip, she said.

“I'm a litigator,” Hunt said. “I don't skip the tough calls.”

Hunt said she had been prepared to vote on the issue at a previous meeting, but it was canceled because the board did not have quorum present. When it was taken up the following month, she was out of town on business, the lawyer said.

Hunt said she voted in favor of an after-hours dancing permit for one of Caven Enterprises' clubs when she was on the permit board. Parents and teachers of students at a nearby elementary school showed up on behalf of the club because of its employees' generosity to the students at Christmas, she said.

Candidate debunking starts right here, right now

BD has been doing his own research on NSA's service at City Hall and came up with some interesting points -

NSA served on the PLAB for a short period of time, according to City Secretary records - June 19, 2003 until November 21, 2003 (even shorter with claims that she was transferred to another commission).

She missed three out of the nine meetings during her appointment (August 7, 2003, October 16, 2003, and November 21, 2003).

These agendas are from the City Secretary's office - the NSA information is extracted for presentation purposes.

The Dallas City Code Section 8-2 c states:

A member of a board that meets weekly or biweekly, who is absent from more than 25 percent of the regular meetings in any six month period, whether excused or not, shall forfeit membership on the board.

A case in District 14? Ooops, gotta get my hair done

Before each meeting, commission members get an agenda telling them which cases are pending before that panel and what city council district they fall in.

The three meetings NSA missed included nine separate public hearings for nine applications. Six of those cases were in District 14. Call it a coincidence, but all the meetings missed by NSA included District 14 locations - Sue Ellen's, Seven, Lush, El Az de Oros, and Euphoria.

These attendance records are from the City Secretary's office - the NSA information is extracted for presentation purposes.

 

Was NSA trying to avoid upsetting potential District 14 campaign donors and constituents by not being in the house when their applications were presented for a vote?

This strategy raises questions about when NSA started running for office. Under City Code, if you are even thinking about running for an elected position, you are required to leave any appointed posts.

Gary Griffith had running on his mind for years before he filed for Dallas City Council District 9. Was NSA doing some mental jogging and mathematics while serving on PLAB?

BD knows that NSA's early Do no harm efforts are backfiring when it comes to campaign donations. One of the ignored applicants is giving a $1,000 donation to Candy Marcum's campaign office - since the donation won't be on the public record till after the election, BD is not naming names.

You call this a resume?

BD thinks voters should ask themselves some hard questions:

Resume padding 101

Was NSA's service on PLAB and Cultural Affairs sincere efforts at public service, or just another way for Lill to puff up NSA's thin resume? How long has it been since you had some public service experience?

NSA claims to have years of service in the public sector, but it all depends on how you define the word years. She did not come up on the public radar until 2002.

When did you start writing your stump speech?

Her other notches - DHL, Preservation Dallas, and Save The M Streets - are undated on her website.

But checking the Dallas Observer, we find that NSA first went public on the M Streets issue in 2002. Read the article to see that NSA was working on her campaign stump speech three years ago.

Was NSA Lill's first choice to succeed her at City Hall?

Sources tell BD that Candy Marcum was originally selected as Lill's successor nearly three years ago.

But Lill - who has her own aspirations to run for Mayor or even return to the Council in 2007 - found out very quickly that Marcum was not planning to play the role of seat warmer for anyone.

Just as fast, Marcum got dumped and the second-string team was brought in.

By Avi S. Adelman under Dallas City Council , Lower Greenville