Thursday, March 24, 2011

ZAP! #44: Beware the Ides of Buses

ZAP! #44...March 24, 2011

Hey, kids. What do you do when Rome is burning? If you are the mayor, you invite everyone to the new convention center for a fiddle concert to kick-off a re-election campaign.

If you plan to attend this lavish testament to ego inflation, the CCR would advise you: Do not take a DART bus to the event. Riding any bus during this season of political discontent could be hazardous to your health. A perfect example of this was witnessed during the 3-23-11 council work session.

Leading off the discussion of paying legal fees to “outhouse” (as opposed to in-house) lawyers the city is funding, incumbent Cannaday immediately wanted the viewing, hearing and reading audience to know that former mayor Putnam was totally responsible for the city having to pay over $1 million defending their voodoo financing of the Entertainment Center! How incredible is that? No mention was made by her of the $4 million in questionable expenditures that have slipped into the Billy Bob-financial sink hole. Rather, she avoided one of the real problems by just throwing someone under the bus.

Actually, voters should applaud anyone who has questioned the voodoo financing of the Entertainment Center...not leave tread marks on their back! And as far as the city “winning” legal challenges, the CCR staff is still putting their money on the Texas Attorney General’s horse in this race to the Texas Supreme Court.

Not to be outdone, the mayor quickly joined-in on throwing folks under the bus to shore up his campaign efforts. He not only threw former mayor Putnam under the bus, but he got caught dragging council member Philipp along for the ride for even questioning where all the bucks would come from to pay future legal fees.

If there is voodoo financing of the Entertainment Center (and we believe there is), then the CCR staff is looking for a term to best describe the etherial spin the mayor is putting on where these dollars will actually come from. The best the CCR staff could determine from his rambling and somewhat condescending diatribe was that as long as there are breathing taxpayers, then one should not worry where the bucks will come from to pay the lawyers. (This philosophy should keep you awake at night.)

While the mayor was also totally mute on the $4 million in questionable Billy Bob Entertainment Center expenses, he too lamented the city having to spend $1 million (to date) on legal fees. Stating that these funds could have been used for better things in the city, the first question that could be asked is: Does Las Colinas need another $1 million sidewalk in their urban center? Or would the $1 million have found a more comfortable home assisting the council raise the city manager’s salary to Warren Buffett status? Maybe, the $1 million could been used to finance another McDougal bailout?

If you should watch the council meeting tonight when item #7 (see below) is discussed and approved, don’t be surprised if the carnage littering Irving Boulevard requires FEMA assistance cleaning up after the meeting.

Regardless, avid readers of the reports are advised to stay off all busses. With council incumbents driving the re-election bus, those not drinking their Kool-Aid will certainly end up at Parkland with severe tread marks across their torso.


7 Resolution -- Approving an Engagement Letter with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP for Legal Services Related to the Entertainment Center Expedited Declaratory Judgment Litigation

Administrative Comments

1. This item supports Strategic Goal No.3: EconomicDevelopment.

2. Impact: Engaging Michael Raiff of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP will allow the City to maintain the same successful litigation team to continue the bond validation suit.

3. Michael Raiff is lead counsel in the bond validation litigation. He has joined Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in their Dallas office.

4. Mr. Raiff and Rob Collins (of Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P.) will coordinate the legal work to remain within the anticipated appellate costs.

3. Fees will be based on the current standard billing rates of the attorneys assigned to this matter which range from $510 per hour to $700 per hour. These fees will be billed on a monthly basis.


The resolution be approved.

(NOTE: It appears that the city has two #3 items in the above. This is not the CCRs poor computer skills at work.)