To Council Member Kadane:Stay Out!
On Tuesday, the first meeting of the Dallas gas drilling task force convened with the mission of exploring enough information to make recommendations to the city council in order to rewrite the current Dallas gas ordinance. After formal introductions were conducted by chairperson Lois Finkelman, the first presentation was begun by city of Fort Worth’s Rick Trice. Imagine our surprise to see when from out of the blue, city councilman Sheffie Kadane made a surprise visit to the room and took a chair along side the other members.
Chairperson Finkelman was pleasantly surprised to see Kadane and welcomed him to the panel and with the public audience in attendance. Mr. Kadane seemed very comfortable with his place amongst the task force members and became quite engaged with his own questions. Theresa O’Donnell head of Sustainable Development was answering questions about the Special Use Permit process when Mr. Kadane began to stir the pot. He asked if the SUP portion of the permitting process might be eliminated, and that the city of Dallas use only a permit first, such as Fort Worth. He thought this ‘might be easier for both’ and if the applicant wanted a variance, then they could file an SUP. We feel that the gas drilling task force has not been convened to study the city hall process of an SUP and the mechanics of permitting. You cannot discuss the overhaul of an SUP for gas drilling without ramifications of the SUP process for everything that comes through city hall. That is not a part of the Dallas gas ordinance. If council feels that an overhaul of the SUP process is warranted, then the council needs to meet in public session and discuss the many ways that can be handled.
To hear the audio of Tuesday’s meeting: CLICK HERE
It’s not Kadane’s question we have a problem, it’s the person who is asking the question. Given his public remarks that he supports the gas industry and thinks that gas drilling is good, we feel that his participation on Tuesday was injecting his influence into the proceedings and out of bounds. Kadane’s attitude about gas drilling is that, he thinks ‘it’s good and that we should do it.’ The Dallas Observer spoke with Kadane and you can read his gas industry supportive remarks by CLICKING HERE. Questions like this from any council member can easily take the task force into areas that they should not venture and can have a ‘gerrymander’ effect on the panel results. This is why we do not have city council participation with the city planning commission’s proceedings.
Therefore, going forward, we ask mayor Mike Rawlings to send out a statement setting the rules of city council participation. We recommend that there is one rule: A. No city council person may sit on the panel or participate in the proceedings of the panel. They may attend the meetings and sit with the public audience in silence and take notes. Kadane’s participation in the proceedings is wrong, and threatens to taint the process of the task force findings. Any council member who may have an agenda such as Mr. Kadane’s can use his or her influence on the proceedings with their questions as he did on Tuesday. As much as we support council members Hunt, Jasso, and Griggs on the gas drilling issue, none of them should be a part of the task force as well.
We contacted other city council members with regards to their invitation to participate with the task force and they told us directly that they were not invited nor did they even consider attending the task force meetings. The bottom line, Mayor Rawlings has some work to do with regards to Mr. Kadane and all council members participation going forward. On Tuesday, Kadane was out of bounds.