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To Council Member Kadane:Stay Out!

July 14, 2011

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.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2011 9:28 am

    This task force is a farce intended to give the appearance of concern for re-writing the gas drilling ordinance without having to acutally do any real research and investigation into the myriad issues and facts that must be considered to do the job adequately.

    By the numbers:

    16 hours over 8 meetings;
    Wrap up by October, more than 13 months before the EPA study is released;
    Wrapping up the first meeting 45 minutes early rather than utilizing limited time efficiently;
    3 industry rep seats, but 3 seats are split between environmentalists and citizens;
    1 park board seat even though city staff could handle gas leases without the park board;
    0 money for our own study, but we are not waiting for the EPA study that cost millions;
    1 pro-drilling city councilmember
    0 anti-drilling city councilmembers

    I seriously doubt that the existing ordinance can even be read in 16 hours, much less understood and re-written. Why are we even wasting time with this task force? It was flawed and tainted from the outset. The fact that the first meeting ended 45 minutes early, when the extra time COULD have been used to delve deeper into the Fort Worth mentality about what they did good and bad, or otherwise explore this critical issue, was evidence that this is a farce. Allowing Sheffie Kadane to sit on the panel and ask questions is further proof.

    By the very nature of Kadane’s question about eliminating the SUP process it is evident that he is illiterate about the history of the City of Dallas and the established process of protecting neighborhoods from heavy industrial processes that devalue property and adversely affect quality of life. To Kadane, shut your mouth and open your mind!

  2. July 14, 2011 11:08 am

    Wow. That was certainly blatant of Councilman Kadane. The stakes are high. Anything that can be done to keep all it off the public stage works better for getting it done. Grand Prairie is proud that they don’t have any public oversight of gas drilling. Mighty proud!

  3. Julian Fernandez permalink
    July 14, 2011 5:33 pm

    It must be made plain to Mayor Rawlings, now, that the Task Force is not a “speed bump” on the road to wholesale gas drilling in Dallas. The agenda of the Task Force is set and the subject of its meetings is not to be set or amended by non-members, including sitting Councilmen or in fact the Mayor himself.

    And if witnesses need to be called

    Write the Mayor. Write Kadane.

    • Julian Fernandez permalink
      July 14, 2011 5:37 pm

      The rest of the sentence:

      And if witnesses need to be called to fill 45 minutes of scheduled meeting time, we all know several people that would happily appear.

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