Is the Dallas City Council's vote to reorganize Park Board leadership just a way to put Fair Park in the State Fair's pocket?
On paper, it looks like a simple reassignment of duties. Item number 18 on this week’s Dallas City Council agenda calls for a “consideration of appointments to boards and commissions and the evaluation of duties of board and commission members.” But between the lines of the bureaucratic mumbo jumbo, the agenda item represents nothing less than a hatchet job.
First, let’s translate it into plain English. Tomorrow the City Council will decide whether Dallas Park and Recreation Board Vice Chair Jesse Moreno should remain vice chair, or if Sean Johnson, another board member with professional connections to the State Fair of Texas, should assume the position.
The timing is significant.
Two weeks ago, Moreno and Johnson locked horns in a park board meeting over the State Fair of Texas. Officials from the State Fair were invited to City Hall on January 26 to give a presentation of “highlights” from last year’s event. Some park board members wanted to use the visit as an opportunity to ask fair officials some tough questions, particularly relating to findings of a city audit that questioned whether the State Fair was adequately fulfilling its contractual obligations as a tenant of Fair Park.
When city staff told the board that the agenda item only allowed for the State Fair to present “highlights,” and not to be questioned by the board, Moreno slipped a second item onto the agenda that would allow for an open discussion of the State Fair. However, after the State Fair made their presentation and the open conversation began, the fair officials split. They just left. No conversation.
Jim Schutze covers the whole thing here. Schutze was in the park board meeting room at the time, which is good because I was watching the meeting online and just when the juicy part of the back-and-forth kicked in, the sound on the live feed mysteriously dropped out. Schutze reports that Johnson went to bat for the State Fair, calling his colleagues’ attempts to grill the State Fair officials during the briefing “embarrassing.”
To read the full D Magazine article CLICK HERE.
Wynne McNabb Cunningham