By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"They decided to pull their ads, but they didn't admit we were right, which was typical," Busald says. In fact, Busald echoes many of Nettles' complaints, even though he says Nettles does "100 times more than I do."
"I don't have a lot of respect for the Lottery Commission's decisions," he says. "The thing that hurts them is they do something, and they get caught at it and don't 'fess up."
Many on the House committee, however, are strong supporters of the lottery. During Nettles' testimony, state Representative Tony Goolsby of Dallas breaks in with a challenge. "Dawn, do you like the lottery?" he asks.
During the back-and-forth exchange, Goolsby makes his views clear. "I'll tell you, they're doing a great job," he says, but Nettles manages to get the last word.
"Do I like the lottery?" she repeats. "I did, but now I know too much about the way they do business."
Flores also argues with Nettles. "You won't convince me to get rid of the lottery," he says. Nevertheless, after Nettles finishes, he calls Greer back to the podium and questions him sharply about some of her points.
"Our agency is under a great deal of scrutiny," Greer says. "We welcome that. We want the sun to shine in."
In the audience, Nettles' eye-roll is almost audible. But if Greer is sincere, he'll get his wish: The Sunset Bill reauthorizing the lottery fails to pass the full House. The commission will continue to operate but in two years will again come under the reauthorization spotlight.
"I know they're not going to get rid of the commission," Nettles says. "It would take a fool to think that." But the failure of the bill is a victory for which she can claim at least partial credit. As Nettles' old adversary Keith Elkins puts it, "Sometimes she comes off looking a little nuts, but that doesn't make her wrong."
In a world of professional politicians and smooth-talking flacks, the woman in her home office in Garland, taking on a state agency with no company but her two parakeets and her dog Shelby, may indeed come off looking a little nuts. But for Dawn Nettles, it's not looks that matter--it's the end result. She is still digging for information on Bobby Barnett's credit card case, hoping to bring down the commission. But even if that tip doesn't pan out, Nettles is confident the next one will.
"I've got faith," she says. "They're going to have their day."