Mayor Laura Miller and District 10 council member Bill Blaydes are on KRLD-AM (1080) this very moment debating the city's contract with lobbyist David Dean, the former Texas secretary of state who's getting, this time around, $515,000 to tout the city's Trans-Texas Corridor project. (Really, do you need an introduction at this late date?) The discussion's getting ugly: The mayor says Dean's contract, which he wrote himself till it went through four drafts to get approved by council 7-6 almost two weeks ago, contains "illegal" language demanding the city pay back not only money Dean spends on council members and city employees but also "their guests," while Blaydes is vehemently defending the lobbyist with whom he travels extensively.
The mayor, who went to the station armed with a stack of expense receipts, is also furious about how city council members are traveling on the city's dime to fancy hotels and putting frequent-flier miles on their personal accounts, which she says is a violation of the city's rules. Blaydes is defending not only Dean's deal but all of his and his fellow council members' trips to such faraway places as Mexico and China: "If you talk to business consultants in the city who do business in China or the Pacific Rim, they will tell you you have to be there face to face to create the kind of trust those people must have in order to do business, and when they do that...they will come and look at what you have to offer. If you don't believe me look at Houston, San Antonio...All of them have representatives physically living in China."
We'll have more about Dean's contracts with the city later in the day; Unfair Park has received copies of all four drafts of the contract, including the initial one Dean wrote himself. Fascinating stuff, to say the least--and the city staff's comments concerning the contracts illuminate the process better than anything Blaydes has so far offered about Dean and his deal with the city. Incidentally, if you tune in that's not wind you're hearing. It's Blaydes breathing. --Robert Wilonsky
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