At the Federal Corruption Trial, Watching How Sausage Gets Made (Now a Live Blog)

This is an interesting morning, City Hall federal corruption trial-wise. The government is presenting witnesses who are real City Hall lobbyists to show the jury how they work. Some of these -- like Willie Cothrum, for example, who is up next -- are the people who really make the wheels turn down there, and they never talk, so this is splendid fun for a guy like me.

They have to talk.

By the way, these are honest professionals for whom I have great respect. I just like seeing them forced to yak about themselves.

Zoning lawyer-lobbyist Susan Mead is on the stand, being questioned by the prosecutors. She's been up for some time, and I don't think she's suffering exactly. Yet.

In fact, so far it's all one big advertisement for Susan Mead. Somewhere, Brian Loncar is grinding his teeth in envy.

She's explaining how important it is to stay cool with individual council members:

"It's very important, because typically if that council person doesn't support it, you're case won't get passed, because it's a courtesy that council members pay to one another... Usually it's the councilperson in the district who controls whether it gets passed or not."

The federal prosecutor asks Mead whether it's important to have good relations with council members.

"It's important that you can call them and get them to call you back." Mead adds, in typically Meadian fashion, "You don't want them to hate you."

She is asked, "What can happen if you don't have a good reputation before the city council?"

She said, Meadianly, "Let me define reputation."


"Yeah," Mead says, "you want to be credible. I always tell people, 'If you tell the truth, then you'll remember what you said."

I think that one's in the Bible.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze