Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman says today's 3:30 p.m. meeting of the Election Commission -- the first such gathering in more than two decades -- should be relocated to the commissioners court and streamed live so citizens and the press can observe the proceedings. He's requested as much in an e-mail to County Judge Clay Jenkins, who apparently called the meeting in an attempt to oust Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet at the behest of long-time Commissioner John Wiley Price. Sherbet, who's held the position for 24 years, announced his retirement effective March 1 before Jenkins could hand him a pink slip.
Well-known preservationist Virginia Savage McAlester summed up the situation in an e-mail to friends last night: "Both Republicans and Democrats alike are stunned by this predicted move."
As Robert noted yesterday, there's a protest including folks of all political persuasions planned for the meeting in an attempt to persuade Jenkins -- who was slammed by The Dallas Morning News editorial board this morning -- to get down on his hands and knees and beg Sherbet to rescind his resignation, or, at the very least, ask him to endorse a nationwide search for Sherbet's replacement as opposed to naming a political ally to the position.
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After the jump, you can read Neerman's e-mail to Jenkins, along with McAlester's e-mail to County Clerk John Warren. She reminds Warren that her great-great grandfather was the first county clerk and asks him to avoid putting "an unwarranted blemish on our county's record of clean politics."
In advance of today's meeting of the Dallas County Election Commission, I have the following requests. I believe each one is reasonable and will further your stated goal of bringing transparency to the political process in Dallas County.
First, I request that today's meeting of the Dallas County Election Commission be held in the Commissioners Court to allow members of the public and the media to attend and watch today's proceedings.
Second, I request that the meeting be streamed live so that members of the public who cannot attend today's meeting will be able to watch the meeting from their computers.
Finally, I renew my request for an agenda of today's meeting. I previously requested one from your Chief of Staff, who advised me that you were not required to provide me an agenda prior to the meeting because the Commission is not subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Please advise me at your earliest convenience about these matters. I look forward to seeing you this afternoon.
Dallas County Republican Party
Dear County Clerk John Warren,
Dallas runs deep in my blood, and I have a great pride in our county. My great-great grandfather, William W. Cochran (1807-1853), was our very first Dallas County Clerk. Others in my family have also been active in politics, including my father who served as both Dallas County and Texas State Democratic Chairman. Thus I have followed Dallas politics for a very long time.
Win or lose, I have always had great faith in how Dallas County conducted its elections.
Bruce Sherbert has been a superb Dallas County Elections Administrator. He has been above reproach and served us all well.
I would beg you and the members of the Election Commission to keep Bruce Sherbert in place.
No coup or behind the scenes plotting should tarnish the sterling record of clean elections that our County and City have been privileged to enjoy.
Please, do not put an unwarranted blemish on our county's record of clean politics, or on Mr. Sherbert's record as a sterling administrator, with an unwarranted ouster.
Our county's standards of good government began with my great-great grandfather. It is a tradition and a legacy that should be kept.
I believe that if you think very long and hard about past history, and about future consequences, you will not take this divisive step.
Very sincerely yours,
Virginia Savage McAlester