Though there are a few exceptions to the rule, for the most part any one Dallas City Council member may pull an item from the council's agenda and have it deferred till the next voting agenda meeting. Not so with the Dallas Independent School District, not anymore. Last month, six board members voted to amend its longstanding policy, and, now, two trustees must agree to pull an agenda item. Only Carla Ranger, Adam Medrano and Bruce Parrott voted against changing the rules. Ranger took to her blog and called it a suppression of democracy: "The purpose is to make dissent and public discussion of public issues more difficult."
And then, of course, there was the sequel: Thursday's discussion, held near the end of a marathon meeting, during which board president Lew Blackburn and trustee Bernadette Nutall said they felt bullied by public speakers at board meetings. Blackburn said he'd consulted with district attorneys about eliminating public speakers altogether. (As opposed to, say, the city of Dallas, which recently paid tribute to a fallen familiar at the council podium.) I was later told the discussion was brought up with the intention of protecting teachers and other district employees named and blamed in public without a chance to defend themselves; but the DISD board, being the DISD board, ended up making it all about the DISD board.
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Ranger, of course, believes this is all part of the same-ol'-same-ol'. Quoting Marvin Gaye, she has taken to her blog over the weekend to criticize Blackburn, Nutall and Mike Morath for being "so full of themselves that they trip over their own exaggerated egos." The entire item is here, but long story short, writes Ranger: "Dallas ISD Trustee behavior is becoming more unethical by the day. Despicable Board behavior and abuse of authority are increasing. If you don't respect the public, why are you in public service?"