Schutze is Live-Blogging This Morning's Council Vote on City Hall Ethics Reform

This morning the city council is debating lobbyist reform, and the lobbyists are all here. And nervous. They have their own corner of the city council chamber, front row, extreme left (from my direction in the peanut gallery, extreme right from the council's perspective). They're all over there looking like pregnant high school girls at an abstinence assembly.

Susan Mead of the law firm, Jackson Walker, was supposed be the first public speaker at the microphone, but she stayed glued to her chair. Instead her law firm is represented here today by William S. Dahlstrom of Jackson Walker LLP. Dahlstrom goes to the mike, mumbles around about some technical issues and goes back to his seat. After he sits down, the city secretary looked at Mead, who is sitting in the audience, and asked her if she was going to speak. She said she had chosen not to.

Mead came up a lot during the City Hall corruption trial. She makes $500 an hour lobbying the city council. But her name came up mainly because she advised her clients NOT to break the law. That's the biggie here: against the law, not against the law. (Update: Made an oopsie there -- left out that big ol' "not." See apology in the comments.)

Kirk Williams, another big-time City Hall lobbyist, speaks next. He vigorously opposed the initial ordinance as proposed by Mayor Tom Leppert. He says today he has worked out his problems with the city attorney and is here today to support the proposed ordinance.

Willie Cothrum gets up to speak, which is sort of a miracle in and of itself. Mr. Cothrum does not normally speak in front of the scenes, preferring to remain behind them. But he says he's going to support the lobbyist registration ordinance as it has been framed for today's council vote.

Cothrum says, of course, "We appreciate the time and effort you have given this."

Always the diplomat.

He does raise some technical issues. The mayor tells him the city attorney will have to deal with those.

Several more lobbyists in the crowd today decline to speak.

So the lobbyists are cool with it. Now the council speaks (and the fun begins).

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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