The post-inauguration celebration didn't last long, as Mayor Mike Rawlings and city council members new and old got straight to work at a 2 p.m. meeting. After a few housekeeping items -- a quick vote to unanimously select Pauline Medrano as mayor pro tem and Tennell Atkins as deputy mayor pro tem, no shocker there -- the council turned its attention to signing off on the ad hoc gas drilling task force members as recommended by the nominating committee.
Linda Koop made a motion for approval. Freshly inaugurated District 3 council member, Scott Griggs, politely but sternly requested that Ed Meyer, a task force applicant and Mountain Creek resident who was not selected by the committee, be added to the final task force. A majority vote would be needed for Griggs's request to pass.
Griggs stressed that the recommended task force does not include anyone who lives near the area of the Barnett Shale where XTO actually wants to drill. "That is an oversight, and we have the opportunity to make a correction today," he told the council.
Not a single council member made a comment following Griggs's request. No one seconded his motion to add Meyer to the roster of task force members.
Koop's motion to approve the recommended task force passed with Griggs as the only dissenter.
"You have to give people a seat at the table...[Residents] are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences of the decision," Griggs said after the meeting, adding that not having someone who lives on the Shale on the task force is a "disservice" to Dallas.
"The important thing is that residents on this shale need a seat on this task force," Griggs said. Though today, the rest of the council did not vote to support his sentiment.
Sylvia Lagos, a District 3 resident, compared the council's silence to a "deer in headlights."
"We elected [Griggs] because we knew he would be a good representative and a good spokesperson," Lagos said.
Though the council did not approve Griggs's motion, Meyer told Unfair Park he will nonetheless attend every gas drilling meeting to advocate for his neighborhood. "The feeling right now is that the task force is leaning towards the industry," Meyer said.
Medrano said she felt the committee selected a balanced group for the drilling task force. "I believe we did a good job in each category," she said, adding that applicants were thoroughly vetted through the selection process.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.