I just spoke with Angela Hunt, who told me something quite stunning about the allegations of fraudulent signatures being leveled against the TrinityVote petition campaign. She said she had been informed that none of the allegedly suspicious signatures is among the 48,000-plus signatures that have been certified as valid by the city secretary.
That means that even if the suspect signatures were found to be bad, that finding would have no effect on the petitions or their certification or the requirements of the law triggered by the certification.
It’s all irrelevant.
I checked that with Michael Jung, the lawyer who wrote the ballot language for TrinityVote. He's an expert in this area and has represented litigants on both sides of petition fights. “Even if the signatures in question were among the certified signatures, it would be irrelevant unless there were enough of them to bring us below the required total for certification,” he said. “In the end the law asks one question: Are there enough good signatures or not?”
I have been trying to reach city council member Mitchell Rasansky all afternoon, because I keep hearing from different sources that he is calling over town beating the drum about the allegations of fraud made this morning by our new mayor, Tom Leppert. The suspicion is that Rasansky, acting as surrogate for former Mayor Laura Miller, intends to make a scene at the council briefing tomorrow in which he will say that “given this cloud,” the council cannot in good conscience either adopt the ordinance prescribed in the petitions or schedule an election.
"Then, on August 16, we sue their asses,” Jung said.
He said the law requires the council to do one or the other: Pass the ordinance or schedule an election. There is no third choice.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
“I have defended such a suit on behalf of the majority of the city council of Balch Springs and lost,” he said. “The council’s job under the law is to do one of two things -- the ordinance or the election.”
Late this afternoon, I finally reached Rasansky, who denied beating drums or any other instruments. He might have made a couple of phones, he said. Nonetheless, he clearly hopes Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins can head off the referendum that Ray Hunt couldn't drown. (i sure hope Mitchell knows Watkins and the city secretary are kin.)
I think this is all great. This is the Citizens Council playing to their stereotypes as the rich bullies who have no respect for the voters. But you know what else strikes me right away in this so far? Leppert really comes across as a puppet and a flibberdegibbet.
Cool. --Jim Schutze