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April 11, 2017

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Meandering but meaningful! Would be a good thing if the Rangers would officially cut this open meetings investigation loose. As with the FBI, we usually never hear when an investigation is just dropped. I can only remember it happening once years ago involving a former city engineer and his No. 2. Then, they called a presser to say it's over.

We’ve all seen the texts between your friend Jim and Mayor Leeser which show a CLEAR INTENTION to circumvent Texas Open Meetings Laws, and has been called a textbook case by a lawyer who specializes in Open Meetings Law.

Here they are again as a refresher for you since you seem to have a selective memory —

Tolbert tells Leeser "I cannot be at your meeting because of a quorum. At least give me the courtesy of a call afterwards." Leeser responds "If you want to come and be a part of the meeting, I will step out. I just didn't want to have any questions regarding quorum."

Tolbert is well aware of quorum laws and the moment the mayor said “I'll step out” and Tolbert said he was on his way to City Hall, so he could walk in and get the SAME info while Svarzbein walked out...that was when they intentionally and purposefully gamed the TOMA laws. That is illegal and that DOES make you guilty.

Are you aware that Tolbert has another ethical lapse that he could have an additional ethics complaint filed against him? Of course you are.

After having been served an Open Records request and failing to fully comply, he publicly admitted to possibly having deleted text messages between him and Mayor Leeser.

These missing text messages were handed in by Leeser in their entirety so the proof is there, BUT Tolbert left those critical texts out. He was also using his personal cell phone to conduct city business rather than the city supplied one. This is a clear violation of open records laws and city policy.

You are right about turnabout becoming fair play.

Tolbert vanquished his foe Romero on an ethics complaint and now he is on the other end of the complaints X 5.

I guess that is Jud Burgess' whole platform. Tolbert and ethics complaints. Whatever.

Tolbert is a failed experiment by the Dumb Duo.

He's not qualified, has no idea what is a good idea, self centered. He is an example that no dogs can be trained. He doesn't know not to bark, snap or bite people. Poor thing doesn't even understand not to bite the hand that feeds you.

He is so out of place and in over his head as a city rep. The only reason he knows where the council meetings are held is because he follows the other city reps into the room. He really became untangled when he wasn't told about the free steak. Maybe he needs to read his city email instead of private email. Just like the commercial.

Dumb Duo, get better body parts next time

Below is the link to TOMA and the section they are accused of violating.

It was stated that Representative Niland notified the media, specifically Bob Moore was mentioned, about the plan to meet with constituents who were opposed to the site selection for the Multipurpose Center .

Proving the charge that they "knowingly conspired to circumvent TOMA for the purpose of secret deliberations" is highly improbable because it makes no sense considering the media was notified in advance about the meeting by at least one participating member, Representative Niland.

Furthermore it was obvious from Representative Tolbert's text exchange that neither he nor Representative Svarzbein were included/invited to the meeting in the Mayor's office. Simply avoiding a quorum probably does not make this rise to the level of a conspiracy, possibly poor judgement which is not necessarily illegal.

Not that personal gain or benefit is necessary but no one had anything to gain by this meeting which makes proving a motivation for conspiracy even less likely.


Sec. 551.143. CONSPIRACY TO CIRCUMVENT CHAPTER; OFFENSE; PENALTY. (a) A member or group of members of a governmental body commits an offense if the member or group of members knowingly conspires to circumvent this chapter by meeting in numbers less than a quorum for the purpose of secret deliberations in violation of this chapter.
(b) An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor punishable by:
(1) a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500;
(2) confinement in the county jail for not less than one month or more than six months; or
(3) both the fine and confinement.
Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993

Mary, your post and the actual specific sections that explain what constitutes breaking of the TOMA laws proves my point.

I would take the word of a law expert on TOMA meeting laws any day of the week over your opinion, and that is exactly what the El Paso Times revealed to the public...an experts opinion on the situation.

The Times knew that laws were violated because they were there and witnessed the obvious trading of places between Tolbert and Svarzbein to circumvent the quorum rules.

Your post mentions:

A MEMBER or group of members of a governmental body commits an offense if the MEMBER or group of members knowingly conspires to circumvent this chapter by meeting in numbers less than a quorum for the purpose of secret deliberations in violation of this chapter. (caps mine)

As I mentioned in my earlier post Tolbert and Leeser were well aware of quorum laws and EVEN SPOKE OF IT when texting each other. Leeser tells Tolbert to ”come to the meeting and he’ll step out to avoid quorum.”

That, Mary, is where the two MEMBERS conspired to game TOMA laws and break quorum without actually having a majority within the room at the same time.

The remaining City Council members knew better but they also played along making them guilty by association.

This is not rocket science.

If the Texas Rangers do their job, they will undoubtedly render a guilty verdict, not necessarily giving them jail time but more than likely fining each of them the $500 and killing their political careers.

Just ask Mayor Leeser and Niland how it impacted their careers.

Did Mary just provide a specific Texas statute, under which a complaint could be filed with the Rangers, or Police, or Sheriff's Department?

If she did, has anyone to your knowledge, actually filed a complaint, or are people just expecting others to do it? And therefore, are people just assuming the Rangers are now working on it?

If no one actually filed a complaint, is everyone just engaged in wishful thinking?

All of you folks are totally missing David's point which is, the Rangers have better things to do rather than having to "investigate" this earth-shaking crime. Sure, there may be solid evidence of a violation of TOMA, but, seriously? Burgess, stop the grandstanding.

Maybe the Rangers have better things to do but this blogger’s point is “leave my buddy Jim alone, just because he’s being investigated by the Texas Rangers doesn’t mean he’s guilty.”

My point on the other hand is “Ok, so maybe the Texas Rangers have better things to do but anyone who is paying attention knows that Jim Tolbert intentionally gamed the TOMA laws because he is a ‘key player’ and didn’t want to be left out of the meeting at City Hall.”

Guilty is as guilty does.

David's mommy donated 784.81 to Tolbert. I'm sure she wouldn't want any City contracts to pass her by.

A blogger doesn’t pitch for candidates...even if they’re your friend. The minute you start lobbying for them you lose all credibility.

Jud,

You want to be a public official, but admit here you do not believe in due process. You are literarily saying you do not believe in the US constitution and the bill of rights. You're running for office - think before you start putting things in writing. Voters would pick a guy who believes in due process over you any day.

Can't tell if you're just stupid or too angry to think straight.

Also - if I have no credibility - why are your here leaving comments?

In El Paso, being investigated is worn as a badge of honor and most electable.

When Tolbert is a better choice than you, Jud Burgess, it is time to take a long, hard look at yourself.

Y Que, Old Fart and others,

Yes, violating the Texas Open Meetings Act is a crime. And yes, a formal request for investigation has been filed by the El Paso County District Attorney, not just talked about on blogs.

Since when is it ok for City Council to commit crimes? And yes, it was a conscious, premeditated violation, not just an oops.

Sorry, but DavidK can't minimize this one. And, for the record, DavidK's mom has donated $1500 to Tolbert's current campaign.

And your Point Abandon Hope?

My point? DavidK and his family are all in with Tolbert. Read this blog with a grain of salt.

Okay, so what. How is that any different when a person supports Clinton, Trump, Obama? Sounds to me Like AH is the judge, jury and jailer for the alleged open meetings issue. Used to be in America people were innocent until proven guilty. Apparently not in Abandon Hope's America.

DavidK's mom -- Hmmm. So when the DA asks the State of Texas to investigate I'm the judge, jury and jailer? I'm amazed at my powers.

abandon hope,

Skip the salt - it's bad for you.

Just because the DA refers a case to a grand jury does not make it a crime. Innocent until proven guilty. DA sends lots of cases to Grand juries every day - not everyone is indicted. Get a clue about how the justice system works.

AH - you have made up your mind a long time ago regarding this issue - blog readers have seen your comments everywhere. So your credibility on this issue is shot. You have no real facts to back up your belief - only media reports - which we all know the media cannot be believed 99% of the time. They can't even get the weather right.

Who cares -

TOMA violations are not sent to a grand jury and no one has been indicted.

Everyone has seen the texts that the mayor and Tolbert sent to each other. Those are not made up by the media. The mayor and Tolbert were both aware of TOMA issues. That's why the mayor stepped out of the meeting and let Tolbert step in.

It's clear what happened. Whether the Texas Rangers decide a violation occurred makes no difference to me and lots of others. I want a City Council that makes decisions according to law, in the open with posted agendas, not in a private meeting.

DavidK would have readers believe the TOMA investigation is just one political faction vs another, a frivolous request by the DA. Not so. Every voter should be concerned about City Council and the Mayor having closed meetings. That's the purpose of the open records act. It's the law.

AH: you are living in la-la land if you think any elected body makes decisions in the open. They don't and never will. It's always done behind the scene regardless of TOMA. Grow up AH. There is no transparency in government at any level. Hasn't been there for 200 years. Voters are always picking the lesser of 2 evils.

Who Cares - TOMA is there for a reason. Yes, I do expect a lot from elected officials and I hold them accountable. For an 18-year old, I'm actually pretty savy. If you expect the worst from your elected officials you'll never be disappointed. But apparently you really do not care.

Nope, I don't. Way older than you and seen a lot happen since Kennedy. They are all corrupt, self-centered and only out for themselves - and that includes state and local elected officials.

Who makes a very valid point. Btw, we shouldn't have to expect the worst or choose the lesser of two evils.

That attitude is exactly why we have a non responsive and self enhancement government. Another is the lack of qualified candidates. In El Paso we political musical chairs and political inbreeding.

So long as people don't vote or demand accountability nothing will ever change

David!

Where are you?
Have you fled the country?
Vacationing in Russia?
Who's gonna visit you if the last thing is always April 11???????????

It's called working. His blog is obviously a hobby.

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