Yesterday I said again that it seems as if the zone of Texas I'm living in is under some sort of protective bubble that prevents the laws that govern the rest of America from being relevant.
This morning I learned the protective bubble is smaller than I thought. Now I'm thinking Fort Worth is at the center of the protective bubble, with its suburbs likely under the cover, while suburbs of Dallas, like Richardson, are outside the protective bubble, with Richardson operating under the laws that govern the rest of America.
So, what did I learn this morning? Well, the people of Richardson have raised Conflicts of Interest issues regarding alcohol sales at a public golf course and city official's involvement in those sales.
Seems a fairly trivial Conflict of Interest compared to that of Fort Worth's Mayor Mike Moncrief and his having an interest in all the natural gas companies drilling in Fort Worth. Interests that pay him over $600,000 a year. The Conflict of Interest in Richardson did not involve any use of eminent domain to take citizen's property, did not involve the release of dangerous toxins into the air, did not involve the theft of river water.
I truly do not understand why criminal charges have not yet been brought against Moncrief. Surely the gas industry is not so powerful that it has co-opted law enforcement.
Permit me to spell out the legalese regarding Conflict of Interest.
Political Reform Act of 1974
The Political Reform Act of 1974 contains a general prohibition against conflicts of interest in public decision making, as well as a provision for the adoption of a conflict of interest code. It prevails over any other conflict of interest law to the contrary. Gov’t Code § 81013. The restrictions of this Act apply to all government employees, without regard to whether they are required to file an annual conflict of interest form.
The General Prohibition
No public employee at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his [or her] official position to influence a governmental decision in which [s/he] knows or has reason to know [s/he] has a financial interest.” Gov’t Code § 87100. Any person who willfully violates the general prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor. Gov’t Code § 91000. This prohibition applies to all government employees.
Conflicting Personal Financial Interests
A personal financial interest extends beyond the public employee’s own finances or investments. A public employee has a personal financial interest in a government decision if it is reasonably foreseeable that the decision will have a material financial effect on the employee, a member of his or her immediate family, in any one of the five economic interests. Gov’t Code § 87103.
Five Economic Interests
1. Any business entity in which the employee has a direct or indirect investment worth $2,000 or more, including ownership of stock by the employee or the employee’s spouse or dependent child.
2. Any real property in which the employee has a direct or indirect interest worth $2,000 or more. The employee’s home is not included in this calculation but any other investment property would be.
3. Any source of income that provides $500 or more in value promised to, or received by, the employee within 12 months prior to the time when the decision is made.
4. Any business entity in which the employee is a director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, or holds any position of management.
5. Any donor of, a gift or gifts totaling $420 or more, received, or promised to the employee within 12 months prior to the decision being made. Meals, travel costs, or anything else of value are included in the $420. (This amount is tied to a consumer price index and is occasionally adjusted.)
Now, how can any sane person not get that Fort Worth's Mayor is committing a serious crime? Let me spell it out again, loud and bold.
THE MAYOR OF FORT WORTH, MIKE MONCRIEF, IS TAKING $600,000 A YEAR FROM NATURAL GAS DRILLERS WHO ARE ABUSING EMINENT DOMAIN TO TAKE FORT WORTH CITIZEN'S PROPERTY & POLLUTING THEIR AIR WITH DANGEROUS CHEMICALS WHILE STEALING WATER FROM THE TRINITY RIVER.