Thursday, September 2, 2010




Mayor ousted in questionable meeting
Councilman files petition for mayor’s removal, request for injunction, and temporary restraining order against Seven Points mayor
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–The ongoing saga of the feud between Seven Points mayor Joe Dobbs and three members of the city council continued at 7:30 a.m. Monday during a three-minute special meeting, called for the purpose of removing the mayor from office.
The meeting was called to order by mayor pro-tem Hank Laywell in the foyer of the city hall, as the council chamber door was locked. SPmayor.jpg (88030 bytes)
The meeting was also attended by councilman Bubba Powell and councilwoman Cheryl Jones.
Jones supplied a recorder for Laywell, who noted the absence of the mayor and two council members, Tommy Taylor and Claudette Allsup.

AT LEFT: John Dobbs, Seven Points Mayor

Laywell made the motion to remove the mayor, and it was seconded by Jones.
“This meeting was his (Dobbs’) opportunity to be heard,” Laywell said.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:33 a.m. Asked what the next step was, Laywell replied, “We’re taking appropriate action to implement the actions.”
In reply to a question concerning the problems various city departments might face he answered, “We have some good people here. They will manage.”
However, when he tried to get someone in the Police Department to call their department head, he was asked to leave the area.
“I’ve just been thrown out,” Laywell said. “They told me it was a secure area.”
Dobbs arrived a few minutes later, and informed Powell and Laywell that he could press charges, as they were in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
“Four members are needed to call a meeting,” Dobbs explained.
Later, city attorney Blake Armstrong said he informed Powell, in his opinion, the meeting with the three council members was not properly called and had no affect.
Armstrong based his legal opinion on government code 22038 (B), which states the mayor may call a special meeting on the mayor’s own motion, or on a petition from three council members.
The emphasis was on “may,” meaning it was at the mayor’s discretion to call the meeting, Armstrong said.
(Editor’s note: The Texas Open Meetings Act requires any municipal governing body to post notice of an upcoming meeting in a place easily accessible to the public at least 72 hours prior to the meeting, unless the meeting is an emergency – then other sections of the Act apply.)
A few minutes of minor bickering between the councilmen and the mayor ensued.
“Mr. Laywell, what is your house – a two-story? Because I am about to own it,” Dobbs said.
At first, the councilmen said they had called a locksmith to open the door to retrieve records.
Dobbs warned them that if they opened the locked door, they would be arrested for breaking and entering, including the locksmith.
After a moment, the two councilmen left, at approximately 7:55 a.m. Laywell thanked the press for coming, then commented he hoped the mayor enjoyed his house.
Later Monday morning, Powell filed a petition for Dobbs’ removal from office in district court, along with a request for a temporary restraining order and injunction against Dobbs.
The petition was filed Pro Se, meaning without an attorney at the time, as Powell was representing his own interests.
The petition contains approximately 24 charges against Dobbs, stemming from various complaints starting May 23.
At that time, the complaint states, Dobbs had the police issue citations to council members Powell, Laywell and Jones for disorderly conduct for failure to attend the special meeting called for Sunday, May 23.
The final charge states Dobbs refused to issue a check to the Seven Points EDC for its share of funds for July.
The petition will be reviewed by 173rd District Court Judge Dan Moore. Moore is out of the office until Friday, and will be unavailable until then.

No outdoor burning
Henderson and Kaufman counties set burn bans
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners set a burn ban Tuesday, effective through Sept. 14. They join Kaufman County, which renewed a two-week burn ban Monday.
Henderson County fire marshal Darrell Furrh. recommended commissioners revisited the ban in two weeks.
“All the numbers are in place for us to have a bad situation,” he said.
Furrh said the Keetch-Byram index for the county is 600-700, right near the top of the index.
The index, which is used by the Texas Forest Service, was created for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to predict the likelihood of wildfire based on drought conditions.
Although there is a chance for rain in the forecast, Furrh said the damage has been done.
“The grass is already dead, so rain at this point won’t help,” he said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall said he was surprised at how dry it is in his pasture.
Ignoring the burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.
The danger of fire is a statewide concern.
We’re seeing fire activity daily,” Texas Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer said. “We expect it to continue into the first couple weeks of September and maybe a little beyond that.”
The current fire activity is considered normal for this time of year, Spencer said. It is likely to continue until mid-September, when the fall transition brings shorter days and cooler temperatures, which make conditions less ideal for wildfires. But that is still weeks away.
“It’s still a dangerous situation. Any fire can be a dangerous fire. People just need to be aware,” Spencer said.

Local resident says ‘peace and love’ surrounded attendees
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

TRINIDAD– The Restoring Honor rally held in Washington D.C. Saturday made a big impression on Trinidad resident Charlotte Herod.
“It’s the reason I’m talking to you today,” she told The Monitor. The rally motivated her to be more vocal about her values and beliefs, she said.
Her husband, Dan, said she would never speak to the newspaper before.
“It has really changed her,” he said. HonorRallyMemorial.jpg (61496 bytes)

Courtesy Photo
As “’Ole Glory” was carried down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the close of the Restoring Honor rally in Washington D. C., the dispursing crowd paused as it passed by, a Trinidad resident described. She was one of an estimated more than 300,000 people to attend Saturday.

“I have to change my life in order for the country to change,” she said. “Everyone has to.”
The 53-year-old came away convinced that she has to “stand for what she believes and live what she believes and pray.”
Charlotte was one of more than 300,000 from across the nation who attended the event hosted by Fox News television show host Glenn Beck and former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin.
The event was billed as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan rally that recognized the first amendment rights and honored the service men and women who fight to protect those freedoms.
The event also focused on the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which takes care of the families of soldiers in the event of an accident or loss of life.
“Sarah Palin was a strong voice for defending our military and spoke of the sacrifice those serving in the military make, including their families,” she said.
Charlotte grew up in an Army household, and Palin’s words really resonated with her, she said. HonorRallyCharlotte.jpg (75524 bytes)
Charlotte’s sister, Deb, a Rockwall resident, knew Charlotte was a fan of Glenn Beck. She convinced her to come and paid for the plane trip to Virginia, so they could join in the rally.

Courtesy Photo
Charlotte Herod at the "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington D.C. Saturday. She and sister Deb of Rockwall flew out for the historical event on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it and was glad I went,” Charlotte said.
“I’ve never seen that many people together in one place be so polite to one another.”
Was it all the sisters expected it to be?
“That and a little bit more,” Charlotte said. “The silent conservatives came out of the closet.”
There were young families there and disabled seniors, too. “Some used their last dime to get there,” she said.
Though she described the event as very peaceful and with the feel of a church meeting, she said those taking the stage included Jewish rabbis and Moslem imans, and that every Christian denomination was also represented.
“The build-up to the rally in the news said it would be a hateful, racist event. It wasn’t at all. I’ve never seen so many people crammed into one place be so polite,” she said.
The crowds extended outward from the Lincoln Memorial all the way to the Washington Memorial and from the Reflecting Pool to the Memorial Gardens, but no one tread on the gardens once made aware of what they were, she said.
“Its sacredness was respected,” she said. The crowd extended about eight-tenths of a mile, she estimated.
The heat hovered in the 90s, but tempers did not rise with the temperature.
“If someone said they wished they had some water, someone nearby (like my sister) would offer them some,” she said.
Afterwards, people who had attended the rally could be seen picking up trash off the ground. “I’ve never seen that done at a large event before,” she said.
Charlotte and her sister were part of those standing in the shade under a belt of trees close to the Memorial Gardens.
After 2 p.m., when the rally officially ended, musicians took the stage, since it would take a long time for the crowd to move through the transportation system.
Charlotte described a young female singer’s rendition of Amazing Grace. The crowd just sang along with her and you could hear them, like an echo of her singing, she said.
“If you could have felt the peace and love that surrounded you at that gathering, you’d be changed too,” she added.
“It was not political at all. We need each other – Democrats, Republicans and Independents (like me). We can’t be unforgiving, and we can’t be giving everything we have. We have to find the middle ground and come together,” she said.
“This nation started with God, and as long as people are reaching out to God, we have a chance. And even if you don’t believe in God, there’s right and wrong,” she said.
“We have to look at our standards or values and pick the candidates that represent our values, then you’ll have a government you can be proud of,” she said.
Though Charlotte didn’t think she’d have that good a time, she knew her sister would ,and so was willing to go for her. However, she found it to be “uplifting, inspiring and exhilarating.”
“I was so glad I got to go,” she said.

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