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Dallas Council Hides Uber Discussion From Public

Today the mayor’s report on his investigation into l’affaire Uber was to be made public. Still should be, but the Dallas City Council went into executive (closed) session just before noon to discuss the findings among themselves before daring to let the public hear about it.

Tod Robberson at the Morning News roundly, and rightly, criticizes this decision:

The law is not designed to give governing bodies an excuse to go behind closed doors and exclude the public. The law is designed to block governing bodies from making such excuses. It is designed to impose transparency at times when elected officials least want to have their dirty laundry aired in public.

The most embarrassing excuses for going behind closed doors were offered by council members Carolyn Davis and Dwaine Caraway, neither of whom demonstrate even a passing understanding of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Davis thinks that since the council did it before (inappropriately) in the case of the fracking debate, it’s OK to do it again (inappropriately). Besides, there were “some things” that she wanted to discuss, and she didn’t want to do it in front of the public, Davis said. Therefore, she thought executive session was warranted.

There’s only one problem: Nowhere in the law does it say that, when an elected official doesn’t want to discuss “some things” in public, it’s OK to exclude the public. The limitations are very specific on when the law may be invoked. It’s not supposed to be invoked as a matter of routine. It’s supposed to be used only under exceptional abd well-outlined circumstances.

We continue to await their return.