DeLeon Accused Of Violating Open Meeting Act - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/22/07

DeLeon Accused Of Violating Open Meeting Act

Another allegation of violating the Open Meetings Act comes out of city hall, this time for an email sent by Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon. That email asked Councilman Todd Klein not to place a resolution on council's agenda, but it went to more than just Klein.

DeLeon carbon copied her email to the entire council, which lead Klein to contact City Attorney Anita Burgess.

The e-mail states: Todd, I am requesting that you do not place on the agenda a resolution concerning migrant camps at Atzlan Park.  This is in my district and would appreciate if you would not bring it to the council this discussion.

Klein was concerned that the letter violated the Open Meetings Act. 

He forwarded the e-mail to Burgess stating: I have received this email and I am concerned that it may be a violation of the Open Meetings Act.  Please review this and advise me as to whether this is a violation.

Burgess responded stating: It is good that apparently there was no e-mail discussion on this topic after the initial e-mail.  The Open Meetings Act prohibits deliberation about a matter over which the governing body has cognizance.  There is, however, a provision at 551.042 that allows a little bit of latitude regarding "deliberation... about [a] subject... [to the extent of whether] to place the subject on the agenda for a subsequent council meeting."  This underlying e-mail could be construed as the type of deliberation.  I will visit with the council member and make sure the law is clear.

Others disagree with Burgess, including local radio host Robert Pratt.

"She copied every member of the council. That is the same as having a teleconference phone call.  We have a continuing pattern at city hall in Lubbock of doing all kinds of things, flaunting the law, going around the edges of the law, outright breaking the law when it comes to open meetings," Pratt said. 

Council members faced similar allegations back in March, for discussions at their trip to Washington D.C., and another for a town hall meeting by Councilman Floyd Price. 

The city denied any wrong doing.

Councilman Klein says he will move forward with his resolution. It would place a historical marker in Atzlan Park to recognize former migrant worker camps there. That item is scheduled for council's next meeting, on October 26th.

This email comes just days after Lubbock County Commissioner, Ysidro Gutierrez called for DeLeon's resignation. He spoke with NewsChannel 11 Monday.

"There has been a series of actions on her part," said Gutierrez. "But this statement from the dias she said saying that people's opinions were invalid unless they came in person. That's when it convinced me I needed to speak up."

In a letter to the Hispanic publication "El Editor" last week, Gutierrez criticized DeLeon's vote to rename only part of Canyon Lakes Drive to Cesar E. Chavez Drive. Gutierrez said it is more of an insult, than an honor, and said during a recent council meeting, "I became convinced that Linda is an embarrassment to the Hispanic community." And that she "is unfit to be a representative of the people of Lubbock. She should resign."

 

10/21/07
County Commissioner Calling For Resignation of Councilwoman DeLeon
A Lubbock County Commissioner is calling for the resignation of Councilwoman Linda Deleon. While the public has already tried to boot Deleon from office on a couple occasions, this is the first attempt from a Lubbock leader.

 

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