DeLeon Under Fire Again - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/22/07

DeLeon Under Fire Again

Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon is under fire again.  This time, it is for an email sent to Councilman Todd Klein, as well as a recent vote to re-name part of Canyon Lake Drive to Cesar E. Chavez Drive.  

The problem with the email to Klein isn't so much what it says, but who received it.

DeLeon carbon copied the entire council. That has some saying a majority of the voting council was involved, constituting a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

"Today's story, of course, is another in this series of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act," KFYO AM-790 Radio Host Robert Pratt said.

After two failed attempts to recall Councilwoman DeLeon from office, allegations she violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, along with fellow council members, and allegations she unfairly appointed her husband to a city advisory committee - Pratt discussed another complaint with listeners, an email to Councilman Klein.

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

"What, he doesn't have a right to represent the people of Lubbock? What's that about councilwoman," Pratt asked. 

DeLeon made the request last Thursday. Hours later, Klein forwarded the email to City Attorney Anita Burgess, asking if it violated the Open Meetings Act.

That's because DeLeon copied the email to the rest of council, which means they were all involved in a possible discussion without a posted meeting.

The next morning, Burgess replied back saying: 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 that type of deliberation. 

I will visit with the council member and make sure the law is clear. 

"The question is do we believe in open government or not? If we do, it is absolutely right to hold their feet to the fire, and it is not us in the media, it's not wrong to do so, it is our responsibility to do so," Pratt said. 

This isn't the only criticism DeLeon Faces.

Lubbock County Commissioner, Ysidro Gutierrez called for DeLeon's resignation, after the vote to change Canyon Lake Drive to Cesar E. Chavez Drive.

"The Cesar Chavez street, I thought that it should be a main street and a thorough fare and, all I did was express my opinion, and I was told that my opinion was not valued, that it shouldn't even be heard is what she said," Gutierrez said. 

He criticized DeLeon's vote to rename only part of Canyon Lake Drive in last week's edition of El Editor.

Gutierrez said it is more of an insult, than an honor.

He 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."

NewsChannel 11 tried to contact DeLeon for comment Monday, but she did not return our calls.

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