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Mick Phalen

Boy, am I glad that He!d! clarified why she was secretly recording a closed door budget meeting in the City Manager’s office. I had assumed that she and Becker were trying to capture a conversation with the Manager or Mayor that they could use later for their own political benefit.
Now we know that they were merely engaging in a Becker-style team building exercise with the City Manager and 3 of their City Council peers. I imagine the conversation went something like this:
Becker to He!d!: Dang it, He!d!, the Mayor just texted me that Dawson and O’Keeffe are showing up at our private budget meeting. I think I will bully, demean, and intimidate O’Keeffe until he leaves. If need be, I’ll push him out the door. Then we can discuss public business behind closed doors, and not have to worry about those stupid open meeting laws.
He!d! to Becker: Oh goody, Dan! I’ll secretly record everything, you can claim you were assaulted, and we’ll show what an open, transparent budgeting process looks like. And we’ll teach O’Keeffe and Dawson to not barge into our private, behind closed doors budget meetings, bothering us when we tell Loftin how to spend $275 million of taxpayers’ money.
Becker to He!d!: We’re such a good team.

Sweet Sue LaRue

This truly wonderful anecdote should be printed and framed for posterity. It is a historic, true tale about the City of League City.

Miss Priss

No wonder the city manager resigned.

Lars Faltskog

How lovely. Maybe they all can star in a re-make of "Harper Valley PTA".

Sweet Sue LaRue

Well, I do declare! It’s Miss Heidi at her very best, all dressed up in white linen and lookin' so innocent.

Kevin Lang

Nothing here seems to dispute any indications that Becker's intent was to confront rather than diffuse. I don't like the idea that OKeeffe and Dawson apparently did try to thwart Becker and Theiss's meeting, but a confrontational strategy is not good office politics. It's not good public politics, either. It sure seems like it could have been orchestrated to allow witness accounts and allow collection of political fodder for Theiss to use against OKeeffe. Of course, OKeeffe cooperated with the plan quite well. OKeeffe doesn't win any points for his conduct. He has to know the kinds of things he allows to light his fuse, and he needs to learn to not let that happen.

It was childish for Becker to start the dialogue with verbal button pushing, and it was childish of OKeeffe to give Becker the reaction he was striving for.

Kim Etheridge

I stand by my original comment three days ago - no one walks in to a meeting wired for sound unless they are trying to entrap someone.

I don't know what she thought she would be able to accomplish by recording the meeting but a full-out brawl was the absolute worst case scenario and having taped it accomplished nothing except for making her persona non grata.

Lars Faltskog

Truly thinking here that these LC folks are trying so hard each month or so to make it into national news with their grandstanding. From publicizing how this municipality has "the most registered gun owners" in the state. Then, orchestrating a council chamber "fight", and recording it.

Someone wants to attain the limelight in the same vein as the Toronto mayor. Aint gonna happen in this little one-horse town. As the song says, "One stop light blinking on and off. Everyone knows when the neighbors cough." Who remembers that C&W song? Name that tune.

Judy Foster

Maybe I missed something but if Becker and Theiss ask for a private meeting with the mayor and city admin. how did O'Keefe and Dawson know to be there? With O'Keefe showing up all sweaty and looking like he was mowing the grass tells me the mayor or city admin. called them and said, "get down here quick". The reports were that O'Keefe and Dawson were already there and the mayor texted Becker to inform him if that.....pretty strange if you ask me.

Lars Faltskog

Response to Judy0313 posted at 10:40 am on Tue, Nov 19, 2013:

May have been a quick "get yoself down here" command. If he wasn't so much rushed, then you'd think that O'Keefe would have been able to cool off a little and not show up so full of perspiration. Then again, it was in summer.

Perhaps he has a temperature regulatory imbalance? I think there's medication for that problem.

George Croix

Next elections, national, state, and local, Throw ALL Of The Bums Out.

Kevin Lang

I'm not a fan of people crashing other people's meetings. I think it's perfectly reasonable for Dawson and OKeeffe to KNOW that Becker and Theiss were planning on meeting with the Mayor and the City Manager. However, taking over the office to prevent the meeting was not a valuable activity. There definitely should have been ways for that meeting to be monitored without hijacking it.

Overall, I can think of many alternative ways of handling the situation. The way it was handled isn't anywhere close to any of my ideas.

Gary Miller

LC CC meetings becoming a better show than LM CC or COG CC meetings?
I'm prety sure the truth has not been revealed.
Stay tuned for the next segment.

Gary Miller

Is it legal for some council members to hold "private" meetings and exclude other council members?

Kevin Lang

Yes. The meeting that Dawson, OKeeffe, and Paulissen were having with Loftin was legal. The meeting that Becker, Theiss, and Paulissen planned to have with Loftin was also legal. However, once a certain number of council members/mayor was reached to constitute a quorum, it would become illegal. I don't know if the magic number is 4 or 5, but clearly when it got to 5, at least one had to go in order to keep things legal.

Now, the law is clear that whether it's a private meeting or executive session, votes cannot be held, and there can be no decisions reached. All of that stuff has to happen in an open public meeting.

Asking Loftin to explain how numbers were derived, or the technical details of what's covered under a budget line item, I believe, is fair game for a private meeting. Whether an amount is appropriate or politically supportable, however, would need to be discussed in session, I believe.

Centerpointe Moderator

This account doesn't hang together for me, in that the backstory as reported seems woefully inefficient. I suspect there's much more to it than a private meeting that was "crashed". In focusing exclusively on Okeeffe and Becker, nobody has said a word about the fact that Dawson was also involved. Furthermore, there's the whole city manager situation.

One of the other commenters mentioned Rob Ford, so let's expound on that comparison.

Ford is essentially manifesting addiction behavior on an unprecedented public scale, and his city council has been behaving in lockstep much the same way that a codependent biological family would.

Well, if we parse the best available psychological models of addiction and unhealthy dependency, what falls out is that the kid in the family who acts out most blatantly is rarely the one with the most serious problem. The kid who acts out is often the healthiest, because his acting out is a form of rebellion against the prevailing addiction-based behavioral framework to which everyone else is subscribing.

Of course, rather than being received as a warning sign, the kid gets disproportionately scapegoated, because that's how dysfunctional families perpetuate their maladaptive world views. Everyone is eager to point the finger away from the REAL problem because they can't bring themselves to deal with it, and so the acting-out is usually seized upon as a handy excuse by which the rest of the family members absolve themselves of responsibility for the behavioral framework.

I'm not saying that's what's literally happening here, but keep this behavioral model in mind as things continue to develop, because it's a robust model, and there may be some elements of similarity.

Miss Priss

I think the general word on this now is that O'Keefe and Dawson were informed of the meeting by the Mayor. He is probably the one who is most responsible for creating a hostile situation given the fact that he knew O'Keefe and Becker were at odds in the first place.

Doesn't excuse the behavior of either councilmen but this was an antagonistic move by the mayor.

Rita Wohrle

I was asked to attend the meeting by Mr Becker. I was not responsible for Okeefe and Dawson attending.

Sweet Sue LaRue

Are you blaming someone else?
You fail all the time, but you aren't a failure until you start blaming someone else. - -- Bum Phillips ---

Sweet Sue LaRue

Dearest Miss Heidi, is there a glass pane in the door going into former City Manager Mike Loftin's office? If there is not a glass pane in the door going into Former City Manager Mike Loftin's office, me thinks that you might be telling a little fib.

Sweet Sue LaRue

Dear Miss Heidi, your use of the term "City of League City" as your CB handle is very telling. Maybe you should consider some words that are more in tune with your job description such as, "Elected to Serve". You should work for the best interests of all citizens, instead of acting as the overseer of a plantation.

Mick Phalen

He!d! has done a pretty decent political dance around this issue, but fails to address her role in this issue. She needs to answer some very simple questions:

1) Why were you recording this meeting?

2) Have you recorded other meetings? If so, will you make them public?

3) Will you continue to record meetings with City staff and City Councilmembers?

To date, all He!d!'s done is play the victim of circumstances, i.e. "I was only there as an 'intermediary'". Seriously He!d!?

Mick Phalen

Hi truthserum,

I truly don't know how or why the other councilmembers were notified of the meeting. But, history has a way of repeating itself - - in the 2012 budget cycle, City Council had a number of open to the public workshop (9, if I remember correctly). Councilman Becker attended NONE of those workshops, then later complained, demanding private meetings to give his "input".

Becker knows that he cannot get a majority of Council to go his way on many issues, so he, IMHO, tries intimidation and "you wanna take it outside?"

So, whoever it was who told other Councilmembers, remembers.

Kevin Lang

If any council member uses private meetings with the City Manager or any city staff, or even a fellow elected official, in order to provide "input", isn't that a violation of the law?

If so, and Becker has attempted such maneuvers, he needs to be sanctioned.

Sweet Sue LaRue

January 24, 2013 by Chris Gonzalez
League City — City Councilman Dennis OKeeffe accused at least -three of his colleagues of attempting to circumvent the state’s open meetings act- by conducting city business through email. Dan-Andy-Todd
In reference to an agenda item to excuse the absence of Councilman Dan Becker, OKeeffe said Becker emailed council members Andy Mann and Todd Kinsey requesting that they place his excuse on the agenda.
Is there a pattern?

Mick Phalen

Hi Sweet Sue,

To answer your question - Is there a pattern?


Another question, why haven't Mann, Kinsey, Bentley, or Dawson condemned these actions? Is there a pattern?

Mick Phalen

Hi Sweet Sue,

The reason He!d!'s phone says "City Of League City" (besides her oversized ego), is she required the city to buy, and pay the monthly cost, for her shiny $700 iPhone. I'm guessing Bentley's says the same thing, but I think she's hiding in the closet ...

Kevin Lang

At one time, Heidi Theiss had a personal account on this site, and she contributed to a few threads. I acknowledge that Heidi Theiss represents the City of League City. She's one of many in this regard, however. Is she posting using the City's GCDN account, or is the city paying for her newspaper subscription, or has she decided that she doesn't want to use a readily identifiable screen name and has assumed the role of the city for communications like this?

This certainly gives the impression that she speaks FOR the city, when, in reality, when it comes to the council and mayor, it's only a collective voice that can speak for the city. Until they've reached a consensus, each is just a singer in the choir.

I couldn't tell from the response whether "City of League City" was Theiss or Paulissen. In either case, I don't believe either gets to unilaterally claim to be the City of League City. If whoever it is wants to hide behind a "League City Council Member" tag, that seems reasonable to me. However, I wonder why any of them would want to avoid recognition in a public forum.

Mick Phalen

I'm sure that the "City of League City" name only indicates that it came from a city-owned asset - which eliminates Tim, since he owns his own phone, and, to my knowledge, never engaged in a public blog.

So, eliminating Kristi and her communications staff (behind the phone calls and emails from "City of League City"), it narrows it down to either He!d!'s , or Bentley's city owned iPhones.

The question then becomes why are either of them using City property for their own personal, or political, purposes?

Beginning to remind me of the $5,000 printer Bentley had the city buy and install on her home network ....

Kevin Lang

Mick, does the city-owned iPhone come with a city-paid subscription to the Daily News? Does that subscription require the user to have a screen name of "City of League City"? Does it also come with the stipulation that the user cannot indicate their real name or whether they are speaking on their own behalf, or on behalf of the city?

If that really is one of our council members, and that council member cannot tell me who's commenting, that's not what I voted for. If a council member refuses to attach his/her name to comments made in a public forum, then what is that person holding office for?

Andy Aycoth

I think I have seen kids play better together than the 3 council people talked about previously . Please grow up and put your personal differences aside. The people in the next election will decide who is not working for the best interests of the city.

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