Chad’s Morning Brief: Lubbock City Council Members Reject Bond Proposal, Eric Holder Still Faces Contempt of Congress, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of September 26, 2014.
Lubbock City Council
The Lubbock City Council met yesterday and decided to postpone a bond election. The council voted 4-2 to reject the $134 million dollar bond proposal with only Karen Gibson and Floyd Price wanting to send the bond to the voters to decide.
Council members cited bad timing and the price of everything including taxes going up as the main reasons why there should not be a bond election anytime soon.
KFYO's Pat McNeill has a great write-up of the other events that occurred Thursday night at the short council meeting.
At an unusually brief meeting on Thursday, September 25, the Lubbock City Council discussed board and committee appointments, zoning changes, exemption status for certain positions from the city’s compensation study, and the city’s litigation against the Omni Building. The council was slated to take action concerning proposed storm water rate increase, but council woman Latrelle Joy requested the 2nd ordinance reading to be moved to the second meeting in October due to the absence of Mayor Pro Tem Jim Gerlt.
The council voted 4-2 to exempt the City Manager, Secretary and Attorney, as well as the Director and General Counsel of Lubbock Power & Light from the city’s compensation study with council woman Karen Gibson and Mayor Robertson dissenting. The study was initiated to put a cap on raises for city employees. Mayor Glen Robertson said the exemption raises some concerns but does not expect the average citizen to be impacted.
“I think this will free up City Council and the LP&L board to make better hires,” said Robertson. “I do have concerns that we will see runaway spending at LP&L, which we’ve already seen in the past.”
During executive session the council discussed potential actions concerning the Omni Building which currently sits abandoned downtown. The city is currently in litigation with Lubbock Omni Building Inc. and can potentially purchase the building. At this time, the council is continuing to gather information to determine whether or not the city would like to renovate and re-house certain departments in the building or other options such as leasing or demolition. Early cost estimates place the renovation of the building at around $40 million and its destruction at $12 million.
“We had a very good, healthy discussion on what are our options and we requested our staff to gather more information,” said Robertson, “because we still don’t feel like we have enough solid facts to make a good discussion.”
You can read his full write-up at the link above.
Contempt Case Moving Forward
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation yesterday. Holder will stay in place until his replacement is found and confirmed, which could be 2015. While Holder might be done as Attorney General, it doesn't mean the case against him is over. According to the Washington Times, the contempt of Congress case against Holder will continue.
The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.
Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.
The lawsuit began two years ago.
Two years ago the House voted 255-67 — with 17 Democrats joining the GOP — to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents from the Fast and Furious operation.
The House oversight committee had sought the documents, saying they would shed light on who knew about the botched operation, which saw federal agents knowingly let guns be sold to traffickers. Hundreds of those guns turned up at crime scenes in Mexico, and two were found at the site where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in Arizona.
The Justice Department turned over documents related to the operation, but has refused to release documents showing the department’s own handling after a top official sent a letter saying agents never knowingly allowed guns to walk. The department later had to officially retract that claim.
Efforts to reach an agreement on sharing the documents failed, and the House GOP moved ahead with the contempt citation.
The Obama administration said it would not prosecute Mr. Holder because of a long-standing policy that it not pursue contempt cases against individuals when the White House has made a claim of executive privilege.
But in this case, that claim didn’t come until just days before the House vote, Mr. Fitton said.
“The dirty secret was that Obama swooped in and in an unprecedented way asserted executive privilege over these documents which the Justice Department used as an excuse not to prosecute him,” Mr. Fitton said.
After he leaves office, the fight over the documents will continue, but Mr. Holder himself is likely safe from any fallout, analysts said.
“The suit is in his official capacity so I think the new AG whoever that is will be substituted as defendant in the suit under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It should have no bearing on his departure or his life after his service as AG,” said Stanley M. Brand, a former general counsel to the House who specializes in defending witnesses facing government investigations.
You can read the full story by clicking on the link above.
Other Must Read Links:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.