Dallas commissioner blows up over 'surprise' redestricting

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on June 7, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 8 at 12:19 AM

DALLAS — The Democratic majority on the Dallas County Commissioners Court approved a redistricting plan Tuesday after a high decibel blow-up.

A last-minute change that would give Democrats the chance to elect a fourth member to the five-member court sent one commissioner known for her cool into a rage.

"The public needs to know that they have been fooled... that the conservative voters, the Republicans, have been disenfranchised," said Commissioner Maurine Dickey, slamming down the new map.

Dickey, a Republican who is not running for reelection, didn't like the map brought up by Democrat John Wiley Price that could make the court "bluer" sooner.

The map — which Dickey said she had not seen in advance — renumbered Dickey's GOP district from "1" to "2," and the new Democratic-leaning district from "2" to "1."

The reason: District 1 is up for election next year, meaning Democrats could elect a fourth member to the court while shifting Republican Commissioner Mike Cantrell to representing northern Dallas County.

And that set off Dickey.

Standing at times and with her voice raised, she said: "If you'd like to drag me out, please do! I am standing up for the rights of the voter in north Dallas County and you have been rooked!"

Turning to Democratic County Judge Clay Jenkins, Dickey asked, "Would you like to haul me out?"

"I don't want to haul you out," Jenkins replied before Dickey cut him off.

"I'm ready to go to jail," she said. "This is wrong! Shame on this court!"

The shouting continued for 20 minutes.

"This is a sham! My vote is 'no,'" Dickey said. "If you and the public put up with this stuff, then you're fools. You elected these bobos, well now you've got them. And I am... and I am leaving. I'm not going to be a part of this sham, and you should be mad, too."

With that, Dickey exited, leaving the Dems to approve the new district lines in a 3-1 vote.

It leaves the public wondering what happened the court's new code of conduct for meetings.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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