Watch Tim Ryan Destroy Rep. Jason Villalba on Morning Television

These home-rule people need to get their act together.

As was mentioned in Leading Off this morning, last night the home-rule folks held a few community meetings across the city to make their case. From all accounts, things did not go, um, smoothly. This morning, Rep. Jason Villalba, who hosted one of the meetings, tried to answer some questions for Tim Ryan on Good Day. Villalba did not exactly, um, impress.

Look, man. Tim Ryan is no Anna Casey. He wasn’t trying to provoke Villalba into yanking out his earpiece, ending the interview, and walking back into his house. He was just asking the most basic of questions. Which Villalba fielded as if he were being asked to explain differential calculus. Don’t bail out of the interview until the end, when Ryan’s cohost, Lauren Pryzbyl throws in her two cents. So painful to watch.


  • January Jones

    Oops, maybe not the right link. But I like Jason Villaba. First politician I have seen in years who doesn’t just repeat talking points given to him by the party.

    • Tim Rogers

      Sorry about that, January. Problem fixed.

    • Skyler

      Nice job by Tim Ryan. Actually, Jason DOES sound like he’s reciting talking points – he’s just not doing it well. In fact, it sounds like he’s not very familiar with his subject.

  • Edward

    To be a bunch of professional politicians, marketing folks, business guys, etc., this bunch is certainly coming across as fairly incompetent.

    Was the whole thing just put together too quickly, or is there actually something they are hiding? The feeling I get from them is a very paternalistic “Don’t worry, we know what’s good for you. Just hush up and we’ll take care of everything.” Of course, that IS the Dallas elitist way to do things. I’m not sure if it’s going to work in this case.

  • Alexander

    Mark it down, he said the commission meetings will be open to the public. Let’s see how that plays out.

    As for the last question about signatures: does the new voter ID law affect that? If I sign “Al” instead of “Alexander”, which is on my ID, then would my signature be thrown out? I would think so. I think it is going to be *very* hard to get 25k signatures validated by August (which is the drop dead point to get it on the ballot, right?)

  • Jim Rain

    Villaba outlined a process involving a commission to draft a charter that would have public input and be subject to debate. What’s not clear is whether that charter is then voted on by the community or simply approved by some smaller body. If it’s the former, that’s when voters will know what they’re being asked to approve. But Ryan’s questions implied that wouldn’t be the case. So what’s the mechanism for approving a new charter?

    • Tim Rogers

      With the 25k signatures, the board would be forced to appoint a 15-member committee to draft a new charter. That charter would have to be approved by TEA. THEN Dallas voters would have to give the charter a thumbs-up in November.

  • AeroRazavi

    As far walking way…that’s not chickens hit. That’s reality, folks.

    What Jason did is basically DISD’s biggest issue in a nutshell. Many middle class families have walked away from DISD and headed to the ‘burbs. Would that be called “chickens hit”?

    That’s what the anti-home rule crowd does not get or refuses too. That middle-class tax base that you need does not want hear to “We need more money” unless its tied to some sort of result.

    Right now the anti-home rule crowds argument is , “Hey guys, DISD does not suck that bad.”?

    Say what you will about the media-savvy or lack thereof with the home-rule crowd, BUT it is probably NOT worse than the so-called PR issues DISD – which doesn’t suck so much after all..sarcasm…-has had e.g. Yvonne Gonzalez being sent to prison, Bill Rojas firing, time-wasting investigation of Mike Miles. That of course is not to mention failing schools.

  • The Great & Powerful Oz

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Or the business interests lining up to sell charter education services. The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken.

    • AeroRazavi

      You mean the guy who went to Hillcrest?

  • David Burrows

    Sounds like the ‘we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it’ type thing. Oh, snap. Wrong party.

  • Tim Rogers

    August 18, in fact.

  • Tim Rogers

    Patrick Michels used to write for the Observer. Now he writes for the Texas Observer. He did a really nice job of laying out the entire matter here:

  • The Great & Powerful Oz

    No, the one who was educated on the mean streets of Big D.

  • Greg Brown

    Everyone understands that once all interested parties exact their pound of flesh from Home Rule that we will end up with the exact same system under a different name, right?

  • East Dallas Girl

    A commission appointing a board to make these decisions. Not elected officials making decisions about our kids. Sounds like taxation without representation to me. And the failure to disclose who is behind it besides the billionaire in Houston – No Thanks. This white middle-class lady with kids in DISD will pass on that.

  • East Dallas Girl

    A commission appoints a board to make decisions about public education that receives tax-payer dollars. Sounds like taxation without representation to me. And a group of anonymous donors, including a billionaire who lives in Houston, want to “fix” my kids’ school district. Yeah, this middle class white lady with kids in DISD will take a pass.

  • Jim Rain

    Is the concern that the backers have an unexpressed agenda that will bias the charter from the beginning? Isn’t it conceivable they really do envision a charter developed through public participation? Seems like they’re damned from the beginning, because it’s impossible to prove a negative. They can’t prove they don’t have an agenda. That’s tough for them, but I’m not willing merely to take them at their word. Still, if the process is valid and the voters have the final say, I have a hard time understanding why some folks think this idea is obviously toxic.

  • Skyler

    No, Jim, it’s not conceivable they really do envision a charter developed through public participation. That’s not how money and politics work in Dallas.

  • The Great & Powerful Oz

    East Dallas Girl may be on to something here. If this thing goes through, what is the legal standing of setting, assessing, and collecting an Ad Valorem tax rate by a body not directly elected by citizens? Yes, in a charter setup, it could receive direct state reimbursement from TEA from state monies. But please remember the HUGE pool of money collected when Dallas Central Appraisal District sends out statements each year. Would that local property tax mechanism disappear with the shift to a quasi-charter setup? Or are there some Home Rule legalese that keeps local taxes in place without direct elected citizen reps setting the rates? Legal eagles, please comment.

  • Jim Rain

    @Skyler, I know that’s the prevailing thinking, but a “they’re-always-lying-bastards” attitude (regardless of who “they” are) doesn’t leave much hope for improvement. And I don’t want to abandon all hope for DISD.

  • Redo

    Follow the money, its some republicans who don’t like paying taxes and are not about to reveal their deceptive practices.

  • Byrd Man

    Jim, it is not just a prevailing attitude. Ever major civic initiative in Dallas in the last 15 years has been a financial ruse for real estate, construction and/or government contractor interests. This is another Trinity-like initiative where it’s being sold as an idea for the greater good, but the financial opportunities are what really drive this campaign.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Wow, that was painful. This p.r. campaign is truly a cluster.

  • LegalEagle

    Sec. 12.013. APPLICABILITY OF TITLE. (a) A home-rule school district has the powers and entitlements granted to school districts and school district boards of trustees under this title, including taxing authority.

  • Mavdog

    sorry Tim, that artilcle is not “a really nice job of laying out the matter”, it is a poorly researched piece.
    For instance, here’s how it begins: “Now the city could be on the verge of one giant leap into the thick of America’s school reform debate, with the announcement in March of an effort by business leaders to convert the entire Dallas Independent School District into a charter school”
    nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, the label is “Home-Rule Charter District” but the district could not be run like a Charter School. The law is clear the Home-Rule Charter District MUST accept all students and provide classes and facilities to every type of student.
    I certainly do not know if this initiative is a good idea, if conversion to a Home-Rule format would allow for the District to better fulfill its mission. What is true is those advocating the Home-Rule path have done as poor a job of explaining what it means as possible, and allowed those in opposition to set the dialogue. The talk of charter schools such as Michels does, the supposed attack on teacher’s pensions (impossible BTW), the setting as fact that the Board would not be elected- these are issues which distract from the discussion to what a Home-Rule District entails.
    Unless the SOPS folks successfully outline what positives the Home-Rule district would provide the district, instead of reacting to these red-herring issues that opponents have used to direct the discussion, this has no chance of happening.

  • Lakewoodres

    Just what is it the home rule “money folks” plan to attract middle class people to move back to DISD? The ONLY thing they could propose would be segregated schools, which of course no one is talking about. Why not announce their plans? Believe me they have a plan; they just aren’t saying what it is.

  • Lakewoodres

    Well, just what is it that the home rule “money boys” plan to bring back the middle class Anglos and African Americans to DISD? They’ve said nothing of their plans, and believe me they have plans. What other than resegregating DISD would being back middle class Anglos? I can’t think of anything else they could do to attract the middle class.

    The kids living within Disd boundaries that people wish to attract are attending parochial or non-parochial private schools, or they are at Arts and a few at TAG. The
    middle class folks who moved to the burbs are not coming back, as they have an investment in their home there. Thus, I don’t think the goal of the HR folks has anything to do with the middle class or even kids.

    It’s about controlling the 1.6B, the contracts, the real estate. In other words, it’s about the money.

  • amyhuntindallas

    “They can’t prove they don’t have an agenda.” The problem is we don’t know who “they” are. “They” won’t tell us who “they” are because “they” are donors to a 501c4, and “they” can remain anonymous. If you won’t tell us who you are, I have no choice, as a voter and a parent, but to question your motives. Tell me who you are and I can then decide if I trust you. Until then, don’t ask me to write you a blank check. Right now, it feels like the fix is in.