Things Are Getting Mighty Interesting in UP City Council Race

I posted this earlier today. In the comments, University Park Community League chairman Fred Hamm addresses an accusation from “ForsakenOnDyer” that he encouraged Steve Metzger not to run for City Council.

I can confirm that Steve Metzger told the crowd that he recieved a phone call from Fred Hamm, the president of the UP Community League, strongly encouraging him not to run. Steve later elaborated in response to several questions that Fred told Steve it would be bad for his career if he ran for city council.

I’ve heard from a former candidate for UP City Council say something similar: They were asked “forcefully” to drop out of the race.

Hamm says, at least with Metzger, that’s not at all what happened.

ForsakenOnDyer, I’m going to post a reply to your blog and I’m going to identify myself and not hide behind the smoke screen of anonymous blogs. I’m Fred Hamm, the current Chairman of the University Park Community League (UPCL). I don’t know what was said at Gigi’s house, as I was not there. I do know what was discussed in at least three telephone conversations that I had with Steve Metzger. Not once did I ever implicitly or explicitly “encourage him not to run.” Metzger sought UPCL’s endorsement, and indicated in a letter to me, dated January 12, that he would wait to file his papers with the city because he wanted to see if the UPCL would endorse him before he went to the trouble of filing. (I am happy to provide a copy of this letter.) It’s obvious now that the UPCL did not endorse Steve Metzger for City Council. Contrary to what Steve wrote in his letter, he filed his papers before the UPCL announced its endorsements. So I called Steve just prior to the deadline to determine what his plans were. We had a cordial conversation, but it was obvious to me that Steve was still upset that the UPCL had not endorsed him. He said he had not decided what he was going to do – that his daughter was getting married that weekend and that he would focus on the election after the wedding. He also asked me what the ‘other candidates’ (Cooke and Wasserman) were going to do. I told him I had no idea, as I did not have a dialogue with either of them. He said, “Well, I’ll drop out if they’ll drop out. But if there’s going to be an election, I’m going to stay in.” My response was simple. I said, “Steve, I encourage you to run if this is something you want to do. Although the UPCL isn’t supporting you, I respect your desire to serve. That being said, you must know that the UPCL will strongly support its candidates and will aggressively campaign for them.” Metzger replied, “Well that’s fair enough – I would expect that.” I extended my best wishes for his daughter and his family as they approached the wedding day. It was quite cordial. * * * A week or so later, Steve called me back to discuss the UPCL. I shared with him what the UPCL did and how he could get involved. QUESTION: If I had in fact encouraged Steve not to run and made the ridiculous claim that “it would be bad for his career”, why in the world would Steve Metzger call me back? In fairness, I don’t know if Steve Metzger is making the comments that are posted in ForsakenOnDyer’s blog. If Steve did not make these comments and ForsakenOnDyer is simply pushing untruthful comments out there to ‘rally the troops’ then shame on you ForsakenOnDyer. On the other hand, IF Steve Metzger is in fact making these comments about me, privately or publicly, I say to Steve Metzger, “Shame on you Steve. I can’t believe you are misrepresenting the facts in order to advance yourself in this election. Nothing is more important than the truth – – nothing.” Steve, I welcome a response from you if you’d like to ‘clear the air’. Since it’s easy to say anything about anybody in an anonymous blog – I welcome the opportunity to smoke this out publicly. I’m very comfortable with the truth and I’m only interested in what’s in the best interest of our community.
W. Frederick Hamm, Chairman
University Park Community League

20 thoughts on “Things Are Getting Mighty Interesting in UP City Council Race

  • May 5, 2010 at 12:27 am
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    In this race there is an unknown group with an unknown funding source spending tens of thousands of dollars. How can UPCBG and its candidates talk about transparency in the city they will govern when their campaigns are all about withholding information.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 12:32 am
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    The Dallas Morning News has apparently figured it out.
    “Three candidates who were not endorsed by the community league have been featured in campaign literature paid for by University Park Citizens for Better Government, which Huddleston has helped finance.” So a vote for Metzger, Cooke and Wasserman is a vote paid for by Huddleston.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 9:45 am
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    I have followed this from the beginning. The University Park Citizens for Better Government smells of bullying through the city to get desired zoning at Snyder Plaza by pushing selfish personal interests over servant leadership for the city. A vote for Metzger, Cooke and Wasserman is a vote “for” Huddleston. A vote with the Community League is a vote “with” representation of the community’s citizens with Servant Leadership. We have seen enough of the selfish “dictator” style of government out of our nations capital. We do not need that in the Park Cities. University Park City Council is not for sale….even to Albert Huddleston!

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  • May 5, 2010 at 10:14 am
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    I received an e-mail just a bit ago on the topic of present government in both HP and UP. The author of the e-mail made this point and it couldn’t just sit there without others being able to enjoy it too.

    “So they’ll try to JR Ewing their way around it. But there’s a reason Dallas got cancelled, and nobody’s been able to pull together a remake – those tactics are harder to use nowadays.”

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  • May 5, 2010 at 10:35 am
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    Please please Merritt, you are going to get your superwoman cape caught in a crack on this one. The present government in UP is not trying to JR Ewing anything and neither is the UP Community League which is supported by donations from citizens like me. It is the commercial real estate developer Albert Huddleston who is acting like JR Ewing. Good ole JR said it best, “Like my daddy always said: if you can’t get into the front door, just go around to the back.”

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  • May 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm
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    Things are really starting to heat up! This is so fun – UP elections are usually so boring. I hope we get a few from each side so maybe our city council meetings will be interesting too!

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  • May 5, 2010 at 12:28 pm
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    @I heart UP- You’re spot on, sister. We need one incumbent, one of the League endorsed new guys and two of the guys running naked. I would be at EVERY meeting.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm
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    The depiction of the library on the latest mailed ad by Tina Peyton and the UP Citizens for Good Government is a slap in the face to the hundreds of volunteers who started the UP Public Library from the ground up and to the professional staff who are now employed by the Friends of the Library.

    The UP Public Library, even when the shelves were bricks and boards, never looked like the photo on the ad – as anyone who has even entered the library knows. Evidently Ms. Peyton, her backers, or her endorsed candidates have ever done so.

    The Friends receive $196,000 annually from the City of UP to pay the salaries (not benefits as they are not city employees) of the three professional librarians and the front desk staff.

    Tina Peyton and her backers should apologize immediately to every citizen of UP for this misleading and damaging political ad.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm
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    With regard to Scott’s comments:

    I can’t speak for all of the candidates endorsed by UPCBG, but I am friends with Steve Cooke and I can tell you that he is NOT allied with Huddleston in any way. Steve explained this in a comment to another blog posting late last week.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm
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    In the interest of transparency and fairness, I’d encourage both the University Park Community League and the University Park Citizens for Good Government to disclose to the Dallas Morning News, the Park Cities People, and the Park Cities News, the names of all members, names of all donors, and the dates and amounts of all amounts contributed for candidateselections, and name, dates, and amounts of contributions to candidates in this election cycle. So that voters would have time to study them, I’d propose they be given completed to the papers no later than 5:00 PM, Thursday, March 6th.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm
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    @N.F.:If you run for office in Texas, you’re already supposed to do that. On the Texas Ethics Commission website, you can view the campaign finance reports from both entities. The only sources of funding that the UPCBG reported was $10,000 from the treasurer, Tina Peyton, and in-kind donations from Alan Wasserman, Steve Metzger, and Steve Cooke covering campaign advertisements.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm
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    Since there seems to be continuing misconception, I would like to reiterate that I do not know and have never spoken to Albert Huddleston or anyone from Legacy Hillcrest.

    I hope University Park Citizens for Better Government is legitimate, but have refused their support since the day the banners went up on the Chase building.

    A vote for Steve Cooke is not a vote for Albert Huddleston. It is a vote for a more inclusive and representative government.

    I am the candidate that has been the most open and available to UP citizens. I am the only candidate to have a website where I make my views public and I am the only candidate that has an email address where any citizen can contact me.

    I have made it clear I believe University Park is a residential City and the safety, security and comfort of its residents are much more important than any commercial interest.

    I am nothing more than a regular UP dad who, now having greater control of his time, an interest in the governance of our City and the confidence that he’d be a good Councilmember, decided to do something about the grumbling he’d heard that the City Council wasn’t representative of our community’s families.

    I hope you will visit my website, http://www.CookeforUP.com, to see further details about the above issues and more. If you have concerns, issues or ideas you would like to discuss with me, please email me at [email protected] and I will be happy to email you back or call you if you leave a contact number.

    Thank you,

    Steve Cooke

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  • May 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm
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    To clarify Joanna’s post, I did not make a contribution to the UPCBG. The UPCBG’s mailings are considered an in-kind contribution to my campaign, regardless of whether I know about them in advance or approve of them.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm
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    They way I see it, this is all Mark Harden’s (former UP Bldg Dept employee) fault. If they’d fired that SOB years ago, I’d be one of them pleased, happy, content citizens. But nooooooo, they needed “evidence”………….and that, my cowpoke friends, stuck in my craw.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm
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    Joanna, Apparently Lori Stahl at DMN got the contribution info from Albert himself in an interview,(SCOOP!). Let’s see if any papers are filed tomorrow…

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  • May 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm
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    I have sent emails to many of my friends encouraging them to vote for candidates who consider the UP residents–not a very small group of wealthy individuals (several of whom do not even live in UP). Those three are Cooke, Metzger, and Wasserman–candidates who are not under the thumb of the Community League. If I had more money, perhaps I would have sent out a flyer too. That doesn’t make those three under my thumb, it just means I know they’ll be playing fair ball with ALL of us. If Huddleston thinks that, so be it. That doesn’t mean that all or any of those three will owe him anything.

    One thing has proven itself from history. The current political party running UP is one that has the public’s interest at heart only when it matches their own personal interests. Getting a true democratic government with council members who will think on their own can only be a better situation.

    Vote for Cooke, Metzger, and Wasserman on Saturday.

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  • May 18, 2010 at 9:39 am
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    You do NOT have to live in UP to influence public officials. My statement was that you can vote for people who consider the needs of all UP residents, or you can vote for people who only consider the needs of a few wealthy individuals (with many of those individuals not even living in UP). Sadly, the Community League won out, so the average UP citizen will be considered, only when our needs align with the Big Boys.

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