City News Roundup

Dallas Love Field lawsuit and more good times in city news this week

Dallas Love Field lawsuit and more good times in city news this week

Dallas Love Field airport
Dallas has filed a lawsuit over the gate situation at Love Field. Southwest Airlines
Dallas City Hall
The outgoing 2015 Dallas city council had a gruelingly long final day. Courtesy photo
Dallas Love Field airport
Dallas City Hall

The current Dallas City Council lineup marked its final session this week, as six members have finished their terms. One of those exiting members was found guilty of misdemeanor assault. Meanwhile, Dallas Love Field is at the center of a lawsuit. Good times in Dallas, and the details are below:

City council marathon
Six council members sat on their final council meeting on June 17. Bye-bye to Vonciel Jones Hill, Dwaine Caraway, Carolyn Davis, Tennell Atkins, Sheffie Kadane and Jerry Allen. The meeting had a crazy-long agenda with nearly 150 items for the council's consideration. Council members Philip Kingston and Scott Griggs tried to get some of those items deferred until the council's next meeting in August, but a majority of the council voted that down.

Among the questionable decisions made was an energy contract with TXU worth up to $450 million, without any competitive bids. Is TXU ever the cheapest option? Plus, the contract was added to the agenda at the very last minute, giving council members almost no time to evaluate or find alternatives. As Wylie H Dallas notes, "even the ex-TXU guys who are advising on this TXU-exclusive deal aren’t claiming that it is the best deal the city can get."

Love Field lawsuit
The city filed a lawsuit to resolve the gate situation at Love Field that has arisen since the elimination of the Wright Amendment in 2014. Southwest is trying to get rid of Delta by no longer allowing Delta to use its gates. But as Delta notes, reducing the number of airlines will result in decreased competition and increased fares. "The city appears to be engaged in anti-competitive, collusive behavior that ultimately hurts the traveling public by reducing competition and travel choices at Love Field," Delta says in a statement.

City council member Philip Kingston concurs, pointing out that "the airlines would very much like to charge you about double and cram your sardine ass into their oldest planes."

"We ought to be creatively using federal regulations to shoehorn more carriers in," he says. "We ought to act with urgency to preserve Delta's extremely popular flights. Instead, our Aviation Department had to be publicly shamed into even pretending to look for a solution for Delta, and now the best thing we can think of is a bunch of litigation."

Atkins guilty
A jury found outgoing city council member and Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins guilty of misdemeanor assault for his treatment in December 2014 of co-worker Raquel Hultquist. Atkins was trying to get into City Hall but was not wearing a badge. His punishment is a fine of $166 but he says he'll appeal.