The Dallas City Council has voted not to take any action against a member who violated its ethics code after posting a Facebook comment saying a constituent sounded foolish.
Adam Bazaldua’s Facebook comment was deemed to have violated ethics codes by the city’s Ethics Advisory Commission. The rule which Bazaldua broke states that City officials shall not make comments or take actions that are “abusive,” “derogatory,” “rude,” or make “personal attacks upon the character, integrity, or motives of others.”
The city’s Ethics Advisory Commission left Bazaldua’s punishment to the City Council according to protocol. Bazaldua faced several punishments ranging from a letter of notification to removal or suspension from office.
The ethics commission had recommended that Bazaldua get a letter of admonition, which, in essence, is an official warning.
Pamela Grayson filed a complaint against Bazaldua in May, where she argued that the council member had violated the ethics code by making personal attacks against her on Facebook.
In a Facebook comment directed towards Grayson, Bazaldua said, “You sound very foolish. You evidently don’t know much about me.”
Grayson told the council that Bazaldua should be held responsible for what she described as his “pattern of bad behavior” directed in particular toward “educated Black women.” She also added that Bazaldua had similarly denigrated others with “belligerent outbursts.”
In Thursday’s meeting, Bazaldua described Grayson’s complaints as a perfect example of the ethics code being used as a tool against council members by people motivated by spite and dislike.
“Our code of ethics should not be something used as a political tool,” he said.
Omar Narvaez, a City Council member, made the motion to take no action against Bazaldua. Narvaez noted that other council members have used the word “foolish” many times during discussions.
He also argued that the situation boils down to freedom of speech for council members and the public and that the ethics code should not be used to stifle debate.