An exchange over social media has earned Dallas City Council member Adam Bazaldua an ethics violation and a “letter of admonition” from the Council.
The sanctions come after the City’s Ethics Advisory Commission looked into a complaint filed in May by Pamela Grayson. Grayson alleges that Councilman Bazaldua made personal attacks against her on Facebook and “spitefully had the permit withdrawn” for an Earth Day event she was organizing.
Bazaldua has a different take on the events that led up to the online confrontation. He claims that Grayson “misrepresented the nature of the event,” and he pulled his co-sponsorship of the event when he learned that people who worked for a political opponent’s campaign were involved in the organization. He says he was trying to avoid an ethics conflict.
“I was in no way trying to cancel this event,” Bazaldua said. “I feel like there was a long string of disingenuous communication.”
While the Ethics Advisory Commission did not find anything untoward about the Parks and Recreation Department’s revoking of the event permit, they did take issue with the Councilman from District 7’s Facebook comments.
In screenshots of the conversation, Bazaldua can be seen telling Grayson, “You sound very foolish, you evidently don’t know much about me.”
The Commission felt that this statement, in particular, was in direct violation of a section of the ethics code that states 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.”
“Our elected officials are held to higher standards. I know that much of this social media commentary can come in the heat of the moment. I wish that all of our citizens had the level of respect for the other so that inflammatory language did not come to the fore, but that seems to not be the society that we’re in right now,” said Commission Chairman Tim Powers in regards to the decision.