Politics

Screen Time with Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson

Photo illustration of a grid of smartphone screens, the center one showing an image of Eric Johnson.
Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: City of Dallas

Before becoming Mayor of Dallas, Eric Johnson was a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, where he represented District 100, covering parts of both Dallas and Mesquite.

As part of our regular Screen Time feature, we will examine how some of the most interesting people in North Texas interact with technology.

Michael Mooney
Oct 11, 2021 - Politics

Trump pushes Texas speaker to act on 2020 election audit bill

Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Former President Trump threatened Republican Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan with political consequences if a bill allowing for more audits of the 2020 election doesn’t come up for a vote soon.

Why it matters: Although Trump won Texas by six points in 2020, election audits have become a Republican purity test.

AT&T quietly becomes powerhouse in conservative politics

The AT&T building in downtown Dallas, immersed in a creeping fog.
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Dallas-based AT&T is taking heat for the company's contributions to the conservative politicians who passed Texas’ unpopular abortion bill.

Why it matters: AT&T, the world's largest communications company, has quietly become a powerful player in conservative politics.

Johnson’s ethics reform task force recommends changes

Dallas City Hall and the plaza in front.
Photo: Ben Torres/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mayor Eric Johnson's Ethics Reform Task Force recently suggested several changes to the way Dallas addresses ethics concerns in city government.

  • The task force's recommendations include the creation of the Office of Inspector General, which would be a central repository for all ethics complaints and also have the power to investigate them.

Why it matters: Corruption and bribery are the pernicious enemies of democracy and fair government. When Johnson took office, he promised to rewrite the city's ethics rules to "permanently" end corruption among city officials.

What they're saying: "We've seen too many clear instances of corruption that have undermined our efforts to build a safer, stronger city," Johnson said in a news conference last week. "We've heard far too many questions about how business gets done here."

Flashback: In 2019, former Council member Carolyn Davis admitted to accepting more than $40,000 in bribes. (Davis and her daughter were killed in a car crash later that year.)

Former Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to accepting close to half a million dollars in bribes from developer Ruel Hamilton.

  • Hamilton faces up to 25 years in prison for his involvement in both cases. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.

Details: The new report also includes suggestions for reforming campaign finance, an often overlooked aspect of municipal ethics.

  • The task force recommends simplifying the city's ethics code to create more clear-cut rules for officials.

What's next: The council's general investigating and ethics committee will likely be briefed about the latest report later this month.

  • The entire council could vote on a reform package within a few months.
Michael Mooney
Oct 4, 2021 - News

Texas-based dating apps get politcal

Illustration of a heart and brain overlapping to create a venn diagram
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas-based dating apps are responding to the state's new abortion law with in-app features and "relief funds" for those affected.

Why it matters: Everything is political, especially romance. The moves illustrate the wide-ranging fallout of the law, which is likely to drive election turnout and future legislation.

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