Like a three-year-old having a tantrum – and against our better judgment – he gets the attention he so desperately seeks.
Two City Council candidates facing thousands of dollars in fines for violating the city’s sign ordinance during their 2011 campaigns accused Mayor Annise Parker on Friday of targeting them for their conservative beliefs.
Eric Dick, a lawyer who fell short in his bid for an at-large seat two years ago and who is running for mayor this year, drew ample criticism during the 2011 race for blanketing the city with red signs bearing his last name in prominent white letters. He and Clyde Bryan, who challenged westside District G incumbent Oliver Pennington, used the backdrop of the July 4 weekend to, as Dick put it, “declare independence from Annise Parker and her tyranny.”
City and state laws ban signs from public rights of way, including roadsides, utility poles and overpasses.
Dick was cited for 90 sign violations, and Bryan for 41. The cases are being tried one at a time. So far, Dick’s have ended in a mistrial and a $100 fine; Bryan was found not guilty in one case and had several others dismissed.
Dick and Bryan cited Councilman C.O. Bradford’s example as proof of their persecution. Bradford was hit with 22 sign violations in 2011, all of which were dismissed.
“(Parker) selectively chose the people that were going to get violations,” Dick said. “(Bradford) received many violations, but he got a free pass. Why? Because he’s a Democrat. The Republicans got stuck with it. She’s using city money to attack people that oppose her views.”
Asked why Parker would dismiss Bradford’s cases for political reasons when the two are not allies and Bradford has, in fact, endorsed Ben Hall, Parker’s most prominent opponent, Dick said, “He’s a Democrat. She’s hoping she’ll get the support of the black community.”
Bradford couldn’t help chuckling at that. “The whole idea that this administration gave Bradford preferential treatment?” he said. “Let me just put a big question mark behind that.”
[City Attorney David] Feldman and [Chief Prosecutor Randy] Zamora said the sign ordinance was enforced aggressively in 2011 following complaints to public officials about political signs, particularly Dick’s.
“Dick, we all know his signs were all over the place. You couldn’t miss it,” Feldman said. “The ones that are prolific are the ones who are going to draw the attention, and Dick and Bryan were prolific.”
Let’s review the bidding here.
1. Most years, most candidates follow the city’s sign ordinance most of the time. Why bother putting signs on utility poles when there are so many empty lots one can plant them in instead?
3. Dick steadfastly denied any knowledge of how the signs got up on those utility poles or any responsibility for their placement. This despite the fact that his campaign finance reports show thousands of dollars in expenditures on signs, including over $3000 to “Ron the sign guy”. Dick insisted it was “overzealous volunteers”, over whom he apparently had no control, that were responsible.
4. In the aftermath of the election, in which Dick received 7% of the vote, he has leveraged his notoriety into business for his law firm. Like it or not, you know the name “Eric Dick” now. So do many other people. This is a good thing for a small business owner.
5. And now he’s back, with a “campaign” for Mayor, whining that he was treated oh so unfairly by that mean Mayor and her minions, who dared to enforce the law against him. Oh, the humanity!
Eric Dick is doing what he is doing to get people to pay attention to him. Sometimes he makes enough noise that we are forced to pay attention to him. That doesn’t make him worthy of the attention, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we get anything out of it. There’s nothing to see here, folks. Let’s all just move on down the road. Texpatriate, three of whose board members actually attended Dick’s silly press conference, has more.
UPDATE: More from PDiddie.