After almost a decade of public service and volunteering on
city committees, Nelson and Jamie Thibodeaux have
resigned from all city committees, after the July 28, 2006 Colleyville
Courier "report" about the Colleyville
Website. Here is a trip down the Courier memory
lane, before THIS Friday's Courier that somehow feels
our resignation is news.
the telephone message showed up on my home telephone from
Scott Price of the "Alliance newspapers,"
translation Colleyville Courier, I was fairly
certain the call was not because the paper was planning to run
a complimentary article on us for years of volunteer service
to the city. The Courier has an excellent reputation of
"Thibodeaux bashing". However, I did
speak to Price at Tuesday's city council meeting, thanked him
for at least contacting me before the article, to get my
input, something that
had never happened previously. The
underlying reason for the resignations, as stated to Price,
"the events represented by the various committees should
be judged on their own merit and not by who is on the
Based on past experience with Celebrate Committee member, now
councilman Mike Taylor, and the type of coverage afforded me
personally by the Courier, I had every reason to
believe we could expect more of the same. For example,
Taylor had been the source of accusations against me in the infamous "t-shirt
caper" (shown below as Thibodeaux accused of
pocketing funds). Various other
representations of myself in the Courier has included
sitting on a "throne" with toilet paper and the
"proprietor" of an outhouse.
our decision was based on the fact that we support the concept
of the Celebrate Colleyville event and the work of the
Colleyville Historical Preservation Committee. As such,
we did not want to be a distraction from their efforts. Asked why Price thought our resignations were newsworthy, Price said
because of the email resignation to Lindley, making reference
to Taylor. Hmmmmmm, wonder who was the source suggesting
Price request the email under public records?
During his fourth run for office, after losing three times in
a row, Taylor was said to have stated, in a gathering of
supporters, that he had the ear of the Star-Telegram and
he would use it to clean up matters at city hall. I don't know
what he meant, but I am convinced Taylor at least has the ear
of the Courier and continues as a source of
"inside" information. The most recent
"clean up" had to do with the city's website, as
During our brief conversation, Price volunteered without
being asked, that the initial suggested problem with the
website did not stem from
Mr. Taylor. Mr. Price may not be familiar with the
practice of "politics of self destruction by
proxy" or this may be a "protect your
has been a well practiced technique in Colleyville where the
one wishing to cause damage plants the bad seed, but always
has others bring it to light. Plausible deniability then allows the planter to
inflict damage without being tainted themselves. One
tactic is to create a "red herring", for example a
"vulnerable website," then associate someone's name
to the dastardly deed, resulting in derogatory
inferences designed to inflict personal damage. For
example, like the article below concerning the city's website
that was published by the Courier.
July 28th edition of the Courier top headlines
pronounces that the city's website is
"vulnerable." The article claims that
approximately the 50 citizens that had actually used
the site to pay water bills were subject to poor
security and could be the victim of identity
theft. While having absolutely nothing to do
with the facts of the article, the paper couldn't
resist throwing in this last paragraph:
claiming the website was somehow flawed, the inference
was that I "sold" the city a shoddy website
by promising a half price deal. While the fact
that one could not promise a price of 50% of
competitors, without knowing what the competitors
bid in advance, was conveniently overlooked.
Staffers said the article reflected on their integrity
and insisted corrections. This was the last paragraph
the following week. Of course, no mention that
clears the Thibodeaux name.
Gandy, the city's marketing director is allegedly the
source of the 1/2 price sale comments. She told me that the Courier brought my name up
and she specifically explained that 360 had nothing to
do with the online bill paying aspects. She
confirmed she never said or represented that I promised anything
except a quote for consideration.
The decision to resign was outlined in an email to City
Manager Bill Lindley after the July 28th article in the Courier.
While, once again, the Courier misrepresented my
involvement, their correction the following week, is not a
quid pro quo to the prior's week's derogatory inference.
I requested open records, from the City of Colleyville,
concerning complaints received from citizens as alleged in the
July 28th Courier article along with other records
about this issue over the past few months. We did not
receive a shred of evidence that any citizen had made these
complaints, so what inside source was the used to ascertain
complaints were being made? We also received the meeting
notes prepared by City Manager Bill Lindley to discuss with Courier
management concerning the numerous errors in the
article. If there was ever any doubt of the Courier's
journalistic bias and with a deliberate attempt to ignore
facts in favor of attempting to create a derogatory inference
of Thibodeaux, citizens should carefully read Mr. Lindley's
notes for the meeting and in the future keep this in mind when
reading ANY article in the Courier.
complete notes can be read in PDF, Click
A brief history for the newcomers:
Local News Only.com (LNO launched in 2001, there was not a
local newspaper in Colleyville. Most observers feel the
emergence of the Courier, with a list of owners
including Richard Myers of Realty Capital, the developer of
the Village at Colleyville, ex-Mayor Donna Arp and some of her
closest allies, among them Butch Johnson, was in response to
LNO's growing readership. Those familiar with local
politics, during 1999 thru May 2003, remember the Arp mayoral
years were tumultuous and polarizing. Politics in Colleyville
was a blood sport. LNO was seen as the anti-Arp publication
and the Courier the anti-Thibodeaux newspaper.
In January, 2003. then Mayor Arp sent out a letter announcing
she would not run for re-election in May 2003, LNO published
our list of the top ten reasons she was not going to run for
mayor, among them; "because she is planning to open a
boutique in The Village selling all the free stuff she got
while serving as mayor", and "because she
wants to spend more of her leisure time with Bonnie and Frank
Carroll". While the list was meant to make a
statement in a humorous manner, Arp supporters cried foul and
vowed retribution. It should be noted that the Village store
did not come to pass, instead, about six months after her term
as mayor ended, Arp became the President of Realty Capital
after it had received $7.5 million in City of Colleyville
proposed TIF tax incentives during her term as mayor.
Joe Hocutt was elected mayor in May 2003, after Mike
Taylor changed from running for a council seat to a 3-way race
for mayor with Hocutt and Richard Newton. However, after
a year of rule by mayoral veto, in May 2004, voters
overwhelmingly elected a new council majority, including Tom
Hart, one of the individuals who had been consistently vetoed
by Hocutt for a P&Z seat.
The week following Friday, after the May 2004 election, the Courier
declared yours truly as the "King of
Colleyville" in a derogatory cartoon.
decided that the voters had been duped by myself and this
news site by my "negatively inspired campaign
tactics," that resonated with a majority of voters.
A major issue in the 2004 election was a massive bond
opposed by LNO, the Courier made this flattering
representation of me on a throne with a roll of toilet
paper after the results of the election.
response column can be read here.
In the May
2005 election, Mike Taylor was making his third
attempt to be elected to Colleyville city government
when he opposed Tony Licata, a former campaign manager
for Richard Newton.
Taylor, who had indicated to political observers that
he had made inroads to the Hocutt supporters, lost for
the third time in a row in a close vote. After
Licata was elected, virtually confirming the 2005
results with five council members that had been
supported by Newton supporters, the Courier once
again found a way to memorialize the Thibodeaux legacy
with this offering with more alleged bathroom humor,
except this time it was Colleyville CAN on the door.
May of 2005, these were
the Courier headlines. You can Click
Here to read my column in response to this totally
fabricated self-serving story. The accusation
was only by Mike Taylor and former campaign manager
Dezann Korbuly, which was adequate for the Courier
to justify the headline.
Taylor claimed that the Celebrate Colleyville logo was
a valuable asset and, at his insistence, the city
spent thousands of taxpayers dollars to trademark the
One year later, after being elected to city council,
Taylor was of a different mindset. After the
city had asked for applications, without receiving
any, for two months, I applied for a position on the
Celebrate Colleyville Committee. Taylor
asked some other council members to "table"
my appointment because he intended to lead the effort
to withhold any further city support of the event.
When my name
came up for consideration to be appointed to the
Celebrate Colleyville Committee, Taylor voted Nay on a
6 to 1 vote. The no vote, on an unopposed
candidate filling one of three openings, was
tantamount to a return to the old veto days of Mayor
Jamie Thibodeaux is
the ONLY person that has served on the Celebrate Colleyville
Steering Committee since its existence in 1999. Despite
news releases about activities that contained her name and
even quotes, released by the City of Colleyville, the Courier
has NEVER printed her name as the Chairperson of the
event. Last year was the 50th Anniversary Celebration
for the City of Colleyville that I chaired, the same treatment
was given to releases to the Courier and the Thibodeaux name was
redacted. The purpose of this revelation is not because
we WANTED to see our name in print with this paper, but simply to
provide readers a real insight into the Courier's
management style. Since we are convinced LNO gets a much
broader readership than does the Courier, I can
understand they don't want to mention our name in a favorable
manner. All we ever hoped was it be mentioned in a
After the July 28th Courier article and the position of
Taylor, Jamie and I felt it was simply time we removed
ourselves from the fray. Other than just the aggravation
of it all, we felt that we could only expect more of the same
in the future. We loved working with the city staff. I notified the city manager via an email that can
be read below and stated why we had come to the
decision. We did not seek any publicity on the matter,
nor did LNO write about the situation. Frankly, we didn't
consider it newsworthy.
However, I am obviously good for a parting shot by the Courier
and a likely use of the "plausible deniability"
clause on behalf on Mr. Taylor. The following is the complete
email to Mr. Lindley.
After a great deal of thought and discussion, I am sending this correspondence to you.
I value your friendship and admire the leadership, innovation and courage of conviction you have demonstrated, during my opportunities to work with you, for the benefit of our city in the past.
The Friday July 28, 2006 article in the Colleyville Courier is symptomatic of an element that has been "reintroduced" in our city at the city council level. Certainly, the abject failure of the Courier in objectivity and the use of glaringly altered facts, in the above article about the city's new website, can be contributed to shoddy reporting and lack of journalistic integrity, or control, at the management level of the paper.
However, the lengths the paper went to find a way to include my name, in a manner that was clearly and maliciously designed to infer the city had a subpar website because I had "promised the city 1/2 the cost of anyone else," which is of course a total lie, is suspected to have its roots at the city council dais.
From a personal point, the Courier prints scurrilous accusations
about me, then uses alleged quotes from city staff members to legitimize their accusations and not subtle inferences of some sort of wrongdoing. The fact that a staff member later says they were "misquoted," is not a satisfactory quid pro quo. The comment attributed to Mona Gandy about me being a "salesman" offering 1/2 price deals, therefore allowing the Courier to infer I had anything to do with the alleged identity website issue, is simply and most emphatically the final straw. I can't dictate how staff members respond to the Courier, however I would suggest in writing would be appropriate in the future. Because, even if the city staff argues
adamantly later about a misquote, the intended damage has been cleverly inflicted on me while using the city's name to provide cover.
Example for the latest Courier article: “We will weigh the pros and cons, and the benefit versus any kind of problems in terms of interfacing with other systems,” Gandy said. “But it’s absolutely something we’ll look at.”
The site was designed by 360ideas.com, of Wichita, Kan. The company’s salesman in Texas, former Colleyville councilman Nelson Thibodeaux, promised it for half the cost of the competing designer, Gandy said.
You may recall the Courier article concerning "Celebrate Colleyville" t-shirts, inferring that I had taken
city funds, and used the Celebrate Colleyville logo to sell t-shirts at a profit. When in fact, I not only did not touch any money concerning t-shirts, I bought two t-shirts myself to help the small operation that voluntarily put on the classic car show on behalf of the city event. The genesis of that fabrication was, as a matter of public record from the meetings, one Michael Taylor, during his tenure on the Celebrate Colleyville committee.
After two months of advertising and no candidates, I submitted my name for consideration to be appointed to the Celebrate Colleyville Committee. Although there were no other names nominated, Taylor voted NO on a 6 to 1 vote. He eagerly made it clear to other council members that he wants to target the event and remove city financial support.
Jamie and I have been fortunate to serve in a volunteer roles, from city council to trash pickups, for more than a decade. The opportunity I had to Chair the 50th Anniversary Celebration and see my concept of Colleyville Hometown Heroes Day and the Heroes Park come into reality, was a great honor. During the 50th Celebration, Mona Gandy and I worked closely and, I believe very effectively, together with a small support group to complete the park and present the event. I am glad that I was able to work with Kevin Walling to reintroduce the concept of an annual Barbeque with a June event. Hopefully, the seeds of the June Heroes Day event will grow and become a wonderful community bonding event for the city.
I am confident that I have exhibited to you the spirit of my convictions to serve as a volunteer and friend of our city. I think you will agree my motives have always been honorably demonstrated through the results of my efforts, whatever the project.
The most recent years of volunteer activity have been especially rewarding because we have had a Mayor and City Council that has demonstrated its commitment in working to make Colleyville a better place to live, with civil and effective leadership. Personal agendas, personal attacks, polarizing vetoes and concocted red herring issues to serve personal agendas had disappeared from the Colleyville landscape. However, as evident by the 6 to 1 vote and the other issues mentioned, those elements are now finding their way back into the city's grapevine.
While you and I know the truth, the MO of these type of political cheap shots, that are orchestrated by feeding information to a local paper, only too willing to be deceived, is now surfacing with the advent of a new member at the dais. I had hoped that we would not see the reintroduction of cowardly stealth political manipulation, but I have seen it up close and personal..it's back!
The result is, in eagerness to create fear mongering amongst citizens, and, as creaky old lighting rod, I am a convenient victim for deception purposes. Unfortunately, what others may be besmirched or tainted by the false accusations and deliberate sensationalism of the poorly contrived so-called news articles, is of no consequence.
A perfect example is the alleged website issue, tying my name to the problem. I will not point out the obvious to you, because you most of all know the truth. I regret that the bottom feeders that contrive and write this garbage are too cowardly to come out in the public and take credit for their actions. I take extreme exception to the attempt made to ding you, inferring you may have been influenced by me and my bargain basement sales techniques.
It should be evident to all that a form of demagoguery has found its way back to the dais. I have total faith in our Mayor and 5 of our council members that they will do everything possible to avoid letting this type of political poison overtake the dais.
However, Jamie and I do not want to detract from the work of our committees and be used as a scapegoat for the purpose of an ambitious local politico's personal political gain. Jamie and I do not want our names referenced to create a bogus problem resulting in a negative impact on your staff or any volunteer committees.
I would remind everyone that Jamie is the only individual that has served on the Celebrate Colleyville Committee every year, since 1999, and truly she should receive the thanks and admiration of our city for her incredible hard work in the past.
It is with deep regret that we are forced to make this decision in order to remove ourselves as the opportunity to be utilized as a distraction.
It is especially painful for me to offer my resignation from the Historical Committee. However, after the vindictive nay vote on my appointment to Celebrate Colleyville, paramount to the old veto antics, the simple fact I have a position on any of these committees makes them a target for unscrupulous attacks.
In addition, I wish to avoid future problems that could impact on our personal friendship and
relations with city staff. We feel it is best that Jamie and I remove ourselves from the volunteer efforts and/or further attempts to introduce our city to any private business advantages.
By way of cc: to Mona Gandy to distribute as she sees fit:
Effectively immediately Jamie Thibodeaux resigns from her position as a member and Chairperson of Celebrate Colleyville.
I hereby resign from the Celebrate Colleyville Committee and the Historical Preservation Committee.
Jamie has informed other members of the Celebrate Colleyville Committee. While we did not encourage any others to follow suit, we have been informed by Mayor Ed Baker and Linda Baker that they plan to resign from the Celebration Colleyville Committee as well.
I want to personally express, on behalf of Jamie and myself, our sincere appreciation and humble thanks for the support of Councilmen Boll, Licata, Hendler, Hart, Mayor Pro Tem Jon Ayers and Mayor David Kelly for your show of support and confidence in the past.
Nelson and Jamie Thibodeaux
following is the response from Colleyville City Manager Bill
31, 2006 @ 8:44 am
It is a shame that both you and Jamie would conclude to resign from
active participation with Celebrate Colleyville and you also from the
Historical Preservation Committee. However, I certainly respect and
understand your decisions. As you and I discussed Friday evening, there
are several points that I do not understand with the referenced article
in the Courier and explained to you my scheduled meeting for this week
with Mr. Young.
You are absolutely correct to state that the role of 360 was simply the
development of the city website. The company submitted a competitive
proposal along with three other companies. One proposal was a "no-bid"
while the second was approximately double the price of 360's. The value
and work provided by 360 well exceeded the price charged for their
developing a new website for the city.
The article questions the internal controls related to online city
payments which are provided by a company wholly separate from 360.
Neither you nor 360 have any operations or work related to the online
payment. Revtrack provides online payment services for 300 other
governments. This company has not financial or affiliate relations with
360 or you. I can count at least three separate and distinct companies
providing separate services on the city website not connected in any way
with 360 or you.
Again, I would hope that you and Jamie would reconsider your decision.
I do not have an email for Jamie so I would appreciate your forwarding
this note to her as well. As the old saying goes, "you married well"!
Seriously though, I certainly appreciate and admire the countless hours
of care given to the community by you and Jamie.
I value your friendship and commitment to Colleyville. Please
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