Trust issues plague White Rock Lake Task Force

The White Rock Lake Task Force comprises some 25 members representing the myriad interest groups and neighborhood associations around the White Rock area. It is an advisory committee to the Dallas Park Board, which discusses, provides feedback and takes positions on proposed projects that would impact White Rock Lake.

At a meeting Tuesday, task force member Michael Jung, who represents the White Rock neighborhood association, expressed his disappointment at the recent actions of task force chair Gerald Worrall, who also works for the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.

Remember the whole parking-lot-over-Winfrey-Point thing? Jung says Worrall was in conversations and involved in planning of projects affecting White Rock Lake — specifically the exploration of ideas to create parking over Winfrey Point — without telling the other task force members.

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“I only learned of it through documents obtained by the Barker brothers,” Jung says. He means Ted and Hal Barker, the guys who filed open records requests to obtain emails and meeting notes pertaining to said parking discussions (those you can find on their web site).

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When those docs became public and the whole thing blew up — remember the outrage and protests — task force members say they were questioned by friends and neighbors: Why didn’t you do something about this? To which they could only answer, We didn’t know about it.

The issue of the new boathouse at White Rock was another occasion, Jung has said, of the park board leaving the task force out of major conversations about lake developments.

Because of Worrall’s actions, Jung says, “Trust in the task force has been shattered.”

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Worrall silently listened to Jung and several other members’ expressions of dissatisfaction. When given the floor, he told the group he appreciated everything they had to say. “It is difficult for me to hear,” he says. “I don’t want to stall out over this. We have so many important things to do.”

Jung suggested some serious changes to the task force, and Worrall agreed that it is a good time to start discussing those changes.

First of all, Jung demands transparency and honesty from the City/Park Department.

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“No idea regarding White Rock should be broached without the task force being aware,” he says.

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He says he believes the city should make a “public formal commitment to transparency.”

He also suggests: election of task force offices as opposed to appointment, more frequent meetings of the task force, ability to call meetings as needed, increased checks and balances, and better communication within and with the public, including a web site (“if you don’t have a web site these days, you don’t exist,” he notes).

Jung’s spiel garners a round of applause.

Jung went on to suggest that the task force consider a more fundamental change regarding the independence of the task force: Do we want to be an advisory committee existing at the sufferance of the park board, or do we want to be a citizens’ committee independent of the city?

“The way it is, if the park department says the task force is abolished, it is abolished.”

Worrall says he is open to that discussion. “That would be a fundamental change that requires follow-up conversations … we need to find out from the city what the implications of that change might be.”

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  • ambulance chaser

    Please remember you are dealing with the Esquire crowd in Lakewood, home to more than 500 anal retentive ambulance chasing lawyers who make a cheesie living twisting words. Keep up the good work and don’t let them intimidate you.

  • First of all, this is a blog post, so editorializing is acceptable. Jung says, followed by what Jung said is also perfectly acceptable. If someone says something and I report that they said it, that is a fact that they said it. Everything I reported is attributed properly.

  • sw12

    In journalism school we were also taught to investigate both sides of the story and not take the word of one person.  Until all the facts are known and reported The statement  —–” Jung says Worrall was in conversations……..”.——Should read “According to Jung” instead of stating it as a known fact. Do you know if  Jung’s sources correct? Plus there are some pretty strong statements in this article that aren’t backed up with fact—- Seems like more embelishment and opionion writing, in my opinion. This kind of writing is how outrageous rumors and prejudice get started in the community  

  • Muddy Slop Hole

    Speaking of the White Rock Task Force, What’s going on with THE DREYFUSS CLUB? DOES THIS NEED AN OPEN RECORDS REQUEST? Can’t believe a valuable piece of real estate that has been vacant for many years has not been the topic of discussion with plans drawn up.

  • Darrd2010-certainly didn’t have any intention of being negative or showing prejudice by using the word “spiel”. Guess I just wanted to use something other than “said”. Maybe that’s why in journalism school we are taught to stick to “said” and “says” … thanks for your attention to detail.

  • Tedbarker

    The applause began from the cheap seats, meaning non-members, citizens.

  • Darrd2010

    I believe calling Mr.jung’s comments as ‘spiel’ from this writer shows prejudice and
    an opinion of his remarks. The writer should decide if she is writing for a media corporation or a stand alone blogger. Evidently the concerned citizens thought enough of his ‘spiel’ to applaud. What type of applause did Mr. Worral receive? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  • James Northrup

    Good for Michael Jung.  He fairly expressed the sentiment of the majority of the Task Force – that we have been systematically mislead on several major projects – particularly the Arboretum’s plan to pave Winfrey Point. Would start by appointing a new head of the Task Force in order to restore credibility.

  • Tedbarker

    Feasibility meaning feasibility study to the tune of 80 grand.

  • Tedbarker

    The non-answer regarding whether Winfrey Point parking is still on the table speaks volumes.  My take and the after-meeting take by others is that Winfrey Point parking is still in active discussion with the Park Board and Park Dept. The current feasibility of parking in the Garland Road corridor to accomodate the Arboretum certainly underscores my fears. Oh, we were refused the documents for that study, among others. So, transparency is off to a bad start.