News Brief

Threat complaint tossed

The Ethics Review Board on June 14 dismissed a complaint against Mary Calk, a member of the Transportation Advisory Board, that alleged she physically threatened a man in a wheelchair.

After a February 28 Transportation Advisory Board meeting, Eddie Masson, who is in a wheelchair, alleged that Calk verbally threatened him over his viewpoint on disputed ADA transportation permits for taxis. `See Party Lines, March 24-30, 2005.` Calk also serves on the board of Star Cab, a local taxi company.

At that meeting, the TAB reversed a City ordinance that had banned ADA taxi vans from operating at the San Antonio International Airport. Masson and Adria Skye, who drives a wheelchair-accessible van, supported the change, saying that banning the vans from operating on airport grounds - a lucrative drop-off and pick-up point - would reduce the vans' availability throughout the city.

According to Masson, Calk approached him and Skye after the meeting as they discussed a proposed fee waiver for wheelchair-accessible vans. "She said, 'You better back off because we will take the airport stickers away from you again, and we'll make sure you get a bloody nose,'" Masson told the Ethics Review Board.

According to ERB Chairman Arthur Downey, the role of the Transportation Advisory Board is limited; it can only make recommendations about permits. However, Masson stated that he felt Calk was not only threatening him physically, but also bullying him by using her influence on the board to possibly revoke the permits.

Calk said that she never opposed airport permits for ADA vans, adding that her comment "win or lose, you'll end up with a bloody nose" to Masson and Skye referred to additional complaints they might file, because court battles often take years. Calk reiterated that she did not threaten to revoke the permits, nor does she have the authority to do so.

Downey said that if Masson did feel physically intimidated by Calk, the issue is beyond the scope of the ERB because her alleged threats don't violate the ethics code. The ERB can only decide whether Calk unethically used her position on the TAB to revoke permits. After a closed session, the ERB ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove Calk had violated the ethics code.

By Nicole Chavez

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