The awards banquet is a big annual event for the school, and its organizers plan carefully for it all year long. It gives them the opportunity to honor persons who have served the community well, and is also a fund raiser important to the school budget.

I find it hard to understand Mayor Ron Kirk's attitude toward his no-show at the event. I have tried to like the Dallas mayor, although at times he seems arrogant and full of himself. He does have class and charm; however, he showed neither on this occasion.

I am trying to imagine the aftermath had this happened a few years ago when Steve Bartlett was mayor of Dallas. Let's say he failed to fill a commitment to speak at a banquet at Reverend Zan Holmes' church. It isn't hard: the immediate outcry, the headlines, the accusations of racism, the picketing of City Hall by you know who.

These things haven't happened in this case because that is not the style of my Jewish sisters and brothers. I can tell you for sure, however, that Kirk's cavalier attitude will not go unpunished. Were I the mayor, had I not already apologized, I would do so as soon as possible.

Zinita Fowler

Vapid rag
I was in town recently visiting from San Francisco and I was taken aback by your assault on Tripping Daisy, accusing the local band of being "the reason Dallas is the worst music scene on the planet." ["Best of Dallas," September 26].

You should be embarrassed to print such a vapid, self-deprecating remark. Apparently your writers don't get out of town or even away from the office very much, because people from all over the country are familiar with the Dallas music scene, largely because Tripping Daisy has put Dallas on the map.

Despite the spin that your rag attempts to put on the band's story, these are the facts: It continues to sell out shows all across the country, as well as in its hometown; it was recently selected from hundreds of bands to be on the Basquiat soundtrack alongside Tom Waits, David Bowie, and John Cage; and it has certainly done more for the Dallas music scene than any other band by taking unknown locals on the road when it could tour with much larger (and already signed) acts.

I guess I keep forgetting that this garbage is written by a major weekly in a city whose only "jazz station" is the Oasis!

Lorna McDougal
Via the Internet

Thank you for recognizing Dallas Area Interfaith as Dallas' best political movement in your "Best of Dallas" issue.

Dallas Area Interfaith is a nonpartisan political group based in 60 widely varied congregations. Our leaders are clergy and lay people balanced by race, sex, religion, and geography. We teach people to take charge of their lives and become active citizens. Our broad leadership and countywide diversity are strengths.

DAI leaders request meetings with officials; however, we don't take "no" (as in "You are not on the list of groups I meet with"). DAI insists on the democratic right to meet with public servants. That's "belligerent, militant clergy" for you.

DAI's most recent effort, funding for after-school programs, requires some explanation. DAI taught parents and teachers to organize their schools in poverty areas. Parents and teachers planned their own after-school programs--free three-hour, five-day enrichment programs they run. DAI helped the schools win city and DISD funding last year.

Soon afterward the city, the school district, and DAI together drew up guidelines and qualifying steps for this year, with funding pledged for 1996-'97. Though 17 schools qualified, the city funded five, and DISD budgeted nothing.

Jose Plata's after-school amendment to the budget was defeated, 5 (white)-4 (minority). Requests to opponents to revive the amendment (with one exception) were stonewalled, or met with hostility and disrespect. It was not revived. At the October 9 board meeting, 400-plus white, black, and brown folks supported DAI leaders who criticized the white majority for racial polarizing and inattention to the needs of children.

It's ironic, when Dallas Area Interfaith is teaching how people can work together regardless of background, that our lesson in democracy is unwelcome to some Dallasites.

Meanwhile, Obadiah Knight's exemplary after-school program now limps. City Park Elementary's kids, including the 35 percent homeless, are in the streets. A whole lot of "sweat equity" parents at these and the other 15 schools are burning mad.

What now? DAI doesn't stop. Our Sign Up and Take Charge Campaign will continue through the May '97 local election. Last year, DAI voter registrars registered many hundreds of new voters supporting our issues. Our '97 goal: many thousands of voters.

Reverend Gerald Britt, Cynthia Dooley, andMary Hoffman
Members of the executive committee
Dallas Area Interfaith

The credit for a photo of Jenni Tooley in the Undermain Theatre's production of The Deatherians [Calendar, October 24] was inadvertently omitted. The photo was taken by Susan Kandell.

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