By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
One can never be politician enough to know how far to go when talking in a lighthearted manner at lunch with a Belo reporter. Now I know.
At first, I was peeved at Dallas Morning News reporter Todd Gillman for failing to quote my WRR remarks in the context they were given, but after reading the creative way the Dallas Observer treated them ["Promise keeper," October 24], I can only be eternally grateful.
When the verdict from your readers comes in overwhelmingly for me to lay down my life--as it surely will, irrespective of the fate of WRR--I will rest in peace, immortalized in a very unique way on your pages. There are worse fates.
Dallas City Council member
Most ludicrous ever
Several of my fortysomething friends and I had dinner together a few weeks ago and were talking about plastering signs throughout the city that read "Don't send your sons to die for an oil baron." The unrest in Iraq and Kuwait led to conversation about the needless deaths of many young people in Vietnam, and then on to Deep Ellum Opera Theater's current production of Hair.
I just read Jimmy Fowler's review of the show ["Needs a trim," October 10] and was immediately struck with the idea that he must have been the inspiration for the T-shirt that reads "I'm talking and I can't shut up!"
This has to be the most ludicrous review of anything ever written! He first states that he hates musicals, rambles on and on about things that have nothing to do with the musical he's supposed to be reviewing, and ends with the statement that Hair is a musical. (I hate musicals; Hair is a musical; I hate Hair!)
I thought I was going to open to the Stage page and read an objective review. Instead I got the senseless ramblings of a man with a "gay gene missing a chromosome." (I still haven't figured out what that has to do with anything in the show.) This type of review is very unfair to the cast and director of the show, and I am very disappointed in the Dallas Observer on this one, but respect your publication for the most part. As for Fowler, "I'm gonna wash that man right outta my hair" and go see the show this Saturday with my friends.
Worst to date
I usually don't write to publications in response to articles written in them, but I find myself compelled to put "printer to paper" on this one. Laura Miller's piece ["Tough choices," October 10] about our esteemed mayor, Ron Kirk, was the biggest piece-of-shit yellow journalism that I have read in the Observer to date.
OK, this is not to diminish the accomplishments of Wally Rynek or the Akiba Academy. I'm sure that Dallas, especially the homeless community, is much better off as a result of its efforts. But Kirk was elected to be, and is paid to be, the mayor of the City of Dallas. Where did Miller get the idea that he owes anything to anyone beyond that? The mayor of our city is not a political figurehead like the modern-day monarchs of some European countries. It appears that you believe he should be so grateful for having been elected mayor of this fine, white city that he should be jumping through hoops to entertain every group of "upstanding" citizens that requests his presence.
Perhaps you should have elected Ben Vereen, Nipsey Russell, or Sammy Davis Jr. instead of a brother with some integrity and sense of self. I hate to bring race into the issue, but it's crystal clear that the intent of the article was to stir up racial tensions in an already divided society.
First of all, a racist is a racist and a bigot is a bigot. Racism is racism regardless of who the perpetrator is or the ethnicity of the "victim." Use of the term anti-Semitism as a special category of racism is an insult to all of humanity. So I guess the rampant burning of black churches in the south is an expression of anti-Negroism? Listen to how utterly stupid that sounds!
I'm sorry if Kirk was not available to sing a song or perhaps tap dance for your friends at the Galleria ballroom. His job as mayor ends after normal business hours; and in case you haven't noticed, Christian people regard Sunday as sacred, as people of other faiths consider Friday and Saturday. This is not to say that Kirk was in church, nor is it to say that he should have been. But the man has to have a personal life outside of being the mayor. I don't care if he was watching a fight in Vegas, a game at the stadium, or tipping titty dancers at Baby Dolls...So what? Please grow up, Miller. Try using some true creativity, stop whining, and think of something truly important to write about.
I feel bad for the folks at Akiba Academy. I was librarian at the school from 1982 to 1993 and, although not Jewish, was treated with warmth and respect. I made many friends who helped me learn more about their religious beliefs.
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.
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!
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