By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Good fences surely make good neighbors--which is why City Manager John Ware's neighbors are blowing the whistle on him.
The 6-foot, weathered cedar fence behind Ware's house on Burleson Drive in North Dallas has been half tipped-over in two places for at least four months, two neighbors who prefer to remain anonymous say.
It wouldn't be a problem if it weren't so obvious. But people in Ware's neighborhood of 17-year-old, $150,000-or-so homes enter their garages from a rear alley, and they drive by Ware's junker of a fence all the time.
Along the back section, a wooden post has given way, and it's tipped over along two sections. Along the side, it's almost all the way over despite the fact that someone at Ware's house has tried tying it up with a section of white coat-hanger wire.
The gap affords passers-by a view his back yard--an unremarkable stretch of Bermuda grass.
"He's doing that arena deal for the city for $230 million, and he can't even keep his own fence up," one neighbor observed. "I mean, he's supposed to make $160,000. I'm sure you could stand it back up for a hundred dollars or so."
Ware did not return calls this week about the matter--which doesn't appear to be all his fault.
Property records show that the house, which is valued at $145,000, belongs to a Joy Lengyel, who has owned it since the early 1980s and is apparently renting it to the city manager. The out-of-order privacy fence may be more her fault than his, but she, too, could not be reached for comment this week.
The two neighbors say they have no other complaints about Ware, whom they don't see very often. He's probably working late on the much-opposed arena deal, they figure.
The rest of Ware's place--an average-sized corner lot containing a tan brick, brown-trimmed one-story of about 2,700 square feet--is as nicely tended as the rest of the comfortable-looking neighborhood.
"He's a good neighbor. Not around much," says one nearby resident. "I just want him to fix that fence."