By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Laura, Warrior Princess
So your Laura Miller plans to run for public office ["Mr. Mayor, meet your nightmare," December 18]! Everyone knows that Ms. Miller has above-average intelligence, can communicate well, and knows the difference between right and wrong.
With these in mind, are you sure she is qualified to be a candidate?
Candidate [Laura] Miller will find that it is much easier to criticize, condemn, and complain than to construct, consensus-build, and make a meaningful difference. It will make fascinating theater watching her work. I hope that her performance as a player is on a level with her performance as a spectator.
Laura Miller's wacky decision to get out of the way of the Dallas Observer as it hacks a path toward self-serious doom as she opts for the infinitely safer proposition of a run for office as a wannabe member of a clueless political establishment reeks so bad, I can't help but laugh. Who does Laura Miller think she is? Zena, Warrior Princess?
At first, news of Laura Miller's decision to sell out struck me with the crack of a two-by-four to the skull. The more I think about that proposition, however, the more I realize that the most fearsome media figure in North Texas is trading a powerful position as a public adversary for a much more mundane role as a pissant politician. Doesn't she know by now that Dallas' entire political world is made out of cardboard? That the real power resides behind the scenes? Perhaps her muckraking has been nothing more than show.
In all actuality, Laura Miller is simply leaving one little cesspool of privilege in order to wade into a deeper and smellier one. And all that considered, well, you blow, girl.
One thing beyond Laura Miller's detour into dystopia is certain: Her buddies at the Dallas Observer, in a quest to make sure nary a bad word about Laura ever crosses the threshold into the authority of print, will be doing for the first time what The Dallas Morning News has been doing for a century. Isn't it interesting how that works?
After absorbing all of the rhetoric regarding the upcoming arena vote, it is obvious that some simple questions should guide you, the registered voter, in your decision on the proposed arena.
1. Do you regularly rent vehicles in the city of Dallas or regularly stay in Dallas hotels?
2. Do you prefer to attend major sporting events, concerts, circuses, and whatever else they will hold in the new arena in Arlington?
3. Do you believe that the city of Dallas is better off with no major professional sports franchises? If your answer to the above questions is yes, then vote No--otherwise, you're being fooled by the anti-anything rhetoric of Laura Miller and her headline-grabbing political ambitions.
You need to understand a couple more things. Ross Perot Jr. could pay for the arena, Tom Hicks could pay for the arena, and for that matter, they could purchase all of downtown Dallas twice over. But these guys are smart businessmen, and that is what made this country, city, and at least the Stars organization great.
Other cities (i.e., Arlington, Grand Prairie) are willing to foot the entire cost of the arena through sales tax increases, which cost their citizens dollars on every purchase and have done so via The Ballpark and Lone Star Park. (By the way, these are two great success stories for the cities--ask them.)
If you vote No, the arena and teams will go to another city, because that is the right business decision for the teams. These guys are not rich because of bad decisions. Only you can make the bad decision by voting No. A Yes vote would restore my faith in the intelligence and integrity of this community. If you've bought into Laura Miller's ego campaign, you've bought some worthless air.
If the new arena is such an economic catalyst, then why don't they put it in South Dallas?
Why should working-class people (white and black) pay for rich lawyers and corporate schmoozers to take their clients to the see the Stars and the Mavericks?
If the voters approve the arena "deal," then every business located in the City of Dallas should also be entitled to receive their respective portion of public funds in the form of a no-interest long-term loan. The arena "dealmakers" believe the arena deserves special funding consideration because the arena is supposed to create jobs and provide economic growth for the city. So what? Every Dallas business, in its own humble way, creates jobs and provides economic benefit to the city.
You do not hear the "mom and pop" -type businesses that truly could use financial assistance whining for special help. It is obvious that the City of Dallas cannot provide public funds to all businesses; therefore, until public funds can be distributed on an equitable basis, we need to pass on this arena "deal."
I have just finished reading the article about the dispute between Ron Price and Mr. [James] Murphy ["Grow up," January 8] and had a few questions and comments.
1. Can a person really get a ticket for cursing at a teacher? I know I have seen it happen before, but that was far from the punishment.
2. Why does Ron Price live with his mom, who refuses to leave for fear that he will be hurt? She must be a formidable foe for an older woman.
3. "I'm not going nowhere to talk to my neighbor"...Interesting statement coming from a man with a high-ranking educational position.
Awwwww, too bad
I wept bitter tears to hear that there are prisoners who are not served meals that meet the requirements of their religion ["Not kosher," January 8]. These poor pious people are so dedicated to the tenets of their religions that they cannot bear to act in any manner that goes against their religious teachings.
But on the other hand, if these people were truly pious, they would not have acted in a manner that put them in prison in the first place. Let them eat Twinkies!
I have seen many reviews concerning the new hit restaurant AquaKnox ["International waters," December 25]. As a native Dallasite, I include myself in the finicky crowd that constantly searches for the next hot spot. I have watched restaurants and bars come and go and also observed those that managed to last. My prediction is that the trendiness of AquaKnox will be its demise. Great food is important, but this can be found in numerous restaurants in this town. Service and atmosphere have become the leading factor in a successful restaurant in Dallas.
Walking into AquaKnox, I was greeted by two women who acknowledged our reservation, then looked at us with a blank stare, not saying a word. My friend said "Well?" and the hostess replied, "Of course, you should wait in the bar." We followed instructions and ordered two martinis, the signature drink at AquaKnox. It took more than 20 minutes for the hostess to tell us our table was ready in a nearly empty restaurant. Instead of showing us to our table, the hostess took us back to the front and said that the maitre d' would seat us. The waiter from the bar carried our huge martinis on a tray while we waited. We were left standing for close to 10 minutes, the waiter standing behind us with a heavy tray the entire time. We must have looked pretty ridiculous. The maitre d' finally showed up and escorted us to our table without a smile or an apology.
The centerpiece lemons are a nice touch, but between those and the martinis, I could not see my friend to have a conversation. Our waiter was attentive but extremely aloof. At one point, I reached to pour myself more bottled water, and he charged over to our table to grab the water out of my hand. His tone was very condescending and often quite annoying. I understand that the wait staff needs an attitude to gain respect from the Dallas crowd, but there is a limit that should not be crossed. I am quite aware of the dos and don'ts of fine dining; I have eaten at some of the finest restaurants in the country. AquaKnox, however, is the only establishment that has made me feel uncomfortable.
My impression of AquaKnox is like that of the restaurant in the movie L.A. Story with Steve Martin. I wonder if annual household income is checked before a reservation is accepted. Stephan Pyles did an excellent job with Star Canyon and creates some fine cuisine, but Dallas is not ready for the L.A. atmosphere. We are from Texas and have a need for friendliness in our interactions. AquaKnox opened at the same time as other restaurants such as Palomino and Mediterraneo at the Quadrangle. Competition is fierce, and my bet is on those with a warm greeting and smile.
I had lunch at the Palomino ["Pooped-out pony," December 18] and had the seafood ravioli, which was tantalizing until I cut into it and discovered that there was very little seafood inside. I enjoyed the artichoke and crab dip, but the crisp flat bread was charred a bit too much. The bread pudding was flawless, but overall the meal was good--OK, fair. But at that price range, I will not return for anything less than perfection.
Tip of the iceberg
"Comfortably numb" well describes the mental condition of Michael Sragow at the time he wrote the review of a movie he has never bothered to watch, Titanic [January 8]. It is clear that he never bothered to watch the movie, because many of the complaints he lodges about supposedly missing elements were, in fact, prominently featured in this fine cinematic work.
Furthermore, many aspects that were in the movie are unfairly the subject of Sragow's scorn and attempts to be cute. For example, the "uppercrust arrogance and sloppiness" that caused the tragic crash of the ship were real, not imagined.
Sragow complains that only one example of the cause of the tragedy was featured in the film--the race to set a new record. This is totally false. Many causes were featured, including the lack of lifeboats; the design of the watertight compartments that filled up "like an ice tray"; the loss of the binoculars by the officers of the deck at a port in England, which deprived the crow's nest of effective eyes with which to see the berg; and the faulty design of the ship's rudder in relation to the width of the keel, preventing the ship from being able to steer around the berg and avert the crash. All of these historical elements that led up to the crash and to the inability to deal with it after it happened were, in fact, examples of "uppercrust arrogance and sloppiness."
Beyond that, it is inconceivable that anyone watching this movie could avoid feeling the mortality of all passengers involved, from steerage to first class. Heroes and villains were found in all classes of passage and were more than amply portrayed in their full glory or wickedness, depending (not on the class, as stated by Sragow) on the individual. First-class passengers meeting their fate calmly were, indeed, portrayed. So were first-class passengers behaving as scum.
Honest boatmen were shown doing their duty; passengers were shown adhering to codes of chivalry. (Did Mr. Sragow have to go to the bathroom during the scene where the rich industrialist met his fate dressed in top hat and tails, not trying to buy his way onto a lifeboat, not using his position for all the leverage it could have bought him?)
Mr. Sragow must not have seen this movie. Mr. Sragow could not possibly have seen this movie. Please get a new movie reviewer who actually watches the films that he is going to write about in your otherwise pretty good paper.
Kathleen A. White
Recylcing Crozier Tech
In the December 11 Observer was an article by Jimmy Fowler ["The other arena"] concerning the smaller groups being left out of the proposed new performance hall in the Arts District. There is a building already completed that could provide space for all of the groups mentioned, if they could hurry and get organized and stop the demolition of Crozier Tech--a publicly owned building that someone, sometime, somewhere decided DISD did not need anymore.
Of course, finding the right person to talk to may be a feat in itself. Many of us have written letters, visited with elected officials (some are gone now), stood up at Dallas school board meetings and made suggestions, and talked with other cities about how they reused their school buildings. One suggestion was for the various cultural organizations to take over. This building is near the Arts District and the arts magnet high school and could be utilized very well. There is a Dart light rail station in front of the school. It's a wonderful location for these groups.
Preserve the school building--Dallas' first high school--and have a good location for all the groups to perform; don't wait for the bond issue and a long, drawn-out process of raising the money and building a new building. Hurry, you may beat the demolition permit!