By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
It was comforting to have "Buzz" confirm it was my fault that "It's A Bad Deal!" lost by 1,600+ votes ["Winners and whiners," January 22]. I thought it was a little arrogant of me to assume that responsibility since over 300 people worked in our campaign and over 400 individuals contributed financially. However, it is interesting that Buzz chose to attack [former] Mayor Strauss' hair color, the cut of Laura Miller's suit, and my "dour, bloodless" appearance. I guess you just look at women when they speak.
"It's a Bad Deal!" did something very significant against a $3.4 million "YES" campaign. We made them quadruple their original $1 million budget. Please don't reduce the efforts of a dedicated army of citizens to my appearance or my inability to move my lower jaw appropriately when I speak. 61,238 voters got past my impairments to say "No" to a bad deal.
The next time a mayor wants to build a monument to his ego at our expense, maybe someone cuter and more perky will step up to lead the fight. Without my deficiencies detracting from the effort, they might well succeed.
To those of us who occasionally push our limited talents to tilt at windmills, it's encouraging to know Jim Schutze will be out there exposing "bad deals." The Dallas Observer is to be commended for bringing Jim back to Dallas readers. He has always had the ability to get to the truth without sarcasm or personal attacks.
I'm convinced after reading Buzz's post-arena referendum comments that the Observer has been bought up as part of the Tom Hicks media empire. How else to explain the nauseating "Eater of Crow" statement? And if Buzz thinks the election results can be attributed merely to the "vagaries of democracy," Buzz needs a crash course in Dallas politics 101, especially the lesson titled "Show Me the Money." Where are those investigative reporters when we need them?
Dangerous when wet
It saddens me to see the Observer position itself against the planned Trinity River improvements ["Flood money," January 22]. The vision for these improvements is about making Dallas a greener community, not a flood-controlled property primed for real estate development. The Trinity greenbelt can become a major attraction that unites rather than divides North and South Dallas--a Central Park for the city. This greenbelt can be a center of recreation--boat launches, hike 'n' bike trails, equestrian trails, recreational sports fields, citywide gatherings and festivals, and more. When completed, it will definitely be more of an attraction to tourist and resident alike than that "urban" arena we're constructing.
As an ex-resident of Austin, I have seen first-hand the amazing positive value of Town Lake to that city. There are several reasons that Austin has a higher quality of life than Dallas, and an important one is easier access to nature throughout the city. With the Trinity greenbelt as an asset to this city, more businesses could be encouraged to relocate to Dallas, which does provide an economic incentive for these improvements. Yet a concerned, environmentally conscious citizenry and city can ensure that too much development does not occur along the levees through planning and zoning.
I would also like to address these concerns about the 800-year flood plain. I mean, give us a break, guys. You cannot guard against everything in nature, and that has always been man's hubris. Telling the Army Corps of Engineers to protect against an 800-year flood is like telling all of Los Angeles to build every structure against a 15 Richter Scale earthquake. If we have an 800-year flood, I have a feeling there will be a lot more worries than a few inches over those levees.
As a member of the Trinity River Corridor Citizens Committee, I invite you and anyone else who is interested to give constructive participation to one of Dallas' greatest endeavors ever.
The feature story about Ron Kirk's boondoggle project to build more levees on the Trinity River is well written and most informative. It seems once again that greed and an obsession with "development" may cause future generations of Dallasites much grief. Thanks for the story.
"Flood money" was a great spanking for the only reason voters might have to pass the bond package. If this excellent piece of journalism can be circulated (maybe with a copy of The Accommodation), the upcoming bond package might be defeated. Perot can build his own road to Rome and waterboy [Ron] Kirk can be stripped of any pretensions of working toward the public good.
Where did you find Mark Stuertz? Never before have I read more intelligent, articulate, and lucid food reporting. Not in Gourmet, not in Food and Wine, not in The New York Times. His prose is extraordinarily evocative of visual and gustatory sensations. His choice of language is exceptionally acute, never stumbling lazily into the banal phrases of food-critic journalese. The more discriminating among us in the dining public in Dallas are fortunate indeed to have one food writer to turn to who knows food and, perhaps more important, knows how to write about food in an exhilaratingly original voice.
When he first appeared in your pages, I was miffed at the loss of Mary Brown Malouf. But I had not even half finished his debut review before I knew that he is the only one worth reading on a weekly basis. Why did The Dallas Morning News promote from within to put the queen of Pillsbury bake-off reporting in the food-critic throne at "The Guide?" I guess the Pillsbury training is where her '50s-style obsession for portion management comes from. A recent review had her filling space by determining for her readers how many people should be sharing each dessert item she had sampled. Brilliant. Your Dish editorial choices beat theirs too.
I quit reading ["The Guide"] after the hundredth $4.95 Chinese lunch buffet review. And how many Ma-and-Pa taco-stand enchilada plates do we really need to know about? Aren't cheap, high-volume, low-concept eats something we can scout on our own in our own neighborhoods without the benefit of a trite discussion in newsprint? I think you have made that call quite accurately.
Dallas' crummiest team
I'm glad someone in the Dallas-Fort Worth media isn't letting Don Nelson get off scot-free [Who's the boss?" January 22]. Since becoming the GM/coach of the Mavericks, Nelson has made trades and decisions that fall somewhere on a scale between horrible and laughable. When Nelson's latest move, the hiring of his son as coach for the year 2000, garnered only a raised eyebrow from the local sports media, I was prepared to indulge in conspiracy theories (Mavericks brass must be paying off the media to not be critical of the organization).
Upon reading Mr. Wilonsky's article, some of my faith was restored; I savored every questioning, derogatory paragraph. Thank you for saying what some area basketball fans (not necessarily Maverick fans) have been thinking for some time.
Dallas' only good team
For those who don't believe that Ken Hitchcock and the Dallas Stars are for real ["Center ice," January 29], I have a few words for them...1998 Stanley Cup Champions. Anything less will not be tolerated. GO STARS!
More arena regrets
The Arena itself may be good for Dallas, but the current package it's wrapped in isn't. The owners of the teams say "they" will pay for all the environmental cleanup of the site. Has anybody made sure that "they" will not access the state funds that the TNRCC has to assist in environmental clean-ups? Hmmm...
So if they access and use any portion of some state or federal fund, are we not as taxpayers paying them for the arena? This current package is kind of like the story of the Trojan Horse. Watch out for that trap door.
Miller's made-up mind
Let's see: First she said the Dart Light Rail was a bad thing, and now she says it's a good thing. Then she said the Meyerson was a bad thing, and now she says it's good. Laura Miller at first said Ron Kirk was a good mayor, and now she says he is not. And now she says she wants you to vote for her for city council? Well, if she says that the city council can't make up their minds, why would I or you vote her into office? I do know one thing--that it's wrong to put Laura Miller on the council when she herself can't decide what's right or wrong. Laura Miller, do all of us a favor and quit trying to do something you know nothing about. Laura Miller for city council? I say that's a bad vote.
Sonny Bono, the better half
I just read your article on Sonny Bono ["The beat goes on," January 15], and although I found it to be true to the man, I didn't see the need to crucify Cher every chance you got. I really doubt her relationships with Greg or Gene had anything to do with her career, and I think she deserves respect now while she is still with us, rather than waiting until she dies and some writer (like yourself) looks back over her life and decides she wasn't such a joke after all.
Cher has had fewer relationships in the last two decades than Winona Ryder had in 1997. Why don't you guys get off her ass?
Vance Miller's memory
Thank you for your article on Vance Miller ["Deadbeat," January 15].
A side note about your jab at Ronald Reagan and his "can't recalls": No one in history has more "can't recalls" than Bill and Hillary Clinton! Ronald Reagan shines compared to the current slimeball in the White House.
Thanks for the excellent write-up on Bob Kirkpatrick ["Behind the lines," January 22]. I had the extreme pleasure to meet and listen to him and his band last week at TD's. And now, here I sit, back home in frozen New England...and you can be sure I'll be watching for any news of them venturing up this way. It's always great to learn of a musician's background; your article was enlightening!