Whipping boy

John Loza learns that making friends is easy for a city council member. Keeping them is harder.

"Everyone fears the unknown," Albright says. "One of the problems of living in the inner city is, indeed, it isn't going to be like living in the suburbs of Pleasantville. You have urban investments. You have mixed uses. It's a function of the economy. The city is not a static place where you just hope that things will never change, because they will."

Despite the trouble brewing in East Dallas, Loza says he isn't concerned about the campaign. He's certain that May 1 will be a cakewalk. What troubles him nowadays, he says, is not irate neighborhood activists or former friends who are now enemies.

"My biggest frustration has been that I got there at City Hall thinking that as a council member I could just give orders and things would get done," Loza says, giving his high school ring a twist. "One of the first things that struck me was, there were a lot of limitations on my power as opposed to just actually having power. That's still frustrating."

Loza laughs when he's reminded of an advertisement he placed as a joke inside his senior yearbook. In it, a fat cigar pokes out of a wide-open grin, as Loza poses as the roustabout of "J.L. Political Enterprises, Inc." an imaginary firm specializing in "Bribery, Scandal, Mudslinging, [and] Character Assassination."

"If you have the money," the ad reads in bold type, "we've got it."
"Oh yeah," Loza says, "everybody back then knew I was going to go into politics at some point." He pauses for a moment while he considers the memory. "It's funny sometimes how things foretell the future.

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