Buzz

Good council hard to find
Watch out. Buzz is getting literary again. This time it's Flannery O'Connor, who wrote: "She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

A psychotic killer in the short story "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" says that about a self-centered woman who finds Jesus just before he shoots her dead.

Why, besides pedantry, is Buzz afflicting you with a Southern novelist? Because of the Dallas Code Compliance Department, that's why.

Pamela Mickens, west division manager for the department, sent a letter earlier this month informing residents near Walnut Hill and Webb Chapel that the city was going to perform a sweep through the neighborhood to make certain the alleys were up to snuff--the grass mown, the trash cleared, etc.

"For the last few months, City Councilwoman Barbara Mallory Caraway, the city of Dallas staff...and others have been working together to address the concerns of the residents," began the letter, written on city stationery to residents of the Calliet Crime Watch area.

One neighborhood resident says the letter, mailed out a month before municipal elections, smells of city-sponsored electioneering on behalf of Caraway, who is up for re-election in District 6 on May 1.

"I think it's out of the ordinary for the city to mention [Caraway's] name a month before the election," says the woman, who asked not to be identified.

The neighborhood tends to have a high voter turnout, notes the woman, who called code compliance to complain about the city giving Caraway "credit for something she doesn't deserve credit for."

Jerome Davis, a public information officer for Dallas, says code compliance regularly sends out letters to residents when it is preparing to do an enforcement sweep. It's not unusual for city council members' names to be on the letters, he says, though he didn't know how often that happens. (Lots, we bet, around election time.) Code compliance was preparing the action anyway, and Caraway asked to be involved.

How fortuitous.
We're not exactly sure what the anonymous resident is complaining about. If a city election is what it takes to get the alleys cleaned and the weeds cut, then let's have more elections. Every month, say.

The Dallas City Council: They would of been a good council if it had been somebody there to elect them every minute of their lives.

Buying in
It must be sheer coincidence. D magazine's current cover story, beating up on city council member Laura Miller for beating up on Olympics promoter Tom Luce, hit the streets at the same time D's salespeople hit the streets offering advertising space in the magazine's upcoming special publication on the Olympics.

A recorded message on D's phone system helpfully provides callers the phone number for Luce's Olympics promotions outfit, Dallas 2012, in case callers want to volunteer.

Is it conceivable that publisher Wick Allison ordered up the hit on Miller, who has publicly called Luce a liar, to win his support for Allison's latest venture in political "advertorial" publishing?

Ha. And where does the rhetorical bear poop?
A more interesting question: How do you fill a whole magazine with stuff about an Olympic event 13 years off that may never happen, and how on earth do you sell ads for it? Seems you would need major help with a thing like that.

And what washes the rhetorical one hand?
This isn't the first time that D has thrown its weight--such as it is--behind the Big Project.

Last year, the magazine published another special report, "Building the New Dallas," before the vote on a $543.5 million bond package that included money for the Trinity River project. That one, Buzz recalls, offered up the image of boats sailing on a downtown lake. Apparently, "special" in this case is used in the same way it's used to describe learning-disabled children. Still, we can't wait to see what D has to say about the Olympics. We see images of Olympic teams sculling across the lake, past the discarded tires and condoms and through a thick layer of soap scum.

Wouldn't that be special?

And another thing
D, at least, is forthcoming about its boosterism, much the way Buzz is open about our cynicism. We can respect that. Sort of. More problematic is Belo, owner of the The Dallas Morning News and WFAA. Would the keeper of journalism's highest standards allow potential advertising revenue to affect its reporting on whether Dallas should pursue the Olympics?

One wouldn't think so, unless one understood that journalism's highest standards are to pursue the truth wherever it lies and to keep profit margins above 20 percent--but not necessarily in that order.

We mention this after someone pointed out something we missed in Belo's 1998 annual report, which Buzz detailed in last week's issue.

"Belo [television] stations brought in more than $40 million in political, Olympics and Super Bowl advertising which contributed to an overall Broadcast Division revenue increase of nearly 5 percent. While there are no Olympics in 1999 and it is an 'off year' for political spending, we are working hard to overcome these non-repeating revenues."

We bet. Just elbow Wick Allison out of your way as you head to the trough.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Think it's easy coming up with erudite literary references? College lit was a long time ago. E-mail us more at patrick_williams@dallasobserver.com.

 
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