Letters

Nothing to crow about
When I worked as an armed security guard at an Oak Cliff shopping center six years ago, it seemed obvious to me that the multiracial security staff there was far more concerned about drug dealers and smash-and-grabs than they were about either roosters ["Fowled out," May 13] or chain stores.

But since few journalists or politicians ever see that side of Oak Cliff--and those who do either exaggerate it for the benefit of North Dallas egos or deny it for the benefit of South Dallas egos--I find it hard to believe that the situation those guards faced has changed so much in the last six years that an intrepid politico like Laura Miller can't possibly find a problem south of the Trinity that's worse than noisy gallitos.

Oh, well. As an ex-Detroiter, I should have gotten used to the way we Americans routinely ignore our urban problems. But to make such a fuss about chickens! Ay, por favor!

Roy Mendoza Jr.
Via e-mail

In response to your feature regarding the recent ban of roosters from the city of Dallas, I must protest. I have lived in Oak Cliff all my life, and roosters are a fairly new problem to the neighborhood. Only in the past five years have they become a nuisance. I recall as a child that there was a woman on our street who had chickens and one or two roosters, and it wasn't much of a problem. But now, there is a man with a back yard full of about 40 to 50 roosters--not a hen among them! Obviously, he is not raising them for the eggs.

About once a month, a dozen or so cars will line our street, and a "party" will occur in his back yard. Try living two doors from that. Fifty roosters crowing all day and the knowledge that they are doomed to suffering in a cockfighting ring.

I must tell you that I am white, and the fact that my family didn't move out in the white flight of the 1960s and 1970s should say something about our willingness to accept diversity. I was one of the ones who complained to Councilwoman Laura Miller when she first ran for office. I was also featured in her video. To her credit, she kept a campaign promise: to ban roosters. I can't speak so highly for other politicians.

Yes, roosters and cockfighting may be part of the culture in Mexico--but this is not Mexico. I should not have to hear them night and day. If I had to continue enduring the noise, eventually I would move, as I'm sure others would. Then you have an entirely Hispanic Oak Cliff, filled with roosters and cockfighting and nothing else. Then where's your diversity?

Which brings me to a major flaw with your article: You find one drunk who shouts that Laura Miller is giving a fight to the blacks and Hispanics, and you use that to set the tone for the entire piece. That type of journalism smacks of McCarthyism--brand those you dislike or disagree with or have a personal grudge against as something reviled--Communist in the 1950s, racist in the 1990s. Do this to silence your opponents and cast doubt over the sincerity and legitimacy of their work. It is simply not responsible journalism.

The issue at hand is about the noise, and for some like myself, the cruelty of cockfighting. Comparing the elimination of roosters with the elimination of dogs is a scare tactic--dogs are a domesticated animal and a companion of humans since prehistory.

And as far as whether Ms. Miller wants a Starbucks in Oak Cliff, I say more power to her. I am not a coffee drinker, but I am sure Oak Cliff can support another coffeehouse. So what if it's a national chain? As your article pointed out, Oak Cliff is about diversity--so why not have an independent shop and a national chain? Doesn't Norma's Diner have a loyal following, while Grandy's is closing stores in Oak Cliff?

Somehow I believe that you people at the Dallas Observer like to think of Oak Cliff as a sort of sideshow attraction. You like the fact that your North Dallas friends are scared here--it makes you seem really hip to be in the know of "the 'hood," as you disparagingly refer to it. But for those of us who have lived here for decades and love its history, charm, and diversity, it's where we live and choose to live. It is only improved by the elimination of the constant noise of roosters, and it will not be destroyed by the opening of a Starbucks.

Troy Sherrod
Via e-mail

Laura Miller is a typical politicrat who is just trying to "chicken-scratch" her way into the big ring. I believe that this is simply an easy score for her, meaning, she just wanted to pass a law. Why? Just because.

The idea that the city can afford this and enforce this is crazy! The roosters bother no one. I believe that these businesses have found themselves a pawn to do their bidding. This poor lost soul (Laura Miller) does Dallas no good, and for such a ridiculous maneuver should be banned from politics forever!

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