By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
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.
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.
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!
Making a mark in politics is one thing; making a mark by instilling idiocies into our city charter is another.
James Carlos Martin
I live in an apartment on Bishop Avenue, blocks away from the Oak Cliff Coffeehouse. The last thing Oak Cliff needs is a Starbucks. There's plenty of good coffee here.
Last winter I wanted to have a holiday party. My apartment is smalI. I could not have one here. I asked Kenneth, the owner of the Oak Cliff Coffeehouse, if I could use the Coffeehouse. Even though he was out of town during the party, he let me do it, and he even got someone to work to help us set up and clean up. All I had to do was pay that person for his time. Kenneth allowed us to "take over" the coffeehouse, including the kitchen. He supplied coolers for drinks and let me store food there the day before. We had a great party thanks to him. Do you think a bureaucratic chain store like Starbucks would have allowed me to do that?
Anyway, how many constituents on the campaign trail asked for a Starbucks as "their" issue?
I have one negative comment. I resent that Ms. Farley points to the racial tension in Oak Cliff based on a couple of random persons' comments at the Pitt Grill. They are just individuals with their opinions. While their comments are valid for them, she should have known better as a reporter than to draw sweeping conclusions about race relations in Oak Cliff. There are many more people, groups, and institutions in Oak Cliff that are working together on common interests--neighborhood associations, schools, and particularly Dallas Area Interfaith. Why didn't she talk to them about race relations in Oak Cliff? Institutions and organized people better reflect the community than a random person off the street.
In the wonderful article on roosters and Oak Cliff, Michael Harrity of the Bishop Street Market wonders why Council member Laura Miller is pushing so hard for a Starbucks rather than a Java Jones. Well, follow the money, Michael...all politicians turn eventually, some just sooner than others.
I am absolutely appalled at the audacity of Mayor Ron Kirk and the majority of the Dallas City Council ["Gimme gimme," May 13]. Dallas has been awarded $22 million in Federal Community Development Block Grants, and only $52,375 is going to be spent citywide. This is unbelievable.
Mayor Kirk and his cohorts can find plenty of money for the arena project, the Trinity River project, and the Olympics 2012 project. All of these projects benefit the fat cats like Ross Perot Jr. and Tom Hicks.
Dallas has hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded infrastructure repairs that desperately need to be done. Obviously, he and his cohorts don't believe in listening to the voters in the last election, who wanted the Dallas city government to focus on basic city services.
Well, if the citizens of Dallas don't need to be listened to because the majority of us are not Daddy Warbucks, then I think it is time a lawsuit is filed against Mayor Kirk and his cohorts for dereliction of duty and failure to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities under the city charter.
I am fed up with a city government that thinks it is OK for Mayor Kirk's wife to get $500,000 from Hicks. It is time for Mayor Kirk and his accomplices on the city council to find out once and for all that they work for all of the citizens of Dallas, and that we will hold them legally accountable.
For quite a long while now, I have been dragging my feet in conveying my thanks to you guys for the outstanding service you perform for this city. Quite frankly, and simply put, I don't know what the hell those of us among the "great unwashed" would do without you. Caught between civic leaders who won't talk and elected representatives who haven't a clue, the Dallas Observer provides our only insight to what is really going on.
My sincere appreciation for a job well done.
German C. Gardner
Fishing for complaints
I think that your article about Newport's ["Going back to the well," May 6] is a very sad, untrue statement. Did the author's goldfish recently die? Did he fall overboard on a fishing trip? He's obviously been jilted by something or someone related to seafood. Or, just perhaps, maybe he was having a bad day.
I guess the only consistent thing is that the article reflects the Observer's tendency to be extreme. Newport's is definitely one of the premier seafood restaurants in Dallas and has only gotten better since the new ownership. I dine at Newport's every time I visit the Dallas-Fort Worth area from Seattle and am always thrilled with the service and the quality of food. I think the author's first visit was more reflective of a typical experience at Newport's, except for the lack of excitement over the menu. I haven't noticed many top-notch seafood restaurants in the Dallas area over the past 15 years. Perhaps that's because Dallas' idea of seafood is Red Lobster. Of course, you could consider Cafe Pacific as an option if you were one of the top 25 people on Jack Knox's approved guest list, although I'm guessing the Observer isn't.
I'm confident that Newport's will continue to be one of Dallas' top choices for seafood. And it's certainly at the top of my list.