By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Plata won't seek re-election when his term expires next May, and he's advising his fellow trustees to do the same. He says he can no longer stomach being part of a dysfunctional, acrimonious school board. "I tried to do what I could to change things," he told Buzz. "The best thing we can do is all go away, all disappear."
He's telling us?
Two years ago, civic leaders and local legislators suggested that it was time to declare democracy a failure at DISD and appoint a czar--the Texas Education Agency or Mayor Ron Kirk, perhaps--to set the schoolhouse in order. (Kirk, bless his heart, said no thanks. He might be a bit of a despot, but he's no fool.) Board members protested. More recently the chorus from civic-leader types, The Dallas Morning News, and even some school board members has been, "Democracy is good, but only if more and better people participate." (A cynical person might read that as "throw the bums out.")
Good plan, but it sounds a tad ironic coming from the lips of board members themselves: "Sure we stink, but don't blame us. You should have voted."
Of course, contradictory messages are not uncommon at DISD. Plata, for instance, complains of "micro-management" of trustees while demanding the TEA intervene in DISD affairs. He's also tired of the din from irksome constituents and interest groups--also known as voters--urging him to take a stand against Rojas. "I am the one who gets all the pressure," he complains. "People say, 'You represent the 52 percent [of DISD] that is Hispanic.'"
It's a tough job, and we sympathize, Jose. We really do. But if you can't stand the heat...
You, too, can be a Republican, what with Gov. George W. Bush's "passion of inclusion" and all. Yep, people of all stripes, as long as they're straight, are welcome at the GOP's festival of love in Philadelphia. It's like Woodstock, only boring.
Yet two presumably heterosexual people also are not being included at the do, at least not as much as one might expect. You're not likely to see Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Phil Gramm up on the big mainstage this week.
"We had a limited amount of time each night," says Bush spokesman Ray Sullivan. "Senators Hutchison and Gramm are great allies of Governor Bush and spokesmen for our party. But the convention speakers are primarily real people, not elected officials. We are trying to put an emphasis on working Americans and leaders of faith-based organization."
"Primarily real people," he says. As opposed to what? Buzz wonders. Cyborgs?
Asked whether the oversight had ruffled anyone's feathers--a rumor Buzz had learned from circumspect sources--Sullivan said: "Everyone here agrees that the first night was a home run. It showed a unified party."
Of straight people.
—Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams