By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Stinks of corruption: Many thanks for Thomas Korosec's revealing article "The Little-People Tax" (July 12). His description of how the wealthy rather than those in the middle- or lower-income brackets were helped by the state Legislature's 1997 decision to cap property tax increases at 10 percent per year once again underlines the truism that the rich, being rich, have the means to avoid paying taxes. No doubt the law--along with the incompetence of appraisers, the ability of homeowners to keep the prices they paid for their mansions secret and their tendency to under-report renovations that increase the value of their property--has the effect of subverting the state's constitutional provision that property be taxed equally and uniformly. If such subversion stinks of corruption, well, it is corruption founded on the government's need for revenue to fund services the people claim to want and the unwillingness of people to use their own money to provide that revenue.
The 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat once described the state as the entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else. That means in today's America that the middle-income people get squeezed. I think it may be the time for the little people to dump a little tea.
Dumbing down the news: After reading Thomas Korosec's story regarding Dallas tax appraisals, I sat back and tried to remember the last time I had read an equally weighty story in The Dallas Morning News. Not for a while. Heaven forbid they ruffle any feathers, or foment any debate along racial or caste lines, as they like to say to defend not reporting potentially volatile issues. While the DMN dumbs down the news for all of us, I am appreciative (and amazed) at the level and consistency of stories I find in these pages weekly. Thanks so much.
Waste of tabloid space: The recent "exposé" on Fox 4's Becky Oliver ("Warrior Reporter," June 28) is the last article by Rose Farley I will ever read. Her article was a tremendous waste of tabloid space, inaccurate and a waste of time. The article contains more than 80 paragraphs of weak, rambling insinuations. If Ms. Farley was trying to be funny, it missed the mark with me.
Certainly Becky Oliver's scoops can be sensational. Of course she comes on strong; not every mom is cut out for her line of work. While reading the article, I started to doubt some of the accusations that were made, so I did some research on my own. The record stands that Ms. Oliver does her homework, and so does Fox 4's legal staff. Ms. Farley condemned Fox 4 and Ms. Oliver for shoddy preparation and execution. In more than 20 years of reporting very high-profile issues, not one of Ms. Oliver's stories has failed a legal test. And Rose is dumping on her? Wouldn't it be grand if all other media reporting was that reliable?
Ms. Farley was wrong on DART. Check Brett Shipp's recent story on WFAA-Channel 8. His conclusion was the same as Becky's two months prior. (Copycat.) The Dallas Morning News congratulated WFAA for the story about DART's misuse of credit cards. I understand DART has come out with an internal audit concluding they need to overhaul their credit-card policy.
Rose was wrong on DISD. Review Carole Keeton Rylander's highly publicized audit of DISD. Origin: State Comptroller's Office.
It was obvious Ms. Farley hadn't researched the Polk piece, or she wouldn't have raised the inane points she did.
Did Ms. Farley break Texas law by stalking Ms. Oliver?
So what was the purpose of this cheap, ineffective shot at Fox 4 and Ms. Oliver? Who from the editorial ranks of the Dallas Observer authorized this assignment? Perhaps this should be investigated.
I like Channel 4, and I like Becky Oliver's work. Much of the time I like the Observer. Why don't you work together? There are lots of issues and bad guys that need to be identified. Get 'em.
Editor's note:Dallas Observer Editor Julie Lyons authorized the story, and we stand by it.
Fresh air: In her review of the Ed Ruscha retrospective ("That's All Folks," July 12), Christine Biederman notes with disappointment that "Ruscha's L.A. is not a place where men are murdered over little or nothing at all." She wants Ruscha and contemporary art in general to grope with bigger things like "religion, art and war."
Well, L.A. is L.A. is L.A., and it's Ruscha's, and it's ours. We all know that L.A. is a place where people get killed willy-nilly, etc. Fortunately for us, Ruscha has the courtesy to leave this kind of content, as well as the cliché and pedantry so often associated with its communication, to the evening news and reality television.
Ruscha's art has never been a mirror on life, despite its flirtation with comprehensive documentation, and Ruscha knows it. He was smart enough to understand that images have always been and always will be completely different from reality. As a result, his art is full of savory abbreviations, offering up little tidbits of good condensed from a lot of bad.
Artists don't solve social problems, and social problems don't necessarily make for good art. To prove this, let's have a decade of heavy-duty content art and hold our breath waiting either for the benefit to society or for the next Dostoyevsky, whichever comes first.
We'll all suffocate.
Meanwhile, please Mr. Ruscha, before you die, serve up some more of your fresh air.