By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"I'm for Domingo," he said right up. "Before he got in, I didn't have any thoughts. To me, Dunning is like yesterday's good guy. He's the kind of leader Dallas would have wanted in 1961."
Fullinwider referred to the revelation early in the campaign that Dunning belongs to the Dallas Country Club, which has no black members and still practices some kind of smelly-funky tokenism about Jews. "I think the country club membership, you know, it's indicative of him being past his prime."
Fullinwider remembers Garcia as having been right on all the tough issues over time. He said he believes that Garcia also has heart and generosity, traits that may not always peek through Garcia's chain-mail public persona. Several years ago when Fullinwider was fighting for a community of homeless people camped beneath the downtown overpasses, Garcia, then a council member, persuaded the rest of the council to at least provide the people with water and portable toilets.
"To me, Domingo is somebody that has a track record and a good one and a progressive one," Fullinwider said. "He was on the right side on the lead smelter issue. He was very helpful on the right side on the homeless issue. He was prominent and in the forefront on police review. He was very active in a substantial way in the single-member district struggle. So if you looked at the progressive agenda in Dallas, you would have to say that Domingo stayed on it."
I also drank some coffee with Laura Miller, at Cindi's New York Deli on Central Expressway near Forest Lane (my pick, because my parents live nearby and I needed to visit). I guess this means I have to explain my picket sign. Oh, yuck. This is going to sound like mass media therapy.
Last summer the Dallas Observer published a story about a code enforcement battle between Miller and a Mexican bus company ("Vamoose," August 30). The story, by Thomas Korosec, included a quote that I gave Korosec, something Miller actually had said to me that included a lot of blue language and ruthlessness. I believed then and still believe that the quote provided a useful window on her temperament.
Miller doesn't remember saying it. She says the bad language proves she couldn't have known we were on the record. But more than anything, based on the angry anti-Miller response the story drew from the Latino community, Miller feels that the story and the quote painted her as a racist.
I gave up a long time ago judging other white people on that score. I go to the experts. In weeks of interviews for this story, I found not one black or Hispanic activist who actually knows Laura Miller who would characterize her as racist in any way. If anything, I found a pronounced pro-Miller tilt among many minority grassroots leaders. The cow ate the cabbage and so on.
If the quote made Miller look like a racist, then that impression was wrong.
My treating the quote as on the record and giving it to Korosec was within the rules of journalism. It stretched...no, it broke the rules of friendship. I've been a reporter all my life. I was taught that the first rule in the Reporting Book of Hoyle is: "Friendship, schmiendship." I'm sure Miller remembers that one.
But she cut me off. Wouldn't take my calls. It's not that she called me back and called me a low-down skulking dog racist the way former Mayor Ron Kirk used to. I can handle that. She wouldn't return calls at all, which invokes Rule No. 2, Reporting Book of Hoyle: "Push red button."
The problem is that I know too many people in the community who are taking Miller very seriously. One of them is Will Jarrett, my former boss, former editor of the Dallas Times Herald and of the Denver Post, who went off and made a zillion bucks in the regional publishing business. Early in the election cycle, Jarrett helped arrange a kind of roundtable luncheon just for me at the Prestonwood Country Club (it was so I wouldn't try to come to the real party later).
Quite a group: Bobby McMillan, a business and golf running buddy of former mayors Starke Taylor and Robert Folsom; developer and Republican stalwart Rob Richmond; former head of the Chamber of Commerce and one-time mayoral candidate Forrest Smith; country club developer Vance Miller; and Jarrett.
The general tenor was that the city has fallen under irresponsible stewardship. In fact, when they talked about their impressions of City Hall, I formed a mental image from the children's story Wind in the Willows after the weasels have taken over Toad Hall.
It's money. It's streets. It's lawsuits. It's Bolton. It's a lot of things.
Jarrett said, "I think what's happened here, I think we've spent a lot of time going out and trying to sell the big-ticket items, like Boeing and the arena, kind of like you have a house and you keep trying to put new furniture in it, but the foundation is crumbling. The school thing is awful, and I happen to think this lack of integrity in law enforcement is also awful."