A Tale of Two Pities

Hill felt sorry, Bolton felt nothing over fake drugs

The political outfall from the fake-drug scandal for Hill was clear: He needed to make sure all seized drugs were tested in order to show he wasn't allowing any more fake evidence. Silva and other DHBA members with whom I spoke, as well as Benavides, said it was clearly understood in the meetings with Hill that allowing people to waive their test results might backfire on Hill politically: It could look as if he were setting up a way to railroad more innocent people. In spite of that, Hill has agreed in principle to a waiver, according to Benavides.

People I talked to on both sides said the policy for handling these waivers is still a work in progress, with a close eye on how to avoid abuses by the district attorney's staff or by bad defense lawyers. (I called Hill himself for comment but did not hear back.)

The point the DHBA people make is that Hill is doing what they ask, even though it could come back to bite him politically. For that reason, the Hispanic lawyers I spoke with all argued that Hill has shown courage and integrity.

Contrast: The DHBA never heard back at all from Bolton. Not a word. Not a memo. Not a phone call. Michelle Wong Krause, a member of DHBA who was involved in the process, said of Bolton's failure to respond to DHBA's letter: "I am so mad. I really think that should be made public. I am just appalled that he would not give us the time of day. We're not just some fly-by-night organization. We have been around 20 years representing the Hispanic lawyers."

She personally made a follow-up call to see why they had not heard back on the letter, but not even that drew a response. "Nothing. Not a single response. Not a call. Not even an underling saying, 'Sorry, we're under investigation, so we can't say anything.' He completely blew us off, and I think that was so irresponsible of him. To me that's so arrogant. It's like he just didn't care."

I called Bolton's administrative staff and spoke with his administrative assistant and a desk sergeant who opens the mail, even faxed them a copy of the DHBA letter, trying to get them to tell me if the chief ever saw the letter. Later I asked Janice Houston, Bolton's $95,000-a-year public relations person, about the letter. She said Bolton didn't think he remembered seeing the letter but couldn't be sure.

The net effect of Korosec's Bolton story was devastating: Other law enforcement officials, lawyers and office-holders who have dealt with him painted him as a pariah, a liar, a bullshit artist and a horrible administrator who has surrounded himself with dumbasses.

Clearly in response to the piece, Bolton put together something called a "Police Academy for the Media," during which I guess the chief was going to wow all of the 40 or so media people who attended with his stellar personality. Instead he made outrageous comments about how he wants to torture and abuse arrested persons who have not been convicted of a crime. There was no off-the-record agreement for any of this. But when Houston figured out that her boss had said something embarrassing, she tried to argue it would be unfair for the press to report his remarks, because they had been his guests.

Sheesh.

He is the city's first black chief. He is hardly the city's first black public official. In the past 20 years, Dallas has seen African-American city managers, a mayor, many council members, a county commissioner and countless other civic and business leaders--maybe not enough, but a lot. And as we should expect, those African-American leaders have broken on the same percentage lines as white and Latino leaders between brilliant, so-so and no-good. Whoever hands that stuff out, they don't do it on the basis of skin tone.

But Bolton has wrapped himself in skin tone. He behaves as if he were the first black man ever to hold an important position in this town, and he has repeatedly suggested that any effort to oppose him is racial. He threatens racial unrest in the city over every personal slight, even the city manager's failed attempt to save the city $95,000 by eliminating Houston's job and moving her to another post.

I wanted to see that one. I wanted to see the sound trucks rolling through African-American neighborhoods: "The city manager's proposed cutback will reduce Janice Houston's annual compensation from $95,000 a year to less than $60,000. Take to the streets now!" I mean, exactly how far down can you grind the civil rights movement in order to pour it into your own pocket?

Prediction: When he does finally get out of town--and it is going to happen--he will threaten racial unrest if the contract with Mayflower Movers fails to include bubble wrap for his crystal.

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