By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Shut up or pay up: I recently sat down to dine alone and against my better judgment picked up a Dallas Observer. I was going straight for Jim Schutze, but I found myself first reading the letters section. I was quite surprised by the diversity of opinion and latitude of different cultural viewpoints. I was kind of glowy with optimism. I ventured further into the issue and...bam. I knew if I looked hard enough, an article would offend me. And sure enough: the "kissing hotties" article (Full Frontal, September 4). My point is this: Madonna and Britney sell their sexuality for fame and consciously participate in their own exploitation. But dude, lay off of our local female hotties. The list includes many talented women in our area, women who have cultivated their talents in a broad range of political, social, academic and performing skills, and they don't trade, barter or steal with their sexuality. Reducing women to their sexual component is pornographic. And if women do participate in pornography, then they should get paid.
Dr. Elba Garcia didn't go through dental school and city elections to have some snotty-nosed perv making private pictures about her with public words. Some games we play in our heads should stay there. If not, pay up.
Racial? You Bet.
Scapegoat: The firing of Terrell Bolton most certainly does have a racial dimension ("Ted's Excellent Adventure," by Jim Schutze, September 4). Chief Bolton's tenure has been marked by race more than by any other factor. The heightened scrutiny under which he worked from day one; the antagonism of the Dallas Police Association; the overblown criticism of routine actions (such as the shuffling of top aides by a new chief); and, most recently, the mayor's attempt to personalize the city's relatively high crime rate onto the face of the chief--these are all new burdens for a Dallas police chief, burdens that surfaced for the first time on the city's first African-American chief.
I grew up here. When the Dallas crime rate was higher than it is today, the mayor and other city officials generally pledged to work with the presiding chief to protect the public. Even Chief Jesse Curry, who was in charge on the Sunday morning that Jack Ruby gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV in the basement of the department's own headquarters, never faced such a hostile chorus calling for his removal.
Faking racism: Dallas, Texas, is suffering from the highest crime rate among major cities nationwide. Terrell Bolton, the city's top cop for the past four years, was fired by the city manager two weeks ago. In addition to the dubious distinction of steering Big D to the top of the crime charts, the former chief cost the city $5.65 million to settle lawsuits that arose from his demotion of several top police commanders when he took office in 1999. Add to that the drug scandals in the narcotics division, which led to the unlawful imprisonment of dozens of citizens, and Mr. Bolton's intransigence when dealing with the FBI and the district attorney, and you have a department in turmoil. Any one of the above calamities would have been enough to fire a police chief in any city in the country. But Dallas isn't like any other city in the country. Race appears to be at the center of every issue of public policy. Because Mr. Bolton just happens to be the first black to lead the Dallas police, the slightest criticism of his performance has been met with the usual blather about discrimination. False indignation notwithstanding, Mr. Bolton lasted longer than he deserved, and firing him was the best move Dallas has made in four years.
Let's make a deal: Mr. Dan Hardman (Letters, September 4), you are a racist. When blacks suffer a setback, the racial card is played. The blacks can call Ted Benavides a "wetback," but no one has called for that protester's head. Yet if Benavides called you the "N" word (good Lord, whites can't say that word), then he is bounced out of office.
You can call the mayor a bitch--and the Dallas Observer sees fit to print your letter without whitewashing it.
Let's make a deal: Let's agree Terrell Bolton was not an effective police chief.
If the whites did not like him, maybe the blacks thought that having a black police chief might reduce crime. He could be a role model. Well guess what, we led the nation in crime. And if he had been an effective manager, the city would not have had to pay out millions in settlements to former high-ranking police officers he fired to move his own people in.
I do not feel sympathy for Bolton. I am sick for the black community. They have to endure protests by the same people year in and year out and are left wondering, "Have these people done anything for me?"
Crocodile: If you didn't write a single word after that wonderful title ("Boo-effin'-hoo," Buzz, by Patrick Williams, September 4), I'd be pleased. I agree with everything you said and wonder what part of "at will" the former chief doesn't understand. His performance at his church Sunday was reprehensible, even for this Baptist Concentration Camp we call Dallas.