Out of the Frying Pan

Monica Greene tries her hand at vote-getting

But Greene says it is precisely these incessant pleas for patience spanning over years that are driving her to seek office. If she is elected to the city council, Greene says, she will make accessibility, especially to her small-business constituents, a top priority. She plans to launch regular semi-monthly "breakfast club" meetings in her restaurant so that business owners and other constituents can bring their issues directly to her. She also plans to push for tax increment financing funds in Deep Ellum, which hasn't needed them in the past but is currently racked with a crime problem that is unnerving businesses and their customers.

Yet downtown is only a small splinter of District 2, whose boundaries cover an area from West Love Field and Arlington Park to Cadillac Heights and Mount Auburn. In some of these areas, Greene says, she sees pressing needs for parks and after-school activities. "I will be visible," Greene says. "And I won't be visible for the sake of it. I don't need any more attention."

In a district that could draw as many as eight candidates, Greene says she's bracing for that oft-derided but well-utilized tactic of political scrimmage: personal attacks. She believes politics provides the perfect venue for those uncomfortable with her sexual transition to vent. Loza thinks her fears may be unfounded. "I think the voters in District 2 are sophisticated enough to not be concerned about her status as a transsexual," he says. "They certainly haven't been concerned about my status as an openly gay man."

Monica Greene gained firsthand experience in the troubles of small businesses downtown.
Mark Graham
Monica Greene gained firsthand experience in the troubles of small businesses downtown.
City Councilman John Loza says downtown development has been scattershot.
Peter Calvin
City Councilman John Loza says downtown development has been scattershot.

With the skill of a veteran hostess, Greene quickly shifts the conversation from her personal fears and civic disappointments to urban optimism. "This is not Chicken Little talking to you," she insists. "I want to try to enhance this area for the future in the way that it is no longer an aberration, but an integral and viable part of our community...This is a hopeful person who believes strongly in a viable downtown."

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