By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
The fight goes on: Jim Schutze's sidebar to your April 7 "Mayorzilla" cover story, "And About Those Potholes...", is simplistic, misleading and uses figures provided by city staff out of context. In truth, money devoted to Dallas street repairs has remained constant. And the money for street improvements (street resurfacing, reconstruction and repair) has more than doubled over the past five years. Significantly, the FY '04/'05 budget of $102 million is the highest in the city's history.
As explained to Mr. Schutze, a change in how the city deals with pothole repairs has been put into practice. Just last year, the city's Street Services department implemented a different approach to street repairs, including the filling and tracking of potholes.
For example, instead of separately repairing and counting three individual potholes in close proximity to each other, city crews have begun clustering all three into one repair. That process is called "asphalt level ups." The level up is cheaper, faster and a more efficient use of manpower and materials. Trouble is, we've stopped counting those three in our example as individual potholes and instead count them in terms of the "yardage" of the street repaired.
So, the "pothole count" no longer reflects the total number of potholes repaired. While the number of potholes from 2002-2003 to 2003-2004 was indeed lower, street and alley repairs, including level ups, increased by more than 21,000 square yards. Potholes by any other name are still being filled, streets are being leveled and crews are attacking them in clusters. In short, the battle against the pothole remains unabated; we're just doing it better.
Mary K. Suhm
Acting City Manager
Jim Schutze responds: You'd think a pothole by any other name would still be a pothole, but not at Dallas City Hall. Even if "level ups" are potholes, which they aren't, that still produces a 28 percent drop in pothole/level-up money from 2002-2003 to 2003-2004, by the city's own numbers. So where's the big mobilization?
Tall but Somethin'
TCU phenom: Thank you very much for sharing Sandora Irvin's story ("Alone No More," by Paul Kix, March 31). It is so inspiring and just shows forgiveness can change your life for the better. I am a fan of Women's College Basketball and am fortunate enough to watch her even on TV only. Thank you for covering women players, since most people in the United States don't give enough exposure for these women so that this sport can flourish. I hope with upcoming talents like Sandora Irvin, Mo Currie, Kristin Haynie and many many more, the WNBA's future is a lot brighter. Again, thanks again for the well-written article.
Badu to the Bone
Ugly vibes: This e-mail is in response to the "Wigged Out" letter in the March 31 edition. I was present at this odd display of emotion as well. I didn't and still don't know what to make of it, but sadly it left a bad taste in mouth with regard to Erykah and her work. Up until that show, I raved about her music and her messages. Since then, it hasn't been the same for me. I can't say that I ever remember being as nervous as I was at that show that I was going to be attacked. It really was a foreign feeling, and hence the sadness. I tried my best to believe that I misunderstood what Ms. Badu was saying and portraying during her rants at the show, but I couldn't convince myself. And remembering the number of people (of all races, mind you) that trickled out of the theater after the bad vibes commenced, I realized that I was simply wasting my time with the self-persuasion attempt. That said, I do hope that was some sort of mistake on her part. And I do hope that she gets word of these dissapointing connections that she made so that she can truly understand her own message of love.
Big deal: I recently read your Buzz column (by Patrick Williams, March 31) criticizing the Omni for originally canceling the underwater volcanoes show. If Buzz had actually watched the show before complaining, he would understand why they did so.
My husband and I were disturbed by the current actions of creationists, so we saw the show this past weekend. We have seen many IMAX movies and I used to select films including science documentaries for a local library, so we have a broad basis for comparison. We were both unimpressed by the quality of the show. If we hadn't known about the controversy, we would have wondered why the Omni had screened the show at all.
Bad day for a thug: Regarding the article about Jesse Chaddock's bar fight (Across the Bar, by Sarah Hepola, April 7): Just thought you should know that the founder of the Confederate Hammerskins is Sean Tarrant, not Scott. But I also wanted to thank you for the article, as I have heard a few variations of the story. I'm glad that you actually went to the extent of describing the situation at hand rather than just a blip summing up that "Jesse Chaddock [found] guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity" (The Dallas Morning News). So thank you again for a more insightful story (as always).
Editor's note: "A-me" is right; we were wrong. See the correction below.
In last week's Across the Bar column on Jesse Chaddock's trial, the name of Chaddock's friend, founder of the Confederate Hammerskins, was incorrect. It is Sean Tarrant, not Scott Tarrant. We regret the error