By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Gullible, cynical and desperate: So now Jim Schutze is receiving his political wisdom on the "strong mayor" debate from a wealthy golf bum in a Park Cities watering hole ("Take It or Leave It," April 14). And what did these hard-boiled news men come up with? As the prime example of corruption under the city manager form of government, they commiserate over a "scandal" 30 years ago when local businesses self-reported their inventories for personal property taxes. Big deal. If Jim had not been drawing a paycheck from the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Observer all his life, he might realize that all privately owned businesses "self-report" their taxes--state, local and otherwise. His former boss at the defunct Times Herald laments that "we don't have a manager at the federal level--we have President Bush." If Jim thinks Bush in any way "manages" the day-to-day operations of the federal government, he may also think he "writes" his own speeches and that he "managed" the Texas Rangers baseball team while he was general manager of the partnership that owned the club. It don't work that way. The Blackwood proposal was written for the gullible (it is the best/only alternative), the cynical (the manager form can't work) and the desperate (anything is better than the current system). Jim Schutze now officially qualifies in all three categories.
Coalition, shmoalition: As I was reading Jim Schutze's story ("Mayorzilla," April 7), I was also listening to the debate on NPR between Don Hill and Laura Miller concerning the strong-mayor proposal. Don Hill's tune was pretty clear: The reason Laura Miller is not as successful as she should be is because of her management style--she doesn't know how to "build coalitions." Let's put aside for a moment the fact that the support she has gotten for this proposal pretty much ends the discussion on her coalition-building skills. I would simply point to ex-Chief Bolton, to the millions of dollars Dallas had to pay to the demoted or fired deputy chiefs, to the national news-making fake-drugs scandal, to the millions more Dallas will have to pay the victims of the fake-drugs scandal...and ask Don Hill if Chief Bolton was a product of "coalition-building." Because if he was, I'd have to say that Dallas doesn't have any more money to afford any more "coalition-building." Maybe Don and his cadre can build a coalition to pay for past "coalition-building" disasters.
Reuben L. Owens
Little Bro Checks In
Dallas Hears a Who: Kudos to you for finally recognizing Mission Giant ("A Welcome Experiment," by Shannon Sutlief, April 7), a Denton band that has been performing in the metroplex for years with very little notice from the gatekeepers of opinion there at the Dallas Observer...at least since the reign of Crain "the Brain."
Sarah Hepola (who seems to be having a difficult time making the transition into middle age) is even worse than the Zac Attack and his circle jerk ever were. The Observer's music section has turned into a virtual swamp of vinegar and water with these acts she chooses to write about. Only Merritt Martin and Shannon Sutlief keep her from totally soiling this sad little section.
While it certainly is the DALLAS Observer, there are so many great bands from Denton, like Mission Giant, that are creative, talented, unique and actually a blast to see live. Best new act? The Undoing of David Wright. They consistently play Dallas and will absolutely eat the lunch of these derivative little New Wave groups that you guys love to hype so much. While we're on the subject of Denton trendsetters versus Dallas bed wetters, ever hear of Dream Tigers or Faux Fox? Dream Tigers are former members of The Aleph, only now they are even better and no longer have that irritating singer. Faux Fox has been around the metroplex for years and has put out two amazing records with John Congleton. Faux Fox, like Mission Giant, has former Good/Bad Art Collective members in its lineup. Remember Good/Bad? Oh, yeah, that's back when Christina Rees wrote for the Observer...back when the music section was actually readable and Denton was still on the map.
All I ask is that you guys try and pay more attention to your little brother up north. It's natural to be jealous if he's smarter, more interesting and more talented than you are, sure. But he's your little bro, so you gotta give him some support.
You can check out all of the above-mentioned groups, along with Mr. Wanz Dover (who?) and a plethora of hot Denton DJs--Prince William, DJ G, Wild in the Streets, JInx, Jeff Daug--in Denton on April 23 at the Working for the Weakened festival.
Death to Cream Puffs
Best Fantomas yet: In response to Sam Machkovech's review of the new Fantomas album Suspended Animation (Playlist, April 7), I am in complete dismay by the lack of effort in his listening abilities. This is the first Fantomas album since their debut that makes your brain digest information at lightning speeds. That ensures a different listen every time with something new that you didn't hear before. Unlike, oh, The Polyphonic Spree or any other cream puff band (Dallas-based or not) that makes your brain rot (much like TV) at the second listen, Suspended makes you concentrate and exercises your brain. You don't read the Observer while listening to Suspended like you would with your new "Best of Bruce Springsteen" album. So the next time you review an album, make sure you listen correctly. You don't take a first date to a screening of Saving Private Ryan; you change your mind-set and go see a chick flick. Same goes with music: You have to adjust and evaluate the situation from a different perspective. Maybe this type of music isn't for you, because it's the best Fantomas yet. And they pulled the whole album off live last Sunday without a hitch. That's talent! And a full house at Trees on a Sunday night at 20 bucks a head says your 0.001 percent of listeners is off by a long shot! It's an insult! So go review the new Lisa Loeb album so you can talk about something you're aware of.