By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
True Maverick: Many thanks to Richie Whitt for his column recognizing Don Carter for being THE original Dallas Maverick ("Proud Papa," June 1).
It was actually much more than a "gentle nudge" from his wife Linda that got him to put up ALL the money to fund Norm Sonju's plan to bring the NBA to Dallas after the other investors backed out at the last minute, but all's well that ends well.
If this season ends with an NBA title, Don, Linda and Norm should be the first three people fitted for a ring.
A Rat's Ash
Us? Proto-fascist?: I have always been a fan of Jim Schutze. I have relied on him to get to the bottom of issues that The Dallas Morning News just can't seem to address thoroughly and truthfully, if at all.
But after reading your most recent article about the Ash Creek Mobile Home Park ("Miracle on Marilla Street," May 25), located on the street where I live, I wonder if you have lost your moral compass. According to you, the Ferguson Road Initiative, the association that has made life better for me and for all of my neighbors is "proto-fascist" and has initials (F.R.I.) that are "Sovietique." Huh? Someone tell me how that even makes sense. I suppose we should be grateful that you didn't call us Nazis.
Further, you seem to regard the most recent developments regarding Ash Creek as "the city finally doing something for the poor." Really? What exactly has the city done for the poor in this case? As far as I can tell, they have given a slumlord the zoning permit he should have applied for 30 or 40 years ago. How does that help the poor?
The city has said, in effect, "OK, Mr. Crossett, you have not given a flying rat's patootie during all these years that your tenants were living among piles of festering garbage, rusted car carcasses and leaking sewage. You only began to clean these things up when the neighborhood demanded that you do so. But despite your behavior for the last 40 years, we're going to give you the proper zoning and wait to see you transform yourself from slumlord to responsible property owner."
Mr. Crossett's new zoning permit will not alter the fact that most of his tenants are living in mobile homes that do not meet and cannot be made to meet city code requirements. These homes belong to the tenants, not to Mr. Crossett, although he is the one who has failed to require that his tenants maintain their homes to meet city code. He just takes his $200 per month per tenant and looks the other way.
I believe that the city of Dallas (you know, the ones who care so much about the poor) has already begun to cite these individual owners and require that they improve or remove their dilapidated mobile homes and replace them with homes that comply. If they are unable to do this, trust me, the city will not buy them a new home and neither will Mr. Crossett. And then where will they be? How is Mr. Crossett's shiny new zoning permit going to help them?
As mentioned, I live on Highland Road in a 16-unit condominium complex. You have framed the Ash Creek issue as a case of the "haves" versus the "have-nots." Well, you could buy one of our condos for less than the cost of a used trailer home. Some of us are owners; some are renting from owners. We all take pride in our little, well-maintained complex and in our neighborhood. We are people who have no patience with slumlords, and we sympathize with the people who are victimized by them. Our fight is with the slumlords, not with their tenants.
When I arrived at the Plan Commission hearing that you refer to in your article, I noticed that many of the Ash Creek residents wore buttons or carried signs that referred to "diversity." This is not an issue of diversity, and shame on anyone who tries to make it so. My little condo complex pretty much reflects the makeup of the neighborhood at large. Some of us are African-American, some are Anglo, some are Mexican-American, some are from the Dominican Republic. We all agree that Ash Creek Mobile Home Park in its current state is not what we want in our neighborhood.
We challenge you to step back and look at all sides of this issue. And we look forward to receiving your apology for the names you have called us.
Pee on Me
Not exactly engaging: Thank you so much for the lesson in good art and bad art ("Pop Goes the Easel," by Charissa N. Terranova, June 1). Sometimes I have a hard time determining whether a collapsing brick wall is frank, forthright and engaged or mindless and anti-intellectual. I had nearly succumbed to the seductive notion that walking-scale, mixed-zoning communities are "engaged" but now I see that they are in fact "mindless" unlike that cow wallpaper. I was also really confused about Duchamp's Fountain, because I was thinking that he was implying that art is anything an "artist" says is art, you know, kind of giving a big middle finger to all those Harvard Ph.D. types at the "academy" who are always trying to tell us what's good and what's bad. I feel relieved that it's just a frank, forthright, engaged, literal "pee on me."