By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Accentuate the Positive
I read with interest the story of Haseeb Chishty by Jesse Hyde. As the previous superintendent of the Denton State School, I did not appreciate the implication that I resigned from my position because of the abuse of clients at the facility. Your reporter should have checked his facts. I RETIRED from the facility after approximately 32 years serving the folks with mental retardation throughout the state of Texas. I was one of the displaced employees when Governor Richards closed the Fort Worth State School; I survived the Lelsz lawsuit; I put many extra hours into caring for clients when no one else could or would. Had I not been willing to serve the mentally retarded population and have a tremendous amount of pride in doing so, I would have never made such a long career of it.
As the superintendent of the Denton facility, I usually spent about 90 percent of my work day dealing with regulatory agencies and paperwork for 10 percent of the total population. That left 10 percent of my time to spend on the remaining 90 percent of the population. As most folks are aware, papers sell when the stories sensationalize bad things. If more people would write about the GOOD things that happen at state schools, perhaps attitudes would change. There are many who are living full and healthy lives at the state schools because of the primarily caring and wonderful staff who do what they do NOT for the money, but for the privilege of calling clients friends and family.
Why don't you write about the people who continue to work with the same client for more than five years on the same task, hoping that one day the task will be learned? They do it because nothing is more fulfilling than when the client does advance and can do something on his or her own because someone like the lowest-paid person at the facility assisted them.
The current regulatory environment within state schools is more concerned with the paperwork shuffle than they are with the day-to-day interactions and care. If the "system" could get back to the basics and let employees work with clients with less paper shuffle, all state schools would be a better place.
I RETIRED because I had a great career, and I did NOT desire to go through another federal lawsuit. Your paper should have reported my retirement as a good thing instead of trying to make it sound like I had a reason to leave. Ms. Chishty had no idea, no insight into my leaving, nor the reason for my leaving. She actually visited with me on the last day of my employment, begging me to reconsider because she could see the love I had for the clients.
Jim, I am usually able to ignore your liberal rants for all the great articles you write on the problems with City Hall, but it seems to be a slow news week to hear you go on about this renaming of Industrial Boulevard.
First, let's all admit how silly it is for the city council to have a phone and Internet poll to select the name of an important city street. (What, no texting? How lame. Flash a big L sign on your heads, city council.)
This ain't American Idol.
Second, when you have such a poll and the result is some otherwise obscure personality at two-and-a-half times the nearest competitor, you have to wonder who took advantage of the city's polling system.
Third, I know César Chávez has done a lot of good work over the years and has made significant contributions to society, but I Googled Chavez. [I] read through his biographies and Wikipedia entries, and Dallas did not appear once. I am sure he passed through Dallas occasionally over the years, maybe he even had a rally here at some time, but except for the fact that he supported migrant workers (legal, I presume) and Dallas has lots of migrant workers (legal and otherwise) there is no reason to associate him with Dallas or the future development of the Industrial Boulevard area.
I would not object to naming Ross or maybe that toll road running down the middle of our future park after the man, but asking the city council to "honor" the obviously skewed results of some silly poll is absurd.
Give it a rest, Jimmy.
James Vessels, Dallas