"There are a number of us who are pretty un-proud of our neighborhood." He called the meeting, "a new low point for Oak Cliff.

"You know," he said, "I try not to put my Christian hat on too often, because it's not a real practical thing to do. But you do have to wonder how Christ would have reacted if he had been standing in the back of the room."

Now, wait. Wait. Before you think I'm telling you something about Oak Cliff, no. It's not Oak Cliff. I have been to this same meeting—this same kind of vile stuff—more than once in my own part of town, Old East Dallas. I have covered this same kind of meeting in damn near every part of town.

It's so easy to get this reaction—like sticking somebody in the gut with a sharp stick. First you scare people with a lot of frightening talk. Hey, this is a frightening issue. Ask Tanya Ragan, that lady with the commercial property downtown.

Then you find some festering wounds—easy to do, I know, in areas where people are fighting to bring back beleaguered neighborhoods. They feel that they already get all the halfway houses and shelters dumped on them. So you can always tear at that scab.

And what do you achieve, Mr. Neumann? You take a bunch of really great people, like the brave, smart, urban pioneers fighting to create a cool new community in North Oak Cliff, and you make them look like selfish intolerant villains. And you, Mr. Neumann, already know that this is a battle they cannot win.

But you think you can win something for yourself. Man. I hope you're wrong.

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