Cut Out the Middlemen

Tribal politics at the heart of Dallas' corruption problems.

The current issue of Texas Monthly takes on the Dallas FBI corruption probe, sort of, in a "Behind the Lines" essay by deputy editor Brian D. Sweany.

His central thesis is that we have a lot of corruption in Dallas, because "The old racist order presented few pathways to power for church and political leadership in the south looking for influence."

True. True. In fact, "old racist order" is pretty euphemistic. The old racist order in our case had an official name. It was called the Ku Klux Klan.

Dallas in the first part of the 20th century was run by the Klan. In 1923, Dallas had the highest per capita Klan membership of any city in the country, according to Dallas historian Darwin Payne in his book Big D. And it's also true: The Klan had an abysmal record on providing "pathways to power" for minorities. Just abysmal.

But, look: Even when old racist orders in other American cities north and south did present their own versions of pathways to power — and they did — the civil rights movement didn't set foot on those paths. In his 1989 book Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch recounted how the old racist order in just about every city in the Old South offered pathways to power to the civil rights movement leadership, and the leadership shot them down.

When white leaders offered piecemeal accommodations to desegregation, the civil rights leadership said, to paraphrase, "No, go ahead and bring the dogs out on national television and set them on our children. We'll just see how that one plays out for you."

Dallas may not have been the only exception to that rule, but it was a big one. Here, black leadership took the accommodation. And that is what we see played out now in these waves of public corruption investigations in Dallas.

This isn't about racist white people waging war on fearless black revolutionaries. Quite the contrary. This is about the longstanding tradition of cooperation and accommodation between the races in Dallas. That's what keeps sending black politicians to the pen. It's not that they don't get along with the white power structure. It's that they do.

I spent a good long time on the phone one morning last week with a white progressive veteran of electoral politics in Dallas, who refused to speak to me about this unless I agreed not to name or identify him or her. I'll use the feminine pronoun, but I'm not saying whether this person is male or female. She said she has had enough, been beaten about the ears enough times, does not want back into the fray in any way.

She was talking to me about the use of "consultants" or middlemen in the political diplomacy between the Park Cities-based white power structure and black leadership in southern Dallas. It is, she said, the key, when we are speaking of a certain type of consultant.

I believe the accurate term would be "ethnic consultant" — a black or Latino consultant who works for white people in order to get black or Latino votes. There may be cases of black politicians in Dallas who have recruited wealthy white country club tennis players to help them sway the white vote. I just haven't run into it. All of the ethnic political consultants I have encountered have been black or Latino, and the product they offer is the delivery of black or Latino votes.

The role of the ethnic consultant has never been to foster understanding and intercourse between the white and nonwhite camps. The consultant's role, instead, has been to serve as a kind of cut-out or bag-man who carries white money across the Trinity River and spreads it around in the necessary fashion.

"It's a package deal," my phone-mate said, "so I don't have to do that stinky stuff."

The stinky stuff would be actually getting to know each other and hammering out some business as equals.

Is it a conspiracy? I don't think so, because it's so openly and freely acknowledged. In my experience, the members of the Dallas Citizens Council who get put up for mayor tend to view the role of the ethnic consultants as honest commerce between tribes.

And that's certainly what you get from the other side. The consultants themselves view the votes they deliver like soy beans — a tradeable commodity. It's less a conspiracy than a culture.

I think of what our new Dallas Citizens Council mayor, Mike Rawlings, has said, when questioned about consultants to his campaign who are now targets of an FBI corruption investigation. Asked what one of them, Kathy Nealy, did with the $270,000 Rawlings paid her, Rawlings shrugged and said, "She got me elected."

It's pretty much exactly the same answer I got in 2002 when I asked another Citizens Council candidate, Tom Dunning, about his consultant, the very same Nealy, and allegations of fraud in the Dunning campaign.

Nealy already had accused me of racism for asking her what she did with Dunning's money. I met with Dunning later over coffee — he's a very smart, nice guy, a gentleman — and he expressed a kind of puzzlement at my questions. "That was the South Dallas campaign," he said. "How would I know what went on?"

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MomsD
MomsD

Pimping the vote has been long established long before Afro civil rights to vote were established. This is just the way the "whyte" secret societies (which my father always spoke of-he/I am southern bred) have always done things-not so much on the up and up-right, so to speak, although they expound this moral code thing rhetoric to every other class of people but themselves-for they are above the law when it comes to right and wrong-since they have all the "gold" to make the rules (laws) of life for others to be governed by through them only.

Their KKK society was just a defacto mechanism used to hide their true ilk/intents behind. Yet publicly they show a side that just ain't real-they are indeed the "Ghezi tribe/clan" as classed by God's holy word in II Kings 5th Chapter when the black man was cursed by the prophet to become the deceiving/greedious "white man" so all others would know him for what his heart truly holds-no good, just self-serving egotism (tacics of pimping, whoring, prostituting, lying, stealing, acting like a hound dog) that the curse was placed upon all his generations from that point forth. Read this bibical truth that no pastor/religious leader will teach on nor discuss as to where the "whyte" tribe/clan came from....

Judge truth for yourself....

Serverything
Serverything

Another article to stir the pot, please look at New Orleans news, you see the same thing. Something, other than the reasons you state, is the main engine of this dynamic.

Cupo
Cupo

Substitute Irish and Boston or Polish and Chicago or Italian and New Jersey for Black and Dallas and you get the same result. It's called ward politics and it has been foisted upon Dallas by the courts.

It's alright if it's all white
It's alright if it's all white

many people don't remember when sm wright told martin king that there were no problems in dallas and asked him to leave dallas. For years dallas has remained the only major city to be so segregated regardless of money people just dont live next to each other at the level of other cities.Notice how many schools in dallas are ran by richardson isd and how far from richardson they are some 10 miles away or more then look at the demographic of the schools. Richardson isd started the year millions of dallars in surplus and Disd started so ridiculously in debt. So how do you think the tax money is separated?

roy
roy

Tricky ricky perry is a tea party favorite and so is the klan.

roy
roy

The Klan is still alive in the form of the "TEA PARTY".

Hellogirlfriend
Hellogirlfriend

Why because the Tea Party doesn't want BIG government and Obama does?

Joe L
Joe L

Good description of how things have worked in Dallas. It might be interesting to add, for a little balance, that the "Dallas white Power Structure" (mostly the Citizens Council) has undoubtedly been racist, I think mostly in the past, and very elitist still, but has delivered one of the most successful, dynamic cities in the country, with remarkably little "white" municipal corruption relative to many US cities.

It seems that white corruption happens mostly when the white establishment has to hold its nose and deal with south Dallas. A lot of it is social class I think. Many upstanding, better educated successful blacks have followed whites to the suburbs unfortunately.

CR
CR

These corrupt black leaders are just Park Cities' bitches pretending to be one of the people. Their civil rights activism doesn't go any further than naming a street after MLK. They are nothing but wolves in sheep clothing and traitors to progress.

"If you're talking to progressive white, black or Latino people from outside the city, especially journalists......"

Nice shout out to the Dallas Morning News.

Good2rely
Good2rely

How about EBAY like Corporate Middlemen???Charges above 10%. Even on shipping paid!!!

ron
ron

To read between the lines here is to see that coruption is ok in Dallas because that is the way things be sometimes. so get outta our businessss and leave us to our bentleys Thank God i don't live there, but my city is just as corupt as the rtest and most people don't care.

WHITEY RULES
WHITEY RULES

get rid of the klan and the city goes to sh!t...... funny huh?!?!

Trouser Trout
Trouser Trout

And that makes you what, a race baiter? What about the "Rise of the planet of the apes"? Are you as offended as I that Caeser was modeled after Obama? Now dat bees baitin'. Now get a real job Jimmy "Olsen" Shutze, cub reporter for Gotham.

roy
roy

your a sick bottom feeder and part of the problem.

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

Equality = Minority leaders get a cut of the pie, but not that white skin that seems to serve as a sort of "magic camoflauge" that confuses FBI agents and forensic accountants.

Paul
Paul

and don't forget the DCC's playground outside of Athens ... Koon Kreek Klub ...

Jeneheffer
Jeneheffer

So with money given to the right people a candidate can buy an election. I thought Chicago was the most corrupt city in America but unfortunately I guess they are all equally corrupt. Rawlings is going to appoint an ethics committee, now that is a farce.

Clay "The Shrinking Pagan"
Clay "The Shrinking Pagan"

As a tax paying transplant, I want to thank Mr. Schutze and his publication for continuing to speak up about the nauseating, and depressing "system" that Dallas operates under. It is amazing how the this city reflects it's people... "bless their [bigoted, hypocritical, racist, elitist, egocentric, self-inflated, 'better Christian than you,' shriveled up, ugly, rotten, stinkin' lil' ol' organ harvested, purchased-on-credit hearts!"

After reading this article, I looked up the Dallas "Citizen's" Council website, which prominently displays its "Membership by invitation only" policy, just before listing the names, positions and employers of its members. Just a cursory reading of the list was enough to make this jaded, 50-something, Texas native to want to go take a shower, to scrub the website's slime from my brain.

My first thought was to boycott the companies who employ the members listed in this Rico-cartel. But, I quickly realized the only way to avoid their executive reach would be to move to an uninhabited island somewhere and hope that the Dallas CItizen Council's Thurston Howell, III doesn't show up with a trunk full of cash to buy my vote, or to frack the last coconut off my island's only tree.

It is long past time that not only are the schemes of the "White Citizens" Council and the "the Good, Right Bishop and First Lady's" Cartel are exposed, but that the individual corporate executives who are involved are outed and shamed on a very public and national stage.

My guess is, by doing so... We will finally know which of their alumni was on the FIFTH floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository, and which was on the "grassy knoll," that on the day in '63, that brought the rest of the world into the modern era... but, fortified the uber-pathetic "code of silence" that is still protected by North Dallas' "finest Christians" today.

AintNoSunshine
AintNoSunshine

Well said!!! Dallas in a nutshell!!!!

Pretty sickening!!!!

Louise Bland
Louise Bland

That's a lot of money to pay. I remember my Mom of many years ago, used to pay people to knock on doors in different parts of the city for certain candidates. We drove people to register and a lot of work went into getting someone elected. She worked day and night it seemed. I was worn out driving people around. So there's not a lot of the money left for the person who's handling the campaign.

 
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