Price vs. Culbreath: Oh, You Know This'll Be Good

Santa brings political theater fans an early Christmas present.

Merry, merry, merry: OK, Santa, cancel the pony. We've already received the bestest present any Dallas newsguy could desire: Betty Culbreath is running against her former mentor, County Commissioner John Wiley Price, in the Democratic primary.

Just typing those words made us pee a little. From the happiness, you know?

Culbreath brings a hefty résumé of public service to the race. She's a member and former chair of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport board, former Dallas Housing Authority chair and one-time chair of the City Plan Commission. She's also an ex-Republican, converted by Obama.

What has us whizzing for joy, though, is that she's fearless about speaking and writing what's on her mind, in her trademark terrible grammar. Last month on her blog, she called Price, who's the target of a federal corruption investigation, "the most feared County Bully of all times ... We are doing a disservice to John Price if we don't remove him from that seat. The position has done something real bad to John, what I saw last week is not the man I love and supported and worked for side by side for years, ran his campaign for office worked as his Assistant 6 years and County 20 years. I say that so there is no question about my motive. I want to stop John Price from harming any more people."

Now she's put her own tough neck on the line. That's almost enough to make one pity the white power brokers who have to decide where to place their bets.

"I was not looking for another job, but everybody is so afraid, and I can understand why — some of them have felt the wrath of John," Culbreath told us. "But I could not continue to stand by and see the things that have gone on. The African-American community has to hold its elected officials just as responsible as we hold everybody else. ... I know they'll use scare tactics and intimidation, and if they do, there's nothing I can do about it. I just wanted to give people the chance to take their district back."

Those are mild words compared with what she said when she was appointed head of the county health department in 1996, to widespread criticism from local doctors. "Give me a break about your fucking doctors, who don't manage a damn thing," she told the Observer in 1997.

Ohboyohboy. We can't help but suspect Price's former administrative assistant might know where a few metaphorical bodies are buried. If this race gets as entertaining as it promises, expect someone to reach for a shovel real soon.

And looky there, Valentine's Day is around the corner. Please, Betty, may we have another present?

—Patrick Williams

My Voice Nation Help

The race will be settled in the Dem Primary next Spring.

If you can find it, read Tom Wolfe's MAU-MAUING THE FLAK CATCHER. Half Price books ought to have it. He wrote it in the late 60's, black folks know if they scare white folks enough, raise enough Hell, they can get most anything they want. Remember James Fantroy, "If I'm indicted, blood will flow in the streets of South Dallas." Said the same when Bolton was about to be fired as chief. Didn't work.

John's Precinct loves his sticking it to Whitey. "Our man downtown", indeed.

Good government? What makes you think either of the other two would be any better?


Well, they haven't surfaced in 27 years, especially when his politics became obvious. I believe in fostering a new generation to lead, but in this case, it’s going to take someone who can compete with him. It's all about timing. And maybe, just maybe this might not be a good time for a younger, unconnected person to run against him. Remember, above all other things, he is a 27 year career politician with a base. An unconnected person will have to bring in a lot of outside (out of state/city) campaign money, which will create paybacks to outside donor who have no stake in Dallas. In this election, you have people who are familiar with the metroplex, who want to see good government and want to see him gone. Those people are going to financially support a viable, fearless, and county experienced person who stands a good chance of winning. The same older people vote all the time in every election. In a presidential election year, a lot of people will vote and there is a good chance he could loose.


Betty needs to sit down and rest or become a mentor to the younger generation. There are plenty of young educated people who can win against Price. We need someone with no connections to Price.


Ain't gonna happen.

If Ron Price gets in the race, splits the vote, JWP will be re-elected in the first primary.


The typical JWP voter will be confused by two Prices on the menu and is liable to pick the other one, or perhaps check both just in case, so that would almost guarantee BC the win.