"Are you a member of the NAACP? If not, why not?" asks the voice of Dallas branch not-quite President Lee Alcorn on his office answering machine.
Good question. Here's a good answer: because our own family is plenty dysfunctional. We don't need to pay dues to join another.
The latest sign of trouble at the local office came in the form of a fax from acting President Brenda Fields announcing that "an unauthorized person has falsely reported" that the Dallas branch was holding a candidates forum. That unauthorized person was Sandra Crenshaw, a member of the branch's political action committee, who says she is "sick and tired" of having the organization's "dirty laundry" aired in the Dallas Observer.
The current stain on the NAACP's drawers involves a decision by the branch's executive committee in March to hold a forum for city council candidates. Crenshaw says she made some plans for the event, only to have her efforts scuttled by Fields, an ally of Alcorn, whom Crenshaw opposes.
Fields says she sent the fax in part because Crenshaw was working on behalf of District 7 candidate Leo Chaney. The rules governing nonprofit organizations prohibit partisan politicking, Fields says.
Crenshaw says she isn't working for Chaney, but that's beside the point. She says Fields' move was retribution for her opposition to Alcorn, who took a leave of office to run for Grand Prairie City Council. "He didn't go peacefully," says Crenshaw, who helped make the case that he should step down until after the May 1 election.
And back and forth and back and forth.
Buzz would like to sort it all out for you, but frankly, we don't give a damn. The sad upshot is this: Voters lost an opportunity to meet the people who want to represent them because the NAACP branch's leaders are still fighting over who gets to sit in the big chair.
You know--high school.
With any luck--actually, with tons of luck--the branch may be able to focus on more mundane issues such as voter education and civil rights sometime in May, after new elections are held for most officers.
What's my line?
Establishing a firm grip on the obvious, The Washington Times reports that a recent poll shows that Gov. George W. Bush's standing as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination hinges on the fact that he has his daddy's name.
And here we thought it was because of the many important policies he initiated during his time as governor, policies that don't immediately come to mind.
The Times says that a "blind" poll conducted by independent pollster John Zogby shows that when likely Republican primary voters are presented with a short biographical sketch of George W., without the benefit of his name, his poll numbers plunge. The unnamed Bush was generously described as a governor of a large Southern state with a strong record on taxes and education and who calls himself a compassionate conservative. That was enough to send his numbers south in a big way: 14 points in New Hampshire and 23 points nationwide.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams