You hypocrites: I knew better, I really did. But when I saw Todd and Toby on the cover ("Back and Blue," by Shannon Sutlief, May 22), I couldn't resist. So I picked up and read your story on the Deep Blue Something brothers; then I read it again. Now, I have what's called in the business a "cast-iron" stomach, but I confess here and now that I was so thoroughly disgusted with your article that I could not finish my lunch.
You fucking hypocrites. How do you even justify your next breath? If anyone led the charge to discredit, embarrass and otherwise humiliate DBS, it was the Dallas Observer--or rather, Robert Wilonsky and his autonomous tumor Zac Crain. Dallas has and has always had a bad habit of devouring its own when any local band achieves any perceived level of success, and you can bet your First Friday wristband that the Observer is right there, poison pen in hand. As for Steve Duncan's deep blue philosophy on the matter, may I remind Steve of how many nights he also ridiculed the band in our many road trips and sound checks?
I'm happy for Todd and Toby's current success and wish them the best, but I still hate that fucking song and always will. At least I'm honest enough to admit it.
Grand St. Cryers/Evamore
Take that: When a musician blatantly and publicly ridicules another's work, it shows great disrespect for the true purpose of music. Aden Holt of Caulk can go "Blow Someone!"
Fourth-best in the West: Don Nelson did indeed do a great coaching job by getting 60 wins out of the Mavericks ("Hot in Here," by John Gonzalez, May 22). But there is no question that Dallas would have been beaten soundly in the second round for the third straight year if Chris Webber had been healthy. The Mavericks are still the fourth-best team in the Western Conference.
Marvelous New Voice
Getting it: Leave it to a woman critic to get a woman playwright right ("Altar Egos," by Elaine Liner, May 22). Vicki Cheatwood is a marvelous, fresh, sassy voice in American theater, and it's great that somebody in the Dallas media "gets" her.
Mary, We Hardly Knew Ye
I'm not Laura Miller: Jim Schutze, in a recent article ("Doo-doo," May 22), notes that Lisa LeMaster ran a poor campaign for Mary Poss. But was it a poor campaign? My definition of a poor campaign would be one in which a candidate fumbled away the election or failed to live up to his or her potential. Examples would be Clayton Williams' 1990 gubernatorial campaign and Bill Simon's recent campaign for governor in California. For Laura Miller to lose this election, Rob Allyn would have had to run an extremely poor campaign. Was the Poss campaign a poor one, even though the results were similar to Miller's race against Tom Dunning?
Poss neither gained nor lost ground. She did not have much to work with. One of Laura Miller's strengths is her ability to seem to be all things to all people. She also is able to maintain a core group of devoted followers that remain loyal even though she has sold out on some of the issues that led them to support her (Trinity River project, signature bridges, convention center hotel, etc.). In effect, she has signed off on the "big-ticket" items that she campaigned against.
It is this ability that makes her hard to run against, particularly since she does not have much of a record yet as mayor. Poss was forced to run against Miller the conservative and Miller the liberal, Miller the outsider and Miller the insider, Miller the developer and Miller the preservationist, Miller the combatant and Miller the conciliator. It is possible that Poss could have run a campaign based on pointing out these contradictions.
But at the same time, Miller can be courageous. She had the heavy support of the police and firefighters' organizations during the last election campaign. They may have been a significant factor in her victory. It would have been easy for her to acquiesce to them and support their efforts to win an immediate 17 percent pay raise, particularly with the increased public support for police and firefighters after 9-11. But she fought what was basically a hold-up attempt by the police and firefighters, and she won.
Poss seemed to lack that, and the theme of her campaign seemed to be "I'm not Laura Miller." It wasn't enough to win, even though Miller can be abrasive. Miller has an "I always have to be right" approach to argument, and she can be her own worst enemy at times. Miller also is not very good at picking priorities. An example is the divisive fight over the smoking ban. It was not an issue in her first campaign, and the benefits are questionable. After all, the problem can be solved on an individual basis. If people don't like smoky bars and restaurants, they can choose not to patronize those establishments where smoke is a problem. She made a lot of enemies she did not have to make.
The same is true for the ban on panhandling on street corners. If people did not give money to these people, the problem would go away. This is more popular than the smoking ban but hardly the first priority for Dallas. One gets the feeling that if something annoys Laura Miller, she will seek to make public policy to eliminate the annoying item regardless of priorities.
But Miller's personality and the smoking and panhandling bans were not issues that justified electing a new mayor, particularly since Miller has not had much time to accomplish anything. As the old adage goes, "You can't beat something with nothing." Mary Poss is a fine individual, but she offered nothing but an anti-Miller campaign. But it is hard, even in hindsight, to find a campaign theme that would have worked for Poss.
W. Daniel Hancock
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