Mad About You
Sad about Bolton: From a white journalist's perspective, the Dallas Observer tried in vain to understand why blacks felt that the handling of Terrell Bolton's firing was racist. Whites need not look beyond your article ("Ted's Excellent Adventure," by Jim Schutze, September 4) for the reasons. The article describes black protesters, many of whom are very respected in their community, as idiots, and I was described as a madwoman with my arms in the air and yelling. We make Dallas look bad, it was said.
The Observer made note that I was a former Dallas City Council member--this should say to readers that I know my way around City Hall and that I should at least know where some of the bodies are buried. I am also a staunch "back the blue" supporter. Elated with Bolton's appointment, I volunteered to coordinate a reception for him in Fair Park for the community to meet and greet their new chief. The middle-class affluent blacks were asked to pitch in and pay for it, and we all stood proudly for the photo session. No one published that picture. I ran Commissioner John Wiley Price off because I wanted to defuse the perception that John was Bolton's boss, and to show that Bolton had the entire black community behind him. All the local media covered was that black police officers were there while on duty instead of on the streets, and that a staff member took time off to bake a cake.
I was emphatic with the advice I shared with Bolton--the mayor and city council were the elected officials he should placate, not Price. I sent that same word to him through friends and other officials, black and white, so that as black folks, we would not look bad. Throughout Bolton's tenure, I continued to support the Dallas Police Department in spite of the fact that the chief ignored my advice.
Frustrated with the media coverage of Bolton and his missteps, I spoke before the council, admonishing "the first Hispanic city manager," Ted Benavides, for not properly supervising the chief. I encouraged the council to budget a media spokesperson for Bolton. I reminded a white FBI director about the historical distrust between the feds and black people. I called in to white radio talk shows to take up for the chief, because I did not want all blacks viewed in the light that the all-white media portrayed him. I don't recall black people making fun of former police Chief Ben Click and likening him to a comical character. I visited the city manager on several occasions over a three-year period with three different groups of black leaders asking for Bolton's resignation. The city manager only threw more money at Bolton and covered up his doo-doo. Bolton was a good police chief who did not know how to swim with sharks. He was put in a pressure cooker between Commissioner Price and Mayor Laura Miller, used as a pawn for publicity by politicians and then left as prey for the press.
So I yelled that I could be heard, and I yelled at the top of my lungs, because that day the city was not going to take me to jail and make the city look bad. The Observer never writes about the good things I do. They choose to write about me only when I am mad. Do you get the picture why blacks say the media coverage is racist?
On that day in City Hall, I was a mad woman. Sad for Bolton, mad that it took so long and we all looked bad. Mad that Ted Benavides and Ron Kirk told the chief only what he wanted to hear and never that he looked bad. Mad that African-American politicians used Bolton as a pawn to get publicity for themselves. Mad that blacks and browns on the council could give millions of our tax dollars away and then vote to cut services for their own constituents. Mad that Price tried to use Bolton for his personal police force. Mad because the only thing the city offered to reduce the crime was weekly meetings so that Dallas would not look bad. Mad that Dallas had hired a police chief that we had to fight to protect in order to protect us.
My good name: Bolton wants his name back ("No Cash, No Peace," September 11). Who stole it? He should call the police. Nah, he wants your money to "buy" it back.
We Are Legion
Fed up: Scapegoat? Huh? Dear Mr. Fullinwinder (Letters, September 11), it surprises me to what extent people like yourself will go to protect this man. Since when does a "routine action" cost the city $5.65 million? And as for "heightened scrutiny," it seems to me if there really had been heightened scrutiny, there never would've been a fake-drug scandal. I mean, how the hell is Dallas ever gonna live that one down? And since when is a city's crime rate a "new burden" on a police chief? What exactly did you have in mind as Bolton's responsibilities? I've lived in this city for 20 years. I'm sorry, but the days of not criticizing someone for fear of being called a racist are over! Look around. Too many of us are fed up. Play that card again, and you're no different from the boy who cried "wolf!"
The only racism I've noticed lately is the sign paraded around during the City Hall protest calling Ted Benavides a wetback! You don't seem to be too concerned about that one. Keep defending him. It'll just outrage more of us.
Reuben L. Owens
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