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Hypocrites All

The truth gets lost: Concerning your story, "Dump Bolton" (April 12), I would like to point out the hypocrisy of the police, John Wiley Price and Laura Miller and her husband. If I were to protest in front of someone's house and shout obscenities, I am quite sure I would be arrested for at least disturbing the peace. Yet John Wiley Price gets away with doing just that and much more. The police are not doing their job. Mr. Price claims he wants justice, yet he tries to stop Laura Miller from doing just that in her investigation of the police chief.

Now, you have Ms. Miller, who always seems zealous in her pursuit of justice, and her husband, upset over the Dallas Observer's pursuit of the truth in your story about his law firm, Baron & Budd. Everyone mentioned here has their own hypocritical agenda when it comes to justice, and the truth gets lost.

Nick Padron
Via e-mail

Bolton lacks judgment: Thanks for your excellent article on the devil, er, I mean Chief Bolton. What is perhaps most irritating about the Bolton controversy is that our friends at the Pravda Morning News and WFAA-Channel 8 are unwilling even to ask Chief Bolton a few simple questions. But no one can deny they do great puff pieces on the chief.

Is it just a coincidence that the Pravda Morning News didn't report on the protest downtown where the people were demanding the chief's resignation? No, it just didn't clear the Dallas police PR office, which apparently has to clear all information appearing in the Morning "News" or on Channel 8.

But the questions remain: If Bolton has nothing to hide, why is he stonewalling? We need to hear if he still denies involvement in the sex-club enforcement scandal. We need him to explain publicly what his role was in the "tip-off" of the undercover FBI investigation of the Dallas Police Department. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy his explanation.

I'd like to understand and hear one more time what he thought he was doing when he pulled the DPD out of the joint task force with the FBI and then leveled that disgraceful charge of racism against agent Defenbaugh. Does anyone in this city still believe this man has the ethics, integrity or judgment to be our chief?

Bolton's gotta go!

Kelly R. Newbill
Dallas

Politics as usual: Heavens to Betsy, poor Laura Miller is having some trouble. Negroes are walking around right in front of her house! Carrying signs and yelling and gesturing and scaring the kids and upsetting the neighbors and...and...well, pretty much engaging in constitutionally protected behavior. Maybe their language wasn't out of "The Martin Luther King Jr. Manifesto," but so what? It hardly amounts to the terrorist hyperbole that Jim Schutze makes it out to be.

Schutze's breathy and self-aggrandizing article ("I have powerful contacts! I stopped the protests!") is both speculative and opportunistic. Without seeing the actual protest or providing any proof other than his own opinion, Schutze concludes that: 1) The protesters in front of Miller's house were violent (or, uh, might have been); 2) The police force won't protect Miller or anyone else; 3) County Commissioner John Wiley Price and police Chief Terrell Bolton conspired to organize the demonstration; and 4) Chief Bolton "has to go."

Please.

Miller's pursuit of Bolton is what it is: a political maneuver designed to advance her own career. No surprise there; that's what politicians do. At the same time, the "protest" was also what it appeared to be: a mildly interesting response by the usual suspects held to promote John Wiley Price's agenda. No one got hurt, no property was damaged, and the police did respond to Miller's call, even if they didn't haul off the demonstrators. Net result: politics as usual, Miller vs. Price. So where's the beef?

I wonder. Schutze's article might serve one purpose: to curry favor with Miller, who won't talk to him since his newspaper pissed off both her husband and his law firm. Much ado about nothing, in other words.

Name withheld
Dallas

An honorable chief: I strongly disagree with you, Jim, on this one! The chief is an honorable man who has served our city well for a number of years. As far as easing off enforcement at a topless bar (Caligula), understand this point: Police officers routinely back off of enforcement whether it is a speed trap on a freeway or a drug sweep in a neighborhood. That bar paid taxes just like the rest of the businesses in Dallas and needed a break, as the constant stream of officers there was hurting its business. (If you recall, I fought and won to have all topless bar ads removed from the DART buses and trains a few years ago.) The police needed a break from that area to enforce other areas of our great city. There are always two sides to every story, Jim.

 

Russ Vandeveerdonk
Dallas

What goes around: Jim, who cares anymore? You write the article about Chief Bolton as if it's still 1969! Look around. There's an ethnic war going on in the country, for chrissakes. Cincinnati ring a bell? Mississippi? Jesus, are you behind the curve, or what? This article read like something written for Ward and June Cleaver. So what if Laura Miller is catching hell! She's an American politician (as is her husband!). They should know that, in our present climate, this shit comes with the job. For Jim and the Observer to defend her as if she's some innocent virgin being looked at by a strapping black man is naive and ludicrous. Gimme some real shit if you want me to read this newspaper. Jim should be horsewhipped!

Patrick Alcatraz
Fort Worth

Love that Fruitcake

Piece of garbage: Your article "Homefryin' with Fred Baron" is one of the most slanted, one-sided, biased pieces of garbage ever to appear in print. Obviously, your reporter and your paper set out to do a hatchet job on Fred Baron without regard to fact or truth. One example would be the nonsense about Fred Baron getting Judge Marshall defeated in the Republican primary. I like Judge Marshall and was a financial contributor to him in the race he lost. Most trial lawyers, even those who liked him, considered Judge Marshall to be a "fruitcake." You could hear any one of hundreds of lawyers call him that on any given day, not just Fred Baron.

Unfortunately, Judge Marshall got himself beat based on his job performance and the outstanding quality of his opponent. To think and write that Fred Baron is single-handedly responsible for Judge Marshall's defeat is nonsense.

What galls me the most about your story is your failure to mention or recognize Fred Baron for the legal pioneer and hero he is for victims of asbestosis. Baron brought one of, if not the first, lawsuit on behalf of workers forced to be exposed to asbestos in unsafe environments. He has won compensation for thousands of workers and their families who suffered because of corporate greed, and he continues to fight daily for injured victims against the worst forms of corporate evil. Fred Baron upholds all the best principles of trial lawyers battling for justice for those who cannot afford to hire high-priced attorneys and pay them by the hour.

Shame on you for writing and printing the type of garbage one would expect from a rag like the National Enquirer.

Les Weisbrod
Dallas

Big Deal

Biederman has it both ways: By disrobing the emperor, by recognizing as sham the silly notion that art must be a precious object, Joseph Beuys and his ilk ("Still Wannabe," March 15) gave art imaginative legs so it could walk outside tired definitions.

So some of his work is not so good. A lot of it is terrific and moving. Does that have anything to do with the genre in which Beuys worked? I think not. Picasso--the mostly painter guy--made compelling objects as well as bad ones. This concern over media, or a return to traditional media, as a way of making sure art is art or art is good is regressive and paralyzing. If you want to paint, paint. If you want to blow bubbles, blow bubbles.

And "what is wrong with contemporary art" (and what exactly is wrong with it?) is not Beuys' fault. Individual artists make choices. They lead or follow. Sometimes they lead badly and boringly. Sometimes they follow badly and boringly.

I, for one, don't think Matthew Ritchie is exceptionally compelling or progressive, despite his obvious skill and ambition. He is certainly palatable and elegant. He's a safer bet than a guy locked in a cage with a wild animal, but is he any more exciting or poignant? Less so, probably. Maybe Biederman is right that installation and found object art are looking tired. But the "alternative, postmodern recycling of styles in painting and sculpture" is maybe just as tired, even if it puts prettier makeup on its baggy eyes than thrift-store installation does.

It's amazing how Biederman can defend postmodern recycling of traditional art forms and styles (talk about "safe" and "cocooned") in one paragraph, and then turn around and critique Beuys because he was a professor who owed a debt to Dada and Surrealism. Big deal. If Beuys wasn't as close to being an original as is possible in the flattening glare of the spectacle, which he so aptly used to his advantage, then I don't know who was.

 

Jeff Dalton
Dallas


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