I read with interest the article "Losing Faith" [December 5], but there must be an error in it. Regarding Bill Keever's alleged actions at the DISD board hearing on August 22, surely nobody with an ounce of brains in his skull would have locked the doors of a room packed full with people. The risk of death or injury in the event of fire--or the crowd getting spooked--would have been just too great.
I've been a member of Midway Hills Christian Church for over 40 years (the youngest charter member, actually--sort of like being the oldest living graduate), but I have yet to receive a letter from Keever setting me straight as to what rotters he thinks Dallas Area Interfaith folks are. Could it have been lost in the mail?
Glen E. Hargis
Ann Zimmerman's article on the Dallas Area Interfaith was a study in contrasts. The headline on the cover was descriptive of the reception many of the elected officials of the city have shown, yet the title of the article gave the opposite slant. Both might be true. The fat cats of the city are not about ready to accept that the majority of Dallas citizens are not Anglo. Many of those who control the vote on the council and the school board do not represent the majority of the citizens.
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As a citizen who has attended most of the meetings since DAI was first invited into the city, I have been impressed by the complete organizational structure that they adhere to. No other organization that I've been associated with prepares their agendas with such preciseness, adheres to time limits, and evaluates results immediately. All people have not enjoyed the process, but I've gone to their regional conferences where principals, teachers, and parents joined in explaining how they cooperated to raise the poorest-performing schools to vibrant places of learning.
Dallas has a long way to go. Although Texas Monthly showed that four schools in Dallas earned four stars, the majority of Dallas elementary schools rated only one. Houston schools, on the other hand, landed on the two- and three-star lists. They have an active Area Interfaith in the schools.
The head of the Texas Education Agency has a much more favorable opinion of the work that interfaith groups perform in the alliance schools in the state.
It may be that Dallas will never be able to throw off its biases. The TV show Dallas may not have been fantasy. Zimmerman may have talked with those with little faith in the first place.
Save the dead
I was delighted to learn that Columbus Realty Trust has decided to scale back its development plans in the Uptown area in order to preserve the pauper's graves section of Greenwood Cemetery ["Dig 'em up, move 'em out," November 21].
As a member of the Dallas County Historical Commission, I followed this story with great interest. The commission is charged with preserving the heritage of all of Dallas County's residents, and we feel strongly that cemeteries deserve special protection. Besides serving as a physical reminder of the dead, cemeteries are an important resource for anyone interested in studying the story of Dallas County.
No one can blame Columbus Realty for originally trying to develop this land. According to records held by the Greenwood Cemetery Association, the property in question was vacant. Now that researchers have exposed more than a hundred graves on the property, I urge Judge John Marshall and the rest of the association board to protect this section of the cemetery as they protect the more formal sections. The Greenwood Cemetery is the final resting place for some of Dallas' most important and influential citizens; additionally, the cemetery contains the remains of some of Dallas' poorest residents whose unmarked graves should also be respected. Their economic status in life should not delegate their grave sites to commercial development or park land.
As they have on so many other projects, Shaw and Columbus Realty have shown again their commitment to being a responsible developer and a good corporate citizen. The Dallas County Historical Commission would like to thank Columbus Realty for its decision, and Holly Mullen and the Observer for following this story.
Dallas County Historical Commission
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