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Price vs. Culbreath: Oh, You Know This'll Be Good

Merry, merry, merry: OK, Santa, cancel the pony. We've already received the bestest present any Dallas newsguy could desire: Betty Culbreath is running against her former mentor, County Commissioner John Wiley Price, in the Democratic primary.

Just typing those words made us pee a little. From the happiness, you know?

Culbreath brings a hefty résumé of public service to the race. She's a member and former chair of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport board, former Dallas Housing Authority chair and one-time chair of the City Plan Commission. She's also an ex-Republican, converted by Obama.

What has us whizzing for joy, though, is that she's fearless about speaking and writing what's on her mind, in her trademark terrible grammar. Last month on her blog, she called Price, who's the target of a federal corruption investigation, "the most feared County Bully of all times ... We are doing a disservice to John Price if we don't remove him from that seat. The position has done something real bad to John, what I saw last week is not the man I love and supported and worked for side by side for years, ran his campaign for office worked as his Assistant 6 years and County 20 years. I say that so there is no question about my motive. I want to stop John Price from harming any more people."

Now she's put her own tough neck on the line. That's almost enough to make one pity the white power brokers who have to decide where to place their bets.

"I was not looking for another job, but everybody is so afraid, and I can understand why — some of them have felt the wrath of John," Culbreath told us. "But I could not continue to stand by and see the things that have gone on. The African-American community has to hold its elected officials just as responsible as we hold everybody else. ... I know they'll use scare tactics and intimidation, and if they do, there's nothing I can do about it. I just wanted to give people the chance to take their district back."

Those are mild words compared with what she said when she was appointed head of the county health department in 1996, to widespread criticism from local doctors. "Give me a break about your fucking doctors, who don't manage a damn thing," she told the Observer in 1997.

Ohboyohboy. We can't help but suspect Price's former administrative assistant might know where a few metaphorical bodies are buried. If this race gets as entertaining as it promises, expect someone to reach for a shovel real soon.

And looky there, Valentine's Day is around the corner. Please, Betty, may we have another present?

—Patrick Williams


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