They the people

Buzz supposes it was progress of a sort. There on the steps of Dallas school headquarters, baking in the heat at a news conference Tuesday morning, stood this city's own "We are the World" singers--representatives of the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Anglo union leaders, and community activists. Groups that in the past have been at odds over school politics, gathered together to make a joint statement. Allow Buzz to summarize:

The business community is very, very bad, and everything wrong with DISD is their fault. Oh, and appointing Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson as DISD superintendent, which many suspect businesspeople want? Fat chance.

Nothing inspires onetime foes to bury the hatchet more than having someone else's head to bury it in.

Certainly, the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas Citizens Council, the secretive private business group, had it coming. On July 4, they announced they were stepping out from behind the curtain to openly tell school trustees to be quick about replacing former Superintendent Waldemar "So Long, Suckers" Rojas and to pick a monitor of the Chamber and Citizens Council's liking to oversee the elected board.

That this bit of high-handedness came on Independence Day is a clear sign that them boys in the suits are either A) unfamiliar with the concept of representative democracy, B) a bunch of arrogant fascists, C) incredibly stupid about politics, or D) all of the above.

Opinions at Tuesday's news conference tended toward "B," with one union leader comparing the business groups to Benito Mussolini.

We should be so lucky.

Nevertheless, it seems that DISD's ethnic and racial divide has been bridged, at least temporarily. Unfortunately, it has been replaced with a class war, but NAACP head Lee Alcorn said he plans to try to arrange a meeting with business leaders this week to discuss schools, to invite them to join the discussion as participants, not bully-boys.

The prospects for peace, Buzz suspects, are awful.

Or, as one spectator put it to us as we walked away in the heat, "Same old story, different script."

Free stuff

If you've had trouble lately finding your free copy of the Dallas Observer at your local Barnes & Noble bookstore, you've probably been looking in the right place. Try the wrong one instead--tucked away on a shelf with the not-so-free periodicals. That's where the Observer and other complimentary local publications have been dumped following a decision by the chain to move free papers out of store vestibules nationwide as of July 1, to make room for more books and promotional materials.

So much for the idea of the bookstore/coffee shop being the center of local cultural life, though we suppose we could change our name to the Harry Potter Observer and win our way back into Barnes & Noble's hearts and vestibules.

Even worse, in our eyes anyway, is the decision that each store can carry only two free local publications. In Tarrant County, Barnes & Noble is no longer offering the Observer at all, opting for Fort Worth weeklies. (Philistines.) And even worse than that is what's likely to happen to us after Buzz suggests the following:

Because of the confusion caused by lumping the Observer in with paid periodicals, all our readers should adopt the "Barnes & Noble free range rule." Go to the bookstore. Place your hand on the stack of Observers. Anything you can stretch and touch--books, magazines, cash registers, etc.--is also free. Help yourself. If anyone complains, tell them you were confused. Tell them Buzz sent you.

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Send requests for bail money to [email protected]. Don't hold your breath.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams