Flip a coin: Dwaine Caraway is black. Ed Oakley is white. Which one is best fit to be the District 6 City Council representative?

Buzz, who lives in the district, would suggest that voters need a little more information than that to decide. We would say that the best candidate--for Buzz's end of the district, anyway--is the one who will fix the railroad crossings on Walnut Hill and Royal Lane near Harry Hines Boulevard so that something other than an ambitious burro can cross them.

We would say that, but what's the use? If nothing else, this spring's race-driven council races have made one thing depressingly clear: In Dallas politics, race isn't everything; it's the only thing. Pretty soon we expect the city to alter its ballots, adding a Coppertone tanning chart next to the candidates' names. Just vote for the person whose skin looks like yours, as one candidate in another race helpfully suggested. (Café au lait, sans café, in Buzz's case.)

That would certainly simplify things. Of course, as soon as voting gets squared away and made that easy, someone would come along to screw things up, fixing it so that we might actually have to think about our votes before we cast them. In the District 6 race, the troublemaker is John Wiley Price, the county commissioner with the penchant for scaring white people silly, who this week endorsed Oakley. Now what's a racially loyal voter to do? To help you decide, we took a look at some of Price's previous endorsements.

Price supported both the Trinity River plan and tax financing for the American Airlines Center. He has endorsed Mayor Ron Kirk and in the past supported the council candidacies of Larry Duncan (white) and Sandra Crenshaw (black). He endorsed Richard Evans (black) when he tried to win a seat on the Dallas school board despite the fact that Evans never graduated from high school. He backed former Dallas school trustee Don Venable (white), saying that Venable was "right for the children of Dallas." (Not for long. Venable resigned. Twice.) To sum up, Price has a pretty good average of picking the winning horse, if not necessarily the swiftest one, if you get our drift.

In the final analysis (that's editorial-speak for "anyhoo"), what conclusion can you, the concerned voter, draw from Price's endorsement? Not much, Buzz supposes, other than this: If you can think of any reason other than skin color to vote for either of these guys come June 2, please do so. And Buzz? As usual, we'll be staying home, wallowing in laziness and deeply rooted cynicism, though in our heart we'll be rooting for Caraway. He always returns Buzz's calls, no matter how many nasty things we say about him, and we've said plenty.

We know upon which side our bread is buttered.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams