John Wiley Price? Problem? What Problem? Nothing to See Here, Folks.

I refuse to jump up and down and scream about John Wiley Price. There's this story floating around the media that they had to shut down yesterday's meeting of the Dallas County Commissioners Court because Price had a meltdown when some in the peanut gallery called him the county's "chief moolah."

Please. First of all, the guy didn't call him chief moolah. It's mullah. He called him chief mullah -- an Islamic term for teacher or leader.

Second. Price did not have a meltdown. He was very calm. He made an observation about the people who had come to the meeting to complain about his role in the firing of Dallas County Elections Director Bruce Sherbet.

Price said, "You're all white. Go to hell."

He said it very calmly, according to the tape I saw. And he said it after County Judge Clay Jenkins was already in the process of shutting down the meeting.

Jenkins wasn't shutting down the meeting because Price told the people to go to hell. He was shutting down the meeting to stop the people from criticizing Price in front of the TV cameras.

In effect, Jenkins was telling them to go to hell too.

Who dares to be shocked by any of this? The Dallas Morning News editorial section Sunday ran an excellent Q&A between Price and editorial-board member Jim Mitchell in which Price said without any ducking or dodging that he had been the front-man in Sherbet's firing and did it for political reasons, to diminish what Price saw as the dominance of Republicans over the local elections process.

Mitchell asked tough questions and did a good job challenging Price. But generally The Dallas Morning News editorial page has been one of Price's principal supporters, as when Price was working to cripple the Inland Port in South Dallas.

The way it works is this: Price plays the race card in public but works for the old white guys behind the scenes, against the interests of his own constituency. That sits fine with the city's power structure. The recently elected county judge, Jenkins, is subordinate to Price in the running of the court.

Nobody downtown sees a single thing wrong with any of it. Nobody in leadership in the city really minds. So why should I?

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze