Safety's price: I enjoyed "Crack Alley" (by Mark Donald, November 13). As a police officer, I must emphasize that the Broken Windows Theory does work, but not in Dallas. Not now. In order for this theory to be effective in fighting crime, it must be properly funded and receive the proper allocation of manpower. Police Chief Miller isn't giving the plan either. When will the chief/mayor finally figure out she is not qualified to make changes in the crime-reduction plans of the Dallas Police Department? (Not to mention she isn't empowered by the City Charter to do it either.) Or for that matter, when will the public figure out the command staff is severely challenged in that aspect as well?
The citizens of Dallas are not safe. They will not be safe until they pay the police what is necessary to attract the best candidates. They will not be safe until the manpower of the Dallas Police Department is increased. Perhaps the Dallas Observer should count the actual number of police officers patrolling the streets of Dallas on any given night. I know you will be shocked to learn the true ratio of officers to citizens. Here's a clue: It's nowhere near 2.4 officers per 1,000 citizens.
As of now they receive the dregs of the applicant pool. Applicants look first at pay, then at reputation and chances for advancement. The best of the best apply elsewhere. They come to Dallas only after failing to be hired at another agency.
I know the pay issue is becoming a dead horse with the public. Low morale and low manpower affect you more than you know. High crime leads to high cost of living in Dallas. How much would you save on home insurance, car insurance or health insurance if you moved from Dallas? How much would you save in groceries? (The grocers have to make up for all the shoplifters somehow.)
I applaud Peter Fleet's efforts. I caution him to be careful not to become the target of his adversaries. Best of luck, Mr. Fleet. You're going to need it.
Deadly cure: Good story. Unfortunately, nothing will happen until we figure out that it's drug prohibition that brings crime and drug dealing to alleys and curbs. The cure is worse than the disease.
Castro Valley, California
Watch your back: Fleet says he will not stop his protesting until the crime stops? I say Fleet, be careful! What he's doing is dangerous. Someone in his neighborhood, possibly a crack dealer, will stop him. In no way do I condone how they make their money, but that is their income, and he is messing with people maybe he shouldn't be messing with!
Sold Down the River
Mud hole: Thank God for Jim Schutze. Every time I read one of his articles about another Dallas City Council meeting concerning the Trinity River project ("Show Me the Lake!" November 13), I can feel my ears turning rouge and my head blowing steam. I picture a scene straight from an Ayn Rand novel where collective councils confabulate endlessly about doing what is best for public needs while the world outside falls apart around them. Unfortunately, that world is Dallas for us, and this council is content with taking us down into a mud hole with them. Oh, I can hear them murmuring the words now at the next meeting..."Who is John Galt? We're doomed! Quick, everybody head north in search of Atlantis while we still have a chance!"
Here is a novel idea: Why not open up the project to privatization? The Dallas City Council has already wasted enough of our tax dollars over the last six years quibbling over the matter. Why not hang a carrot up to someone like Mr. Tom Hicks and dangle it over the Trinity River where he can see it just over the American Airlines Center (also partial taxpayer money) from his downtown Crescent office? Yes, we may be subject to quite a few Dr Pepper advertisements and the like, but it beats the hell out of wallowing around in a 19th-century Texas mud hole. And that's exactly where the council is taking us--backward. $1.6 million!? Are y'all for real?
As an operator of a family-owned business that backs up to the levee on Irving (Industrial) Boulevard, I resent Mr. Schutze's comments about no "big box shippers" on this street any longer. I'm sure some of my neighbors like Feizy Rugs and Andrews Distributing would agree. Nevertheless, $80 million to fix up our neighborhood street is ridiculous! I'd feel like we were raping the public in the rear for a kindly gesture directed toward us. Put that money toward the lake, you buffoons, it would help us all tremendously.
I occasionally jog and watch other joggers cruise up and down the top of that dingy levee every day. Every weekend there are numerous soccer games taking place at the little park with the concrete cows next to the river. Give us what we want with OUR money. A lake. Not a highway! Not a mud hole! A lake. The one that was shown to us in the picture in 1998 that we voted on.
On and On
Inspired: Thank you for that deep and detailed article about Erykah Badu ("The Weird Girl," by Robert Wilonsky, October 16). It has truly inspired me to do more in my own community. I have always admired and been blessed by Erykah's gift. Today, I was blessed by yours. Keep up the good work.