Letters, December 6

Because DISD Sucks

Money for nothing: In your story ("Agin and Agin," November 22), you say that those of us in Northwest Dallas will vote against the upcoming bond issue because the school district has been taken over by people of color. As a non-white North Dallas resident with a non-white daughter, I resent the implication that every North Dallas person is a white flight veteran.

I live in North Dallas by choice; I grew up in Oak Cliff across from Leila P. Cowart school. My daughter attends private school at St. Monica. Why? Because the neighborhood school that I would have to send her to, Withers, is nothing compared to what I have at St. Monica. My daughter, a fifth-grader, is not only light-years ahead of what they teach at Withers, she is light-years ahead of the neighborhood middle school, Marsh.

Don't misunderstand or misquote me--I know people at both schools, and there are many brilliant spots of light and children in both. But I pay $4,100 a year in property taxes. For what? I get nothing for my money. I pay about $5,000 a year to send my daughter to private school. For what? A state-of-the-art computer lab, state-of-the-art language and reading labs, teachers who know my daughter by name and enjoy teaching (for a very inferior wage, I might add)--not teachers who are there because DISD has not found a way to get rid of them yet.

I will probably vote in favor of the bond election. Why? Because children less fortunate than mine deserve a chance. They deserve better than having to go to school with kids who dress like prostitutes and having to face drug dealers and uncaring parents, some of whom have morals that are somewhat worse than my tomcat's. They deserve better than all of this in dilapidated buildings.

I hate DISD because it is the sorriest political subdivision in this country. Most people won't vote for the bond election--not because of race, but because DISD sucks and has a long track record of sucking. To make this a race issue is petty and absolute bullshit on your part.

Come see me--live in my world. Then we can talk race vs. reality.

Richard J. Bacon

Deadly Restraint

Most vulnerable: This letter is in response to the November 22 article "Resistance Is Futile" by Rose Farley. The article illustrated some of the problems with the use of restraints and seclusions on some of our most vulnerable citizens and discussed some of the tragic deaths related to restraint use that have occurred in Texas.

I wanted to clarify a few points in the article that were inaccurate. First, the state of Texas does not require annual competency-based training for staff members who administer the use of restraints. Similarly, using the "prone position" when restraining a person is not illegal under Texas law.

While some employees may be required by rule or by an accrediting organization to have competency-based training, this is not state law. My Senate Bill 876--which was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, not the Senate Finance Committee as reported in the article--would have required competency-based training, but the bill died in the House Calendars Committee at the end of the session when it failed to be placed on the intent calendar.

While I have advocated for persons with disabilities throughout my service to the Legislature, this session marked the first time I have filed a bill specifically addressing restraints and seclusions. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will continue to review the use of restraints and seclusions during the interim as one of our charges.

I appreciate the Dallas Observer reporting on this important issue, and I hope the article brought attention to this very serious issue.

Senator Mike Moncrief

Editor's note: Rose Farley didn't write that Texas required annual competency-based training or that it had made using the prone position illegal. As Senator Moncrief acknowledges, self-imposed rules and federal laws often make such requirements, as Ms. Farley mentioned in her story. The article also did not specifically mention Senate Bill 876, saying only that Senator Moncrief's many efforts on behalf of people with disabilities "never seem to get past the Finance Committee"--i.e., receive funding--a point to which he agreed during an interview.

It truly helps: Thank you so much for your well-written article. I have been working on this issue for a few years now. It truly helps us when stories like yours are published to educate the public.

Diana Kern

We're the News

Channel 8's slide: I have lived in the metroplex 18 years. WFAA-Channel 8 ("Middle of the Pack," November 22) used to be the station to watch for the 10 o'clock news. It is now (pick one):

a. Civic cheerleader
b. Ron Kirk's personal PR department
c. Dale Hansen's editorial page
d. Shameless self-promoter
e. All of the above.

The answer is, of course, e. From CueCat to beaming anchors proudly announcing the latest corporate relocation to Santa's helpers to Family First (gawd!), Channel 8 has gone from reporting the news to trying to be the news.

It is a common trend in the business world. Large entity is successful over a long period of time, sits on its laurels, becomes unfocused and unclear of its direction, loses share of business, either restructures or goes away entirely.

The fact that it is owned by the same company that owns the only daily newspaper in town is also disconcerting. Those two media outlets could have literally kept themselves busy full time investigating the Kirk administration or DISD or the Trinity River project. Instead they sit around trying not to offend anyone while pushing whichever agenda Belo happens to be on board with at the time.

I read the Dallas Observer to get the truth about what is happening around here.

Jim May
Via e-mail

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