Justin Terveen
Click to embiggen Justin's picture of the State Fair-grounds last night

News & Notes & An Angry Letter & The Calm Before The State Fair of Texas Opens Today

Rick Perry's a disappointment, Craig Watkins is a "demagogue," Jason Roberts is a fixer -- all the name-calling you fit whilst awaiting your first Fletcher's corn dog of the fall season ...

Following an outing to Fair Park, speaking of, the National Conference of Editorial Writers wraps its four-day stay at the Fairmont tomorrow. The scribes have been graced with quite the parade of dignitaries thus far: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Mayor Tom Leppert (who said, "Dallas will be the best place to live and work in 10 to 20 years"), Sen. John Cornyn and Governor Rick Perry. But yesterday's meet-down with Gov. Goodhair didn't go so well -- hence, this open letter from NCEW President Tom Waseleski, in which he writes that Perry's refusal to take questions from the audience was disappointing, for starters:

This is an affront to any notion of civil discourse, such as the kind you have called for on other occasions. We believe you and your staff have been disingenuous in the characterization of your schedule. If you had hoped to make a positive impression on this national press group, I must tell you that you utterly failed.

Speaking of fail, our old friend Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast follows up yesterday's Craig Watkins-Danny Clancy debate with this item this morning, in which Scott goes after the Dallas County District Attorney's mailer attacking Clancy's duties as a defense attorney. Warns Scott, who also was deeply troubled by Watkins's "unstatesmanlike demeanor" on Thursday:

Just judging by the topline numbers, an incumbent Democrat running countywide in Dallas should easily coast to reelection in 2010, but I wouldn't be surprised if this increasingly long list of self-inflicted wounds combined with a more motivated GOP electorate make the race a lot closer in November than anyone would have expected just a year or so ago.

I like Craig Watkins personally and respect the nationally acclaimed work by his office on innocence matters, but some of these recent, bone-headed moves at a minimum call into question his judgment, and could swing independent voters and even some Democrats away from his camp as the race approaches the homestretch.

But back to Jason Roberts for a second. (That's his bald pate in the Bike Plan photo below.) Yet again, his Better Block Project receives national kudos for having an impact well outside of Oak Cliff. Says Roberts this morning to Grist's Sarah Goodyear: "We brought a punk-rock mindset to this. The fact that we've been legitimized is almost the weirdest thing."

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