Old School

Page 8 of 8

To hear Price tell it, parts of his life sound like scenes from a sequel to New Jack City. He's been shot at three times, he says, narrowly escaping death nearly 20 years ago in Oak Cliff. At the time, he was dating a woman who was seeing a drug dealer on the side. Not happy with this arrangement, the drug dealer and his friends confronted the woman at her home and shot at Price's car as he was fleeing.

Today Price's enemies continue to take aim at him, but he's still standing. After criticizing Gwinn and Nutall, whom he views as the root of all disparaging news about him, Price offers an olive branch. "Even with these two individuals who I don't even know, I will still always pray for them and help them if they needed my help. My door is always open for Mr. Gwinn and Miss Nutall. We can pray together; we can go out to lunch together; we can just talk about educational issues together."

After barely winning re-election only to find himself out of step with a new cadre of trustees, Price was musing about running to replace Dallas City Council member Leo Chaney. On our drive to Red Oak, Price said he hadn't thought a lot about a possible candidacy but when pressed revealed that he'd given the matter at least a passing consideration.

"If I did decide to run for city council, I would take the same approach with the school district. I would take the area that I'm running for and with God's assistance and his guidance I would transform that community fast. This ain't going to be no five- or six-year plan and all this crud I hear from people."

Price then unveiled a multifaceted action plan that calls for greater grassroots efforts to improve the look and character of South Dallas. He wants to discourage loitering, toughen ordinances and code enforcement to preclude residents from having couches on their front porches and cars in their front yards. He says before he runs, he needs to know if people in South Dallas really want him in office, because he plans to make a lot of residents miserable.

"When people ask me about it I say, 'Are you sure I'm the guy you want? Because if I'm the guy you want, in six months all the drug dealers will have to leave this community. I'm personally going to come out and protest drug houses. I'm not sending the police. I'm coming. Your city council member will show up in person.'"

And Price will show up. He's likely the hardest-working politician in Dallas and certainly the most gregarious. If he's elected to the council, he'll work with police, residents, shop owners and business leaders to deal with instigators of urban blight such as beer joints and hot-sheet motels. He'll give everybody his cell phone number. He will be absolutely tireless. Of course, the same controversies that dogged him at DISD will likely pop up again in some form or fashion. Price always seems to get carried away in his deeds and his words.

"It will take me six months to clean South Dallas," he says while driving past a string of liquor stores and vacant lots. "Six. A maximum six."

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Matt Pulle
Contact: Matt Pulle