Someone's Lying

I have known Domingo Garcia for a long time. I admire the political contributions he and his powerful political padrona Adelfa Callejo have made over the years.

But I believe Garcia is a liar. It's only my opinion, but I think the accusation he made that front-running mayoral candidate Laura Miller tried to buy his endorsement in the runoff campaign is a lie.

And I think you should know that people from his campaign and from Tom Dunning's campaign have been ordered to appear before a criminal grand jury investigating election fraud in the last two weeks.

Most of the people from the Garcia and Dunning campaigns subpoenaed by the grand jury have been associated with "early vote" efforts--a type of campaigning and a type of person that the Laura Miller campaign doesn't touch with a 10-foot pole.

Garcia's charges against Miller are sickening. The way he got himself into this mess was stupid. He ran for mayor in the recent special election and came in a distant third. He had spent most of the campaign painting Tom Dunning, the establishment candidate, as a racist for belonging to the Dallas Country Club.

The day after Garcia lost, he couldn't wait to endorse Dunning, which is exactly what anybody who knew him expected him to do. And believe me: There was no prior deal here. It wasn't necessary.

Domingo Garcia hates Miller, who came in first. There was never any chance he would endorse her. She knew that. She and her husband called Garcia and asked for his endorsement, but that's just the ritual dance of politics. They had to do that so it couldn't be said they had dissed his supporters by not even asking.

Domingo has his own big problem with supporters. How do you spend two months telling your people the other guy's a racist and then throw your arm around him the morning after you lose and ask everybody to go vote for him in the runoff?

What about the racist thing? Was that a joke?

Smoothing it over for the Anglos is easy enough, because the Anglos don't care. Garcia gets Dunning to agree to try to get a black physician admitted to the Dallas Country Club within the next few years.

Talk about a joke. This is some kind of sick retro humor. If Dunning succeeds and the black guy gets in, should we all celebrate by putting on our tie-dyed T-shirts and our cutoffs and going downtown to dance the frug?

But explaining things to the Latino audience is a bit more ticklish. So Callejo, a lawyer and longtime Latino activist, goes on Spanish-language TV and basically tells people not to worry, that Domingo is going to bleed this rich Anglo dog for a lot of cash. Dunning will have to pay off Domingo's campaign debt and help finance his state House race in return for the endorsement. She's giving Garcia political cover. So what if he's taking a dive on the racism issue? That's just a black issue anyway. And Domingo's going to get money for it.

It's typical poor-people politics in Dallas, the politics of despair, poverty and impotence. We can't sit at the table, but we can make them pay us off. It's a logic that appeals to poor, alienated, naïve people. Callejo, who is rich and smart, can sing that song with the best of them.

But in this instance something went wrong. This kind of stuff is never supposed to get outside the barrio or the 'hood or the ghetto or wherever it's talked. It's within the race. But this time somebody gave a tape of the interview to the Anglos; they translated it out of that secret language, Spanish, and put it on the white-people TV news. Now everybody is accusing Dunning of paying Domingo for his endorsement!

So what does Domingo do? He floats a great big helium-filled accusation up there. He says that in an untaped phone conversation to which only he and Miller were privy, Miller offered to bribe him for his endorsement. Clearly he hopes to divert the attention from himself and Dunning to Miller. In the process he basically gives us two choices: Believe me. Or call me a liar.

He's a liar.

That's only my opinion. I know only what everybody else knows. Well, I also listened to Domingo's version of this from his own lips and at length. I hung up sick in the stomach. Given the only two ways he has allowed me to vote on this issue, I knew as soon as I hung up what my personal decision would be.

He's a liar.

You make your own decision. But it would have been totally out of character for Miller to even hint at, dream of, slyly suggest or otherwise refer to such an arrangement. Call Miller a fanatic, call her a hatchet woman, call her a former Dallas Observer columnist, I don't care; but Miller has never shown one ounce of money sleaze in her whole life.

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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