The Dallas Morning News Wants to Break Up District 14. Wow, What a Surprise.

Oh, so now it starts. Here it comes. Camouflaged in a lot of pompous blather about a fair city council redistricting process, The Dallas Morning News is already waving the banner for chopping up the East Dallas city council district.

Should have seen that one coming. East Dallas is a sharp thorn in the ass for The News and its buddies and hey-boys on the Dallas Citizens Council.

District 14, represented by Angela Hunt, happens to be by far the city's most successful council district in terms of building strong neighborhoods. You'd think the money guys would love District 14. Real estate values have gone up more there over the long haul than in any other part of town.

Ah, but there's a problem. Beginning even before Hunt took the seat, East Dallas, where I live, has always succeeded by fighting City Hall. If it had been up to Dallas City Hall, there would be big fat stinking double-decked freeways jammed with suburban commuters where some of the citiy's coolest neighborhoods now stand.

But Mother Snooze doesn't like that. She doesn't like people who fight City Hall. So now my part of town, which was treated like a throw-away slum 15 years ago, apparently has become a bastion of privilege that must be torn apart in the ongoing redistricting process.

Redistricting is where they take the numbers from the new census and decide how to redraw the lines to make sure each district still has the same number of people in it. It has to be done every 10 years by law. The News thinks, as long as we're at it, now's the chance to teach that damned East Dallas a lesson.

In an editorial Sunday, The News said, "Perhaps the most peculiar of the council districts is 14. Shaped like a bastardized 'W,' the district wends its way through the heart of the city, enveloping more than its fair share of landmarks, high-value properties and high-profile neighborhoods -- including Love Field Airport, part of downtown, the areas bordering the Park Cities, Uptown, the M-Streets and Greenville Avenue. No single district should have an embarrassment of riches -- or a crippling number of challenges."

Scuuuuuuureeeeeew yeeeeew! A bastardized W? I'm looking at a map of the council districts right now. District 8 looks a bastardized E that somebody knocked on its ass. District 2 -- look, I hate to say it, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings over there, but your district looks kind of like a bastardized F. And District 6 ... man! It just looks like a bastard.

So we have to tear 14 apart because it looks like a W? Nah. Forget it. The best thing this city has going for it is strong neighborhoods, and the only reason it has strong neighborhoods is because we've got people smart enough and tough enough to fight City Hall and fight Mother Snooze, mostly in East Dallas.

Bring it on. If really bastardy people are what you people want, we've got plenty. Extras! That's probably why we're still here.

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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