Oh, man, I shouldn't even tell you about this. I guess it's me and Rudy Bush, "High Noon," "OK Corral," all those old movies. One of us has got to wind up on his back in the horseshit with his toes in the air. I promise I'll let you know which one it is, if I still can.
Bush is a former City Hall reporter at The Dallas Morning News, now on the editorial board, meaning he writes editorials. A very solid hand. Couple days ago apparently he motored out to the mayor's house where the mayor was recovering from a hip operation. They had a one-on-one about the big HUD racial segregation case against Dallas that's just now coming to the final showdown.
Bush wrote an editorial based on that interview. I told you about it yesterday. He implied broadly that Mayor Mike Rawlings had jaw-boned HUD into submission.
Last year HUD said it had concluded a four-year federal investigation of Dallas with findings that elected officials and city staff had colluded over a 10-year period to increase racial segregation. Bush's piece gave the impression Rawlings (and presumably City Attorney Warren Ernst) had pretty well knocked HUD's argument to pieces and that HUD is now in at least partial retreat.
The Bush editorial also included a very specific suggestion that HUD had agreed to throw the whistle-blowers who first reported Dallas under the bus. He made it sound as if HUD is abandoning an earlier demand that Dallas make Curtis Lockey and his partners whole on a downtown tower re-do deal. Lockey says his group got screwed by the city because they tried to obey the law on desegregation.
So great is my respect for Bush, so vast and deep my reverence for The Dallas Morning News editorial page -- it's almost a religious thing with me -- I took Bush's editorial at face value. I even wrote a follow-up piece yesterday based entirely on my faith in the accuracy of Bush's reporting.
I did lament HUD's willingness to slit the throats of the whistle-blowers on the courthouse steps. Just didn't seem right to me. And I did say it was a poor start for the just-sworn-in new HUD secretary, Julian Castro. This is supposed to be a national landmark case. How good a start is it for him to take a dive?
Yesterday Bush was in a highly triumphal mood, tweeting stuff about me like, "Bitter, bitter, bitter. I've been trying not to scrap with you about you being wrong." You know, wrong on the HUD case. I had written for years that it was a big deal and that Lockey and his group were cool. Now Rudy and the mayor say it's a junk case and Lockey is a loser. That's what he means.
What inspired him to tweet that? Gosh, I don't know. What? I have no idea. What? Well, maybe I do. He posted an earlier tweet about the mayor being at the City Council meeting yesterday: "Like 5 days ago, this man had his hipbone bored out and replaced with a big metal ball. Back to work."
I tweeted back, "No French kissing, OK?"
So, you have to understand, journalism is a craft, not a profession. Sometimes it gets like that. I poked him for sucking up to the mayor, and he came back all big and bad on me because he had the story about HUD tossing the whistle-blowers under the bus and I didn't. In this line of work, it's our immaturity that keeps us young.
Oh, but guess what! Later in the day yesterday I learned from very good sources close to City Hall that Rudy's piece may have been complete bullshit. It's possible the mayor and the city attorney don't have squat for a deal yet and that Bush got played.
I honestly don't know which one of us will turn out to be right in the end -- that's the OK Corral part -- but there is a distinct possibility the mayor had no deal at all with HUD and that HUD has not agreed to abandon the Lockey group.
Why would the mayor call Rudy out there and show him his hip and shit and tell him he had a done deal on the HUD complaint? I don't know.
I guess even if I win and it turns out Bush got played, I lose because I said all that bad stuff abut Castro at HUD, which may have been very unfair. But I swear, I only said that because I believed Rudy Bush and The Dallas Morning News. Is that a legal defense? I believed the Morning News! I don't even know if that's a moral defense.
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It really just didn't occur to me that Bush would have written an entire editorial painting the HUD deal as done with regard to Lockey, and the News would have run it, and they had no confirmation.
At this moment I can tell you this much for sure. They did not have confirmation. They do not know that one word in Bush's editorial is true. All they know is that the mayor wanted them to believe it, and they did. The mayor and the city attorney may have no deal at all.
But that doesn't mean Bush won't be right in the end. Tell you what. If it turns out the mayor and the city attorney do have a deal in hand and the whistle-blowers do get their throats slit by HUD, I will eat the requisite amount of crow here. I am looking for recipes now.
On the other hand, if it turns out Rudy Bush ran out to the mayor's house, sat at his bloody hip, wrote a gushy editorial about how the mayor had it in the bag and the Lockey group was already under the bus, and none of that was true? And then Bush the next day tweets me about he's right and I'm wrong? What do you think he should eat? I'm thinking of some recipes for that, too.