In November, I had some fun at the Sheriff Lupe Valdez's expense when I posted an e-mail she accidentally sent me. I had sent a public information request to her legal advisor Leslie Sweet and copied Valdez on the missivel. In a response that was clearly meant for Sweet, the sheriff wrote: "Let's see if we can keep from doing this, it's just a witch hunt. He can do that, but let's not assist if we can help it."
Fast forward a few weeks later. Turns out, I can be as ditzy as the sheriff.
I had just had a three-hour meeting with a few parents at Preston Hollow Elementary School, which, as everyone knows by now, was deemed by a federal judge to have used ESL classes to segregate students. The parents, who defended the school, were gracious enough to give up their entire morning to explain to me the nuances of their argument; the peculiar world of ESL; and their own view of Preston Hollow as a place where all different types of kids joke and play around together. Anyhow, I left the meeting with a more balanced view of the school, even if I didn't hear anything that seriously contradicted the judge's basic findings.
Shortly after the meeting, I gave Mike Simmons, the paper version of Unfair Park's art director, a short and superficial headline for my story so he'd have something to work with. Unfortunately, I accidentally sent it to one of the Preston Hollow parents. Here we had met for hours talking about the intricacies of the judge's ruling versus what really happened, and he received this e-mail from me:
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IT's even worse than you think."
So imagine you're an Anglo parent who just spent hours meticulously giving a skeptical reporter your view of how the school is, and within a day or two, he sends you a cryptic e-mail that looks as if he is taunting you? Fortunately, the parent continued to talk to me and the result was a more thorough story that appears in this week's issue of the Dallas Observer. But that doesn't take me off the hook. I'm still an idiot. (Sometimes.)
So, Sheriff, if you're reading this, shoot me an e-mail. Or, better yet, just give me a call. Maybe we can take that computer class together. --Matt Pulle