Damn. Now I have to send Roland Dickey's barbecue book back to him. I got it a few days back. It was a gift. I looked it up online, and it's worth about 45 bucks with shipping. I want to say something positive about his wife today, so if I keep it that puts me in the position of being an inducement-taker. I will take it back next week.
Yesterday Unfair Park told you about the ugly racial fight that broke out at the Dallas County Commissioners Court when Commissioner John Wiley Price once again accused Commissioner Maurine Dickey of racism because she dared to question a policy proposal by Price ally, Dallas County Clerk John Warren. Warren and Dickey were engaged in a good-old-fashioned difference of opinion on a chump-change issue when Price broke in to suggest Dickey was going after Warren because, "...you're a black man."
Warren seemed to agree. I'm not going to offer an opinion about Warren's role. Price put him in a position. That's where it started.
The bigger picture here is the consistent courage of Dickey, who has often braved Price's rage in crazy showdowns. Price's tantrums sometimes look like the leading edge of imminent physical violence, which I am sure is no accident. And where does Dickey come from in all this?
Well, take the diversion court for prostitutes. Dickey, a Republican with a personal history of social work, defends the program, which seeks to help prostitutes escape a bitter and destructive cycle of abuse and incarceration. Price, a Democrat whose only consistent loyalty over the years has been to girlfriends and buddies, publicly disparages the program and defends the men who pay prostitutes as their "sponsors."
Dickey does a lot of stuff I don't agree with. She does not have an amiable relationship with the city's gay community -- her fault, not theirs. I have written some fairly unpleasant stuff about her and her family in the past. But I do that about my own family.
Meanwhile, her positions on fiscal responsibility and corruption at the county have been unassailable. Take the recent news that the FBI is sorting through the county's absolutely outrageous history of entropy, mismanagement and squandered money for computer systems. I happen to know that Dickey has worked her fingers to the bone trying to extricate some kind of useful audit trail from the county's junk-pile bookkeeping on this question.
She hasn't succeeded, and I doubt the FBI will, either, for one reason: The only possible explanation for the county's absurdly inadequate accounting is that it's the result of a deliberate scheme to cover somebody's tracks. The average household with a computer and a copy of Quicken is a hundred years ahead of Dallas County in keeping track of its money. That cannot be an accident.
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Price and his Democratic allies on the court succeeded in gerrymandering Dickey out of her district, so she leaves office in January. When she does exit, will there be a single soul left on the court with the courage to take on Commissioner Price? Well, wait: We haven't seen our new commissioner, Theresa ("The Doctor") Daniel, in action yet. We should all reserve judgment.
I met Roland Dickey one time, a few years ago. We had lunch. He's a cool guy who didn't even punch me out for some of the mean things I said in print about his wife. I always like guys who don't punch me out for insulting their wives. I will give back the book, regretfully.
I do wonder how their days start. "Where are you off to today, Dear?" "Oh, I'm headed downtown to fight with John Wiley Price." "OK, then. Remember to get your car inspected before Monday."
I'm just saying: Could you do it?