09/01/05 What's with
Managed News ran a "Viewpoint" from a
United Methodist minister that reminds me why I'm no longer a Methodist.
also ran a Steve Blow column that reminds me why it's important that
DallasArena.com never becomes politically correct. Jim Schutze had a
column that reminds me why we need The
|Until a few years ago, I belonged to a wonderful and very old Methodist church
for almost 15 years, but finally had to admit defeat. The membership was
great, but two of the ministers were awful. One was a baby preacher who
was dependent on the goodwill of the senior pastor to get admitted to our
district, but he didn't need a lot of prodding to be a "yes man". They
both were really keen on organizing trips to sports events, or food drives, or
assisting Habitat for the Humanities, but they both were a couple of buckets
short of spirituality. When you belong to a Christian church, you sort of
expect the preachers to believe in the divinity of Christ.
I have been reading all this about our crooked public officials
and their ties to various "affordable housing"
projects in the southern sector.
I have always defined "affordable
housing" as single-family houses priced so middle-class people could
afford them - like they build in the suburbs.
That is the kind of development that would really help turn around
the southern sector, not more apartments that will become the slums of the
future. The greedy politicians (besides enriching themselves) are not
helping their council districts.
Let the FBI send the crooks to jail.
I'm not going to try to save your soul -- just giving you the mindset of modern
||Anyway, the senior pastor asked me to create a postcard or flyer to go out to
all the newcomers in the church's neighborhood. The current building was
built in 1912 and is beautifully maintained, but the church has existed at that
location for over 130 years. I drafted a card that said "We've been
praising our Lord on this corner for 128 years ..." with an invitation for the
newcomers to come worship with us. The preachers (senior and baby) were
not pleased. They said "praising our Lord" would "turn off the kind of
people we are trying to attract". They wanted something like "worshiping
our God". When I reminded them that we were a Christian church, not some
ecumenical gathering place, they were even less pleased.
Guess I was right because the church's attendance is now at an all time low and
both of those preachers have left town.
All that gets us to the Viewpoint I mentioned above:
Sheron Patterson: First concern, now alarm over FBI
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Viewpoints, The Dallas Morning News
Patterson is senior pastor of Highland Hills United Methodist Church
The perceived targeting of many of Dallas'
African-American elected and appointed leadership in a widening FBI
investigation should be a cause for concern for all of us. Dallas citizens
should be troubled, and, collectively, we all should scratch our heads and
ask, what is going on?
It's no different, for example, from
having most of the African-Americans who work in your office called away
from their desks by corporate security for suspicion of misconduct. It's no
different from having most of the African-American students at your kid's
school called away from their desks by the school police for suspicion of
To dismiss this merely as a black
thing is the worst possible reaction. This is a Dallas thing.
Our city has a history of racially
motivated political discord. I am tired of it, and I want you to be, too.
All of Dallas should be concerned when one racial group is being singled out
for investigation. Justice should be served, but not at the cost of damaging
the political viability of a racial community.
I am not describing this
investigation as inappropriate ? because that suggests that the FBI should
not investigate leaders who happen to be African-American. African-American
leaders are not immune to scandal and corruption. I am describing this
investigation as unusual because most of the suspects are African-American.
At this point in the investigation,
it is not possible for me or any of us to know whether any of the suspects
are guilty. Those who are found to be should be dealt with according to the
law. But on the way to determining guilt or innocence, I cringe every
morning when I open the newspaper, wondering who else will be dragged along.
In many sectors of the
African-American community, concern has graduated to alarm. We are not
alarmed that the FBI is doing its job, but we are alarmed at what appears to
be a wholesale roundup of African-American leadership.
This gives the perception that
elected African-American officials are corrupt and are in cahoots for bribes
and kickbacks. We are alarmed because, among the group, there are innocent
leaders whose names have been smeared and reputations tarnished. Once a
person has been labeled crooked because of speculation in an investigation,
it is nearly impossible for that person to regain his or her reputation,
even if the person is later found not guilty of a crime. In fact, it is
highly unlikely that many officials named will ever be charged.
We are alarmed because watching and
reading about large groups of African-American leaders being investigated
has a negative effect on the psyche of the African-American community. This
investigation could discredit our leaders in our eyes. It could discourage
individuals in the community from participating in the political process,
which could mean the destabilization of a budding political force. Voter
apathy is already high in our community; if our leaders are deemed to be
lawbreakers, some would ask, why bother voting?
Perhaps most maimed in all of this is
the fate of the southern sector. The genesis of this federal investigation
is believed to be the corruption of funding designated to improve Dallas'
yet-to-be-developed beautiful acres down south. It would be a shame if their
future is lumped in with a yet-to-be-justified investigation and dismissed.
Clearly Rev. Patterson falls in
line with politically correct modern Methodist ministers who put their social
agenda ahead of their spiritual responsibilities.
Contrary to what Rev. Patterson asserts, there is not a large group of
African-American leaders being investigated. Don
Hill, James Fantroy, D'Angelo Lee and Royce West are only
four men. Even if you include Thornton-Reese,
Chaney and Ron Price, you are still talking about less
than 10 public officials. Sheila Farrington and
Andrea Spencer are not
community leaders. They are just con artists and grifters.
|It is ultimate racism to assume misconduct should be expected from
African-Americans. Rather than facing this crisis with alarm,
Rev. Patterson as a minister should welcome
the authorities cracking down on malfeasance. Young African-American men
and women will see there are consequences to bad behavior and they don't
have to lower themselves to the standards of current politicians.
Her editorial skirts the obvious.
If we elect scoundrels, we get scandal. Paul
Fielding, Sheriff Bowles, - corruption is color blind.
Absolute power may corrupt
absolutely, but a little goes a long way at City
Any bright, young, articulate African
American should be able to sweep any of these
officials out of office.
Now's the time for reform
- starting in the voting booths in the Southern Sector.
Rather than dirty themselves to get involved with the current
style of politics in South Dallas, many decent and honorable young
African-American men and women are leaving Dallas altogether
for the suburbs.
Christ violently threw out the money changers from the temple. As a minister,
Rev. Patterson should be rising up in righteous anger
toward those who have shamed their public office and the African-American
community. She should be grateful to the
journalists and authorities who believe crime is color-blind and hold
African-Americans to the same standards as those of us who are pigmentally
09/01/05 Betty Culbreath:
Racism isn't the issue
Re: "Rivalry spun into an FBI probe," Sunday DMN
The claim of racism is so old that
it's a joke. Black people still have such loyalty and compassion for black
leaders because we want so badly to believe we are being represented fairly
Some of us are in shock, others are
in denial, others feel deceived by our leaders and the rest just wish this
would go away.
The fact is that Brian Potashnik rode
into town, picked the southern sector and did his homework on available tax
relief and other financial rewards. He then identified the local players who
could help make that happen. In the southern sector, the players happen to
I do not know if a crime has been
committed; the FBI is doing its job, and I respect the process. Black
leaders should step up and affirm that we are law-and-order people who do
not condone illegal activities, regardless of race.
(from Letters to the Editor, The Dallas Morning
As Joe Sturgill says:
By Sheron Patterson's line of
reasoning, the Mafia should never have been investigated because all the
*players* were Italian-Americans, and no identifiable racial or ethnic
group should be singled out for investigation and prosecution. Contrary
to Reverend Patterson's conclusion that this unfolding drama could result
in greater voter apathy, I believe it could and should stir people up so
they participate more intensely in the democratic process, and begin to
elect representatives of integrity and character.
At any rate, these revelations indicate a growing focus on redevelopment
across the Southern Sector, and that is a positive, if shady deals and
bribes can be avoided in the future.
For a minister to think what
has been going on at City Hall is acceptable, only adds to the cynicism many
have toward organized religion. Constructing thousands of apartments in
the Southern Sector guarantees a future slum area. It isn't because the
area is predominantly African-American, it is because apartment complexes
inevitably get old and cause problems. Look at Vickery Meadows or Webb
Chapel between Walnut Hill and Northwest Highway. Both were overbuilt with
apartment complexes. What once were attractive places to live are now
beehives for crime and mayhem.
The Dallas Independent School District is overwhelmed with children from
apartment complexes. Just a few weeks ago, Councilman Ed Oakley got an
apartment project approved for Pinnacle Park, when the DISD sent a letter to the
council stating they did not have adequate schools in the area to educate the
children who would come from the new apartments. It was ironic to have
Willie Cothrum and Ed Oakley ignoring the concerns of the DISD. The DISD
is one of Willie's biggest clients, and Ed Oakley usually is a big supporter of
Rather than alarmed that some crooks have been singled out, Rev. Patterson
should be more concerned about what the impact will be on the Southern Sector's
future when it is overwhelmed with apartments instead of the single family homes
that would have brought stability and prosperity to the area.
It's easier to go along to get along than to do the right thing, but that's a
truism lost on the DMN's
Exercise restraint as inquiry runs out
09:01 AM CDT on Friday,
August 26, 2005, The Dallas Morning News
Come on, FBI. Can't you throw us a
bone here? Can't you subpoena a few white folks, too?
Just for appearances' sake, if nothing else.
... After so much pain and strain, blacks finally get to the table ?
only to be suspected of rampant dealing under it.
I don't blame black folks for being
... We're used to hearing cries for diversity, but
I don't remember anyone saying a criminal investigation ought to have
When Enron was going down, did anyone
say, "Why so many whites?"
I'm going to bet that most criminal
investigations involve mostly one race or another. The truth is that most of
us still lead pretty segregated lives. If all our
church friends are of one color, it's probably true of our criminal
... So it behooves us all to take a calm,
quiet, wait-and-see attitude. Let's not presume anyone to be guilty.
... I'm a little mystified as to why Mayor Laura
Miller found it so all-fired important to force a showdown on removing City
Plan Commissioner D'Angelo Lee from office.
Maybe that sort of get-tough attitude
plays well to her North Dallas constituents, but sometimes a little patience
and sensitivity are in the best interests of the city.
... And the bottom line is that blacks and whites
look at cops and courts differently. That's why
prosecutors still work to keep black people off juries and why defense
attorneys work even harder to exclude whites.
... I wish Mayor Miller had been more
respectful of the extreme concern in the black community over this FBI
investigation. A little waiting and watching wouldn't have hurt anything.
Steve Blow should just
write about things he knows.
Obviously, he knows nothing about what happens at the City Plan Commission.
The P&Z is not a place where you want someone
making decisions who has already VOTED on a case where
he had already RECEIVED a $5,000 consulting fee. This
is not a newspaper story or a surmise. This is a
report verified by Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks of the Urban League -- a
There are other cases where parties have verified
they hired someone recommended by Lee
or Don Hill within days or weeks after their
case was approved at the P&Z. We cannot have
decisions being made at City Hall by a board member who is
using his public
office to support himself.
For Mayor Miller to have waited one more day to take a stand, she would have
looked like Ed Oakley. It does not matter the pigmentation of the bad
guy's skin. It matters that the city's most
prestigious board/commission not appear to be
tainted. It matters that our Mayor try to set things right as
soon as possible.
If Steve Blow had one idea about how the P&Z works,
he would be lauding Mayor
Miller and calling for Lee's removal himself.
Obviously, Belo is taking some heat from the 15 or 20 so-called Black
leaders to take the attention away from the bad guys. With those
two ridiculous "girl" pieces
that Sherry Jacobson had in the
and Blow's misinformed request
for delay, it's clear the
Arizona flower child has directed
so-called "journalists" to do hit pieces on Mayor
Blow is way wrong on all of his assumptions in his little
politically correct piece that
prosecutors still work to keep black
people off juries and why defense attorneys work even harder to exclude whites.
As Jim Schutze points out in his 9/1/05 piece, the guys at Belo played with
their "statistics" regarding who gets picked and culled for jury duty by Dallas
District Attorney prosecutors.
Race, Race, Race;
Man. Now everybody's calling everybody a
Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005
Before it slips beneath the waves forever, I would like to take a quick
second look at the recent Dallas Morning News series, "Striking
Differences," in which the newspaper accused the Dallas County prosecutor
... the Morning News series on jury selection in
Dallas County criminal district courts was potentially volatile. In a
racially charged atmosphere, the city's only daily newspaper publishes a
huge two-years-long study accusing Dallas County District Attorney Bill
Hill of running a racist department.
... the whole series--26 copyrighted
stories, by my count--sank beneath the surface without making a ripple. It
was like watching the Titanic disappear into a goldfish pond.
... How can that be, in a town where almost
everybody black is shouting racism and almost everybody white is shouting
not-racism? Here's a case of alleged racism in a very important public
office. Everybody shrugs.
... This story didn't get
any traction because the Morning News failed to make its case.
... The main ammunition the newspaper offered
against Hill was an arcane statistical study that they said found racism
in the techniques used by assistant district attorneys to strike black
people from juries.
... In this case, the newspaper offered the
results of a "logistic regression analysis model" to prove Hill and his
staff are racists.
... The model works like this: You take all the
documented factors that could explain a strike--age, race, income, prior
experience with law enforcement and so on--and pour them in. The model
whirs and chunks along for a while like an electric martini mixer. You
open the lid, and what do you find?
... Or, as the social scientists say,
"Garbage in, garbage out." The accuracy of the model's predictions depends
entirely on the design of the model, the variables fed into it and the
values assigned to those variables. You could have a model that gets it
wrong most of the time.
... The first story starts out, "Key
Findings--Dallas County prosecutors excluded black jurors at more than
twice the rate they rejected whites."
But when you read on,
you find that the racial makeup of juries today in
Dallas County almost exactly matches the makeup of the jury pools.
The percentage of the original pool that is black is the same as the black
percentage of the picked juries.
... The News says in its stories that the
juries come out the same ratios as the jury pools more or less by
accident. The paper reports that prosecutors reject
blacks at twice the rate they reject whites, but the ratios come out the
same because defense attorneys reject whites at three times the rate they
... The News presented a number of comparisons that seemed to show
racism, especially where blacks were struck from juries more often than
whites who answered the same question the same way. But you don't know if
it's racism until you know what other factors were in play.
... The only thing that weaves all of that
together properly is the model. And you can't tell if the model is any
good if you can't see the typical measurements statisticians use to judge
effectiveness. That's what Fritsch asked to see.
... "In my field, I say, 'I need to know what
the hit ratio is,' and anybody could blurt that off the top of their
head," Fritsch said.
"It's not something that should be
hidden. If the model is hanging around 50 percent, it's not any better
than flipping a coin."
... the News talked about the 36-year term of
former Dallas County prosecutor Henry Wade, "when prosecutors followed a
stereotype-ridden manual in rejecting black jurors." The paper, describing
63-year-old Bill Hill as "a track star with a country twang," presented
his side of the story by saying, "District Attorney Bill Hill, who was an
assistant to hard-nosed former DA Henry Wade, called the analysis of his
office's jury selection practices 'unfair and biased.'"
That's all code. It's clear enough.
You know what it means. Wade, Hill. Old white guys. Same-same.
... But the News didn't have any bullets in its
... I did a little reality check on this and
asked a couple liberal defense lawyers what they thought of the series.
One, whom I will not name, paused a beat and then said, "Oh, yeah, you
mean that series the News did trying to make Bill Hill look good."
I said, "No. They said Hill and his
staff are racists."
... He said, "Well, I didn't read it that
carefully. I just got to the part where they said there are as many blacks
on juries now as there are in the pool. That seemed like real progress to
me. Maybe I've just been around too long."
strange times in Dallas. Racism is a brutal charge anytime, especially if
it's not true. It's surprising, isn't it, who tosses it around. And how.
||If Schutze keeps writing "fair
and balanced" stuff like this, he's going to get kicked out of his aging hippie
club. Steve Blow is secure in his lost in the 60's membership.
This is all getting too confusing for me.
There's Steve Blow wondering why Mayor Miller wasn't willing to let a crook
continue to vote on zoning cases at City Hall until he was convicted or died of
old age. Don't feel bad if you couldn't follow Blow's logic. You
read DallasArena.com and obviously are not in touch with your softer side.
Then, Jim Schutze is contradicting a biased series that ran in the
Dallas Managed News,
when the old Jim Schutze almost always saw racism in every decision made by
Dallas decision makers. He has come to grips with the knowledge that
African-Americans are not children wearing adult clothes. Schutze has
finally admitted to himself (so he can admit it to us) that some adult Black
people are capable of making bad decisions and doing bad things -- without being
led astray by some bad White guy. This is a real break through for Jim,
but very confusing for me.
Worse, we have a Methodist preacher wondering why the FBI is going after a bunch of con
artists and bad guys who are and have been victimizing the Southern Sector by
overloading the area with apartment complexes, while planning to get rich on
federal tax subsidies for something that wasn't needed in the first place.
Rev. Patterson should be saying a loud "Amen" to ridding the African-American
community of those who are the modern day equivalent of the temple money
changers who annoyed Jesus Christ.
It would be great if the same Black preachers who have been hostile to Laura
Miller would turn some of their wrath toward those in their community whose
greed has been so damaging for the Southern Sector.
It may be politically correct to be non-judgmental, but it is very wrong for our
future. Too many cities in this country are in more trouble than Dallas
because blind eyes were turned toward obvious corruption.
It may be politically correct to try to divert attention from the mayhem at City
Hall involving a few (but powerful) African-Americans with concerns about "due
process" rather than fixing the problem, but it is very wrong. There is
nothing in the City Charter requiring the Ethics Commission to rule on a matter
before the council acts.
If there is a hole in the levee,
you fix it immediately before it tears out a section and destroys what it was
intended to protect.
Speaking of levees, keep the victims (living and dead) of Katrina in your
thoughts. The Dallas Police Association is asking us to help by donating
NAPO - National Association of Police
Organizations establishes relief fund to benefit New Orleans police officers and
the New Orleans police department are aiding in the relief efforts in the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, those very same officers need
relief as well. Many of them have no home to return to, but will continue
working to help others affected by this catastrophe.
New Orleans are advising they do NOT need volunteers at this point and are
in fact, trying to keep people out of the city and evacuate those still
there. However, your financial assistance is needed to benefit your
brother and sister officers in New Orleans who desperately need your help.
established a charitable 501(c)3 relief fund and all donations raised will
be used to help ease the suffering - in coordination with PANO, the Police
Association of New Orleans; the local NAPO affiliate. All donations are
tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
A link is
also available from the "News" section of the DPA website at:
Prayer and righteous
indignation can be very powerful tools when you are dealing with stuff like
corruption and natural disasters.