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Michael Hubbard
                             

09/01/05  What's with these preachers?

  The Dallas Managed News ran a "Viewpoint" from a United Methodist minister that reminds me why I'm no longer a Methodist.  The DMN 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 Dallas Observer.
 
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.     
8/31 Linda Helton:
 
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 Methodist ministers.

  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 investigation;
Tuesday, August 30, 2005 Viewpoints, The Dallas Morning News
Sheron Patterson is senior pastor of Highland Hills United Methodist Church in Dallas
  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 wrongdoing.
   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, t
here 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.     8/31/05 James Northrup:
  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 Hall.
   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 challenged.     09/01/05  Betty Culbreath:
Racism isn't the issue
Re: "Rivalry spun into an FBI probe," Sunday DMN story.
   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 and honestly.
   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 be black.
   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 News)
 

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 DISD matters.

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 Steve Blow.

STEVE BLOW: 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 upset.
... We're used to hearing cries for diversity, but I don't remember anyone saying a criminal investigation ought to have quotas.
   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 conspirators, too.
... 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 Black woman.

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
DMN and Blow's misinformed request for delay, it's clear the DMN's Arizona flower child has directed DMN's so-called "journalists" to do hit pieces on Mayor Miller.

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 racist.
By Jim Schutze 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 of racism.
... 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?
   Racism.
...  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 reject blacks.
...
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 gun.
... 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."
   These are 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. And why.

 
  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 to
NAPO - National Association of Police Organizations establishes relief fund to benefit New Orleans police officers and their families.

Officers of 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. 
 
Officials in 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.
 
NAPO has 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.
 
To make a donation, visit the NAPO website at:  http://www.napo.org/ReliefFund.htm 
 
A link is also available from the "News" section of the DPA website at:  www.dallaspa.org

Prayer and righteous indignation can be very powerful tools when you are dealing with stuff like corruption and natural disasters.

sb
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8