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01/09/03   Schutze or Schultz ?

Sometimes it's easy to feel like beleaguered Schultz...knowing nothing, but suspecting everything.  Such is the unease that Laura Miller has created with a sizeable portion of the torchbearers that swept her into office.  Reading Jim Schutze in the Dallas Observer these days is like going down a hill and feeling the brake pedal go soft.  Is it time to panic?  I know nothing.

I do know that I fell in love with Laura Miller a long time.  Not romantic love, but a limitless amount of admiration for someone so UnDallas-like.  When she spoke at a luncheon I attended in 1993, I was already familiar with the journalist, but that day I saw and heard the person.  Such courage, intelligence, and grit with strong principles and a sense of doing right, because it is simply right.  I remember secretly wishing that day that she would run for some political office.

The rise of Mayor Miller to the present day is a great story and well-known to this website.  Seeing her on television climbing trees, bulldozing for code enforcement, giving her colleagues on the council ample time to speak, she was off to a wonderful start.  I was even naive enough that I believed that by sheer force of personality, if nothing else, that things could possibly get better in my part of Dallas.

But it's not happening.  The focus is now on smoking and Belo, two hideous topics that can, and do, disillusion even the most hopeful.  Yeah, yeah, I know she's only 1/15th of that august body that's supposed to lead Dallas out of its thicket of problems.  Yet, if Laura Miller decides to let this city essentially run itself during her tenure and says, in essence, "let them eat (their own) vegetables", she will be a one-term mayor.

What about the bond issue next year ?  More money for those problems that seem more pressing than anything Robert Decherd could imagine.  For example:  potholes (of course), a systemic failure of code enforcement, a demoralized police force, world's worst parks.  You get it.  I thought she did, too.  Will a bond program save the day?  I know nothing.

Is this vintage Dallas, the old bait and switch?  Could be.  I do know this.  In my neighborhood, that's District 4 for any of you on Marilla that know how to read, it's business as usual.  Sofas with their stuffing flapping in the winter breeze sit for weeks waiting for that faithful day when they get a ride to the landfill.  Code enforcement?  They know nothing.

In Jim Schutze's mid-November piece in the Observer, the one concerning the most unlikely pairing of Miller and Decherd, he quotes the Mayor.  "She leans to look out the window at downtown and says, how am I going to get this done?"  I know how she feels.  I look out my window at the mess my neighborhood has become and ask myself the same thing.   





  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