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Monday Was Not A Happy Day For Dallas

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By Shawn Williams

When I woke up on Monday, I figured I’d opine on the legacy of former Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway.  Maybe discuss how his colleagues tried to oust him in the beginning but eventually warmed up to his short term in the big chair.

Then Angela Hunt tweeted pictures from the City of Dallas inauguration, the tweet stream also revealed that federal investigators were at the home and office of Commissioner John Wiley Price.  A day that should have been a day of hope and celebration quickly turned into a day of rumor and innuendo.  What is true is that the FBI also searched the home of Dapheny Fain, the Executive Assistant to the Dallas County Commissioner and political consultant Kathy Nealy.

Contrary to the ridiculous statement made by Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey, Monday was not a happy day for Dallas County.  It was not a happy day for Dallas.  If every accusation being leveled against the commissioner were true, it would still not be a good day for the county or the city.

This routine is becoming all too familiar as it relates to African-American politicians.  With the recent trails and convictions of former councilman Don Hill and former State Rep. Terri Hodge still fresh in our memory, there’s a “here we go again” element to yesterday’s news.

But for whatever reason, the story gets more push, more pub…it has more legs when the key figure is Black.  The criminal behavior of Tom Delay or the ethical lapse of Garland State Representative Joe Driver, didn’t stay in the headlines for long.  The circus atmosphere is always bigger around Black politicians and officials.

For sure the commissioner is losing the battle of public opinion.  But he has and will have supporters in Southern Dallas as evidenced by the video above who stand behind him.  Commissioner Price has put in 27 years with the county.  Like or not he’s elected by his constituents (I live in the district) and he’s shed light on issues in Southern Dallas that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

It’s hard for anyone to be objective with a figure like Price because there’s very little middle ground.  Commissioner Price’s style and choice of words rubs some the wrong way.  I get that.  He’s accused of being racist.  I get that, though I vehemently disagree with the assertion.

There are Facebook commenters and radio callers whose desire for his guilt is overwhelming.  In a similar fashion I hear long time supporters looking to tilt the scale the other way, putting a positive spin on negative realities.

We should allow the government to do their job, though some of my media friends are trying to do it for them.  Reporters and media can then focus on their jobs without becoming sensational.  I thought David Schechter’s story on Commissioner Price’s cars was fair, though the word “secretive” gave me pause.

As long as investigations like these drive ratings and page views, the feeding frenzy will not cease.  I can guarantee this story will remain above the fold type news for days to come.  I guess Mavs euphoria couldn’t last forever.

  • Walker

    “[the story] has more legs when the key figure is Black. ”

    WRONG. The story has more legs when the person in question is JWP. He could be green, blue or yellow but still make headlines after all of the stupid stuff he has said and done over the past 30 years.

  • 4Dallas

    No wonder South Dallas never moves ahead–they keep electing people like Don, Al, Terri and JWP and support them as they lie, cheat & steal.
    I hear his supporters saying “I know he is a thief, but he is my thief.”

  • Dan

    NO…….The “circus response” is always bigger for JOHN WILEY PRICE, not black politicians.

    Sounds like your pulling a racial card there Mr. Shawn Williams.

    Are you implying that John Wiley Price is an angel, not deserving of the negative attention he is receiving? What rock did you crawl out from?

  • JW Hix

    Totally wrong from the premise. It’s a fantastic day for Dallas or any other city when the dirty laundry is aired and the federales are called in to do what the state, county and or city can or will not do.

  • Pats

    Corrupt is corrupt. race has no play and JWP was one of the worst. Also any argument JWP entered he based it on race to trample the opposing view. He is a race baiter and Dallas is better off w/o him. I don’t see articles sticking up for Blago, that guy was corrupt as hell too. So stop injecting race into every argument. JWP needs to be sent to “Pound me in the ass” Prison.

  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    But for whatever reason, the story gets more push, more pub…it has more legs when the key figure is Black. The criminal behavior of Tom Delay or the ethical lapse of Garland State Representative Joe Driver, didn’t stay in the headlines for long.

    I think that you have selective memory. Delay was in the press for years, and Driver got the same treatment that Royce West is getting right now.

  • 4Dallas

    No wonder South Dallas never moves ahead–they keep electing people like Don, Al, Terri and JWP and support them as they lie, cheat & steal.
    I hear his supporters saying “I know he is a thief, but he is my thief.”

  • Choraleboy

    Shawn – I agree that Monday was not a happy day for Dallas and it was not helpful for Ms. Dickey to say that. It is a sad day when the FBI executes a search warrant on an elected official.

  • sterling

    Have to agree with the previous posters. This story has legs because JWP has been such a large figure in local politics for so long. There are plenty of well respected african american politicians in Dallas and corruption among elected officials is certainly nothing new in this city or any other.

    However, the news is noteworthy and substantial. His race is irrelevant. Its unfortunate that some are so quick to play the race card when issues like this arise. If the politician in question was white it would still be a story.

  • http://www.dallassouthnews.org shawnpwilliams

    Sorry not getting out my dancing shoes when the FBI pulls into town. Guilty or innocent, it’s not a good look for Dallas, it’s not something to celebrate. It’s a shame anyway you look at it.

    And race is ALWAYS a factor. It doesn’t make Commissioner Price guilty or innocent, but it does play into perception. It’s human nature.

  • Jescamilla

    John Riley Price is a THUG! Pure and simple. People need to recognize, this is not about race! When are people going to let people regardless of race accept responsibility for their actions???? Kudos to the FBI and the council members who support law enforcement.

  • Pats

    Not a good look for Dallas? So a corrupt politician that incites race into his arguments is a good image, but when that politician gets busted it’s “not a good look” for Dallas. Most people don’t give two craps what color he is, all Dallas citizens know is he has been a cancer to the scene for far too long.

  • Pats

    Wow, and I just realized shawnpwilliams is the writer for this article. Race isn’t ALWAYS a factor Shawn and it’s NOT human nature. Maybe for you it is, get a new look on life.

  • robert

    As with any articles people read the same thing but come away with diffenrent intrepetations. ” But for whatever reason, the story gets more push, more pub…it has more legs when the key figure is Black”. I don’t take this to mean that Commissioner Price is being targeted because of his color but it draws on the history of media coverage when there’s a negative story regarding a politican of color. To some that may be debatable but I simply ask that you do your due deligence and take a look back throughout history, Dallas history. We also should be careful (but individual choice) when we use words to describe a person. I don’t think any of the commissioners are thugs – true meaning – a brutal ruffian or assassin. Right now we should be in a wait and see mode to 1/ see what the allegations 2/ Commissioner Price’s response 3/ Evidence if any 4/ Who will be women or man enough to stand-up and say – yes I presented this to the FBI and 4/ If this goes no-where will the same folks so quick to judge negative/positive stand-up and admit that they were wrong… I will be the first to do so……..

  • http://www.dallassouthnews.org shawnpwilliams

    Pats do you think pollsters or marketers ever consider race in their work? How about news organizations? College? What color are soccer moms? NASCAR dads? Remember the “white blue collar” voter of 2008?

    I know we like to live in a world where we think race no longer matters but that’s not the real world. That’s the world the some folks want to create and that’s just not reality. JWP won’t be guilty b/c he’s black. He won’t be found innocent (for dang sure) b/c he’s black. Attitudes towards him are influenced by his race because his views are influenced by his experience and his race.

    My views are influenced by being from a small town, going to Texas A&M, working 11 years in corporate America, my family situation, socioeconomic background, religion, and yes, I’m black. To act like any one of those factors doesn’t influence how I view the world is crazy.

  • Patrick Keefe

    Shawn, your article makes it look like JWP is a victim here and that all of Dallas should be ashamed. I’m only ashamed that this scumbag has been getting away with his crimes for 27 years. It’s always positive when guilty men/women that have held back an entire community from achieving its true potential are brought to justice. Notice I said men/women. JWP likely won’t be the only one caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

    Maybe if you had gone to school in Austin instead of collie station you’d have been enlightened and educated enough to write a better article.

  • Michael Hubbard

    In the city of Dallas most everything is about race: DISD, economic development (or the lack thereof), politics, the DA’s office, our news reporting, sports……..the list goes on and on. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t need DSN. The JWP saga at its root is about ethics, but as it plays out it will become a racial issue. This case is getting so much attention because jWP is arguably the most controversial, volatile, political figure in the history of Dallas, regardless of race. Until African American elected officials realize that they cannot do (because of their race) what they think other officials are doing we will continue to have scenes like the one that unfolded on yesterday. . Don’t do the crimes black people and the FBI probably won’t come calling. It’s unfortunate that there is selective enforcement and prosecution seemingly targeting African Americans, but again, don’t do the crime and you won’t have to worry about doing the time.

  • Lee Harvey

    Shawn,

    You were the one who brought race into this. It is telling that the two people you put up as examples of publicity injustice, Tom Delay and Joe Driver, while guilty of stupidty and certainly responsible for their actions did nothing that affected a specific race. The other two you mentioned, Don Hill and Terri Hodge, were involved in a case that was one of the largest corruption investigation cases in Dallas history, and it did involve race.

    Here’s what an article written on February 27, 2010 in the DMN said. “FBI agents, using a mountain of wiretap and financial evidence, proved that Hill and his cohorts, most of them black, used the veneer of racial inclusion to force white developers to pay exorbitant sums in bogus construction and consulting fees in exchange for votes so they could build their projects in southern Dallas.”

    Here is what U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said in the same article. “It’s mind-boggling what your conduct has done to destroy confidence in our government,” Lynn told Hill in front of a near-packed gallery at the end of a 12-hour sentencing hearing. “Your district looks like a joke,” she said. “The government says they can’t put a lot of these dollars in your pocket, but I believe you were in it up to your eyeballs.”

    “When the verdict was read Oct. 5, Hill expressed pity for the judge, a fellow lawyer. I could be wrong your honor but I just sensed a degree of hurt or pain you even experienced in reading the verdict,” he said. Lynn was not fazed. “I’m not sure you get it,” she later said as she imposed her sentence. “I don’t think you have internalized the wrong that you have done. It’s a whale of a wrong. It will hurt our city for many years to come.”

    I don’t blame Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey for being happy for herself and those she has represented over the years, she was played by Price and Jenkins, who are now playing dirty pool to abscond votes.

    You see the world in Black and White while others see in color.

  • JohnsonSmith

    The story is there because it is Price and not because of his race. He is not “accused of being racist.” He is a racist. Only a racist would tell people of a certain color to “go to hell” and would comment that Dickey is “Barbecue Barbie.” The only thing that makes him better than the likes of Bull Connor is that he doesn’t sick dogs or firehoses on people. The man complained about the term “black hole” fer cryin out loud. He says black is always linguistically thought of as bad. I guess he has never noticed the terms “whitewash” or “being in the black.” Get over your allegiance and prejudice. Pretend you just dropped in from another planet, were color blind and saw Price’s public demeanor toward others. How could anyone view it was positive?

  • Nay

    I’m sorry did I miss the trial where the commissioner was convicted. Shouldn’t we wait and see. We kinda owe him that.

  • Ski

    Ditto Dallas South, Ditto

  • Very Happy Day

    VERY HAPPY DAY. Hope JWP goes to prison. He is not a very good human being, and he is only just now getting what is coming to him. Hip Hip Horray.

  • TxDem

    Either you love JWP or you hate him. I personally think that he started out as a hero and stayed long enough to become a villain. He seems to be doing more and more business to help himself instead of the people. He’s certainly not the only one, but he is the one who is currently under FBI and IRS investigation. It’s news because he’s a news maker. JWP never misses a chance to get in front of the camera and he seems to be Gromer Jeffers’ favorite “minority opinion”. Unfortunately, Shawn is right. Everything comes down to the most basic factors when politicians, cola makers, car makers… want you to buy what they are selling. Race, culture, religion, education, these are the things that divide us. Fortunately we live in a place where those things can also bring us together. If you think JWP is a nice guy, an out spoken civil rights leader, or an elected official who is well past his prime, one thing is certain, when this is over (regardless of the outcome) Dallas will be better for having gone through it. I think it’s going to bring about a cleansing that is long overdue.

  • http://www.unifysouthdallas.org Changa

    I gotta back my boy Shawn on this one. I think its time that black activists demand the same level of scrutiny and scope be place on some white elected officials.

  • jcobb
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