Muni Courts Battle Isn't About Race, Except Maybe in a Good Way

Categories: Schutze

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The big City Hall racial blow-up over a reform of our very screwed up municipal court system -- subject of a sort of weird editorial in The Dallas Morning News this morning -- is probably a harbinger of worse things to come. Which is probably good.

In all its attempts over the years to paint over and camouflage the city's brutal race border between northern and southhern Dallas, the method of choice has always been a combination of charity and sinecures -- the corporate hand-out to "benefit" some school or program (benefit how?) and the little dealy-do by which somebody gets a safe job or a set-up.

As opposed to what? Well, for one thing, as opposed to the Inland Port development, the one truly significant shot at meaningful economic self-determination southern Dallas has ever seen, a chance based on enterprise, not crumbs from the back porch. Both the old white establishment and the old black establishment in Dallas joined hands to shoot that one down, because it didn't fit into the plantation culture with which both sides have grown so comfortable over all these years.

The muni courts thing has been hard to figure from the beginning, especially because early on the champions of a reform based the bulk of their argument on a report
that criticized city courts for not collecting enough fine money.

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Welcome to Dallas City Hall.
I got confused myself at the outset by what looked to me like an assault on judicial independence and integrity, fueled by a bunch of city prosecutors and enforcement officers who write bad tickets in the first place and can't make good ones stick anyway.

But then I had to do a little personal recall. Several years ago a member of my family who was still subject to the city curfew somehow accidentally innocently by mistake unintentionally violated the curfew and got a ticket. I believe that person may have been somewhat accidentally quite fortunate just to get a curfew ticket instead of one involving the large quantity of beer the officer found in a box that somehow accidentally got into the back seat of the vehicle in which my family member was an innocent accidental mistaken passenger.

And remember: I am not naming this person. So, you know, it could be my wife. Theoretically.

Anyway. College application time. We hired a lawyer. Yeah, I know. It sounds like the kind of thing Tim Rogers would do. I heap ashes upon myself. There you have it.

The lawyer basically told us to go to court and assume there would be no cop, so the ticket would be dismissed. Worked like a Swiss watch. On the way out of court that day I delivered a stern lecture about how this did not diminish the gravity of the offense. The unnamed person kept humming some stupid tune. Finally I said, "What is that stupid tune you keep humming?"

The person said, "It's called, 'Beat It.'"

Oh, yeah. Lesson learned!

The city courts are a joke. And when I started paying more attention to what City Council member Angela Hunt was saying about the reform process, I realized this had been a serious responsible attempt to fix what was wrong with the courts, including an important effort to get rid of incompetent judges and administrators.

The blow-back on the council from the African-American members was framed almost entirely in racial terms. The black council members painted the reform as an assault on black judges.

Problem. The reforms would have maintained exactly the same racial/ethnic balance on the bench. A majority of the judges slated for firing were white.

So it was not about race. It was about individuals who happened to be black who also happened to be closely connected to black City Council members.

But, wait. In the very strange alternative universe of Dallas City Hall, that is race. Race is jobs or special arrangements for individuals of a certain race. It is what black Dallas has traded for true equality and truly equal economic opportunity.

All of the black council members who attacked the court reform, with the possible exception of Carolyn Davis, have been either willing participants or silent onlookers in the sabotaging of the Inland Port.

A job for my buddy, yes. A better destiny for my people? Who cares?

This disease runs deep and broad in Dallas City Hall. It's in everything. It affects top-level policy, like the protection of neighborhoods from corrosive development. It goes to the very smallest details. It is why, for example, nobody can ever fix the Dallas Farmers Market.

It's why people give up. Who wants to fight for a better farmers market if the only way to get it is to submit to being slimed as a racist? They've got great farmers markets in the suburbs. Just go there. Just move there.

Is this any more difficult a problem for a libtard like me than for a conservative? Is it any harder for white people than for smart progressive upwardly mobile black people, who all know better? I really doubt it. I think it's a really tough problem for all of us.

In the end I only know one thing about it for sure. We fix it. Or it fixes us.



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15 comments
PerryMoore
PerryMoore

I get it. The "old white establishment and the old black establishment" are in cahoots to keep the black man down because both sides are content with the "plantation culture." In their haste to blame the mean old rich people for all their troubles, some folks tend to ignore the pervasive hand of government in the power game that controls their lives. We all work on the same plantation, Mr. Schutze, but some of us know Massa by his first name, which is Sam.

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

JS, do you mind elaborating on how this issue and Farmers' Market are related?  It could be my poor reading comprehension, but I don't see the similarity.

Americano
Americano

In Dallas, it's always about race.  I think rich white Republicans (and it has less to do with the "white Republican" moniker than the "rich" tag) would like to see some meaningful economic development in South Dallas.  The one thing Big Money wants most is stability.  They also have the crazy idea that if they put up most of the money, i.e., the risk, they should have a say in how it's run without having to buy off the local warlords.  Although that seems to work in Somalia.  :)  They probably want some profit out of the deal also.  When the warlords don't get their way, they blame it on race.  Always have, and until it stops working, always will.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

"This disease runs deep and broad in Dallas City Hall. It's in everything."

 

It may be a tough pill to swallow, Jim, but it is deep and broad, and goes all the way to the DNC.  You can look at any metro area in the country with a significant black population, and in every one you see black democrat politicians taking graft and passing it down through The Machine.

CelebrateDivershitty
CelebrateDivershitty

"the city's brutal race border" ... funny how most of the brutal murders happen south of that brutal race border!  AND it sure is funny how most of the other brutal murders that occur north of that brutal race border happen in non-white areas like the 635-Forest-Audelia Section 8 apartment shit zone.  But you would know about that fact if you weren't just another stereotypical naive white-guilt libtard "progressive advocacy journalist".   Judging by the savage behavior of many of the residents south of the brutal race border, I'm glad that the brutal race border is there.  Now if they can only make a brutal race border around the North Dallas Section 8 apartment shit zone!

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @jerikjonsson Sorry. My bad. Funny, though. I got a long voicemail this afternoon from somebody active in the Farmers Market issue thanking for drawing what he/she thought was the obvious parallel.

Black council members have favored vendors in the market. Sell bad food, don't keep good books.  Every time somebody comes up with a reform scheme, they accuse the reformers of being racist. 'Bout like that.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @Americano A romantic view, Americano. What rich people want way more than stability is money. In this case they saw a venture coming along that would benefit their own city but hurt their money (by competing with a similar venture in anther city). So somebody, dunno who, decided to take out the knife and stick it in his own city's eye. I don't think anybody ever got rich giving a shit about stability.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @everlastingphelps Sorry,Phelps, but the campaign to sabotage the Inland Port was a rich white Republican thing before it was ever a black thing. Your problem is that your mind can't comprehend and therefore rejects how things really work. You are a self--deluded  pawn of the ultra-right, of whom we are seeing so many this week on TV.

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

 @JimSX Now I get it.  Thanks.  I wasn't aware of that history with the Farmers' Market.

Americano
Americano

 @JimSX  @Americano Stability=Money.  There would be an Inland Port in South Dallas if the the local Warlords would put what's best for the city above their own pocket.  I'm talking Politicians here, people who are charged with doing just that.  There is too much money in the venture for it not to happen.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @JimSX That's funny.  I feel like a fool now for basing my understanding of that particular corruption scheme on... the reporting from the Dallas Observer.

CelebrateDivershitty
CelebrateDivershitty

 @JimSX  @everlastingphelps Jim, you can mitigate the shameful stain of your white-flight from Detroit if you move south of the "brutal race border", I bet those lovely folks in that neighborhood where the they nearly rioted for a dead crackhead would just love to come to your housewarming party if you moved there.  Tell them all about how you are there to uplift them with your progressive presence... see how well that goes over.

CelebrateDivershitty
CelebrateDivershitty

 @JimSX  @everlastingphelps Or you could always move north to the Section 8 ghetto of 635-Forest-Audelia.  There are plenty of "unlicensed pharmacist" types there who would just love to meet you and your personal property.

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