Why Dallas Councilman Lee Kleinman Keeps Losing His Cool at the Mention of "Genocide"

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Lee Kleinman
Dallas cops act like terrorists in black communities, at least according to the gadfly speaking to City Council on a recent Wednesday. "Realistically, councilmen and councilwomen, this has reached genocidal proportions," the man added.

Councilman Lee Kleinman decided to let that one go. The gadfly pressed on.

"For us in the black community, when we see a Dallas police officer in a blue uniform with a badge and a gun, that's when we want to cross the street," the next speaker told the City Council. Like others who show up for the regular Wednesday open mic sessions, the speaker punctuated his talk with wild, seemingly unfounded accusations. Dallas cops are white supremacists, he said, the grandsons of Ku-Klux Klan members, and their bosses are encouraging them to kill black men. "Each one of you on City Council are responsible, because you are their bosses," he said. "You have blood on your hands. You have committed genocide against the black community."

This Kleinman could not abide.

"I take direct offense at being called genocidal," Kleinman shot back at the speaker. "Being Jewish and having my people endured 6 million genocidal murders ..."

The man, having finished his speech, was now without a microphone. Regardless, he yelled at Kleinman from the audience.

"I am talking now, and you can sit down," Kleinman interrupted. "Please remove him. There is no comparison ... there is no comparison to what is going on."

Elected to the council last year, Kleinman, a former park board member from North Dallas, has revealed a not especially long fuse during his brief tenure. In March, as Dallas was set to vote on a plastic bag ban, Kleinman did an amazing flip-flop from supporting the ban to going against it. In a speech that seemed like a giant foam middle finger to his colleagues, he explained that he wasn't concerned about litter because that only affected other districts, but not his own North Dallas district.

"Why should I care if, you know, the councilmembers don't care that Orange Crush trash is in her district. I would personally probably stay more focused on my own district, which does not have the same trash problems as others," he said at the time. He added that plastic bags are also necessary to clean up dog poop, "especially in parts of like Oak Cliff where there are tons of loose dogs. Loose dogs are not my problem in my part of the city."

Kleinman later apologized and told the News that he was merely trying to tweak fellow Councilwoman Monica Alonzo, because he was mad at her about an unrelated fight over a concrete-crushing facility.

But it's the casual throwing around of the word "genocide" that really winds him up. The gadfly-directed outburst, on June 2, wasn't the first time Kleinman lost his temper during open mic session over a genocide reference. In December, he directed a similar rebuke to an anti-fluoride speaker who said Nazis used fluoride to brainwash prisoners in concentration camps.

I called Kleinman to ask him about it; as a fellow Jew, I'd heard the rants and found odd how territorial he seemed over the word "genocide." He acknowledged losing his temper, and said that was just the reaction the gadflies were hoping to provoke. Still, he said, "genocide" has a specific and horrific meaning, and it's not fair toss the term around, or to make casual comparisons to the Holocaust, whether while debating fluoride, police violence or even slavery.

"Not only is just patently offensive, to any council member, the comparison of what happened in the Jewish genocide, in the genocide that happened in Rwanda, and the genocide that happened in the Balkans, I mean that's a whole different deal, " Kleinman told me. "I'm not even sure I want to have this published, but you know, as shitty as slavery was to the Africans that were brought over here, it wasn't genocide, it was slavery. It was a different deal, and I don't know how to say that in a positive way or whatever. But I mean, yeah, I know that was a bad deal. But the plan there was not systematic extermination of a race. ... The plan there was systematic slavery of the race. I'm not saying that's any better, but I just find it offensive, and I have to stand up to that. That's why I kind of mouth off every time people try to throw that term out there."

The rest of the speaker's points about the police weren't lost on Kleinman. He said the council is definitely concerned about the allegations leveled at the police department, and will look into it.

"I have no problem with what he was asking us to do, and what his concerns were, until he started accusing me and my colleagues of a policy of systematic extermination of young black men."

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84 comments
noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

I don't believe the number of people killed in Nazi death camps is either in serious question, or even the issue. 

But, I think Kleinman was out of order playing the victim of an unintended slur rather than addressing the legitimate issues about which the citizen was appearing.


Despite Kleinman's short tenure, he needs to remember he works for the people of Dallas, and scolding them over their syntax or their illustrated examples is neither his job nor considered appropriate.

linda.rains
linda.rains

We should not pursue the betterment of the environment and reduction of non-biodegradable waste to landfills so that people can have plastic bags to pick up dog poop? What?

alexconstantine33
alexconstantine33

Kleinman needs to take the "Black Like Me" skin pigment injections, walk the streets and see if the constituent has a point. He may even survive the experience, and then he can talk about what it's like to live under the sons of the KKK. Until then, he should drop the smug, self-righteous condescension, listen to constituents and look into complaints about the police, who have been known to abuse their authority on numerous occasions. If it can happen in Los Angeles, it can happen in Texas.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

I wonder if Kleinman is aware that the Jews don't have a monopoly on persecution.  There have been genocides before WWII, and there have been some after.  There was a staggering, focused and deliberate genocide of Native Americans that lasted over a hundred years.  Genocides are occurring in Africa almost constantly.  How many Africans were killed during the slavery years?  How many during the time between the Civil War and Civil Rights?  What about slavery itself?  Wasn't that a fate worse than genocide?  In genocide, you lose your life, with slavery you lose your humanity.

His outburst is misplaced, his anger is misplaced.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

Amy, thank you so much for providing a home for libsarenaive and others of his ilk. Please put out milk and cookies for them and urge them never to leave your items. 

parisrec
parisrec

Poverty is a more accurate indicator of criminal activity than race.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Myrna gets blasted by Holocaust deniers on this comment board for referring to Nazi atrocities.  The danger is in the "forgetting" of history.  Look and listen to what is going on here in our country on the right-wing, in Europe, and around the world.  The echoes of Hitler, Goebbels, Eichmann, and Himmler are heard over and over these days.  Jews aren't the only target, as in the Third Reich.  Religious intolerance, hatred of immigrants and ethnic differences are growing, and there is danger ahead.  Great danger.

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

dallascityhall dot com/committee_briefings/briefings0109/PS_homicideReport_01052009.pdf

Homicides in Dallas Texas -2008

Race of Suspect - # of Homicides - Percentage

White -9 = 6%

Black -72 = 47%

Hispanic - 24 = 16%

Unknown - 49 = 32%

(Don't ask me why that adds up to 101%. Take it up with the City of Dallas)

Therefore, even if every single one of the 49 "unknown" killers were whites (or white cops), the "known" black killers would still outnumber them.

Relevant Dallas demographics in 2008:

44% Hispanic

29% White

22 % Black

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Anyone who thinks it is the cops who are responsible for the vast majority of blacks who die violently is a naive delusional fool who obviously never reads the local crime news from Dallas or from any other city with blacks it. What the cops are doing is trying to keep the blacks from slaughtering each other. Truth hurts sometimes. According to the USDOJ and FBI, over 94% of all blacks killed in the US are killed by other blacks... probably more like 98% (no snitchin yo).

The Dallas Morning News published a homicide map in 2010. Go look at it. Here are the stats for homicide victims in Dallas in 2010 broken down by race (keep in mind over 94% of the black victims were killed by other blacks):

1 Asian

88 Blacks

61 Hispanics

1 Unknown

11 Whites

dallasnews dot com/sharedcontent/dws/graphics/homicides

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

"The American prosecutors at Nuremberg decided the best evidence against Nazi war criminals was the record left by the Nazi German state itself. They wanted to convict Nazi war criminals with their own words. While the Germans destroyed some of the historical record at the end of the war and some German records were destroyed during the Allied bombing of German cities, Allied armies captured millions of documents during the conquest of Germany in 1945. Allied prosecutors submitted some 3,000 tons of records at the Nuremberg trial. More than a decade later, beginning in 1958, the United States National Archives, in collaboration with the American Historical Association, published 62 volumes of finding aids to the records captured by the US military at the end of the war. More than 30 further volumes were published before the end of the 20th century."---Holocaust Encyclopedia

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@wontunow

Hard to say which is more ridiculous, your using the word "scholars" or the claim the number of people murdered to be "in the thousands".

Both say everything we need to know....

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@RTGolden1 

Kleinman shares your view on there being multiple instances of genocide, and the Holocaust not being solitary in that category (see his reference to Rwanda and Balkans). He does not make any reference to Jews having "a monopoly on persecution".

He points out the experience of slavery is "a different deal". Slavery is exploitation of humans as an economic asset, not the extermination of people based on their heritage. It is different than genocide.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@JimSX The trouble with putting out milk and cookies -- as anyone who ever thought he was doing a good deed by feeding stray cats learns -- is that pretty soon you'll be overrun by his ilk. If you don't mind the company, okay. But what about your neighbors? And where there are stray ilk, soon others much worse gather to feed.

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Hey I can't help but notice that you are totally unable to dispute any of the facts I posted, you child-rape profiteer

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

That must be why West Virginia, one of the poorest states, has one of the lowest violent crime rates. It is also one of the whitest states. Whoops sorry my bad for pointing out the facts.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@parisrec 

Before the great depression, my grandfolks did OK.  During the GD, they were poor as church mice.  Afterwards, they were OK again.   Oddly, they did not all the sudden turn feral and criminal when they were poor.  It was like that for most.



Greg820
Greg820

@parisrec Facts are useless against belief.  I see poverty in every color where I work.  Crime is about poverty, poverty is about inability to advance in society, inability to advance is multi-factoral (race, education, family, culture, mental & medical illness, & on & on).  Address the root causes of social inequities and the other things take care of themselves. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

From climate change or the oppression of Muslims?

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@libsarenaive Why do racists so enjoy trying to justify their racism with flawed logic? Is it because they are simple-minded and don't care to look below the surface for the more complicated causation of crime? I suppose if you truly wanted confirmation for your bias, all you'd do is point out stats like those above.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@mavdog Slavery in America was quite legal, according to English law. It may have been inhuman in some ways, but it wasn't genocide.  In fact, descendents of slaves are certainly better off in American than their relatives in Africa.

bippyizod
bippyizod

@mavdog  Did he point them out to the audience to which he was ranting or to Amy Silverstein as an afterthought?

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Are you an apologist for child-rape profiteers, Bill Marvel? If so then you are scum just like Jim Schutze.

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Bill Marvel - are you seriously trying to dispute the fact that the Observer profited off of backpage classified ads for pedophiles to rape children for YEARS AND YEARS?

If you are really stupid enough to dispute the facts then I am going to destroy your naivete with a whole bunch of crime news articles.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bmarvel @JimSX He just hopes that eventually, they will go all hunger games and just eat themselves.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@Candy.Date @libsarenaive  Max and libs - you were drawn offsides.  Five-yard penalty, replay the down.

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Hey didn't you read the part where I wrote that you should take up that issue with the City of Dallas?

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

All I did was prove that it is blacks committing this alleged "genocide" against blacks, not the accused Dallas Police, which is the subject of this blog post.

Are you seriously trying to dispute the facts I posted, CogitoErgoDumb?

bippyizod
bippyizod

@libsarenaive Are you saying the Observer use to run ads for the Catholic Church in the classifieds?

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel @JimSX Just so we're perfectly clear, ColonelAngus, welcoming refugees is an act of compassion and mercy. Feeding stray ilk is an act of indulgence.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @bmarvel @JimSX No. Like most of us he welcomes the quarrels and noise the ilk bring to his back door. As long as he can watch through the window.

bippyizod
bippyizod

@mavdog It seems to me that his rant was based on an issue that effects him far more than the other genocides and thus this rant about the Holocaust.  Then after giving it some thought he thought it would be more PC to mention ALL of them, including those outside his realm. Point being that it seems to be a bit of PC damage control. 


It is clear that the man failed at presenting his complaint about police abuse in a rational way.  His message was lost in his own diatribe.  His passion got the best of his activism.  Yet he is a civilian citizen and Mr. Kleinman is a supposed leader and we should expect more from our leaders.  Again, not defending the verbiage of the speaker. 


I live in his district and if he thinks we are lacking a dog poop problem in our area, I would suggest he take a walk around our neighborhood.  I must admit the "orange crush" line went over my head.   

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Do you really dispute the indisputable fact that the DO profited off of ads for child-rape, Bill?

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@bmarvel @ColonelAngus @JimSX  bm - Great, how many hundreds of thousands per year shall we welcome, in your estimation?  You're right though, the annual budget deficit is north of $600 billion, so what's a few more tens of billions at this point.

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

Irrelevant. Got anything else? Hate to kill your strawman but I am not a teap-partyer.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel @JimSX I note that you were the one who dragged the subject of border crossings into  discussion of another subject, Colonel, for purposes of your own. I shouldn't have risen to the bait, but I did.

But speaking of crossing borders, how about the billions we spent crossing into Iraq? 

(See -- trolling's easy, so long as you stay off the subject.)

JackJett
JackJett

@bmarvel  Smooth move with a twist and some groove.


Yet I am but a mere bottom commenter/feeder

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@bmarvel @ColonelAngus @JimSX  bm - I made an analogy to another story that is currently displayed on DO, not for any particular purpose, and certainly not to bait you (although I am a master at that.)  I did not realize that this amounts to trolling, but then again I am no Top Commenter.  Where can one read the rules?

libsarenaive
libsarenaive

How does that, in any way, dispute the facts about homicides in Dallas that I posted? I'm waiting but I won't hold my breath.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel @JimSX This is not a matter of rules, Colonel. It's more a matter of manners. 

I notice that there are certain commenters here who drag politics -- their politics -- into every discussion, no matter the subject.

They hijack the conversation, as you and I have now done here. They are telling everyone, I think my subject is more important than what you're talking about. 

It's a free world, of course, and on the blogs a free-for-all world. All the same, its says more about the commenter than about the subject at hand.

bippyizod
bippyizod

@libsarenaive  With a line like, I won't hold my breath, I am curious if you are 9 years old or 90?

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@bmarvel @ColonelAngus @JimSX  Be careful bm, you just threw Schutze under the bus.  The story is about allegations of genocide, but it seems you are accusing him of hijacking it with his politics, since after all he started this thread with milk and cookies, with which you picked up and ran.  So please be perfectly clear; is the rule that when Schutze goes off-topic with his politics only Top Commenters may continue the discussion? 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@ColonelAngus @bmarvel @JimSX It's the rule, Colonel. Didn't you get the memo?

You, too, can be a Top Commenter. All you have to so is waste 25 minutes a day for four years.

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