Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ask Miss Dallas: "What's with all the corruption?"

Lucky readers, this is our first installation of an new feature that will focus on the ins and outs of this puzzling yet fabulous Southern metropolis.

Dear Miss Dallas,

I've heard that the FBI has indicted quite a of your public officials in a widespreade bribery probe. One of your former council members was convicted of stealing from one of the most famous historic black colleges. Not only that, but he still maintains his innocence despite overwhelming evidence. What's up with all of the graft in Dallas? Do you guys see it as a tourist attraction?

Hugs and smooches,

Sally Straight-edge

Dear Sally,

Thanks for sending me a fabulous note! What a heady question to start off with; hopefully I can cure your small-town ignorance.

Dallas is a big city, like, the 9th biggest in the U.S. As a big city, there are a lot of ways to hide under-the-table deals and corruption. It's not like, say, the Floydada City Council, where you can't take a shit without your neighbors asking you to use air freshener.

Our former city officials' preferred method of graft was bribery between developers looking to cash in on federal development assistance through minority contracts. Complicated much? Basically, rich and powerful developers used the black city council members and their longtime distrust of the predominantly white, rich area north of the Trinity River (whitey) to get govmint cash.

Still confused? I know you are, sweet Sally Simpleton. Allow me to provide some historical context. South Dallas = Institutionalized ghetto.

Dallas is historically segregated, divided by the Trinity River, and has remained that way mostly from widespread neglect. South Dallas is historically black and poor (though there are a lot of good people trying to change that). City leaders from this area south of the Trinity are wary of people in North Dallas (whitey) keeping them down, so sometimes to cut corners on their way to gain power an influence they make bad backroom deals with shady developers, stuffing their pockets with greedy developer money along the way.

So, there's a lot of corruption that feeds off of racial division and widespread, historic distrust between white power brokers in North Dallas and black officials. While it's not exactly something we're proud of, at least we're not advertising it like Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (also another area with tense racial relations).

Keep it real,

Miss Dallas

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