SOUTH OF THE TRINITY: THEORIES OF A CONSPIRACY By Rufus Shaw
by Rufus Shaw
Sun, Oct 23, 2005, 10:32 PM
Rufus ShawOn November 8th, Dallas voters will get the chance to vote to strengthen the Mayor’s role in our city government by voting yes to Proposition1. For the record, the vast majority of African-American voters South of The Trinity are voting “No” to Proposition 1. Proposition 1, better known as the alternative to the defeated Blackwood Strong Mayor Plan, will give, starting in 2007, the Mayor the power to hire and fire the city manager, the police chief and the fire chief among other new powers. Proponents of the measure, mostly white North Dallas voters and the white news media, believe that strengthening Laura Miller’s power will somehow move the city forward. African-American voters strongly disagree with that premise.
There is a conspiracy theory afloat that says key players in Mayor Miller’s political camp are using their influence with the white media to incite white voters to the polls by using the FBI corruption probe of city hall. The way the theory works is the white media, especially the Morning News, continues to write negative stories about the African-Americans who have been subpoenaed by the FBI Since all of the Black city council members have had their records subpoenaed, the implication is a strong mayor with more power would eliminate the power of “those people” to corrupt city government. Very little is made of the fact none of “those people” have committed crimes or been indicted of a crime as it relates to this FBI probe.
But that has not stopped the Dallas Morning News. One recent story in the paper featured some known associates of Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill who have had trouble paying their bills or keeping permanent business addresses. The story was written to infer that there must be something illegal going on because “those people” cannot be found when the Morning News reporters wanted to find them. For those of us South of the Trinity, there is another take on this. If indeed the people in question were criminals who have stolen boatloads of money, wouldn’t they have money to pay their basic business expenses? And then there is this take: what if they are like thousands of other small business owners who are trying to keep their businesses afloat while operating with a limited cash flow? Is that a crime?
If using your city council member to help small business owners get business contracts is somehow against the law, I wonder if it’s against the law for the Mayor, city council members, and city staff to go on business development trips with white corporate leaders to drum up business for the companies present on the trips. I mean this is certainly a common business practice. And it is no less common for many of these same major white businesses to strongly lobby these same African-American council members who are the subject of the FBI probe. Is that against the law? And why hasn’t the Morning News written stories about these relationships?
If using your city council member to help one get contacts or selectively paying some of your business expenses to keep your business alive become a crime, then small business owners and all of our city council members, not just the Black ones, should become subjects of an FBI probe and some investigative journalism by the Dallas Morning News.
By the way, I got this conspiracy theory from a well connected white conservative political operative in North Dallas. This theory did not come from a South of the Trinity Black barbershop. I say that because from a South of the Trinity perspective, too many North Dallas white voters believe all white folks are for Laura Miller. The white conspiracy theorists I have talked to believe that by keeping the FBI probe alive in the minds of white North Dallas voters, these same voters will vote for Proposition 1. The white media has erroneously linked a stronger mayor with corruption free government. Let me say right now I do not know for certain if any crimes have been committed by the people involved in the FBI probe. Nor do I believe that the many law abiding citizens South of the Trinity would condone such criminal behavior if it indeed does exist. What those of us South of the Trinity do know is none of what we have heard or read in the white media regarding the activities of our 4 Black council members constitutes a crime.
I have no doubt that white North Dallas voters who have been inundated with twisted and lurid accounts of small business people not paying their bills and Black elected officials trying to help their constituents get business contracts now believe that giving the mayor more power will save our city. Never mind that no crime has been committed. Never mind that none of the activities by the African-American city council members can be linked to any of the city’s major problems. Never mind that Mayor Miller has presided over and indeed been a major part of some of the city’s worst political decisions. Never mind that none of the African-American council members will campaign for the measure. Conspiracy theorists insist we are all being manipulated into giving away the political power that 14-1 bestowed upon us by strengthening the mayor. That’s what it looks like from South of The Trinity.