FROM SOUTH OF THE TRINITY: WE BELONG by Rufus Shaw
by Special to DallasBlog.com
Sun, Nov 27, 2005, 01:16 PM
Rufus ShawTo many African-Americans, the underlining theme to the FBI city hall probe, Mayor Miller’s consistent agitation of the Black community, and the white media’s never ending search for anything wrong with Black politicians is all based on a premise that questions whether or not Black folks even deserve an equal voice in the governance of this city. The latest two attempts to enact a strong mayor form of government would have reduced the power of single member district-elected city council member’s city wide. To us South of the Trinity that was proof enough that a few influential whites are uncomfortable with the fact that the mayor only has one vote and limited power. Those measures failed because African-American and Anglo voters respected our city manager’s form government and 14-1. But that has not stopped some from resisting equal representation for African-Americans at City Hall.
The most representative form of city government Dallas has ever known was the result of a federal court ruling. Given the racial climate at the time, I suspect that Dallas’ largest voting block, north Dallas white voters, would have never passed a measure that would have given the African-American community the ability to elect our own city council members from predominately Black districts who would have equal power at city hall. It is a deep seated resistance to African-American political power and a refusal by some whites to accept the tenets of 14-1 that has created a form of racial chaos by media demonization.
The latest media flap over unpaid city taxes by two African-American city council people and Councilman James Fantroy’s refusal to go against his constituents by supporting a plan by Mayor Laura Miller to fly the “nosiest” jets out of the Executive Airport are just two examples of the mass media’s attempt to make African-American council members appear either corrupt or inept. Arguing over a grand total of $1500 to the point of suggesting that the state’s Attorney General may step in and remove two duly elected Black city council members is more then overkill. Especially when you consider that both Leo Chaney, Jr. and Maxine Thornton-Reese insisted that they did not know they owed the taxes in question. The city manager stated her office did not know this and they did not inform the council members. The press covering the story never proved that Chaney or Thornton-Reese was being dishonest when they said they did not know. What made the stories sinister is that both council members promptly paid the taxes owed. So, why was this a major media happening with snide inferences to the worthiness of these well respected southern sector council members to serve on the city council?
No matter how determined some in the media and the white community are to question our ability to elect worthy African-American city council members, we will continue to do so. 14-1 gave us that right. No matter how often we see stories in the mass media attempting to criminalize the behavior of our African-American council members while never proving a crime, we will continue to support them because we believe we have that right. And that’s how we see it from South of The Trinity.