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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on JWP, Inland Ports, DISD, and Hippies

A JWP-heavy edition of the SAGA Pod. We talk to Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze about the biggest news story in Dallas in 2014: the indictment of County Commissioner John Wiley Price. Jim, who has covered JWP for three decades, talks about how JWP went from being a “ray of sunshine,” and “a very brave guy” — someone who “taught courage” to southern Dallas — to a county official under indictment. Jim tells great stories, from covering Price in the ’80s (the one about how Price would intentionally sweat on editors at the Dallas Times Herald is gold). He discusses how the money for votes has always traveled form north to south, and how Price wanted his cut from the minster networks. Jim tells about the time Price told him the reason “Our Man Downtown” always aligned with downtown interests vs. progressive, East Dallas interests. (“Because you’re a bunch of hippies.”)

LONG DIGRESSION ALERT:

At one point, you’ll hear me consider talking about how the DMN covered the inland port stuff. Look, I’m just too tired to go back over this. Here’s all you need to know: Jim Schutze broke the stories about the inland port and how the architect of it, Richard Allen, got screwed by JWP, Tom Leppert, and others who were ALLEGEDLY carrying water for Ross Perot Jr. (Because the inland port was a threat to Perot Jr.’s logistics operation at Alliance Airport, which RPjr is on record as admitting.) The DMN backed Price’s stalling tactics and basically made fun of Schutze (and cattily derided the inland port developer, or at least his understanding of “Dallas’ complicated racial politics”) until the paper caught up to the reporting in 2009. You can read Tod Robberson’s attempt at rewriting history here, but make sure you see the comments of Wylie H, who all but blows Robberson’s assertion out of the water. (Wylie H doesn’t even mention George Rodrigue’s snarky, dismissive column in late April 2009 mentioned here in a Robert Wilonsky column — Rodrigue’s column is no longer online.) To see just how damaging the backing of JWP and Leppert were to the inland port’s development in late 2008/early 2009, have a read of this, and scroll down to where inland port head Richard Allen talks about trying to finalize his deal with Target, and how that can’t happen unless Dallas stops advocating for Price’s delaying tactics. (In the podcast, Schutze mentions Walmart, but I think he meant Target.) The bottom line: the DMN needs to own up, say they were late to this story, and acknowledge the paper as a whole caused real harm to the inland port’s development. Once the inland port operator declared bankruptcy, then, sure, everyone realized what a huge screw-up this was for North Texas in general, and Dallas leadership in particular, and from then on got on the appropriate trolley.

HAAAAA-RUMPH.

Oh, yeah, we also talk DISD, and I scream the eff word, because Jim wound me up, and I’m easily enraged. We look at just how stupid the effort to fire Mike Miles was, and look with hope toward the reform efforts targeted for this year.

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As always, thanks for downloading, and listen with your ears.