Static: Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Concrete Olive Branch

Regular readers are familiar with the battle between rich and poor in Woodhaven, a neighborhood with gorgeous houses and a country club butted up next to two dozen apartment complexes that attract lots of minority tenants. Nothing bothers well-to-do property owners like riff-raff renters hanging around and hurting property values. This potentially combustible mixture of demographics was threatening to ignite under the leadership of former City Councilwoman Becky Haskin, who lived in a sweet abode once owned by notorious millionaire T. Cullen Davis. She fought like a rabid tiger to force apartments out of the neighborhood, referred to tenants as “those people,” and resisted building a community center for fear that “those people” would never leave.

That helps explain why some neighborhood folks got mighty perky this past weekend over a new sidewalk. They’d been hollering for a slab of concrete along Woodhaven Boulevard for 12 years, saying it would allow for safer foot travel to nearby grocery stores, restaurants, and the library. Surely it’s no coincidence that Haskin the Apartment Hater was in control during those dozen years. But she stepped aside in March, and two months later a city contractor showed up and erected a sign saying they would soon begin breaking ground for the sidewalk. Some residents have accused her successor, City Councilman Danny Scarth, of being a lackey in the Haskin mold, but he impressed detractors by showing up to help celebrate the sidewalk.

“We call it the uniting of Woodhaven, the east with the west, and Danny came and cut the ribbon; we were very proud of that,” said Norman Bermes, a neighborhood activist and fierce Haskin critic. Finally, some warm fuzzies in Woodhaven.

It’s Important

This is the Weekly’s last issue before the election, and Static wanted to issue a final “go vote” plea. You’d have to be living in an underground bunker cut off from all ties to civilization not to know how important these elections are. So important that many folks fear that said bunker is where we’re all headed unless a bunch of things change in Washington pretty fast. (Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to live once more in a world in which the United States was a moral leader instead of an apologist for torture?)

And there’s no better way to prepare for that trip to the polls than by perusing a little web site put together by the fine muckraking folks at Mother Jones magazine. As MJ publisher Jay Harris said in an e-mail, the two installments — “Lie by Lie” and “How to Lose a War in 100 Days.” allow readers to “track the deceptions, falsehoods, and blunders that led the United States into war in Iraq” and the “chaos and incompetence” that continued thereafter. Check it out at

Too disgusted to even think about the national situation? Aww, don’t be that way. But if you are, remember there are also weighty local issues on the ballot — an important race for Tarrant County district attorney, for one, and the “meet and confer” provision that would create a type of collective bargaining for Fort Worth police officers. Plus, the little matter of a proposed tax freeze for senior and disabled citizens in Tarrant County.

So, choose your passion: prosecutorial styles, tax dollars, cop salaries, the ever-mounting and ever-pointless death toll in Iraq. Surely there’s something in there to grab ya.

And remember this important aspect of the voting thing: If you don’t go, you’re not allowed to bitch. That ought to do it.

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