October 09, 2013

Craig Watkins beats the rap in Dallas — Jim Schutze doesn't care

Watkins, the Dallas County district attorney, had his contempt case dismissed today.

And, I'm sure he's right that the Eff Bee Eye isn't pursuing him over the mortgage fraud charges a grand jury had brought against Al Hill III. (Now, it might be Dallas County Republicans' wet dream [eh, Wade Emmert] that this were the case, but I'm sure its not.)

And, while not necessarily believing Watkins is as pure as the driven snow, I must say that this is the first time since I've first read him that I disagree with Jim Schutze's take on a major issue in Dallas County politics.

Maybe Jim either had wayyy too much coffee, or else maybe he thinks all black elected politicians in Dallas County look alike and so Craig Watkins = John Wiley Price. Or, halfway related, he thinks all black politicians in the city of Dallas and/or Dallas County owe their status to Price's political machine. I can see it's possible Schutze at least thinking that about Watkins; however, from what I see, I don't see a strong connection between Watkins and Price, or Watkins and south Dallas black pastors.

Or, option three is that he's somewhere, somehow, simply gotten a burr up his ass about Watkins and he just can't let go of it, or him. This last one is very possible, especially given the folio logo on his blog. Jim had Watkins in his cross-hairs, pulled the trigger, and ... missed!

Given that, according to WFAA and widely reported, contempt judge Lena Levario allegedly has her own boatload of bias on this issue, Schutze is even more out of line from where I stand.
(A) recently demoted Dallas County employee filed an affidavit that accused Levario of making comments that indicated she was purposefully working against Watkins. Jill Reese, the county's jail population coordinator, said the comments were made to her during a lunch with the judge at a Fort Worth restaurant in May.

"Levario stated to me that she was 'going to serve Craig Watkins ... on a silver platter to the FBI,'" the affidavit read.
I don't know how true this is, but, for Schutze to not even consider it has to raise an eyebrow or two. Lovario had Watkins in her cross-hairs, pulled the trigger, and ... missed!

So does the fact that, even though Judge Brotherton's ruling dismissing the contempt charge was handed down before 10 a.m. today, and Schutze's a pretty prolific writer, he's yet to post anything about the ruling.

I mean, c'mon, Jim, you DID have time to write another blog post on Friday, after the Brotehrton ruling. This was about Dudley Dewless' call to the Allen PD about his niece's wife, a story more than 36 hours old in its public airing by that point.

And, Jim, if Watkins believes the FBI's not after him, and he's been cleared on contempt charges, what will you say if he does ask a grand jury to consider Hill's case again?

Now, again, that's not to say Watkins is as pure as the driven snow. And, having lived there long enough, and seen and heard myself, without Schutze having to tell me, about alleged John Wiley Price shenanigans with Richard Allen and the Inland Port in Dallas, Lancaster, and Wilmer, I know what politics in that area can be like. For more on JWP, go here on my blog.

That all said, Schuetze's got a lot thinner reeds of support here than with Price, at least from where I sit. The contempt charge is gone, and I doubt Watkins would have spoken so assuredly about his currrent relationship with the FBI unless he had good reason to do so.

And, Jim, your silence after the Brotherton ruling speaks volumes until you write.

Update, Aug. 26: OK, Schutze's not on vacation, and has done a blog post today, too. And, it's not about Watkins. Man up, Jim. (As I tweeted him.) And, as of Aug. 28, done yet more blogging, namely about Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles, part of why I expanded the possibility of Schutz's thinking on Watkins and a possible connection to JWP machine politics.

And, with Robert Wilonsky now at the Snooze, there's no other Observer writer with quite the tenure of Schutze to rein him in, or counter-fire, on an issue like this.

So, instead, on Aug. 29, based on the Observer's reaction to a relatively minor ruling by an appellate judge in the Hill case itself, Schutze apparently sicced co-blogger Eric Nicholson on Watkins. That's about all I can judge from Nicholson's post.

Update, Oct. 9: Per this UT professor, Schutze is allegedly all wet about Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles, too. That said, given that Miles is also African-American, this undercuts the possibility that Schutze is grinding racial axes with Watkins. But, is he grinding axes? Sure. He does it regularly.

And, so, I'll stand by, and make more explicit, the idea that Schutze won't drop those axes when it's clear he's got the wrong ax, wrong grindstone, or both. Nor will he readily admit he's wrong.

That said, yes, Watkins, if he is "pushing" office attorneys to run for district judge's offices, may be doing some sort of political hardball. Still not criminal. Not necessarily unethical. And, he may not be "pushing," for that matter.

Fact is, half of his staff who have filed to run were there before Watkins was elected. And, those three all have at least four years' seniority on Watkins in the DA's office, so they're probably immune to bullying.

And, given that Jim's an even more deliberate contrarian than I am, and with less reason most of the time, yeah, I kind of like poking him.

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