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Photo by State Rep. Ramon Romero

Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo officials are barring people from displaying the Confederate battle flag at official events from now on. The ban included participants at last Saturday’s downtown parade that drew thousands of spectators. One participating group has long displayed the flag during previous parades. A local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans protested by carrying flagless poles with black streamers. The group, founded in 1896 in Richmond, Va., by descendants of Confederate soldiers, sent out volunteers to distribute Confederate flags to 1,400 spectators, ensuring that the parade resembled an inbred, redneck, backwoods, Ku Klux Klan rally.

Afterward, on the Facebook page for “R.E. Lee Camp 239 Sons of Confederate Veterans,” administrators bragged about polluting the parade: “Most of the crowd loved us, and all went pretty well with only the occasional sarcastic comment,” read a post from Sunday, Jan. 17, the day after the event. “Of course, the media went to great pains to edit and crop their shots to try and not show the flags in the crowd. A couple of the flaggers were hassled by police and parade marshals for getting too close to what they determined to be private property; but conversations with Fort Worth’s finest let [sic] us to believe that they were with us but couldn’t speak out for fear of job reprisal.”

You know who wasn’t with you? People who equate the flag with pro-slavery sentiments. Waving it in public, putting a decal on your truck, or wearing it on a t-shirt are ways of saying, “I support people who fought to own slaves.”

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Supporters say the familiar red flag with the blue X and white stars stands for states’ rights, independence, freedom, and preservation of history. Others see it as a fashion statement or a harmless homage to the Dukes of Hazzard. Whatever. If a huge group of people sees the flag as a grand insult, why would you want to flaunt it? The swastika was considered sacred for thousands of years. In the early 20th century, the symbol was thought to be lucky and was often engraved on flammable items such as space heaters as an added safety precaution. And then Hitler came along.

Who among you wants to walk around town waving a swastika flag today? You could explain to each person you meet that it’s really a religious symbol or that it means luck. But why would you want to? If you wear a swastika or a Confederate flag in this day and age, you look like someone who supports racism. If you flew the flag in battle 150 years ago, power to you. If you’re flying it now, you’re just an ass hat.

Sure, Americans enjoy personal freedoms and can display that flag if we wish. Freedom of expression is a wonderful thing. And, wonderfully, Texas Rep. Ramon Romero of Fort Worth didn’t curb his expressions. (Romero rode in the Stock Show parade, took photos of people waving Confederate flags, and posted them on his Facebook page. One photo showed baby carriages adorned with the controversial flags.)

“Hate was front and center today!!” Romero posted shortly after the parade. “What a shame that our city is so full of hate and ignorance that Confederate flags were distributed to Stock Show parade watchers all along the route…! Who gives Confederate flags to kids????! Racists! Our city deserves so much better!! Teachers teach, parents teach, elected officials speak out against this small minority of people that shamed our city today.”

Hear, hear.

 

Musicians, Management Still at Odds

The 75 musicians who make up the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra might be moving toward a strike. On Tuesday, the musicians, all represented by the Dallas/Fort Worth Professional Musicians Association voted on whether to authorize a strike. The results, which are unanimous, according to a source, haven’t been released yet, but the musicians and management have been negotiating for seven months without reaching an agreement.

Citing “chronic deficits,” management is asking the musicians to take a pay cut to offset a projected budget shortfall of $650,000 for the current season.

The musicians are willing to accept a one-year pay freeze but are balking at a proposal that would mean a 23-percent loss in salary since 2010 once inflation is taken into account. Rather than see their incomes cut, the musicians are asking management for a financial plan that includes budget growth, not cuts.

At stake is the long-term viability of Fort Worth’s only professional orchestra. If wages are allowed to continue dropping, top talent will look for work elsewhere. No one chooses classical music to get rich, but it’s reasonable for classical musicians in an area as economically vibrant as Fort Worth to avoid continual pay cuts.

To raise public awareness of their plight, the musos recently drafted an open letter to FWSO management. The musicians have been stalking the lobby of Bass Performance Hall before performances, asking concertgoers to sign a petition to endorse the musicians’ position. Though there is no magic number, the musicians have received nearly 2,200 signatures.

But management sees things differently. In a statement on the orchestra’s website, managers describe the musicians’ requests as “extravagant” and unrealistic in light of unforeseen “economic difficulties” like cuts in corporate giving. The musicians, management goes on, are asking for raises in fees that will add a burdensome $4.5 million to the nonprofit’s budget over the next four years.

FWSO principal bassist William Clay believes Fort Worth deserves a world-class orchestra.

Unfortunately, he added, “what we see is a lack of dedication to fundraising and new donor development.”

Until recently, there has been a lot of turnover in orchestra development positions, according to FWSO violist Scott Jessup. The musicians also were underwhelmed by management’s fundraising efforts last North Texas Giving Day, an annual nonprofit fundraising challenge.

Clay and his colleagues are hoping that will soon change, though. The musicians, he said, prefer to focus on concerts than business. All the musicians want, he continued, is for FWSO president and CEO Amy Adkins to present them with a comprehensive fundraising plan that allows for a growing, not shrinking, the budget.

Adkins told Static in an e-mail that she already has a fundraising plan. And, according to her, it’s working.

“The Fort Worth Symphony runs a comprehensive, sophisticated, and yearlong fundraising program executed by an experienced development team with my close involvement,” she said.

Last season, she said her team raised $5.2 million from donors, companies, and foundations, an increase of $300,000 over the previous year.

For now, both sides are entrenched, and there doesn’t seem to be any end to the negotiations.

 

City Beautifies Toxic Intersection

Fort Worth’s Parks and Community Services Department recently planted a bunch of red bud trees near the intersection of Oakland Boulevard and East 1st Street in East Fort Worth. Red buds are those dainty trees that turn spectacularly red for a few weeks in spring. The trees are expected to beautify the new Trinity Trails trailhead established near Gateway Park. That particular intersection could use a bit of smartening up because, well, it’s quite possibly the most toxic intersection in town. Chesapeake Energy’s wastewater disposal site, the only one currently allowed inside city limits, is just north of the intersection.

Last year, the city allowed many hundreds of old growth oaks and elms to be waylaid to make way for a widening East 1st. Red buds are nice, but they don’t compare to old growth oaks and elms. Still, power to the city and East Fort Worth Inc., a nonprofit economic development group, for trying to beautify that typically neglected part of town. The group vows to plant about 2,000 red buds in the area, including along Randol Mill Road and North Beach Street.

 

Comments, news tips, opinions? E-mail Weekly editor Anthony Mariani at anthony@fwweekly.com.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Jeff, you did it again. Brilliant article about the Confederate flag. I was born in Arkansas, lived in East Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida. I know the South and the highly publicized fighting over the symbol of slavery makes me sick. I know some wonderful people in the South, but I also know some hard headed racists who can’t can’t accept the fact that they lost the war over slavery. And sadly I have to report that every racists that I know is an active church member and claims to be Christian. When will these otherwise good people wake up. They have no program proposal to solve the problem of race prejudice so guess they are happy with the status quo. I’m not. Keep up the good writing.

    • The basis, the purpose of the Southern Baptist Convention, was to proclaim and insist that Negroid humans were in fact inhuman…. like chickens or milk cows. Isn’t that Christian, and really, heart-warmingly precious! Do you expect you might uncover a handful of foot-washing, half-wits in that crowd? Whose on first? Think possibly a handful of Baggers are only playing like they’re working for Jesus in that stinking out-fit? Did you know the infamous Billy Graham brought George Bush Jr.to Jesus? The Christion Religion is mostly beautiful until it makes you want to cry. Some of it’s big-deal, hammer-headed half-wits ….not so much.

  2. Sadly, these thinly veiled racists were proudly waving their battle flags at the intersection of S. University Drive and W. Lancaster earlier today (just outside of the Stock Show and the gateway to the museum area). I would guess they are still angry that the Stock Show banned it from the parade and from any official capacity at the Stock Show. One flag waver was even wearing a confederate uniform jacket.

    It was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen in Fort Worth – an embarrassment to our city and an insult to our citizens whose ancestors suffered the horrors of slavery. And what kind of a message does that send to our city’s visitors to the Cultural museum district?

    Thank you, Fort Worth Stock Show for banning that disgraceful rag. Is there any legal and constitutional way we can prevent a repeat performance of this disgusting protest in the future?

  3. Peckerwoods are going to be Peckerwoods, hammer-heads will be hammer-heads, Baggers are Baggers….nothing new to see here. Put them on your prayer list.

  4. Wow, y’all have NO CLUE about the Klan or that flag’s meaning. I find this article repulsive and downright degrading due to the lack of intelligence to go look up information if one doesn’t know about a certain subject. I was once a gal who was ashamed to be from the South as I thought, and was taught, that the South was wrong. Only did I crack open books from various pens did I learn the truth.

    Slavery was in the US a long time before. I’ll bet y’all don’t even know the first slave who stepped on Texas soil or who he came with. Answer: His name was Esteban or Estebanico, depending on which translation you read, and he came over with the Conquistator Cabeza de Vaca. Slavery has been an unfortunate and sad way of life for thousands of years. Even the slaves who came to the Americas by way of the French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, etc. (which by the way, the English had slaves in their Empire, which the sun never sat upon,) were already enslaved or sold out by their tribal leaders for mere trinkets and tobacco. (Even Pocahantas was sold for a copper pot by her own father to an Englishman, but wait, she’s Native American, so she doesn’t count, right?)

    Let’s deviate from the subject a tad and talk about slavery. What happened in Ireland in 1840s? Where did they come to escape said problem? Answer: The Potato Famine and they came to the “Land of Opportunity” that is the good ol’ USA. Guess what? They were hated, abused, and forced to work in the factories. Yes, they were enslaved or damn close enough to it where they couldn’t leave, to the factories. Heck, they were cheaper than the black man and, for that area, easier to come by and thus easily disposed of. Who was forced to build the rail roads and mine in deplorable conditions? The Chinese! Who had land stolen from them and salt put on their wounds? The Native Tribes!

    But anyway, let’s go back to the CSA. The South was a land of rich soils and perfect growing conditions and the North had a good stint of factories going. Well, the North wanted as much cotton as it could get her hands on. Do you think they were paying a fair price? No! They didn’t have labor laws or tax regulations, so the scales kept tipping more and more to the North’s favor. The South had to get as much cotton in as possible to be able to feed and clothe. Mind you only FOUR PERCENT (look that up, I promise you) of the Southern population had a slave! FOUR PERCENT! Who was doing most of the work? That’s right! The Poor White Folk! My poor white folk! I have yet to find a slave owner in my family!

    The taxes began to be too much of a problem, the governments met and nothing could be done. Well, our Founding Fathers included the 9th and 10th amendments. These two amendments gave the States Rights! Each State is a Sovereign Entity under an umbrella of a Federal Government. I’ll let you research as I’ve done mine. The States decided that if the FedGovt isn’t going to help protect the interest of their people, then it’s time to break off. And that’s what happened… IF you Support US’ Independence Day on Fourth of July, then you’re a hypocrite! We got away from a tyrant back in the late 1700s; we tried to get away from it again, but because of the lack of industry, the South lost.

    By the way, what was the Corwin Amendment about again? I’ll let you research that one.

    About the Klan, the Klan started out as a support group, but sweat turned sour. Reconstruction was not “reconstruction.” The FedGovt kept pouring salt in the wound and made it difficult. I can’t remember which book that said that, but boy! It was horrid!

    And! About the Klan and flags: If you look up pictures of the Klan, you will see the AMERICAN flag, not that Battle Flag. The slave ships had Union Flags on them! Not the CSA. The FBI agents are rumored to have infiltrated the Klan and used the Battle Flag to be able to tell one another apart. Way to go Feds!

    Go ahead, attack me. Show me your hatred. I don’t hate you; I just wish you’d open your eyes and look around and read scholarly works!

    • And the moon is made of green cheese! Here is what’s real….Peckerwoods are Peckerwoods, Baggers are Baggers, half-wits are half-wits, snot-rags are snot-rags…..what else can they be??? Whose on first? How smart do you need to be? Who is a volunteer, wild-eyed butt-wipe???

  5. The author contends that by honoring the Confederate flag, you’re saying, “I support people who fought to own slaves”. But aren’t you making the same statement when you wear a T-shirt that reads “Democrat”?

    • I’m a Democrat since before I was born during WW 2. My Daddy was born in1899. He was a Democrat from his first vote until he died in 1993. At some time prior to my birth he quit the Southern Baptist Church ( he was a Deacon in that rotten , stinking, out-fit) and he was never able to forgive his early half-witted upbringing., and so it goes.

  6. At least SouthernBelle has taken the time to educate herself. More should try doing the same. Thats if your not scared of what you find. The truth hurts sometimes. Start with this and if there’s something you think is wrong, look it up. http://youtu.be/fgA4qYpR5aI

    • Southern Belle edjucated her self about like Bugs Bunny educated his self, both of them are cartoons. You and SouthernBelle make as much sense as a Southern Baptist Convention Peckerwood who belongs to an outfit that was formed specifacly on the foundation of declaring Negroid humans were in fact inhuman, like chickens or milk-cows. They retracted that bull-shit and made a one sentence apology in the late 20th century. Look it up, but you will have to dig, being as Texas writes our school books for most of the USA…check it out. The dificulty of dealing with reality, rather than childish bull-shit is a bit painful but necesary to be an on-the-square grown-up..My great Grandpa lies in the Comfederate Soldier section of the Texas State Cemetary and I spent many hours and years looking for the facts. My Grandmother , a good woman who I dearly loved, explained to me that Negroid humans were like chickens or milk cows, they lacked a soul…that’s why you don’t allow them in the house, but it was a sin to mistreat them. My Daddy was a Deacon in the Church & he participated in the hanging on the Courthouse Square back home of a Negro kid, and he was a Deacon in the church at the time. He never forgave his-self, but I have forgiven him. He behaved as he was taught to think and behave. He taught me better, and so it goes. It’s clearly better to be lucky than it is to be smart. I have studied and strugled for years to decide if racist ass-wipes of today are merely hateful half-wits or maybe black-hearted Baggers who go along to get along. Looking back, I try to forgive them but what bothers me is that I know I haven’t quite forgiven myself. Living inside a hateful butt-hole was hard work and I remain in recovery.

  7. You people are morons. Of course you rely on the text books written by the winner of the war instead of researching for yourselves. Not every person who supports that flag is a racist or Klan member. But it would be ok to fly the African Nationalists flag wouldn’t it? Typical.

    • Texas writes the textbooks, we didn’t win the war, Dipstick, grow up and amount to something. What do you eat? You’re right, not everyone who supports the Stars and Bars is a racist, but each one IS an egg-sucking, childish, nit-wit…. a blind guy can see that. When grown-ups screw up, well then, they cop to it. African flags are absolutely not comparable in any fashion to the Confederate flag but you are comparable to Bugs Bunny, Mikey. How old are you? Your Mama have any brats with a lick of sense? Why do you hate Texas and the South? Only assinine goobers think and behave like a fifth-grade knot-head, get a life….grow up and amount to something. Quit smoking that stuff and ask yourself What would JESUS do? Then ask yourself What would Donald Trump do??? What would Sarah Palen and her heathen brats do? What would Daffy Duck do? What would just about every Tea-Bagging jerk-off I know do??? Whose on first??? Get a life kid, grow up and amount to something.

  8. You might as well spit into the wind as to attempt to reason with a childish, black-hearted, filthy rich, knuckle-head. Fools are going to be Fools, Peckerwoods are going to be Peckerwoods, Baggers are Baggers, Repugs are Repugs. You can pretty well count on that. It’s true that many Repug losers are far more decent and clearly more kind than the snuff-spitting, butt-scratching, and wig-wearing Bagger half-wits. However, it remains also true that the fat is truly in the fire, with our countrys political elections coming up to pick our next President. Fun is fun, but the real possibility of a jillionaire, half-witted, butt-wipe as this sweet countrys leader is discomfiting. Whose on first??? Are this many Repugs pure, childish, stone half-wits? Have they no shame, at long last? When do they rise up and put a stop to this lunacy? G.W.Bush Jr. was an Angel from Heaven comparativly and he needed Cheney to help putting on his shoes. God help us. Please. Sir. Amen

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