Following the murder of George Floyd in mid-2020 and the resulting protests that erupted in Fort Worth and across the globe, then-mayor Betsy Price navigated a tense situation with what appeared to be a sincere desire to unify the city and prevent acts of violence by either side of the political divide. Her rhetoric never parroted the former president’s characterizations that Black protestors were “thugs” or his calls to shoot looters even as the vast majority of protests remained peaceful calls to end police brutality against unarmed Black and brown citizens.
After announcing her bid for county judge, Tarrant’s head elected position, Price once again never pandered to racist stereotypes.
A photo tweeted by a Star-Telegram reporter showed Price’s campaign truck with the message, “Betsy Price Stood Against Black Lives Matter.”
“You can’t make this up,” read a Facebook response by Deborah Peoples, the Democratic candidate for county judge who almost won Fort Worth’s mayorship last year.
“Right out of Betsy Price’s mouth, she ‘stood AGAINST Black Lives Matter,’ ’’ Peoples continued. “I’m sure this made people of color feel safe under her leadership. Wonder how she’ll spin this on our side of town? Guess you have to play the race card to run on the Republican ticket.”
It was yet another example of a privileged white person shitting on a marginalized community that has the gall to demand an end to racist policing that too frequently ends with the death of unarmed Black men and women who had the misfortune to be pulled over for something as innocent as a busted taillight.
It defies belief that Price does not understand the dog whistle that she is using to entice right-wing asshats who falsely believe that nonwhites are more prone to crime and violence or that Black Lives Matter is a Marxist movement that will place the gay mafia in charge of our children’s schools. Price knows what that rhetoric means, and it’s a horrifying conceit that the Republican party is now in the hands of white supremacists who have mastered the art of projecting their inward racist beliefs on others.
Our news magazine is seeing this convoluted argument more and more often. Post anything that touches on race and racism on Instagram (@FortWorthWeekly), and we invariably draw rebukes by white men and women that somehow our publication is the real problem because we keep “stirring it up.”
Price’s sudden disdain for peaceful Black protesters likely reflects her March primary runoff against Tim O’Hare, the former chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party and mastermind behind the right-wing shitshow that has become Southlake politics. Recent campaign finance disclosures show that Price has raised $334,872 while O’Hare collected $309,050 for his campaign. It’s getting close.
One-sixth of O’Hare’s war chest is floated by billionaire Trump supporter Monte Bennett. The $50,000 check may amount to butt hurt that Bennett still feels about a perfectly legal annexation of his property several years ago by the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) as part of a pipeline construction project. Price never made waves about TRWD dealings during her time in office, and O’Hare has already proven that he holds considerable sway over the local district attorney’s office. An O’Hare win in March may mean payback time for TRWD.
O’Hare, who claims to have founded Southlake Families PAC despite any public documentation proving it, may have asked the DA in 2020 to indict two school board members on misdemeanor charges as a means of flipping a school board vote in favor of conspiracy nuts who now control the governing body that oversees Southlake’s public schools (“ Rising Partisanship,” Oct 2021).
The DA’s favor put “religious freedom” attorney Hannah Smith on the seven-member school board, and she presumably knows when it’s time to pay back favors.
Smith ponied up a cool $2,000 to the O’Hare campaign while another Southlake Families-backed school board member, Andrew Yaeger, went cheapo with a $50 contribution. We can only imagine how poorly he tips. (Just as poorly as every wealthy, entitled white person, is the answer.) Tarrant’s district clerk, Tom Wilder, who’s paid by taxpayers, donated $5,750 to O’Hare. The generosity makes sense since Wilder shares O’Hare’s love of delusional conspiracy theories. Wilder has stated publicly that our news magazine is funded by left-leaning “donors” who are on the lookout for prostitutes. More right-wing projection?
Nearly $50,000 in disclosed campaign expenses went to Axios Strategies, the far-right consulting firm founded by a former Ted “Cancun” Cruz campaign chief. No self-respecting publication would dare reshare the bullshit and completely fabricated press releases that we receive from Axios, which leaves Parler and whatever sad online outlets remain for those who lose sleep over the looming Deep State takeover as possible recipients of Axios payouts.
O’Hare logged four pages of parking meter fees, which is funny because, for a guy who is meticulous about logging expenses, you’d think he’d care about Texas Ethics Commission rules governing documentation of donors. Not one donor — not even Tom “Sexy Pizza-Gate” Wilder — disclosed their address as required by law.
A few chain establishments benefited from meetings with O’Hare and his crew, according to the campaign disclosures. Cheddars, Cheesecake Factory, and P.F. Chang’s played host to Timmy boy and his rancid fanboys and -girls on several occasions. We can only hope that if Tim et al. walked in with their white hoods on, they would have gotten the boot. As a big fan of all three restos, I’d like to believe they would.
O’Hare’s campaign, like Southlake politics, is a dumpster fire of white fragility and a desire to return to the good ol’ days when homosexuals didn’t do things heteros do, like buy furniture and eat at restaurants, and Blacks knew better than to assert their constitutional and civil rights. Until last week, Price was largely known as a moderate voice in a conservative party that has hitched its future to a disgraced former president who has been credibly accused of rape by nearly 30 women, who was sued by the federal government for not renting to Blacks, and who … oh, the list goes on. He’s a piece of shit. End of story. Going MAGA reeks of desperation. By revising her history to say she stood against Black Lives Matter, Price is joining a swelling group of wealthy whites who see revising history as their last best hope to slowing or stopping this country’s steady march toward social justice and racial and LGBTQ+ equity.
This column reflects the opinions of the editorial board and not necessarily the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a column, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. Submissions will be edited for factuality and clarity.