Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Critics keep you focused and honest. . .

Not everyone likes what we do or what we plan to do. [Please mark this down as one of the great understatements of this decade!]

The following letter to the editor appeared in the latest issue of The Dallas Observer in response to an article their reporter, Jesse Hyde, wrote about our CityWalk @ Akard project in Downtown Dallas. I've "cleaned it up" a bit by blocking out a word or two!

Out in the Cold

Poof, problem solved: Larry James ("Old Building, New Lives," by Jesse Hyde, November 30) is an idiot! Instead of building a refuge for the drug addicts and drunks in the area of Lincoln Plaza, why doesn't he move it closer to City Hall so he can gain some real exposure? He's just going to cause the devaluation of every property on Akard Street. I have a better idea, Larry: Build an army barracks-style dwelling on the %$#@*& side of town and teach all of the poor "unfortunates" of the world to bathe and become productive citizens. Rezone downtown and eliminate the stores that sell liquor and beer. Hire 10 agents to arrest panhandlers and after three strikes, they're off to Huntsville.

Institutionalize the rest and poof, problem solved. You liberal %$#@*& make me want to run for mayor.

Over and out from North Dallas.
Richard Krause

[You can view the original, uneditied text of the letter at: http://www.dallasobserver.com/Issues/2006-12-07/news/letters.html.]

Fun, huh? Great press, right?

Here's what I sent back to the Editor at The Observer:

Thanks for caring enough to write, Mr. Krause. Of course, I don't agree with you, but I expect that is simply because I have enjoyed the benefit of actually knowing and talking to very, very low-income persons who currently live on the streets of our city.

First, please understand that our CityWalk @ Akard project will not be a shelter filled with unproductive persons as you assume in your analysis.

Second, I invite you to come down and meet some of the people who are such a problem for you. Each first Thursday of every month we host what we call the "Urban Engagement Book Club." I'm sure it would surprise you that 20 or so homeless persons attend every month and get involved in the conversation. We meet at the Highland Park United Methodist Church on the campus of SMU. So, you wouldn't have to venture very far from the safety of North Dallas. I promise you you would leave with a different point of view.

Again, thanks for your opinion.

Best regards,
Larry James
President and CEOCentral Dallas Ministries

Critics have a way of keeping your focused!

They also allow you to work on motives and truth.

At times it feels like a battle around here.

And please, this is no call for sympathy. I just needed to get this out in the midst of a group of trusted friends!

What to do with the naysayers in your life???


Anonymous said...

So why don't you run for mayor, Larry? :)

Great post. Thanks for sharing. God bless.

dervish said...

Because he can get more done as CEO of CDM, for one!

Keep up the fight, Larry!

dmowen said...

I read that letter too and I couldn't believe Mr. Krause's insensitivity to the poor and the way it was phrased as a personal attack on you. May God give you thick skin to ignore such attacks and a soft heart to continue to do his will.

RC said...

I think that you do two things. First, you accept the fact that a letter like that is the best proof available that what CDM is actually making a difference. Only groups that make a difference attract comments like that. Second, you constantly seek ways to educate Dallas as a whole exactly what you are doing. People that write what Mr. Krause wrote are very uninformed, but most people are more afraid than anything else. I continue to love your spirit which allows you to respond with the spirit of Christ no matter what.

Michael Davis said...

I got pretty upset when I read that letter in last week's Observer. But then I realized that many people are still uninformed and ignorant when it comes to homeless issues.

They have not looked at studies about how the homeless issues in Miami were reduced by a similar approach.

They have not read anything about the SROs in Houston and how successful they have been. I doubt they know that as a City Council member Angela went to Houston to inspect those developments.

Let people like that letter writer continue to sit on their high horse while some folks like you work on behalf of those of us that society ignores.

I can't wait for you to cut the ribbon on CityWalk!

Mike Davis
Dallas Progress

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Jesus would have handled Mr. Richard Krause? Probably the same way Larry did. Invite him in and show him a different perspective.

KentF said...

It's sad that it would appear Mr. Krause could literally care less if these folks were in Huntsville or somewhere elseville - as long as he doesn't have to look at them. Sad indeed.