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artisan-roasted in Marfa, Texas 10 0 % ORGANIC & FAIR TRADE Www.bigbendcoffee .com si wholesale inquiries welcome Serving the Austin community since 1975 SAVE AND SUSTAIN BOOK-WOMAN Help save an endangered species: The independent women’s bookstore For details go to to win seven-figure contracts to build affordable housing in South Dallas. The developer, the indictment said, also was seeking federal subsidies for the construction. Instead of sparking outrage, the indictment of Hodge has been met with skepticism by many in the African-American community who feel they’ve been shortchanged for decades by the city’s white power structure. They view the charges against Hodge as “Mickey Mouse” infractions no different from the usual political back-scratching common to Dallas. The reaction reflects the nature of Hodge’s district, which includes parts of South Dallas, Oak Cliff, Fair Park, and Pleasant Grove, and the political history of African-Americans in Dallas. The city is a national center for telecommunications, transportation, conventions, and trade shows. Over the past decade, it has forged an identity as a growing high-tech center rivaling Northern California’s Silicon Valley. That dynamism has largely bypassed minority communities. A common refrain here is that Dallas is actually two cities: the one known nationwide for its sports teams and distinctive downtown skyline, and the other Dallas south of the Trinity River, bereft of supermarkets, jobs, and quality government services. “Tell me the name of one large hotel south of the river. There’s not one,” said Dallas Democratic Party Chairwoman Darlene meeting arts area” District 100 runs from northwest Dallas to the city’s south and east sides, incorporating many of its least-developed neighborhoods. The per capita income is at least $7,000 below the state average of $19,617, according to figures from the 2000 census, the most recent data covering the district. Twenty-seven percent of residents live in poverty, compared with a statewide average of about 15 percent. Yet a few blocks from some of the most run-down areas sit pockets of middle-class and upper-middle-class prosperity, like the gated, cul-de-sac community of John West Road in the eastern part of the district. Comprised of picturesque, new $400,000 homes, it’s an example of how poverty sits alongside promise in the district. Many of Hodge’s constituents identify with her because she overcame the same economic and social challenges they face. Hodge, 67, is a Dallas native who went to high school in Los Angeles. She got a job at Southwestern Bell in 1966 as a “Terri understands the concept that politics is a contact sport. She’s not going to go down meekly. She’s going to go down swinging.” long-distance operator. Hodge retired from Bell in 1991, having worked her way up to external affairs-government relations manager. A single mother, she raised a son on her own in a district where 45 percent of families had a single parent, compared with a statewide average of 26 percent, according to the 2000 federal census. Before she was elected to the Legislature, Hodge was active in Democratic Party politicsgetting people to the polls on Election Day as a precinct organizerand belonged to several community organizations, including the D/FW Minority Business Development Council, Friends of Fair Park, and the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. She’s even been president of the Dallas Sidekicks booster club. “She’s got a lot of grassroots support. Her people are very loyal, and she takes care of their families,” Ewing said. Folks at the corner Subway, Rent-A-Center, or dollar store say they’ve met Hodge or know someone she’s helped apply for government services or reach out to an incarcerated family member. \(Hodge is a member of the House Criminal Such personal attention has earned the loyalty of activists like Helga Dill, chair of Texas Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, or Texas CURE. The group lobbies for inmate rights and rehabilitation. Dill said Hodge has been her staunchest House ally over the past five years. “She does a lot for folks in prison. She does all these things, yet she’s being attacked,” Dill said in her Garland home as she leafed through CURE correspondence. Mina Gayton, 42, is a short woman with large, brown eyes. She was released from prison in November after serving 10 years of a 12-year manslaughter sentence in the death of her fiance, John Anthony, 32. Gayton had been drinking before she crashed the couple’s Chevy truck on the way to Corpus Christi, 55 shipping on aril oftsrs www.b.gben ,cicoffse so ,rn 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER FEBRUARY 8, 2008