William Jackson Harper and Jim Schutze discuss history, race and politics at The Wild Detectives bookstore

Jim Schutze, Dallas’ legendary curmudgeon and city columnist for the Dallas Observer, announced Monday he’s leaving the paper.

“My 22-year career with New Times, now erroneously called Voice Media Group (as if), comes to an end today by mutual cordial agreement that they told me about this morning,” Schutze wrote on Facebook with his signature snark.

Schutze and I clashed a time or two over the years, including during a particularly ugly 2017 Richardson ISD election when he said personal attacks were just part of running for the school board.

Ostracism, rumors, personal attacks — are the price of admission for political activity,” wrote Schutze. “If you can’t pay that price, if you can’t stand up to it and prevail against it, then you need to stay out of politics.”

I disagreed, arguing that Lake Highlands neighbors are the losers when campaigns devolve into vicious online smears.

Despite our differences – and Schutze disagreed with lots of folks over his many years of sticking stakes in the ground – I remain a devotee. I was honored to attend his 2019 induction as a Dallas Press Club Legend, the year Advocate Media’s Rick Wamre was also inducted.

Schutze was a reporter for the Dallas Times Herald in the 1980s and wrote about this city’s struggle with race in his book, The Accommodation. Over his long career, he wrote about every corner of town. In addition to the school board piece, here are four more times he focused on Lake Highlands:

  • In 2010, Schutze chided then-councilman Jerry Allen for opposing a property tax rate hike. He wasn’t complimentary of Allen, but in light of the city’s current economic state, his Montessori school-level explanation of the way down-is-up and up-is-down in the property tax world is worth a new look.
  • In 2010, he described Lake Highlands as “being in a wad” over plans to house the homeless. Outlawing shopping carts and panhandling hadn’t solved the problem after all, he joked, and the homeless keep coming up with “more tricks.”
  • In 2011, Schultz praised Allen, still Lake Highlands’ rep on the city council, for writing a new ordinance to rein in predatory payday lenders. Schutze gave Allen credit for bucking “corrupt and stupid” legislators in Austin, who Schutze said “bow to the wolves” who “run free through the village.”
  • In 2020, Schutze defended LH resident and Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall for using a curse word in reaction to the shootings of a baby in South Dallas and an 8-year-old in Lake Highlands. The baby died. “For a woman like Chief Hall,” Schutze wrote, “there is nothing collateral about the children. The children are at the center of it, the center of everything.”

Shutze hasn’t said if he’ll write another book, take on new project or enjoy retirement with wife and gardening expert Mariana Greene.

“I will continue to write increasingly senescent drivel here on Facebook,” he shared, “because, as that old saying goes, old newspaper people never die, they just continue to write increasingly senescent drivel on Facebook.”