East Dallas used to be included in City Council District 5. Photo courtesy of SMU Jones Collection via YouTube.
In 1975, East Dallas was located not in City Council District 9 or District 14, but in City Council District 5.
Neighborhoods from Casa View and Casa Linda to Lower Greenville to Old East Dallas were all represented by the same City Council member.
Footage from the KERA Collection at the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU shows snapshots of our neighborhood, both its residential areas and some local landmarks.
The Lakewood Theater and Granada Theater are visible and mentioned by the City Council candidates, incumbent Russell Smith and challenger William Cothrum.
Integration of the new with the old while maintaining an appreciation for nostalgia was one characteristic of East Dallas, the narrator said in the video.
But the neighborhood had some issues. Smith says in the video one of the actions he took was to help offer guaranteed loans for residents.
“They didn’t want their homes bulldozed down and urban renewal to come in,” Smith said. “They wanted a program, and I’ve come up with a program that’s taken many hours to put together.”
Another issue had to do with showing X-rated films at local theaters, including the Granada and the Arcadia. Neighbors wanted that practice to end.
But Cothrum said it had been a complaint among the locals for years before Smith started talking about it, and he said he thought Smith only had been addressing it because he was facing an opponent in the election.
The narrator of the video seems to agree, saying “pushing the anti-dirty movie ordinance was one of the few neighborhood issues” Smith was involved with.
Dallas and many other Texas cities were ramping up litigation against adult bookstore and theater owners.
Here’s a quote from a 1975 article in Texas Monthly: “With a conviction rate of 98% in all jury trials, and with a professed policy of seeking the maximum jail time and fine, without probation, for every obscenity defendant above the level of a ‘ticket-taker,’ District Attorney Henry Wade’s office is a formidable adversary for adult bookstore and theater owners,” author Griffin Smith Jr. wrote in the article, “The Naked and the D.A.”
Watch more in the video below.