Neighborhood crime is down. The real estate market is up. Residents are active in revitalization efforts. Now we must make other people’s perceptions of our community match what we know is reality.

That’s what members of a neighborhood panel said last month at the Old East Dallas Renaissance Coalition’s “Hot Topic, Cool Dessert” membership forum and ice cream social held at the Lakewood theater.

Panelist Mayor Ron Kirk also said we must continue efforts to improve Dallas public schools if our neighborhood is to become stronger. During the forum, Kirk called the school board’s political infighting “asinine” and said it is damaging the reputation of the entire city. In addition to Kirk, the panel included Henry Tatum of the Dallas Morning News editorial board and Dick Clements of Clements Realtors. Like the mayor, Tatum and Clements live in our neighborhood.

Pamela Stephenson was event chair-woman. On her organization committee were Randy Campbell. Carole Eade, Sue Dorsey and Marsha Drebelbis. Organist Danny Ray provided pre-event entertainment, and Minyard Food stores  and Swiss Avenue Bank provided refreshments.

Others who contributed were Helen Swint, Jo Blount, Richard McCaghren, Jim Drebelbis, Dusty Eagen, Steve Clicque, John Tomaso, Patty Smith-Kirkwood, Mary Jane Beaman, Christina Smith, Chrystin-Pollack Pleasants, Mari Sullivan and Dallas police officers Ron Fitzgerald and Lynn McDonald.

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